## Sunday, May 11, 2014

### Rogozin, Romania, conflicts, and individual rights

On Saturday, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin went to Transdniestria to celebrate the anniversary of the 1945 victory over the Nazis with the local ethnic Russians – who have the same good reasons to celebrate (congratulations to them, and thanks to the Russian and Western Second World War veterans who helped to liberate my country) and who may feel oppressed by the surrounding nations these days.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they have established a de facto independent ethnic Russian republic which is a supernarrow strip on the border between Moldova and Ukraine. Just to be sure, Moldova is a former Soviet republic which is ethnically Romanian, more or less, and it could have been a part of Romania if the Soviet Union has never existed. Moldova is even poorer than Romania but it's trying to create ties with the EU.

When he was returning from Kishinev, the capital of Moldova, to Moscow, his plane, Rusjet Yak-42, wasn't allowed to enter the Romanian airspace. They were also accompanied by some Ukrainian interceptors Mikoyan MiG (even the Maidan regime seems unable to operate without Russian products) so Rogozin had to land in Kishinev again. The local Moldovan government has used the opportunity to confiscate some petitions in which thousands of the folks in Transdniestria demand protection from the Russian Federation. Moldovan authorities will "study these materials to check whether someone has committed a crime".

It is not clear to me where Rogozin's plane finally went – Moldova is completely surrounded by Ukraine and Romania – but I guess he was finally allowed by Romania to go to Minsk through Bulgaria etc. and then to Moscow. Or maybe he just ignored the ban and took the risk. If you understand the path, let me know.

Just to be sure, these airspace hassles occurred because Rogozin is one of the dozens of influential Russian citizens who were targeted by the EU-U.S. sanctions. He is a very active Twitter (200,000+ followers, plus 12,000 in English) and Facebook guy. He has made an innocent tweet that was destined to be widely discussed.

Rogozin wrote:
Румыния по требованию США закрыла моему борту воздушное пространство. Украина снова не пропускает. В следующий раз полечу на ТУ-160.
It means
Romania, upon U.S. request, has closed the airspace for my crew. Ukraine won't allow me to enter again. Next time, I will fly with a TU-160.
Now, TU-160 is Russia's most powerful strategic bomber that could have some additional authority in the air. However, let me note that the maximum speed is just Mach 2; the MiGs' maximum speed is Mach 3 so the TU-160 probably couldn't really "escape". But maybe it would be robust enough to resist the shooting by the MiGs. I am no expert here.

Rogozin later tweeted about his more complicated trip home:
As it turned out, it will take four and a half hours to get to Chisinau via Bulgaria and Romania. Ukraine is not letting us in.

It's good that Ukraine is not Russia. Otherwise, the bypass would have taken 20 hours or so.
Note that he hasn't forgotten to remind Ukraine that they're a small country relatively to his own. ;-)

Romania has officially reacted to the tweet about TU-160. It's normal in NATO+EU member states for officials and activists to get upset by other people's tweets. The Romanian officials has demanded some official explanation of Rogozin's tweet from Moscow:
The Romanian foreign ministry asked Moscow to clarify whether Rogozin's comments represented "the Russian Federation's official position towards Romania as an EU and NATO member".

It said it "believes the threat of using a Russian strategic bomber plane by a Russian deputy prime minister is a very grave statement under the current regional context."

It added that "the Russian Federation has broken Ukraine's territorial sovereignty ... while pro-Russian separatists are violating public order in the neighboring state."
Romania informed the Kremlin (not that it was needed) that it was determined to lick the as*es of the powerful people in the EU and NATO and to parrot every letter of their currently fashionable Russophobic propaganda – one of the few things that the Romanian people are capable of doing.

But the question whether Rogozin's tweet represented the "official position" is an interesting one. Good that you asked! Rogozin has promised them a spectacular (?) answer on their English Twitter account:
Well, Sirs from Romania, we'll soon explain it all to you - who you are and what we think of you.
The tweet was clearly a tweet from a particular Russian citizen who is also a government official. So different Russian officials, government, and other top political bodies may have different opinions as long as they are compatible with the law and as long as they are realistic. Some of the Russian citizens and Russian politicians have more understanding or less understanding for the dominant official Western approach; some of them may prefer a more diplomatic response or a less diplomatic response. On the other hand, it is absolutely clear that there are no serious disagreements between Rogozin and the other top politicians in Russia. And there are no serious disagreements between Rogozin and the overwhelming majority of the Russian population, either. The approval rate of the Russian president etc. is higher than what his Western counterparts are dreaming about.

Are the Romanian citizens really unaware of these answers? Shouldn't they know better?

Well, they probably do know. What the question is supposed to mean is nothing else than the collective intimidation of the individual human beings and their basic freedoms, something we got used to in the post-enlightenment, post-democratic, politically correct Western civilization. The nearly universal reaction in the West is to surrender to the sufficiently collectivist intimidation. When Larry Summers "dared" to say that we should have "considered the possibility" that women's cognitive skills followed a different statistical distribution than men's – something that is pretty much obvious to every 5-year-old who is not retarded – the feminists demanded his apologies and later his resignation.

Larry, even though he is one of the most self-confident officials in the U.S., mildly resisted only for a week. Instead of crisply explaining why the fascist bitches were wrong and dangerous and instead of doing the maximum to fire those who were at Harvard because of similar whining rather than their scholarly work, he complied and began to apologize. When I saw those faculty meetings, I became sure that I didn't want to have anything in common with the Academic environment because it was and it is so badly screwed, so overrun by intellectually and morally inferior people and by cowards that hopes for a recovery have become unrealistic.

