The ACAN Problem – When the Shit Hits the Fan

How do we approach a problem which is inelastic to experts and siloed expertise? The problem which requires a multi-disciplinary approach in order to even identify as a problem in the first place.
Moreover, the ACAN problem demands a change in the ways in which we speak and think, what we fear, what we value, and finally the praxis of skepticism we employ.

Years ago, my team was brought in to a consumer goods company to develop its operating strategy. The challenge which lay before this number three ranked player in its business sub-vertical resided in its struggle to grow, and compete with the strong sourcing of that sub-vertical’s top operators. The top two consumer goods businesses in my client’s segment had dominated their class for two decades, through strong Walmart-styled product sourcing clout, x-factory production blocking, consolidation prowess, pervasive and exclusionary agency relationships, and a disciplined and highly efficient freight, processing, and delivery infrastructure. These players had achieved ‘best in practice’ status, and furthermore had leveraged this clout to drive lowest first cost and industry dominance by means of exclusivity with their oveseas suppliers. Such was a familiar business landscape, one which capitalized upon Chinese hegemony and played out inside American business at that time. A set of mistakes and bad crony judgment for which we are paying the piper even now. Most of the cronies who drove this strategy are now retired at their villas or deceased, leaving us to solve their messy legacy.

Cronies crave cash and revenue does not make right. Instead, flows of margin and value are king. This is why value chain analysis is a critical component of sound national, market, and business strategy.

On September 22, 480 BCE, a naval engagement occurred in the Saronic Gulf, called the Battle of Salamis. This event was part of a broader ongoing conflict between an alliance of Greek city-states under politician and general Themistocles and the Achaemenid Empire (Persia) under King Xerxes. In this naval battle, the Persian fleet greatly outnumbered the Greek fleet, and as well was equipped with superior ships. Their ‘best in class’ armada bore both the numerics and efficacy sufficient to dispatch a blue water ocean-going opponent in short order. What Themistocles elected to do, was decline to engage the Persians inside their arena of strength, fighting on the high seas. Instead, he boldly told Xerxes exactly where his fleet resided and invited him to come fight there.1

In order to compress this tale of antiquity into its moral; in short, Themistocles enticed Xerxes through a bit of sleight-of-hand disinformation (mostly true but critically false ambiguity) to fight him inside a strait between the Greek mainland and the island of Salamis. The Persians were less skilled at the columnar-and-abreast tactics of naval engagement inside a strait (complexity), and moreover faced the reality that in this circumstance, because of the constrained engagement zone, only an equal number of ships could indeed be in actual combat at any given time. This meant that Xerxes could not take advantage of his greater numbers (novelty). Indeed, a matching of island warfare specialty ships and crews versus blue ocean warfare specialty ships and crews (asymmetry).

Xerxes in his overconfidence, had failed to spot the asymmetry, complexity, ambiguity, and novelty – the ACAN – of the battle which was about to ensue.

As a result, the Persian fleet lost several command vessels early in the conflict and became confused. In the disarray, they ended up having to retreat from their first sortie. However, anticipating this first retreat, Themistocles had an Aeginetan task group on standby (asymmetry, complexity, ambiguity and novelty all embodied inside one single strategic element), which subsequently ambushed Xerxes’ fleet and routed the armada during its exit from the straits.2

Much as in the way that the Biblical David, refused to fight with sword and shield against a tougher sword-and-shielded opponent in Goliath, instead exploiting his nearsightedness, overconfidence, and lack of mobility against him, the Greeks attained victory simply through the action of changing the playing field on the erstwhile ‘industry leader’.

In this same way, my client elected to change the playing field of their industry sub-vertical. Instead of going head-to-head against the top two companies inside their arena of strength, one of serving the customer as first priority, they elected instead to position their infrastructure to be able to respond more adeptly to the vendor industry. In this manner, they were able to respond to emergent vendor buys in much quicker fashion; physically taking possession of problem, distressed, and overstocked inventory and shipments within 24 hours.

I believe there is an innate wisdom as well, a potency within the simple ethic of refusing to do what everyone else is doing. If a naked emperor skulks somewhere inside the popular fray, you will be most sure to find it.

Vendors loved to avail themselves of this new capability and lowered inventories with abandon by means of this handy exit strategy opportunity. As the economy flagged during the endless George W Bush wars, and as the great preponderance of vendor inventory/production began to fall into these types of distressed dispositions, my client was able to cherry pick the best of this class of goods and obtain them at a fraction of the price the major competitors were paying – despite their volume buying leverage. Yes, it is true that American consumers are pampered by good service, but they love off-priced (not simply ‘discount’) merchandise even more. In our strategy, I called this method of market engagement a ‘source based value chain infrastructure’. Accordingly, my client rose from number three, to number one in its market segment, in part, because of this evolution.

