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Siegfried Othmer is a physicist who over the last 33 years has been engaged with neurofeedback as a technique for the rehabilitation and enhancement of brain function. He is Chief Scientist at the EEG Institute in Los Angeles. Coming to understand the brain as a complex, self-organizing system also gives one insight into the core workings of our economy and society as a complex, self-organizing system. Of particular interest are the failure modes in both cases. Complex self-organizing systems tend to live near the edge of instability. The brain manages to contain instabilities in the general case. In our economy, however, constraints can be overridden, leading to substantial risk of instability at the macro level.  In a complex technological society, the risk factors have progressively shorter time constants, whereas the compensating stabilizing factors have increasingly longer time constants. The consequence is an increase in societal risk of major instability over time. Promoting societal resilience must therefore become a policy objective in its own right. This has become my overriding concern in my involvement with OpEdNews. 

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       Tuesday, April 24, 2018
On Range Anxiety This article discusses the merits of providing a guaranteed minimum income as a way of restoring balance to our economy, rescuing lives that are presently headed toward progressive distress and dysfunction, and restoring some vitality to our democratic aspirations through the assumption of shared obligations.

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(1 comments)
       Wednesday, April 18, 2018
"Crooked Donald! Lock him up!" There are many reasons to question the legitimacy of the election of Donald Trump. Nevertheless, there appears to be a reluctance on the part of the Democratic Party to represent that position, even though surely that conviction is widely held within the party. This article discusses the issue in its particulars.

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(4 comments)
       Wednesday, April 18, 2018
"Crooked Donald! Lock him up!" There are many reasons to question the legitimacy of the election of Donald Trump. Nevertheless, there appears to be a reluctance on the part of the Democratic Party to represent that position, even though surely that conviction is widely held within the party. This article discusses the issue in its particulars.
From ImagesAttr

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(12 comments)
       Saturday, April 14, 2018
Russian monument in memory of 9/11 This is a good time to reflect on the beautiful monument that was built on the shores of New Jersey in commemoration of the events of 9/11. One large teardrop, appearing to form slowly, occupying a hideous crack where none should be in a human edifice.

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       Thursday, April 5, 2018
On Suffering One of the concerns of Medicine is the relief of suffering. The opiate crisis is evidence that we are not doing very well. That should not have come as a surprise.
From WikimediaPhotos

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(27 comments)
       Sunday, January 14, 2018
Re fitness to serve, we have things backwards Presently we appear to be in a situation in which the unsuitability of the President to serve is fully evident to his own staff, and yet the staff is engaged in a project to preserve the Presidency of Donald Trump--almost irrespective of what that might entail in terms of the fortunes of the country.
From GoogleImages

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(9 comments)
       Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Stranger in the South We need to dispose of the notion that the Civil War was a good war. Rather, it foisted a pathology upon our land that is still reverberating. The spasm of lynchings in the South was a reaction to Reconstruction. It was the vengeance of the disempowered, the losers in war and in the subsequent imposed peace, unleashed upon the defenseless. This scourge restored the most reactionary elements to power in the South.
From YouTubeVideos

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       Tuesday, December 5, 2017
On John Anderson -- A Brief Essay As Los Angeles was once again being buffeted by high winds, with early morning sunlight giving an overcast sky of smoke and haze an eerie, ominous gray-orange glow, I found myself thinking back upon John Anderson and the path not taken back in 1980. Later that morning, I peeled back the pages of the newspaper and found John Anderson's obituary.
From FlickrPhotos

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(5 comments)
       Saturday, July 23, 2016
The Nuclear Arsenal and Global Warming our trillion dollar program to refurbish our nuclear weapons arsenalis going forward with very little controversy, debate, or even broad awareness. We know, however, that everyone involved in the decision chain remains persuaded that these strategic weapons are intended as a deterrent. The moment these weapons are actually unleashed, all predictions are off on what might happen once the smoke of battle clears.

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(6 comments)
       Sunday, January 10, 2016
The Populist Path Out of Partisan Stasis-- Light At the End of the Tunnel The Republican Party, in attempting to delegitimize the democratic party and its President has delegitimized itself. There's a populist solution that could help disgusted, disenfranchised voters on both sides, and his name is Bernie Sanders.
From FlickrPhotos

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(25 comments)
       Monday, January 4, 2016
Climate Change: Doubt is not Enough Global warming deniers have used the strategy of raising doubt about the facts, following the very successful reliance on such strategy by the tobacco companies. Those who saw the danger have engaged the critics in an ongoing contest of competing claims. This has it entirely backwards. It is not what is known that should frighten us. Rather, it is what is not known.
From FlickrPhotos

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(10 comments)
       Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The Predator-Prey Society we have bifurcated into three species--predator, prey, and parasite... How does this wretched system sustain itself? The powers that be are doing a good job persuading the hoi polloi that the threat to their well being comes from the bottom rather than the top--from the immigrants; from the needy; from the undeserving underclass
From FlickrPhotos

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(3 comments)
       Monday, November 30, 2015
Caging the Nuclear Genie Any large-scale attack on Iran by Israeli forces would likely come at the price of the destruction of Israeli society as we know it. A significant risk is that the major cities will be made uninhabitable, and that would be the end of the society that Israelis have constructed.
From ImagesAttr

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       Sunday, December 14, 2014
Our Moral Burden After the Torture Revelations Coming to the US in 1951 as an 11 year old from Germany, I was seen as an emissary from the nation that was seen as categorically evil. I thoroughly absorbed and accepted the judgment of collective guilt that my new country had imposed. And now that same principle demands that I must also accept responsibility for the torture that was committed in our name.
From ImagesAttr

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(4 comments)
       Saturday, January 4, 2014
We Have Black Swans A lack of future-orientation seems to characterize our society and our politics these days. This is happening even while our ability to shape future events is increasing substantially. Even the close call at Chelyabinsk last year did not have major policy repercussions. By contrast, Native Americans had an ethic of preserving the integrity of the environment unto the seventh generation, even while they had only limited means

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(1 comments)
       Saturday, September 18, 2010
A Lesson in Potholes Our near-term economic performance depends on our attention to infrastructure concerns and to our societal needs. This is primarily a government burden, which requires more taxation.

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(3 comments)
       Friday, September 10, 2010
Ruminations on the San Bruno Fire Fire hazard after earthquakes is one of a number of societal concerns that could lead to economic recovery via a focus on infrastructure improvements.

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       Monday, September 6, 2010
The State of Labor The check-mating of Democratic initiatives in Congress increasingly means that progressive causes must be served by private initiative to the greatest degree possible. The cause of labor is the most obvious case in point.

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       Sunday, April 4, 2010
Worrying a Fragile Social Cohesion Religious belief may be the key animating impulse behind a fragmenting social cohesion in the US. If so, a frustrated progressivism must choose its causes wisely.

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(5 comments)
       Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Art of the Possible in Universal Health Insurance A non-compulsory approach to achieving near universal health care coverage with a robust public option

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