During the subsequent years, I would suffer in hundreds of similar situations when some obnoxious leftists, professional blacks, whining feminists, worshipers of gays, and tons of other fashionable movements were crippling the basic freedoms of sensible individuals. Almost no one has resisted. I have lost most of my beliefs about the future of the West. Things are only getting worse. If there is a hope for the future somewhere, it is not in the countries that used to be the core of the enlightened civilization in recent centuries.

Thankfully, Russia isn't quite buying into this dictatorship of the hardcore left-wing NGOs etc. yet. The world's largest country may have other imperfections but because of the trends, it's likely that they will be getting less important.

OK, let me return to the question. Was Rogozin tweeting as a top Russian politician or as an individual? Well, both. There isn't any direct contradiction between these two things. At least to the zeroth order, Russia is a free and democratic country so the deputy prime ministers don't lose their right to compose tweets showing their stories and sentiments. Presidents of Harvard and other universities, presidents of the U.S., bosses of Mozilla, and everyone who matters in the West may automatically lose his or her balls and his or her individuality but thankfully, it's not the automatic expectation in Russia. Rogozin not only doesn't lose his freedom of speech and freedom to think; his opinions and sentiments do influence the official Russian policy. That's what it means for him, and not someone else, to be the deputy prime minister! In the West, people began to expect that officials and politicians are just mindless, faceless, grey enforcers of some "omnipresent and obvious" political correctness.

Putin, Medvedev, or other Russian politicians were not authoring Rogozin's tweet so it's unlikely that they would use exactly the same words, with the exact same TU-160 model. But of course that they understand Rogozin's sentiment. Of course that no one will fire him. No one in Russia will force Rogozin to apologize or to resign. He has nothing to apologize for. Russia simply isn't as screwed as Harvard. It is a conflict between Rogozin and Romanian officials but of course that if things got serious, Russia would side with Rogozin!

Before we are answering the question whether Rogozin vented his dissatisfaction as an individual or as a top politician, someone should have given the answer to a simpler, more primary question:
Was Rogozin targeted by the sanctions as an individual or as a top Russian politician?
This question shows that the sanctions are very muddy. Rogozin hasn't been shown to have committed any particular "crime" that would justify an EU-wide harassment. Those who imposed the sanctions on Rogozin and others were quite open about their true justification. Rogozin was targeted because he is considered an important Russian citizen and one who is close enough to Vladimir Putin. And because both Russia and Putin have become politically incorrect, some people think that the fascist way of targeting people because of their nationality, influence, or direct or indirect friends is just OK! Let me just remind you that in a fair classical Western society, people are only punished for their own harmful or illegal deeds, not for their environment, their power, or their nationality.

Well, these sanctions targeting random influential Russians are surely not considered OK in Russia. Russia won't fire Rogozin just because some Romanian officials have been harassing him or whining about him. He hasn't done anything that would justify such a dismissal. Moreover, everyone knows – and it is really true – that if someone else were hired as the deputy prime minister to help to govern Russia and to reflect the Russian citizens' actual values and interests, he could have been targeted just like Rogozin. So the replacement of Rogozin wouldn't help anyone. Unless, of course, the goal would be to put politicians and CEOs whose opinions are closer to those of the Romanian officials – a mindless, unlimited licking of the powerful as*es in some wealthier Western countries. Virtually no one in Russia wants such a change and I morally sympathize with this defiant attitude of the Russian public.

Can Rogozin really use a TU-160 on his next visit to Transdnestria? Of course that he can! Flying on a TU-160 doesn't mean that he would be bombing Romania yet. Such a bomber may just be a tool for Russia to express the idea that it considers these sanctions illegitimate and it has tools to make them inconsequential, too. And a TU-160 might indeed be necessary to do so! Deputy prime minister's claims that he may use a TU-160 to circumvent a ban is a serious matter, indeed. But the original ban that more or less randomly picked Rogozin and a few dozens of other scapegoats was a serious matter, too. And it was the first reason of this exchange.

I want to say that this whole Romanian spin promoting Rogozin's tweet to the new core of the Russian doctrine is a self-inflicted injury.

There is no need to escalate a tweet like that. Rogozin is a foreign individual who has become a victim of harassment by some Romanian officials, so he is largely in a personal conflict with these officials. It's up to him and his aides to pick the right planes to circumvent the bans he surely considers illegitimate. It would still be a Romania-vs-Rogozin tension.

These days, it's normal in Romania – and, sadly, in most countries that used to define the West – that an institutional threat or a libel produced by an NGO is always destined to defeat the individual. Any individual. Well, Rogozin doesn't think it's so obvious, and neither do I. Does Romania really have the power to enforce similar harassment? I doubt it. What they can do is to whine and hide under some U.S. warmongers' skirts. Is that enough?

Will the TU-160 bomber be used in its originally designed harmful way? It is unlikely, I think. But of course that if tensions run too high, Russia will bomb Romanian targets or any other targets that may turn out to be a major obstacle. Russian targets would probably be bombed, too. It would be a war.

I don't want a war. But of course that it is a possible outcome of the recent developments. And various events are escalating the situation. Of course that targeting dozens of Russian individuals by similar sanctions makes them understandably upset. Of course that they can revenge in some way. Of course that to actually enforce these bans when Rogozin visits some ethnic Russians is another step to escalate the situation. Of course that the promotion of a defiant tweet by a harassed individual to a matter of the new Russian doctrine is a move to escale the situation, too.

Why are these people – not just in Romania – escalating the situation all the time? Do they want a war? Are they sure that such a war would be a net positive for them or the West or the world? Or have they been brainwashed to hate Russia so much that they're not thinking about the consequences of their acts at all? Don't they realize that Russia is the calmer, more rational player and it is pretty much destined to win any chaotic game like this one? I am nervous about both sides' moves towards a war but I am much more terrified by the behavior that has become normal in the West and that used to define what is definitely "not the classical Western attitude" to various situations of life. Harassment of people according to their nationality. Intimidation not allowing an individual to deviate from the group think. Desire to spin every event and transform it into a tool to make the hysteria and group think even stronger than before.