Years later I would have clients in sales meetings cite this very business case back to me, framing for my team their desire to have their business employ its philosophy as means to becoming ‘best-in-class’. They would pedantically lecture me with my very own industry strategy, even citing the company (my client), fully unaware that my team had led the groundbreaking project. Then ironically question whether or not my team was capable of delivering strategy for such best practice. I would remain silent, smile, and nod accommodatingly.

Most strategists don’t even know what a value chain is, much less how to craft a strategy employing such principles. The only way to learn how to assemble, normalize, and make decisions from a value chain is to develop several species of them in the real world, and have surveyed their outcomes at a later date. Value chain principles can be topically addressed in a textbook, but cannot not fully instructed in an academic or pulp-mill publication context. It took me eight years to organically figure out what a value chain even was (through myriad successes and directly observing many business and market collapses/consolidations), and another ten years to explain its principles to the industry, major enterprise resource planning software developers, and the leading instructors at my alma mater. However, now you will find the phrase bandied about frequently by poseurs – as if a weapon. Much of skepticism and science functions in this same way. We are all humans after all, even if elite segments of professional domains fail to remember this reality.

Such elicits a key insight regarding arrogance among poseurs, and that of suit, lab-coat, and logo wearers in particular. They often imitate, but seldom innovate.

The simple reality is this, value chains are a methodology which affords the astute problem solver, the ability to see more clearly into the logical calculus of critical path, comprised inside the prosecution of what I call, the ACAN, or New World problem. And just as in the Penrose endless staircase depicted in the image at the beginning of this article, unless one introduces nodes and measures of value/risk into the decision calculus, the ACAN as well as most strategic problems, are often actually insolvent. As a result of our inability to see this, we as governing entities resort to levers of cash, revenues, derivatives, good-sounding rhetoric, and control – to our eventual demise and the suffering of those who are left out.

The ACAN Problem

The New World Problem or ACAN problem, is one which is ‘Asymmetric – Complex – Ambiguous – Novel’. These are top-shelf problems which are difficult to distinguish in the first place, much less negotiate and/or resolve. They require a different type of thinking – a mode of thought which is essential in identifying the ACAN problem. It is not simply that the ACAN problem requires a multi-disciplinary approach, and of course it does. But moreover, the ACAN problem demands that we change the ways in which we speak and think, what we fear (risk), how we measure and adjudicate value, and finally in order to break the entailed contrathetic impasse, the praxis of skepticism we employ.

Value and risk flow, just like product, cash, and margin. Always seek to become exposed to value flows and robust to flows of risk.

Your every decision and action as a business should be one which seeks to either capture value into your brand and/or displace risk to the market.

As a nation or market, never allow any entity’s margin to outrun their value nor marinate in excessive risk.

If one can systemically measure, model, and equitably leverage value and risk into a value chain – one can rule the world (but then of course that would not serve value nor risk).

The ability to distinguish which ACAN problems society faces in the first place, will be a top shelf skill in the New World. This has become most poignant in the post-Soviet/Nazi era, wherein the bad guys are not as easy to spot as they once were. Darth Vader does not exist in an embodied single person any longer. This is not your father’s bad guy. Now he comes dressed in the cloak of woke, with flowers and and army of people thinking they are doing good – all of whom have zero perception of what value and risk indeed are.

Accordingly, below (and as depicted in Exhibit 1 as well) are the features of a true ACAN problem. Specifically, an ACAN problem is one where the following supra-challenges imbue and enhance the normal challenges which we face with respect to run-of-the-mill problems, specifically in terms of a circumstance bearing the following features.

Asymmetry

  • Might serve to conceal shortages, sabotaged efforts, or flawed or incomplete processes
  • May increase exposure risk inside Force Majeure events
  • Can serve to hide the presence and impact of groupthink or bandwagoneering
  • May serve to delude governance into perceiving a false success
  • Introduces left-hand right-hand or compartmentalization ineffectiveness
  • Allows for one critical failure to sabotage a full set of successes

Complexity

  • Clouds the ability of professionals to observe measurement, precision, and tolerance abuses
  • Clouds the ability of operators to follow through, design or control process or quality
  • Clouds the perception of managers in identifying and resolving complicated-ness (more dangerous than complexity) in their processes
  • Tempts management to think in terms of single indices, linearity, normal curves, or averages
  • Enables confidence to cover for lack of capability
  • May allow politics to foster
  • Allows the incompetent to survive

