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#411 10-16-16: War.
by Mark Lawrence

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There is still no settlement for Deutsche. It's becoming clear that there is some tit-for-tat going on here: The EU recently rather arbitrarily and perhaps illegally fined Apple $14 billion for avoiding taxes; now we're fining Deutsche $14 billion for the housing crisis. Not a coincidence, as I see it. I think the negotiation on this fine will be somewhat more complicated than Deutsche simply asking for better terms. In other news markets briefly dropped on Thursday below a key support level, but closed above the level on the day and went up a bit from there on Friday. PPT at work (the conspiracy fave 'Plunge Protection Team'). This market wants to go down.

S&P 500 April 20 2016 to October 14 2016

The European banking crisis continues to stew. Deutsche is back to their slow-motion crash; the Italian banks are just keeping their noses above water. There's a referendum in Italy in late December on constitutional changes. If it fails, as seems likely right now, problems will follow quickly. Super Mario wants to start a several billion dollar fund to bail out banks having problems with derivatives; the derivative problems, however, are likely to be in the trillions of dollars.

I don't know who's winning the election. I think the polls are wrong: just like brexit, I think there are a lot of people misrepresenting their votes. I expect several more surprises in the next three weeks; also this time both candidates are well versed in social media, so I expect some really quite astounding rumors / statements / accusations to be floated around in the last 24 hours. I expect the election to be close. I expect a market reaction to the election. Trump has indicated he's dissatisfied with Yellen; that will spook the markets. I think it' obvious the Fed will raise rates in December. This is going to be very hard on the world economy. I expect both a world wide and a US recession within the next 30 months, likely sooner. Last time China had money to help the world dig their way out; this time China is in worse debt shape than we are.

This presidential election is taking a nasty turn. Trump rallies in several states have been routinely disrupted by violent attacks from democrats. Obama, the alleged "constitutional scholar" says, "We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to. There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world." Dead people and illegals have been found to be routinely voting in several states. And now today republican headquarters in Orange County, NC is spray painted with "Nazi Republicans get out of town or else" then firebombed. Check your history books. Violent attacks on other parties, limits on free speech, illegal voting: these are the stuff of Nazism. No matter who wins, at this point democracy in the US is severely damaged.

A quick look at the rings of a Sequoia, those trees that live several thousand years, will quickly tell you two things: (1) long term droughts are common in California's history, and (2) last century we had a hundred years of extremely unusually pleasant and consistent weather. NASA says now we're reverting to the mean - a long term drought is here with 99% probability. Of course they're a government funded entity, so just as a 50s Russian scientist had to pay lip service to Lysenkoism, they have to pay lip service to Climate Change. Doesn't matter. The bottom line is, it's unlikely that California can continue to grow a third of the US food production or provide a nice home to 40 million people, unless most of the people are willing to live to Tijuana standards: never bathe and have your kids attempt to sell Chiclets and windshield washings to passing motorists.

While we're all obsessing over a felon and a 4 year old, the world is moving in a very dangerous direction. Unsurprisingly, our press has almost nothing to say about this.

Russia is holding a all-Russian civil defense drill nuclear disaster drill this month for 40 million Russians. The drill will rehearse radiation, chemical and biological protection of the personnel and population during emergencies at crucial and potentially dangerous facilities.

In an interview today with RIA Novosti, President Gorbachev said, "I think the world has reached a dangerous point. I don't want to give any concrete prescriptions but I do want to say that this needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue."

Earlier this week US State Department spokesman John Kirby has made strong statements regarding Russia’s involvement in Syria, claiming that if Russia will not cooperate with the US, Moscow will keep sending troops home in body bags.

The next day General Mark Milley, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, said, “I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm…. the United States military – despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing – we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that. [The next war will] be highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II,” and would involve fighting in “highly populated urban areas.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Oct. 8 that the situation between the U.S. and Russia today is more dangerous than it was during the Cold War. “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous.”

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a deputy in the state Duma and leader of the nationalist LDPR party, urged Americans to vote for Donald Trump as president or "risk being dragged into a nuclear war." In an interview with Reuters, Zhirinovsky said "Relations between Russia and the United States can't get any worse. The only way they can get worse is if a war starts. Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary it's war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere."

Yesterday Russian state officials and government workers were told to bring back their children studying abroad immediately, even if means cutting their education short and not waiting until the end of the school year. Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky said, "This is all part of a package of measures to prepare the elites for some 'big war.'"

Also yesterday Russian Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinsky told the BBC that Russia sees the West as the belligerent party, citing sanctions against Russia as well as barring the Russian Paralympic team from the Rio Olympics. "Of course there is a reaction. As far as Russia sees it, as Putin sees it, it is full-scale confrontation on all fronts. If you want a confrontation, you'll get one. But it won't be a confrontation that doesn't harm the interests of the United States. You want a confrontation, you'll get one everywhere."

The analysts I follow think we're closer to war with Russian than we've been since Nixon threatened to nuke them if they invaded China. Feel safe? You know, 'cause, like, our prez has a nobel peace prize? Perhaps you shouldn't.

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Why Evolution is not Enough

by Mark Lawrence

The Probability of Proteins

In this week's article I'm going to be throwing around a bunch of numbers. You don't need to worry about the numbers. Feel free to ignore them. Or check them, I don't care. The statistics of life are so impossibly improbable that you have a considerably better chance of winning the lottery every day for a week than the chance that even a single short simple protein evolved from random chance anywhere in the universe ever.

We're going to be talking about some really big numbers, so we're going to use scientific notation. 25 means 2*2*2*2*2, five twos multiplied together. 10 15 = 10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10, fifteen tens multiplied together, a one followed by 15 zeros, 1,000,000,000,000,000. 10585 is 585 tens multiplied together, a one followed by 585 zeros.