Those fascist, group-think recipes to interact with Russia are widespread in Czechia, too. Still, I think that the top politicians – who are bad compared to the average politicians we have had since 1989 – are still more reasonable and rooted in the free democratic (and pragmatic) thinking than the politicians in many other Western countries.

1. Your interpretation. I am quite humble. I'm just implying that we place ourselves at the centre of the universe. When we end then everything ends as far as we are concerned. We are all God.

2. German Secret Service BND says there are 400 Academi (former Blackwarter) elite troupes operating in Ukraine.
http://www.welt.de/politik/article127862117/Hunderte-US-Elitekaempfer-in-ukrainischer-Armee.html

3. Lubos,
"Of course that to some extent, I would agree with him about the spiritual message of quantum mechanics."
What is this message you are talking about in concrete ? I don't get it.

4. As explained many times here, the framework of quantum mechanics is one that probabilistically answers questions about observations - really about observers' perceptions. The interpretation of the predictions is inevitably subjective because the observer must first know which questions he wants to be answered.

Because QM is observer-dependent in this way, denying the existence of the objective reality at the fundamental level, it puts the observer - and his perceptions - to the center and the whole "seemingly approximately objective" world of phenomena and measured data is just a network of auxiliary notions that organizes all the patterns between the truly real and fundamental entities, the subjective perceptions.

This basic fact - the non-existence of the objective reality at the fundamental level - makes many people feel uncomfortable because it overlaps with a part of the message of spiritualist apologists like Eben Alexander. Of course, this non-objective (non-classical) character of quantum mechanics doesn't mean that everything that Eben Alexander says is right. Quite on the contrary, most of the things are still wrong.

5. Gravity doesn't have a purpose. It just is. Matter doesn't 'struggle'. Two hydrogen atoms don't lust over an oxygen atom to have a threesome. It makes no sense to imbue everything from the planet 'Gaia' to the universe with human characteristics. That way lies madness.

7. LOL, thanks a lot, I surely have enough for a dinner, or dinners for several decades.

8. Lubos,
Thanks. Shure, I know these things, but why whould you want to invoke such an esoterical notion as "spiritual" in this context ? I mean what is it's definition anyway ? To me there seems to be no scientific basis for this notion. The things you are talking about are pure science (based on a handful of axioms), modulo some interpretational "problems" due to the limitations of our ape brains.
Doesn't using such an IMO fuzzy notion by a scientist give a wrong trigger to people outside the field of natural sciences ?
Best.

9. I like your c) :-)

10. Death is the irrefutable proof we were once alive. On a positive side death protects us from bad things happening in life, whereas being unborn doesn't: anything can happen.

11. I would have chosen as proponents Bruce Greyson and Neal Grossman.

Second, the near death experiences are evidence of the existence of an afterlife for the following: highly ordered experiences while the brain is severely compromised and could hardly cause them and veridical experiences which new informative content could not be acquired even by healthy people, such as cases "Peak in Darien" and the extrasensory and veridical experiences.

And thirdly, NDEs are not the only kind of evidence on a afterlife. Apparitions, mediumship and people also seem to remember past lives converge towards the existence of an afterlife.

12. Here is an almost super symmetric equation that I'm almost certain Lumo would never produce (at least not in public) %-}:

What Is +- (i.e. with) one specific and possible only once individual pattern of energy in brainspacetime = What Is -+ (i.e. without) the very same specific and possible only once individual pattern of energy in brainspacetime.

13. Same as if I by a computer with no operating system. No matter how many times I switch it on it won't run Windows until I load up the software (designed by some clever people).
But yes I can see that maybe our stumble into self awareness has created an errant way (thinking of helping others as something special) being distinct from the murder and plunder that Darwinism designed us for and under which system and I and most of 'civilized' humanity would quickly perish.

14. The EU will scale down it's anti-Russian narrative to calm the situation(the EU press is already much more reasonable than the U.S. newspapers). The EU just cannot afford further economic instability as it could lead to the collapse of weaker countries like Spain or Greece and thus risk the UK leaving the union.

If Russia keeps its confidence - by which it already surprised western leaders - the EU will have to acknowledge both sides of the Ukraine situation to calm the nerves and it would be a win for Russia and a loss for the United States.

15. Thanks for giving us these detailed results of the debate, PH. I find them very useful because they enable us to analyse the collective decision of the participants mathematically.

On the surface, it looks as though there was a decisive swing Against the motion, with those voting Against being in the minority before the debate and in the majority afterwards. But on calculating the uncertainty (i.e. specifically the Shannon entropy) in the votes, I found it came to 99.74% of the maximum possible amount Before the debate and 99.88% After!

I think these results indicate that although some people were persuaded that there is no life after death, the overall effect of the debate on the participants was to render them slightly more uncertain (by 0.14%) as a group over the question of whether there is life after death or not. However, they were already close to being maximally uncertain over the question before the debate took place.

16. Much as many people might wish that science could decide the question of whether or not there is life after death, I don’t think science as it currently exists is capable of doing that for the simple reason that it doesn’t have a meaningful and realistic definition of life to test for. To paraphrase the current standard scientific definition, which is the one from biology, life is “matter in an organised state” that possesses certain behavioral properties like ingestion, digestion, excretion and reproduction. This is patently useless for the purpose of trying to decide whether there is life after death. By that definition there can be no life after the death of the physical organism that possesses those properties, which closes the scientific debate before any science has begun. However, it leaves the question that we are really asking unanswered.