Ambiguity

  • Lack of discipline in language allows goals/processes to be ill defined, and critical actors to talk past each other
  • Ignorance of sensitivity, feedback, or whipsaw conditions renders operators vulnerable to their own processes
  • The presence of neglect or Nelsonian knowledge becomes difficult to spot and eradicate
  • May introduce right-answer wrong-timing or invalid inference problems
  • Serves to conflate inductive and deductive inference
  • May obscure ability to evaluate soundness, logical calculus, or critical path
  • Allows failures to be concealed

Novelty

  • Tempts players to pretend like they know what is occurring
  • Neutralizes effectiveness of script or method educated professionals
  • Encourages reliance on buzz-phrases and apothegm
  • Serves to confuse or cause dissonance in the Peters in an organization
  • Allows an appeal to authority elite class to emerge
  • Allows a lack of success to come to be expected – or even be rewarded

Anti-fragility after all, is exhibited by the organization which can best identify, measure, and negotiate complexity, novelty, ambiguity, and asymmetry. By mapping flows of value and risk, one can more readily discern asymmetry, ambiguity, and complexity from the mundanity of mere product, margin, and information flow. One can more readily negotiate a novel circumstance, and run circles around the classic experts who inhabit the domain therein.

Notice how well amateurs and ‘conspiracy theorists’ performed on comprehension of critical issues relative to the best epidemiologists and public health officials during the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 was an ACAN problem, which we as a society failed to recognize. We were erstwhile Xerxes, conflating the numbers of ships we possessed, and the cockiness of our captains, with actual competence in combat.

Develop this skill, and one will be the person to call, when the shit hits the fan.

Exhibit 1 – the essence of anti-fragility resides in a team’s ability to spot the presence of complexity, ambiguity, novelty, and asymmetry (rightmost column) – and how they serve to compound more classic organizational or process struggles (left three columns).

The solution entailed with each New World or ACAN problem of course demands creativity, persistence, and insight. There is no one formula which results in a win. But you will find, that the individual or team who can craft a keen vision of the core ACAN problem in the first place, is the only entity which stands even a remote chance of actually solving it.

Everything else is vanity.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The ACAN Problem – When the Shit Hits the Fan”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 7 Aug 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/2022/08/07/the-acan-problem-when-the-shit-hits-the-fan/

King Solomon’s Lost Mine of Ophir

King Solomon in his wisdom, took Egypt’s legacy trading knowledge regarding Sub-Saharan Africa, passed to him through his Exodus royal ancestry, and leveraged that against the world-class military, trade, and ocean-going skills of the Phoenicians. Both nations became very wealthy as a result.
King Solomon’s Lost Mine, source of the legendary pure gold of Ophir, wore the most clever of disguises – it was hidden in plain sight all along.

At one point in my firm’s project history, I was afforded the chance to do some planning and analysis for various West African nations and several supporting corporations. The work focused on health, energy, resources, and trade – and took us to some of the most remote areas in a number of different nations in the region. During the course of this work, several clues began to arise with regard to a mystery I had once pondered and long since tabled in my mind, the location of King Solomon’s Lost Mine of Ophir.

The construct hit me one afternoon as I sat with the head of the ministry of natural resources for a specific client nation. My team had just completed days of exhaustive surveys regarding the rivers comprised by this West African nation’s primary river basin. But rather than go into the resulting hypothesis now, why don’t we take a moment to review the history behind this region, and the legend surrounding King Solomon’s exceptionally pure gold of Ophir. Most of this quasi-mythology is of course, related in the First Book of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, along with a few other works by Greek and Roman historians.1

King Solomon maintained ocean going trade ships which were accompanied by ships of Phoenician King Hiram I of Tyre. Once every three years this deployment would make its round trip, carrying back gold, silver and ivory, and apes and guinea peafowl (Hebrew: תֻּכִּיtukkiyyim or ‘took-kee’).

And this deployment of trading ships from King Hiram I, brought gold from Ophir, and brought in from Ophir a great quantity of almug trees (ebony or redwood – later described as used for making musical instruments and ornamentation) and precious stones.

~1 Kings 10/2 Chronicles 9 (complete context and in modern English)

I will make mortal man more rare than fine gold, and mankind [scarcer] than the pure gold of Ophir.

~ Isaiah 13:12

A Critical Path of Necessary Questions

Exhibit 1 – Phoenicia in the time of Hiram I and King Solomon. Notice that Phoenicia had no access to the Gulf of Aqaba, nor the port of Ezion-Geber.