You're perhaps heard that if enough monkeys type at random, they'll eventually type out all the books in the British library. Mathematically that's true, but what does it mean in real life? Let's see if a monkey can type out just the title of one Shakespeare play, "the twelfth night." That's just 17 characters; rather less than the 3 million characters in the Bible or the total number of characters in the 150 million books in the British Library. We'll ignore capitals; we'll give the monkey a typewriter with 32 keys: a-z, space and .,?!'. So the monkey has a 1 in 32 chance of hitting the first character, "t". 32 is 25. There are 17 characters total in Shakespeare's title, so the number of possible 17 character things our monkey can type is 25*17 = 285. This is about 4*1025. The universe is about 14 billion years old and there are about 3*107 seconds in a year, so the universe is about 4.5*1017 seconds old. That means if our monkey hits one key per second and has been doing this non stop since the big bang he has 1 chance in about 100 million of typing out "the twelfth night." 17 characters, 14 billion years, 1 chance in 100 million. And, by the way, while failing rather badly to type out our simple play title our monkey ate about 20 trillion bananas. This is not happening. And the monkeys who are going to randomly type all the books in the British library? I think you can now see that's going to take an unimaginably huge number of monkeys typing for a seemingly eternal amount of time.

We're told the Earth had a "primordial soup" that was capable of producing amino acids when hit with lightning. Ok, sure, maybe, but can this soup produce a protein? The average protein is about 450 amino acids long. There are 20 amino acids used by life on Earth, but there are thousands of possible amino acids that could be made when lightning hits our soup. Earth life has somehow selected only 20 of these and ignores the rest. These particular favored 20 are defined by the genetic code. In a primordial soup that's making amino acids at random you would get thousands of different amino acids, not just the preferred 20. But, no problem, we'll assume the primordial soup somehow magically only makes the key 20. This is, mathematically, a huge assumption and it's giving a huge mathematical boost to the evolutionists, but no problem, we'll just let that slide.

We'll assume the Earth's oceans have always been as big as they are now. This is almost certainly wrong: comets and asteroids hitting the Earth deliver more water every day, so four billion years ago there was far less water on the Earth than there is today. But no problem, we'll give the evolutionists the modern water content of Earth.

Bacteria cells are about a micron across. We'll assume the primordial soup was as chock full of amino acids as a bacteria. Of course this is complete nonsense, amino acids would have been far less dense in an ocean than in a bacteria, but again we'll give the evolutionists the benefit.

Proteins are formed by attaching a bunch of amino acids to each other in a chain. In a cell there are enzymes that make this happen; without the enzymes the reaction is thousands of times less probable. We'll ignore this problem and let the evolutionists have the high speed reactions. Also when you attach two amino acids to each other you do it by removing an "H" from one and an "OH" from the other, resulting in two attached amino acids and a free water molecule. If you put this new molecule into water it doesn't last long: there are a lot of H2O molecules bumping into the aminos trying to break them apart, and the amino acids are very happy to get a divorce and share custody of an H2O. We're going to ignore this problem too.

There are about 1021 liters of water on the Earth. This is about 1042 cubic microns - if the Earth's oceans were solid bacteria there would be about 1042 of them. Life is said to have evolved on Earth in about 30 million years, which is about 1015 seconds. We'll assume that the amino acids react at the same speed that they do in bacteria, which is in about a thousandth of a second, a millisecond. Now we have 1042 cubic microns times 1018 milliseconds, which equals 1060 interactions. A typical protein of 450 amino acids would require the number of different amino acids, 20, raised to the 450 power, 20450 which is 10585. So if we give the evolutionists a perfect primordial soup that's as big as all the water on the Earth, as densely packed with amino acids as a bacteria, the only amino acids present are the 20 good ones, and when amino acids combine they stay combined, our chance of producing a single typical protein in 30 million years is one chance in 10525. How big is this number? Here's one comparison: it's estimated there are about 1083 atoms in our universe. Here's another: there are about a trillion galaxies in our universe; if each galaxy has a hundred billion Earth type planets and every one of these planets has this same impossibly perfect primordial soup and all the soup had been working non stop for the entire life of the universe, that's about 1023 planets working for about 103 times as long as 30 million years. We still have one chance in 10499 of making a single average protein by chance. 10525 is an unimaginably large number.

You could complain that we just tried to produce an "average" protein; perhaps the first protein was a simpler protein. In bacteria the simplest proteins are about 100 amino acids long. 20 raised to the 100 power is about 10130, which means in our impossibly unlikely primordial Earth ocean soup/lab our chances of making one of these simple short proteins is one in 1070. Suppose again we used all trillion galaxies, a hundred billion Earth type planets per galaxy and every one of these planets has this same impossibly perfect primordial soup and all the soup had been working non stop for the entire life of the universe. We still have only one chance in 1044 of making a single short, simple protein by chance.

Your chance of winning the lottery is about 1 in 100 million. Your chance of winning the lottery five times is one in 1040, which is 10,000 times more likely than the entire universe making a single small short protein by chance. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest you've never won even a single lottery, much less 5 of them in a row.

Not one single protein happened on the Earth by chance. Not one single protein happened in the entire universe by chance. A single bacteria has more than 2 million carefully constructed and selected proteins, and the universe is unable to make even a single protein by chance. Louis Pasteur conducted a famous experiment on the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter, and he assured us in 1859 that "Life comes only from life." Curiously this was the exact same year that Darwin published "On the Origin of the Species." Pasteur was right in 1859 and he's right today. Life comes only from life, not from lightning and soup.

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