Life is inseparable from consciousness. Without consciousness it is the same as being dead. So what we are really asking about is the survival of consciousness after death. But modern science has no means – at all! – of discriminating between conscious and unconscious states of being objectively. It cannot detect consciousness even in living beings, let alone in dead ones. It can detect correlates of brain-activity with allegedly conscious activity, but they could all really be unconscious for all that science can tell. Therefore modern science cannot possibly determine whether there really is conscious life after death. The scientific approach, as it is presently formulated, is a non-starter.

Science can operate only within a context of definite assumptions and its scope and power are limited by those assumptions. Science needs to acquire a different set of assumptions to the ones that it currently holds about the nature of life before it will be able to answer the burning question of whether human life survives the death of the body.

17. Well, we have developed this system of communication, called science, which allows us to define an overlap set of our individual divinity space :). The argument with the afterlifers comes because their propositions are not testable with our science tools, at least up to now.

I can think of experiments that might measure the metaphysical, but will wait for my next reincarnation to carry them out :) .

18. Beliefs are shackles that lead to confirmation bias. Once you believe something you never question it.The scientific method should be completely objective and not subjective. There should be no sacred cows. Everything should be open to question. A creationist is simply incapable of asking the right questions in some areas of science. People are different. Some people find comfort and solace in the belief in God and the afterlife. I am not one of those. I am however, widely read on the subject. Not because I am seeking some 'truth', but because I want to know what makes people 'tick'.

19. Haha good luck with that. The problem with reincarnation principles (if you read carefully) is that you are starting again with a clean slate. You can't do that if you are carrying 'baggage' (knowledge) of your past life. Strange unexplained events do not automatically prove that there is a God and an afterlife. Nor do they prove that there are ghosts and such. These are merely strange unexplained events. A UFO is an UNIDENTIFIED flying object. It's not proof of little green men.

20. Ah, well, reincarnation depends on the type of metaphysical model one expects will work, if there exists one.

There was a Cypriot mystic and healer who claimed to remember all his lives, including one where he was st Spyridon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stylianos_Atteshlis ..

So I only have to wait and see :)

21. Third: Why it's just 10% (of people who have been in clinical death) that have these experiences, and why no one remembers the hell?

I've read that some people do have NDEs of Hell.

22. Life could be a superposition of an unborn/dead/non-existant state. We could all be here since the mists of time in other forms, we only happened to fall into a reason/equation to be born.

23. Too many dumb-ass people playing video games, where if you lose you can play again. They don't seem to realise that in real life you only get one chance to screw things up.

24. Yes, former prezident Klaus likes Russia too, so they have to be a fine country :-)

25. The bomber quote is the sort of joke that I might make in similar circumstances. The Romanians and the West are spinning the comment.

..."obnoxious leftists, professional blacks, whining feminists, worshipers
of gays, and tons of other fashionable movements were crippling the
basic freedoms of sensible individuals."
lol...just the cohort that Sean C. is sooo "sensitive" to... It is truly appalling that that group has such power. Look at what happened to the various groups of kindergarten teachers who were accused of "Satanic rites" by professional bitchers... Summers could have fought, but the professional blacks and feminists are truly vicious and pit-bull persistent.

26. Interesting----"highly ordered experiences while the brain ....could hardly cause them..."

Wrong. Absolutely it could. Look at migraines. For worse disorders, the experiences of damage cause release phenomena.
The sentences following the quote are just drivel.

27. OT, well just a little.

While Luboš is still working on the book here's the film. :)

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change.

[By courtesy of a poster at WUWT.]

28. You still are in your "metaphysical phase" (euphemism). The Seth stuff is simply silly. The other stuff is twaddle.

29. Solipsism, Peter. Bishop Berkeley-ism.

30. "The past influences the future but not the other way around."
Ahhh, I thought the Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory with advanced potentials was neat...:)

31. The sanctions are merely a sop to a misguided American public because "something must be done” and the Administration really is a bystander in the Ukrainian conflict. I,too, am frustrated by the one-sided view of virtually all of the US media. We are inundated by anti-Russian and, especially, anti-Putin propaganda.
Incidentally, you overestimate the MiG's top speed although it is faster and far more agile than a heavy Tu-160. A MiG-29 can climb at over 18 km/min.

32. I doubt that the CIA has as many as 400 operatives in Donetsk.

33. It is a private company of mercenary army

34. The video with the changes in borders is good. It even shows the disastrous after WWI attempt of Greece to get back Constantinople .

But as recently as the break up of Yugoslavia, the wills of the west supported the will of the people and broke it up into its component pieces. It is the extreme of hypocrisy for the US and EU to talk of respect of borders after WWII.

35. That is good to hear. Was getting a little concerned there.

If you ever venture over to the crazy Americas and stop near kitchener or waterloo let me buy you dinner. You will find me on hotmail as s.vik.

36. "The EU will scale down its anti-Russian narrative..."

Rip its throat out.

Here's the bumper sticker for those of you with any sense: EU ⊂ ∅

37. At first I found it to be a coincidence that this topic occurred here at your blog, and I'm sure, that I'm not the only one to feel that it was a coincidence :) But, as often before, I had been thinking about death in a very thorough manner. (With lots of feelings attached, not so much about life after death, but death.) And I actually wanted to ask for your opinion about death. I believe that I think that I am of the same opinion when it comes to the result of death. The ending of oneself and ones experience. The total nothingness.
As a person of somethingness, this must seem absurd, must it not? How can something with perception understand death? How is it, that we are going to not exist? I find it overwhelming! Of course the other way, to exist forever, is even more troubling is it not! (And of course not physical.) In any case, I was asking/hoping for a personal article about death. Death as seen from your eye, without the none-article.