As related through these passages in the Hebrew Bible, in a way, what Solomon had accomplished in exploiting the gold of Ophir, was to take Egypt’s legacy trading knowledge regarding Sub-Saharan Africa, passed to him through his Exodus royal ancestry, and leverage that with the world-class military, trade, and ocean-going skills of their brethren, the Phoenicians. Remember, both the Phoenicians and the Hebrews were fellow Arameans (Aramaic-speaking common people of Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel) – both cultures treasuring their shared heritage through modern partnerships between states and city-states.2

In addressing this mystery, seven objective and then eight follow-on subjective questions will frame the deductive critical path and concomitance around the question of the Lost Mine of Solomon. Each of those questions follows, inside two separate lists in this article. We begin with the first seven objective/differentiating questions:

  1. Who ventured originally to find the gold mine and when?
  2. How long did each round trip take?
  3. How did they travel?
  4. Who helped Solomon obtain the gold and why?
  5. How was the journey safeguarded?
  6. What came back along with the gold?
  7. What was the name ‘Ophir’, in reality?

Solly, I Think This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

The foundational trade routes (Exhibit 2 below) in the Mediterranean and beyond were developed (and settled) by the Phoenician Empire beginning in the 14th Century BCE. The Phoenicians established a chain of trading settlements throughout the Mediterranean, including colonies in Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, Cyprus, Marseilles, and North Africa. Like their own city states, these settlements were mainly self-governing.3

Exhibit 2 – The Phoenician Trading Empire (1350 to 574 BCE). Their established military might and trade routes strength resided solely in the Mediterranean Sea.
Exhibit 3 – Israel under King Solomon (970-931 BCE) At the time Israel had no port of Ezion-Geber on the Gulf of Aqaba.

King Solomon was a contemporary of King Hiram I, Phoenician King of Tyre, during the years 970–931 BCE. As we saw in the opening related passages from the First Book of Kings, the Hebrew Bible cites the unique relationship between King Solomon of the United Kingdom of Israel (Judah and Israel in Exhibit 3 to the right), and King Hiram I of Phoenicia. Phoenicia had long before the time of Solomon, established a preeminent strength in trade across the Mediterranean. Solomon would have valued collectively the Phoenician’s knowledge of seamanship, as well as their trade colonies and navy’s ability to protect a shipment of trade goods in transit.

It is doubtful that this footprint of strength extended from the Gulf of Aqaba and into the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, despite what the Hebrew Bible First Book of Kings says about the port of Ezion-Geber being the departure point for such a putative armada. As we will see later in this article, either the goods gathered, or the port of Ezion-Geber departure point, is incorrect. They cannot both be correct. Given the Mediterranean domain of strength of Hiram I and the Phoenicians, my money is on the Ezion-Geber legend artifact being an incorrect assumption on the part of non-knowledgeable scribes of history. Finally, in 2 Chronicles 2:8, it is noted that Phoenicia had an ample supply of ‘almug logs’ on its own merits over the centuries – thus this cannot have been a wood obtained from the east of Africa nor India, as the Phoenicians did not trade there with any regularity.

A key reason as to why Solomon petitioned Hiram I to join his expedition was to afford its valuable and vulnerable shipments protection by Hiram’s navy on the high seas. He did not hire the Phoenicians simply to obtain mere deck hand labor (as 1 Kings 9:27 implies).

If Solomon had been returning the cache of goods to Egypt, he would have merely used the well established overland Egyptian trading routes. However, since the caravans could not transit Egypt and the Sinai without challenge, the sea leg of the journey was critical to its success.

Such a large amount of gold and eclectic combination of goods were not obtained through a mere stop at a couple Asian or East African trading ports. Solomon did not hold the necessary deep expertise regarding India and China in order to successfully pull off this inland expedition. No, this was ancient Egyptian Pharaoh intellectual property (which had also served to make ancient Egypt rich and powerful).4 Intellectual property which had been passed to him from the time of Joseph in Egypt.

As we saw in addition, inside the First Book of Kings, each deployment of trading ships by the partner Kings was scheduled about every three years, as apparently it required a sizeable amount of that time to assemble the goods sought in the trade venture. This amount of time suggests a significant land-bridge portion of the journey, as it would not take 3 years for a simple over-the-ocean trade mission to India or even China for that matter. An overland journey being an essential component of the sourcing itself – this would require the time to layup and secure vessels at port, gather excursion resources, hire staff and guides, conduct an overland journey to gather the trade goods, and further then make both the return journey and voyage. All of this required an extensive knowledge of the journey, as well as experience in defending such a trade mission. Both the two kingdom partnership, as well as the three year turnaround, all make sense in light of such a burden.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to insist that Solomon’s sourcing partnership with Hiram, utilized both Solomon’s legacy knowledge from an Egyptian-African heritage, as well as Hiram’s trade ports and strength on the high seas. Given that it wasn’t until 500 BCE before Hanno sailed down the coast of West Africa, it is reasonable to assume such a circa 950 BCE journey happened in a Mediterranean Sea and land caravan context.5

Āfer is the Legendary ‘Ophir

It is very possible therefore, that the name ‘Ophir’, rather than meaning ‘snake’ or a son of the Biblical character Joktan,6 actually is a transliteration of the Berber word ‘āfer’ (name for a Berber citizen). Āfer (pronounced AwH-fər), further then became the Latin name for that region of the Sahara, referring to the lands south of the Mediterranean (i.e. Ancient Mauri, Numidia, Carthage, and finally Libya).7 Finally then, Āfri, in Latin referred to ‘inhabitants of Āfer’ based upon this derivation – later becoming the origin of the name of the very continent itself.

Such conjecture is merely inductive however, and must of course be tested by predictive confirmation along its per hoc aditum (line of reason). This is the task we undertake below, by means of our eight subjective/context-constraining questions:

  1. What historic major trade port was established by the Phoenicians just prior this Biblical time frame?
  2. What region bore the capability to supply such massive amounts of gold, in secret?
  3. What Kingdom/King coincidentally then grew rich with gold after King Solomon’s/Europe’s trade dominance fell?
  4. What is the single region on Earth which offers a critical nexus of supply in ebony, ivory, sufficient amounts of gold, silver, apes, guinea fowl, and gemstones?
  5. What causes gold to be purer when mined?
  6. What is the most reliable way to find a heavy and pure gold and gemstone cache?
  7. What is the most gold laden river system in the World?
  8. What is the best way to hide (or ‘lose’) a mine?

The Phoenician trading colony of Utica (see Exhibit 4 below) was reputed by ancient historians to have been established in 1101 BCE. The name Utica derives from the Phoenician term ˁAtiq, or ‘Old’ or ‘Ancient of Days’. In contrast, the name of its later successor port, Carthage, literally means ‘New Town’. Utica is considered to be the first colony to have been founded by the Phoenicians in North Africa.8 We speculate in this article that this key port, became the linchpin in King Hiram and Solomon’s joint trading ventures.

In Exhibit 4 below, one may observe the trade route juxtaposition between Utica, and the largest deposits of gold in the world (West African highlands, goldfields, and river basins). It is no coincidence that the richest person in history, in terms of total mass in gold wealth, Mansa Musa (1330 CE), lived right at the Niger River debarkation point (Timbuktu) feeding these Berber-Tuareg trading routes through the land which the Romans called Āfer.9 The vast majority of such trade routes eventually ended at Phoenician trade colony ports until such time as Carthage was conquered in the Second Punic War.10

The only region on Earth, which offers a sufficient quantity of the Hebrew Bible documented mix of goods taken back to King Solomon, is West Africa. More specifically, the Niger, Senegal, Gambia, Guinean, Sanaga, and Volta river basins.11 As one can observe in Exhibit 4 below, the gold regions of West Africa offer the wealth as well as unique combination of goods and game animals documented in the First Book of Kings.

Exhibit 4 – West Africa, accessible by over-land trade routes from the Phoenician trading colony of Utica, offers the only nexus of origin which could supply the array of specific goods ferried back to Israel by Hiram and Solomon’s fleet of ships through Phoenician supply lanes of influence.

In Exhibit 5 below, one may observe that the West African river basins in question are fed from highlands containing the richest goldfields on Earth, the Bamuk, Bure, and Akan runoffs. In this region, gold (and diamonds as well) is continually extracted from alluvial soils and eroding higher strata, and has been deposited for tens of millions of years into the critical pockets and bends of the thousands of kilometers of river bed in the region. It lays there concealed, that is until one comes along who is clever enough to exploit the circumstance.

Exhibit 5 – The Niger and West Africa River Basins hold the largest cache of gold, silver, and fine gemstones on Earth by a factor of 100 to 600 to 1 over comparable regions globally. In addition, because this gold is extracted by river erosion, the resulting gold is easily found, cleverly concealed, and of the purest quality found in nature. It is no coincidence that the richest ruler in history, in terms of total mass in gold wealth, Mansa Musa, lived right at the Niger River debarkation point (Timbuktu) feeding these Berber-Tuareg trading routes through the land which the Romans called Āfer. The vast majority of such trade routes ended at trade ports which were originally founded as Phoenician colonies.