38. dude, i am from romania. I am 24, worked since i was 18, medium wage (400 euros after taxes that is). girlfriend, friends, family, dog, if you get the picture. I found your article during a google search performed due to the fact that most average romanians are concerned about all of the ukrainian crisis, and the great powers psichological conflict. you discribed us as ass kissers, and understanding that the comment is about our leaders i have to agree. our goverments have a long history of kissing ass as an external policy, and as for the internal politics is mostly composed of the right blaming the left for what nobody has done, who stole more, and who deserves to go to jail. suddenly since this whole thing began, our daily lifes turned upside down and we are left watching as those who lead us angrily act as some major power and jump in this foreign conflict just because during the past years they have receieved substantial financial aids due to the global economical crisis. so, if you wonder what are the romanians thinking, we think like any little boy does when draged in a big boy fight. we pray that this all blows over ass quickly ass possible in the most peacefull manner. it wasn't "The romanians" that turned rogozins plane, and it wasn't "the romanians" who demanded explanations, and "the romanians" DO NOT want any kind of conflict especially war, not only war but a war with no other than russia. and i'm talking about the true romanian guy and girl, man and woman, like all of you who write and read. not thieves, or politicians, or bussines men, the simple guy that works alot of hours for a shit pay just to come back home and sleep next to my girl. May peace be with us all, and everywhere, no matter the borders, race or gender

39. Your name is Scandinavian so you should know the answer. Go read the New Testament. There is a physical resurrection unto judgement or life eternal in Jesus of Nazaret. Hey even Job knew about this. go look it up.

40. I disagree, but you have not touched the other points.

41. It is true that we can not objectively verify the presence of consciousness, but that's putting the bar too high. We can assess with some degree of probability whether a being is conscious and whether he/ she is who claims to be, because as well the psychic researchers have proceeded studying apparitions, mediumship, etc.

42. Sounds right to me.

43. @ItFromBit:
Thank you for pointing out the Stapp-paper. It is awe inspiring. I would recommend every physicist, who is interested in such issues, to read it.

44. I understand that, Anna. The CIA does a lot of outsourcing these days but the money comes from the US intelligence operations as do the “military" orders.
When things go wrong, and they often do, there is a perception that our government is somehow less responsible for the debacle. That, of course, is bullshit.

45. It is my sincere wish for a couple of these hired thugs to be captured alive and paraded in front of live TV while Erik Prince and the various government clowns like Mr. Haircut and Mr. Nobel Prize for Peace are forced to answer as to who foots the bill for their presence in the Ukraine and why they are there in the first place. I doubt the mainstream propaganda machine will be able to ignore the story of American mercs then.

46. It's quite amazing to think the Soviets had 20+ million people killed in WWII and the history books in the US told the world the that US soldiers beat the Nazis when in fact, the Bush family financed the Nazis.

70 years ago and here we are again except now it is the Americans who are funding al-Qaida in Syria, turning Libya into a Terrorist haven, shooting 90 year old grand mothers and hand cuffing 9 year old kids. Our police look like Nazis and we have a 'homeland' department which is a phrase coined by the 3rd Reich.

Really one has to ask, 'Is the American administration on the right side this time in history?'

47. We can understand not existing. What we can't do is imagine the experience of not existing, because there is no such experience.

48. kashyap vasavadaMay 12, 2014, 1:57:00 AM

A neurologist friend of mine said that they can tell when consciousness is absent, by giving anesthetic drugs. But they do not know what it is when it is present!!

49. Now you TOO are bidding for The Templeton prize! ;-/

Setting our rivalry for religious riches aside, I grant you that you seem to have come very close to the purely in imaginary numbers written devine wavefunction! %-o

Now back to where I was coming from! ;-|
Since we're obviously an exceptionally more babbling (I more so than you) and extra murder-capable and fiendish cousins of the other Simians, I have decided to start a religious brawl with you just for fun.
HERE GOES: My equation is more equal than yours!! ;>

50. You don't need an MBA to tell you you're responsible only if you get caught, and that off-balance-sheet outsourcing can seriously enhance your deniability asset.

Big boom time for the big brown envelope business. Invest now!

51. If any of these jackboot commandos are captured by armed East Ukrainian Federalists, they have no legal protection of any kind under international law. They should be shot out of hand on the battlefield. They have come to play war against a civilian population, and come to play at war for money, who would argue they have any rights on the battlefield? Certainly not me. Certainly not anyone living in lands invaded by American paid thugs.

I ask every American who is still controlled by a lifetime of anti-Russian propaganda to look at this. This is corporate America in action, a US government approved mercenary murder squad. They're not defending anything, they are being paid to murder unarmed Ukrainians: mothers (on Mothers' Day here in the US), fathers, grandparents, teenagers, little boys, and little girls.

Their paymasters are a clique of criminal puppets, controlled by Vichy DC, pretending to be the Ukrainian government who, in what the US government described as admirable restraint in restoring law and order, barbequed fellow Ukrainians.

They barbequed their own people.

The people that the corporate American murder squads are killing are Ukrainians, not Russians, who for the most part aren't even separatists, but federalists. They aren't looking to join up with Russia, they just want to get out from under the brutal Nazi junta that has taken over Kiev.

Every single thing that Russia has been accused of doing is in fact what the Ukrainian "officials" have been doing or are currently planning, as they dance at the ends of strings held by the puppetmasters in Vichy DC.

Hey, remember how they accused the Syrian government of chemical attacks? Funny how those attacks instead turned out to have been carried out by the US government supported "Syrian freedom fighters," also known as "The Good al-Qaida".

Funny how our rulers in Vichy DC end up doing everything that they've accused others of doing, isn't it? What an odd coincidence.

Hang on to your blinders for dear life, or else you might discover how many things you've known about the USA your entire life are illusions and lies.