Hidden in Plain Sight – Finding the Lost Mine of Āfer

Those miners who operate in West Africa have a saying, ‘The Devil protects his gold’. To the last person, all of them fully grasp that every ounce of gold exploited from the region comes at the cost of blood, sweat, illness, trafficking, theft, danger, oppression, and graft. As we have noted in previous articles inside The Ethical Skeptic, the person behind the mythical character called the ‘Devil’ is a master at deception – one skilled in the art of the ignoratio elenchi question, legal stipulation and binding, false dilemma, agency, orthogonal and straw man argument, and hiding his most precious assets or threatening truths in ironic and plain sight. West African gold is dealt with in no different manner.

The Argument for Rivers as Hidden ‘Mines’

As alluded to earlier in this article, a colleague on ground in a West African client nation invited our survey group to tour some of the rivers in question. We had been asked to come and assess the mineral reserves of that nation, and to develop strategies for the future of ethical exploitation partnerships with foreign entities – how the revenues for such ventures could be safely diverted to elementary schools, roads, infrastructure, healthcare, etc. We toured some 50 km of river along with the adjoining tribal lands. Tall tales were told of villager ability to simply wade through shallow tributaries and pick up gold nuggets with their toes. Local stores were paid in raw gold at times by the villagers – or so we were told. Store merchants lamented being in short supply of consumable goods for buying customers, but ironically not gold. “Get us reliable supply, this is what we need Mr. G.”, was a common plea.

Exhibit 6 – 100,000 kilometers of river basin form the West Africa exploitation footprint. This area contains over $15 trillion in recoverable gold of the finest quality (river purified).

When we got into the NI 43-101 and JORC surveys which had been conducted by professional assay teams which specialize in measuring gold content however, the contentions of the villagers did not seem so outlandish after all. The region we surveyed for economic strategy comprised a ‘mere’ 4,600 kilometers of river basin. This equated to 2 billion ounces or $2.8 trillion in recoverable gold in this small river system alone. This river basin region, not even a large one, was more than 600 times larger in terms of gold content, than the largest gold mine in the world (Nevada Gold Mines at 3.3 Moz).12 Conservatively extrapolating this metric to the entire 6 river basin region, comes to a whopping total exploitable value of $15 to 20 trillion in the purest gold – the largest repository of pure gold on Earth, by far. A cache suitable to capture the interest of a wise ancient Pharaoh, and then later, King.

Why the ‘purest gold’? one might ask. Well the principle is very straightforward in reality.

Gold that has been present in a river for a long period of time is generally purer than gold that has just recently broken off a gold-bearing vein. The reason is that the water manages to remove at least some of the reactive metals present in the gold.

~ “Gold Nugget Purity Explained” – Prospecting Planet13

Couple with this, the reality that recovering gold from an active (or even dried-up) river bed is much easier than shaft or placer mining, while of course still offering an incredible resource of purest gold. One suitable to impress the likes of King Solomon the Great. “Hiram my friend, allow me to use your trade routes, ships, and navy, and I will reveal to you, the source of my ancestral gold supply. A supplying ‘mine’ which will again hide and conceal itself should the need arise.” – Now that, is a heck of a deal! “Solomon my fellow King, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

As a result, gold will tend to follow its own path together with the heavier streambed materials, and also deposit at places where the lighter gravels are simply washed away by the current. Gold in rivers or creeks tends to be found in the following locations: along inside bends, behind/in front of bedrock outcroppings, behind large boulders, right after sudden widening sections, on bedrock or below false bedrock, in natural moss, below waterfalls.

~ “Where To Find Gold In Rivers & Creeks” – Prospecting Planet14

These same characteristic locations in dry old river beds will also produce millions of years of accumulated and high purity gold as well – which is relatively easy to exploit. Imagine all of this pure gold, shipping down one river, the Niger, and being warehoused for trade at one city of debarkation, Timbuktu. This supply chain constraint explains why Mansa Musa became the most wealthy person in terms of gold mass in history. Right about the time of the Middle Ages and downturn in demand for gold out of Europe and the Middle East, Mansa Musa began to amass its wealth, rather than trade it.15

So lavishly did he [Mansa Musa] hand out gold in Cairo [while on his Haj journey to Mecca] that his three-month stay caused the price of gold to plummet in the region for 10 years, wrecking the economy.

~ Naima Mohamud, BBC World News

But Mansa Musa was only the second ruler to come along bearing the wisdom of Solomon. The wisdom to keep quiet about the true nature of your ‘lost mine of Ophir’. The wisdom to know that your secret mines will be hidden in plain sight and that the Devil himself has your back. The wisdom to know how to leverage two separate sets of cultural tradition, into one inferential knowledge, and an advantage over all other nations.