As for the American corporate mercenary murder squads killing Ukrainian families, I hope that any which are captured are subjected to the same Enhanced Interrogation methods used in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib (which makes them legal according to secret US law) until they talk. About everything. Then let the Ukrainians they've been paid to murder decide what to do with them. They should be so lucky as to be hanged in public.

52. Semi on topic.

It's about 30 years old now so it may be a little dated but Daniel C Dennett's and Douglas R Hofstadter's The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul was fun read especially in later chapters where they pulled the mind apart and reduced consciousness to a kind of minimal operational form. Weird and wonderful at the same time. Very odd. I couldn't put it down.

Then when I did I never picked it up again. :)

53. So where would you set the bar?

Actually I think we can objectively verify the presence of consciousness if we make the right assumptions. At the moment we’re making wrong ones in my view.

54. Blackwater is a private company so there would be absolutely no reason for mr Obama to explain oneself because of that (only someone representing soviet thinking could want state officials to be responsible for foreign actions of private companies). However, Blacwater firmly denied all these accusations.
Maybe someone should capture some green men and force mr Putin to answer some questions?

55. My last sentence touches on the other points.

56. Your unfairness and double standards are so strikingly obvious that only complete idiots and dirty scum could fail to see them.

57. This subject, like religion, attracts strong personal opinions. Fanaticism appears on all fronts. The scientific method has not really been applied to all those phenomena by impartial people who have the scientific method of an open mind. It attracts strong believers, either positively or negatively, thus it is hard to trust the statements.

For NDEs the stories where information not available to the near death person is brought back is what impressed me that something physical is going on. I remember one report of a patient under anesthetic floating outside and seeing objects over the window that were not visible and were improbable to be there.

To make out of this a scientific observation one would have to:
1) find volunteers going under the knife and anesthetic
2)Place improbable objects in a space not available to the volunteer

If the 10% ( percentage of NDEs) of the volunteers came back with accurate descriptions, that would be scientifically accepted evidence.

Otherwise we are discussing experiential data, not experimental.

58. That's not treat my points. I've spent years reading books on psychic research. You probably have no idea of that.

59. Dear Lubos,

congratulations from Russia on the 9th of May to you, too. It's so nice to see people in Western Europe remember the struggle with fascism and acknowledge the contribution of the Red Army to that victory. There was a report on state Russian TV recently, showing civil activists in Czechia who maintain the cemetery of Soviet soldiers and officers, killed in the Prague offensive in May 1945, it was so touching.

Just wanted to note: Transnistria is by no means ethnic Russian state, as you wrote. Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldovan (Romanian) are the three state languages of equal validity, and the population of Transnistria is comprised by the three corresponding ethnicities almost 'on par', that is 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3. I'd say, that Transnistria is the last remaining 'historical enclave' of the Soviet people. That is to say, the ethnic background is taken into account there, and its existence is acknowledged, however, the ethnicities are all equal and together they comprise a bigger unity (the former 'Soviet people'). All other historical territory of the USSR is now subject to ethnic nationalism of varying degree, ranging from milder scepticism that Russians in central Russia have towards ethnic groups of Northern Caucusus, to total ethnic cleansing that Armenia and Azerbaijan have gone through.

60. What are these right assumptions?

You can read the books of the psychic researchers like Curt John Ducasse, Alan Gould, Hornett Hart, etc. If an apparition with the aspect of a deceased interacts with the witness and transmits information only knew the deceased, we can infer that the apparition is conscious and her / him consciousness is of deceased. If a human falls into a trance and claims to be a deceased, providing information that only the deceased knew and providing information on how is the afterlife that is consistent with what others have said, then we can infer that that person is taken by the independent consciousness of a deceased. No doubt the psychic investigations did not stop because it is not possible to objectively determine the presence of consciousness.

61. Spasibo, and congrats to you, too. I personally believe that the USSR was dealing with the diverse ethnicities and their relationships pretty fairly and sustainably. There are lots of things that people sometimes want to unjustifiably trash - and these aspects of the Soviet organization as well as most good aspects of the previous Russian Empire belong to this list.

BTW how well could you read this simple, straightforward new transliteration of Cyrillics into the Czech alphabet? ;-) This "ě" is something I am particularly proud about LOL, and I think that the rules might be done so that the transliteration is fully reversible.

Моskva uvažaět vybоr Dоněcka i Luganska

12.05.2014 |

Istоčnik: Pravda.Ru Rоssija s uvažěniěm оtnоsjatsja k vоlěizhjavlěniju žitělěj Dоněckоj i Luganskоj оblastěj Ukrainy, sооbščili v prěss-službě Krěmlja. Моskva vyrazila naděždu na dialоg měždu prědstavitěljami Kiěva, Dоněcka i Luganska. В Krěmlě takžě оtmětili vysоkuju javku nasělěnija na rěfěrěndumach, něsmоtrja na pоpytki sоrvať gоlоsоvaniě. Krоmě tоgо, v prěss-službě оtmětili, čtо Rоssija оsuždaět iměvšěě městо priměněniě sily, vključaja ispоľzоvaniě ťažělych vооružěnij prоtiv mirnych graždan, privědšěě k čělоvěčěskim žěrtvam na Ukraině. Čitajtě takžě: Žitěli Dоnbassa prоgоlоsоvali za nězavisimоsť А čtо vy dumaětě о pоslědnich nоvоsťach, sоbytijach i situacii na Ukraině? Naskоľkо vysоka věrоjatnоsť načala graždanskоj vоjny na Ukraině? Ktо vinоvat v sоzdanii pоdоbnоj situacii?

Buďtě na svjazi s "Pravdоj.Ru" v sоciaľnych sěťach: vо "VKоntaktě", "Odnоklassnikach", Facebook, Twitter, "Моj mir", Instagram.