The Ethical Skeptic, “King Solomon’s Lost Mine of Ophir”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 24 Jul 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=66967

The ‘Worthless Human’ Lie of the Diet Cartel

You are a defective human being. The ScienceTM shows that it is your worthlessness, absence of willpower (gluttony), and lack of exercise (laziness) which are the cause of all your health maladies.
At the core of this lie resides an abject gaslighting and abuse of its very victims. There exist only two entities which have direct access to the systems of the body which are coincidentally those also injured in obesity – the industrial agriculture and immunity-pharma cartels.

The guy in the photo to the right is supposedly an expert on obesity, health, weight, and appropriate human lifestyle. I am here to assure you, that he is not.

The gentleman to the right of course, conceals from his audience that he must work out for 4 or more hours per day, take fat-burning stimulants at a level fatal to many people, employ steroids and/or hormone boosters, spend $2500 a month on specialty food/supplements/injections and physical training, flush-out his intestines regularly with laxatives/chemicals, and fast/starve for days, all in order to look anywhere near like this depiction. Practices which most people cannot possibly incorporate into their lifestyle, unless one is a celebrity, independently wealthy, or chooses to have no life aside from this understated and misrepresented fanatical obsession.

Most diet case examples are not telling you their entire story. Yes they used the product being promoted, but they often do not tell you what else they did.

If you are cutting caloric intake and working out, you are committing slow suicide.

~ Dr. Joel D. Wallach, ND, The Truth About Nutrition

Now I would prefer of course to examine how this gentleman does with his hidden regimen across an entire life with 3 kids, endocrine, microbiome, and pancreatic injuries from childhood, while delivering premium performance in an analytical or labor position, one where money does not come in from sales commissions/salary/royalties – but rather, the mandatory long and overtime hours one puts into their work. If you have observed for example, a medical center registered nurse who is on their feet for an entire 17-hour waking day – between 10 hour shift rounds, 30,000 daily steps, calorie counting, and managing a family full time, and yet is still obese – one should take this as a critical-path hint, that something else is at play in this deductive framework. To most rational people this stands as a falsifying piece of evidence. Evidence demonstrating that the two industry cartels and their complicit diet mafias are lying to us.

Believe me, I have done caloric-workout programs (short of stimulants, steroids, and laxatives) and got them to work in the short term. Such programs do not work long term however, nor do they serve to resolve the underlying injury one has suffered. After age 40, from experience, once you hit your desired weight, the ensuing anemia and malnutrition will threaten your health and well being. Your metabolism will be in the crapper. The simple fact is that a ‘program’ cannot be sustained long term if it simply focuses on caloric intake and burn. What I have found is that it is red blood cell anemia (macrocytic and/or intravascular coagulation), an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, endocrine/autoimmune disorders, and a lack of available nutrition in food – which collectively cause a repressed metabolism and weight gain – and not personal moral weakness (see My Most Incredible Post-Covid After Workout Recovery Elixir).

“I lost 120 lbs in 9 months, and kept it off using ___________!!”

Yeah right. The poseur in the photo at the beginning of the article also curiously will not be found peddling this same program at age 60. Not because the program cannot be done at age 60, but rather he will find in the ensuing years that the real ‘program’ he undertook and did not tell anyone, does not actually work long term – and causes harm to one’s health to boot. It is the bad Hollywood Spandex act an attention-seeker puts on, portrayed to make other (inferior-looking) people feel guilty – a psyop used to coerce money out of the burdened victims of two specific industry cartels.

These cartels are the only two entities which have direct access to the very same systems of the body – which are those injured early in life,1 and are also highly involved with obesity and diabetes.2 This is not a coincidence. In other words, these cartels were the only two parties in the room, when the money went missing – and they both have a prior criminal record. However, it is the irony in whom they blame (you), which is even more telling.

Fundamental Attribution Error : Behaviorism

The tendency to attribute suffering to one’s behavior, psychological state, or inclination, before and as opposed to examining for factors which are out of their control, access, or knowledge.

You are a defective human being. Look at the jacked guy in this photo. The ScienceTM shows that it is your lack of being like him, your worthlessness, absence of moral willpower (diet), and abject laziness (exercise) which stand as the cause of all your health maladies and suffering (it has nothing to do with us so don’t even go there).

~ Colluding Diet Mafia Messaging

This array of pseudo-theory resides at the heart of modern American physical suffering. Two industries are to blame for the destruction of American health in the era since 1972, the American industrial agriculture and immunity-pharma cartels, along with their pseudo-scientific lying minions, and diet message mafias. The core lie above, which these American cartels promulgate towards their client consumers, is one of blame and guilt – a diabolical gaslighting and abuse of their very victims. A way of keeping scientific health research from ever focusing upon the handiwork of those two cartels at all.