62. This transliteration is perfectly readable to me, and I think Czech alphabet is perhaps the most suitable for writing Russian using Latin characters. This is because of similar phonetics, and also because Czech avoids these ugly clusters of consonant letters that Polish uses where you use haček.

By the way, traditionally these days when Russians have to write in 'translit', that is using English alphabet that is on mobile phones, PC keyboards, etc., the result is looking more like Polish text, as people don't have a haček on the keyboard.

And sorry, but I didn't get the point of using 'ě' for the Russian 'e'. I imagine that simple 'e' might have been reserved to represent the Russian 'э' (which didn't appear in the sample text), but given the abundance of 'e' and the rarity of 'э' in Russian text, I'd rather use the simple convention that e = e, not ě.

63. Hah:)

I think that your double standards are shocking. The green men could be anyone but people living in the world of reality, not in the world of delusions, know who are they and know that there are some people from GRU among them. Maybe you really believe that those people have bought their rifles and rest of the military equipement in crimean shops, but it's not my problem - it's yours.

It's you who use double standards. You cannot stand Nazis because they ordered to kill all Jews (and it's quite normal to hate them), but for some reason you are able to keep yourself close to Soviets who also tried destroy some nations including mine during Polish Operation or Ukrainian during Holodomor. You dont know or you hypocritically dont want to know about polish soldiers and members of polish intelectuals killed in Katyn and during the so called "liberations". You dont want to remember about all those rapes commited by members of Red Army on polish women. For you, all of this is enough OK, to give congratulations to those people. You call my nation savage but you thing that all those acts of Red Army were civilized??

Those are double standards, mr Motl.

You dont criticize Russia for removing statues from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine while they are threatening other countries like Poland or baltic states to keep monuments of those bandits. For some reason you are infatuated in a nation which loves having statues of tovarishch Lenin all auround. Isnt it strange for a right-winger?

"Moreover, you won't be able to "force" Mr Putin to do anything"

It's not me who started this silly thing about forcing heads of states to do some things.

Anyway,I dont need to force him to anything. One well known polish artist has already done this and as for now mr Vladimir keeps submitting to his orders quite dutifuly:

64. I remember one report of a patient under anesthetic floating outside and seeing objects over the window that were not visible and were improbable to be there.

If the object was a sneaker (tennis shoe), I seem to recall a debunking or attempted debunking.

I don't mean to be a wet blanket. I'm religious, and I'm sympathetic to claims of the paranormal. For one thing, my mother had some remarkable, seemingly inexplicable experience. But I'm also far more skeptical than just about everyone I've known of the same tendencies.

That said - hmm, how can I begin to say what I'm on about here? There's something wrong with my brain, such that I've had many weird symptoms, and one of these is OBEs. Only once in my life have I gained knowledge of the real world from the OBE world: I exactly located a lost screw. This was amazing, but of course it is possible that I somehow knew the location and didn't know that I knew it.

I could tell you some amazing other-than-OBE stuff, but I don't want to clutter up the blog too much.

I'm always shocked by the lack of skepticism in people, as I said, of the same general tendencies.

65. Hello Dear.. There are lots of things that people sometimes want to unjustifiably trash - and these aspects of the Soviet organization as well as most good aspects of the previous Russian Empire belong to this list. Thank for The post.

Yup, "e" was reserved for "э'"

67. One off experiences can be debunked, assigned to coincidences, etc. That is why we have developed the experimental method, and all these stories are experiential at the moment.

The psychic experiments with cards etc cannot be definitive because most of telepathy or foreseeing happens under emotional circumstances that cannot be easily designed into an experiment.

I keep an open mind in the sense that each individual life is a personal experience after all.

I try to think of physical mechanisms that would explain the phenomena .

After all what would be metaphysical two hundred years ago is the physics of today.

68. The question of what are the right assumptions is a philosophical one of course and I think it is rather too large a subject for me to go into without writing a book. In general I would say that the right assumptions are those which do not implicitly deny the existence of the spiritual phenomena that we are wanting to detect as the conventional “materialistic” definition of life that I paraphrased above obviously does.

It seems to me that the scientific investigation of apparitions of deceased people is currently fraught with conventional assumptions about how our minds and senses work that are potentially very misleading. Again, there are philosophical questions at issue here. For example, we conventionally assume that when someone perceives an object via their physical senses they are experiencing the object itself. But we find, upon analysing the situation carefully, that this is not the case and that what the person is experiencing as the object has been constructed by their own unconscious mind and then presented to them in their consciousness. So the source of all our observations is not the external world, which we can never perceive directly anyway, but our own minds.

This condition might usually be of little consequence when we are moving about and relating to material-seeming objects in our daily lives, but it does have profound consequences when we try to investigate spiritual apparitions scientifically. Our practical problem then is that we cannot separate the apparition from the mind of the person observing it and it could just be an apparition of one of their own sub-personalities instead of a deceased person for all that anyone can really tell. Indeed, we can say that it has to be an apparition of one of their own sub-personalities anyway regardless of whether or not it is also an apparition of a discarnate spirit as well. It seems that the medium really is the message.

69. Well, we all have our own ways of wasting time.

70. Look, I agree that we do not perceive reality in itself, but the perception is a contruct based on an external input, but your interpretation of the apparitions is not credible. About the most cases of apparitions, we have no reason to believe that these apparitions are mere constructs of the witness, especially when the apparition provides an unknown information for the witness: the perception of an apparition is a construct of the mind of the witness, but is not purely a construct because there reasons to believe in an external input to the witness.

71. Well, if Russia continues to bully its neighbours, alluding about war, it's no wonder that so much people hate it. It's current diplomacy works with the subtlety of a bear. We have no other foreign partner who threaten us on a daily basis.

I'll give you another example. Sergey Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian Duma, has been planning a visit to my country. He knows very well, that he's in the EU black list, and as a member of the union we can't allow him the visit even if we want (and we certainly want, because our current government - that of the socialistic party - is completely pro-russian and it does whatever its masters command). But does this fact stops the guy from trying? No. He is at his home door, he is knocking and he's not allowed in. How we dare. After he returns home he says that "it was a mistake which MUST be corrected". The tone is undoubtfully imperative.

You see, I don't like when someone thinks that my country belongs to him. So I understand what the Romanian officials have done. They simply showed that no matter if you are riding a flying nuclear head, there are rules which does not comply with the biggest muscles around. And if you behave like a dick, than you're not welcome. Today, we are not vassals of the East. And all efforts of Russia to present itself as a force to be reckoned with, like war parades and big words are petty and laughable.

72. Do you really know what is going on there, Cynthia? I think there is no credible evidence of significant American involvement inside that country. I hope that it is not but it may well be happening. And, of course, any such operatives are at dire risk.

And please relax a little, Cynthia. I am fully aware of the sins of the CIA and the blunders my country has secretly made. You may well be carrying more illusions than I.

73. Hey Motl, I'll tell you one other thing Romanians can do, besides harassing Rogozin: taking Czechoslovakian refugees in their homes, like my parents did in 1968 when USSR wanted Dubcek's scalp.

74. My interpretation is “not credible” to who? It has been a serious objection proposed by sceptics since at least the birth of spiritualism in the late 19th century. It has never been publicly refuted either to my knowledge.

75. The exact number is 407.53.

76. Aleksandar MikovicMay 13, 2014, 9:11:00 AM

I have a simple logico-philosophical argument why death is not final: Deciding this question is equivalent to choosing a metaphysics, and the "no" camp is clearly choosing the materialistic metaphysics. I will argue that a platonic metaphysics is more rational, and since a platonic metaphysics allows existence of ideas outside of spacetime, than a human soul will continue to exist as an idea after the death of the body.

Why a materialistic metaphysics is irrational: assuming that only objects that exist are space, time and elementary particles, one has to allow the existence of laws of motion, since otherwise everything would happen by chance - which is highly improbable and contrary to our experience. If we have laws, these objects are different from space, time and matter and we are introducing a platonic realm. By Goedel theorems we know that the list of laws cannot be finite, and hence we need a full platonic space of ideas.

77. Your interpretation is not plausible because there are cases of apparitions that provide information unknown to the witness, apparitipns are seen by several witnesses at the same time, etc.

And the psychic investigations are clearly not a "non-starter" although we can not objectively measure the consciousness.

78. I consider that we must first examine the empirical evidence and then make a metaphysics and not vice versa. It is impossible to know if there is afterlife not based on the observable. The laws of motion can only be implemented in the matter, so that not imply a Platonic realm, besides that Platonic metaphysics does not imply the existence of an afterlife because is not the same a idea that a living spirit.

79. Motl, you are fortunate enough to have lived in Czechoslovakia during the communist era (or maybe your parents, in case you are not of age), therefore you have no idea what us, Romanians, can or cannot do.

Let me tell you that the communist regime, imposed by the soviets,was a piece of cake, had you lived in your country, or Hungary for that matter. Poland is somewhat a different story, but still, they did not have to suffer as we did because of the plague called communism that the Russians brought upon us.
Having said that, maybe you realize now where I am heading: we will never love the Russians. We could be friends - if they wanted our friendship and not to control us - but we will never be able to love them because of all the suffering they have caused us. And don't get me started with the 17th, 18th and 19th century.
Because of all these, we do not stand next to EU and USA because of some great pleasure we get from ass licking - as you so expressively put it - but because of pure conviction. US and EU - as faulty as they are - will always be better for us than the option provided by the "friendly" eastern neighbor.

And, as history comes, Romania - although we had our despicable leader and regime - was the only one to condemn the friendly visit the soviets made to your country in 1968. But I think you have no problem whatsoever with that event in your country's history.

Well, I do have a problem with similar events happening to Romania. Before WWII we were a monarchy, we had a democracy, we had the liberty to lead our lives. Then the bad times came and the communists took over and followed the directives from Moscow to the letter. Millions have died just because they thought differently than the ones in power.

If you ask me, I do not want war with anyone. Most of the Romanians will tell you the same. If you go from Calais to Kamchatka (to cover pretty much the extreme points) and from far North to the most South point in Eurasia, you will, for sure, find just a minority of people willing to go to war and a majority of people that want to live a good life, peaceful, to raise their children and see to their families.

All these desires are ignored by the will of some, some who do not consider their neighbors' rights to chose for themselves.

80. Aleksandar MikovicMay 13, 2014, 7:12:00 PM

Dear Juan,
The empirical evidence can be interpreted only if some metaphysics is assumed. Beside the laws of motion there is mathematics, and laws of motion are mathematical. Mathematical ideas exist independently of the material world. The living spirit is not the same as an abstract soul; however, it is a soul immersed in time.

81. Reading psychic literature is not wasting time, but you think what you want.

82. That formulation just about nails it: The Soviets had 20+ million people killed in WWII.

83. How dangerous is Putin? Are we thinking long or short term here?

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/09/30/garry-kasparov-putin-most-dangerous-man-in-world/

84. The article doesn't contain a glimpse of a rational idea or an argument. If one is expected to assume that a chess player must have better conclusions about politics than a mediocre impressionable moron, then I beg to differ.

85. You develop such a amazing sequence of justifications, however i am thinking whether you know a term "falsifications" relevant to any type of elections? Do you still keep in mind what occurred on Nov 30, 2013 at Maidan? Or what was occurring there during January?

Spybubble