Cabal Moralizing is Based Upon Six Key Myths

Myth #1: Anyone who keeps a healthy weight surely must have ‘changed their lifestyle’ (i.e. you are worthless)

Of course most people can stand some type of change in life-style habits. However, this contention stands as both a truism and a red herring as well. What the industry is selling you inside this wisdom is an implicit message of personal unacceptability. You are the way you are, because you are worthless. People secretly believe such nonsense about themselves without question. The industry is fully aware of this psychological lever and uses it against us. This is also how prescribing-technicians masquerading as doctors deflect accountability. ‘It’s your fault this is happening – I need listen no further.’ No paradigms will be busted today. From there, the culprit can simply relax and let the cash flow.

The simple fact is that it is the accelerated growth agrifoods and immunity-pharma industries which have caused the obesity epidemic – and not their hapless victims themselves.3 4 5 6 The central affected mechanism is outlined below.

HypoGlucagonopathy (Obesity) – the result of injury/impaired pancreatic function

GLP-1 [glucagon – from pancreatic alpha cells] analogs (sic) potently reduce food intake and body weight [an unintended secondary effect of 15% loss in body mass in nearly all test subjects].

~ Kanoski, et. al., GLP-1 and weight loss: unraveling the diverse neural circuitry7

When one cannot release and burn fructose-glucose from the liver and fat cells when dieting and exercising, then one must resort to consuming the entire body instead, in the form of an emergency metabolic state called ‘ketosis‘. If you have not experienced the anemia and malnutrition at the end of such a journey, then perhaps you should study a bit more and work with people of different body types, before speaking authoritatively. Glucagon is akin to water, it is essential for healthy body weight.

Glucagon controls plasma glucose concentrations during fasting, exercise and hypoglycemia by increasing hepatic glucose output to the circulation. Additionally, it is a key factor in providing adequate circulating glucose for brain function and for working muscle during exercise. Glucagon stimulates breakdown of fatty acids and inhibits lipogenesis in the liver (NAFLD). Glucagon reduces the need for food intake as the brain’s primary energy supply. Glucagon increases energy expenditure.

~ Glucagon Physiology, July 20198

H2O [water – from oxidation of hydrogen] analogues potently reduce body desiccation, toxicity, and thirst morbidity. However, further study is needed because water use results in the death of 11 people per day, per the CDC.

Of course humans require sound pancreatic alpha cell function (glucagon) or they will gain weight – this should have been discovered in the 1880’s, not the 2010’s. The fact that we are just now studying this, demonstrates how effective the cabal’s disinformation campaign has indeed been. There was no need to study something scientifically, for which we had already morally derived the correct answer. Heavy people are lazy and gluttonous, case closed.

Epicariacy trumps Ockham’s Razor necessity, every time.

In my studies, consuming glucose (and not sugar nor food) during fasting, serves to increase an excessively low resting heart rate (base metabolism, 51 increased to 58 bpm) and decrease a nagging starvation-appetite (hypoglycemic hunger, chronic blood sugar less than 60 mg/dl). Therefore, the absence of glucagon function in the pancreas is no accident with respect to one’s proclivity for gaining excess weight, as compared to a person who has normal pancreatic function.

Glucagon is the missing piece of the puzzle. What I have done in the past, is to simply power through the starvation, fatigue, brain fog, and low-blood-sugar tremors for decades. But no more. I am calling bullshit on the industry which has created this lie – a lie which has caused death, suffering, and harm to hundreds of millions of persons over its ensuing reign of ignorance.

Will Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) therapy ever be brought to market (other than for severe diabetes)? Doubtful. The diet industry is $75 billion and the medical support industry around diabetes is $55 billion in magnitude. These numbers constitute simply the start of that entire gravy train – one which thrives upon human suffering. A therapy which would collapse both those markets in less than a decade, will never make it past social skeptics, who will hound it with ‘questions’ and ‘doubts’ – the ilk of which were ironically never raised in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine for instance.

A correlation is never a mere coincidence if there is prior established mechanism (damage to alpha, acinar, and islet cells of the pancreas), as is the case with these two cartels and their scientifically untested products. The relationship demands investigation – as Ockham’s Razor has been far surpassed. When you witness agents such as David Gorski demanding through plausible deniability and public ridicule that such research be embargoed, know that by The Ethical Skeptic’s Razor, this is the first alternative which you should then examine. Everyone prevaricates at times – but it is those who appeal to the premature extinction of scientific ideas, who violate the wisdom of Solomon and the Two Mothers. Those are the liars on any given issue of public contention. You can pretty much guarantee that anything propaganda-pushed by the Science Based Medicine cabal itself constitutes corporate and social skeptic disinformation (see How to Detect Propaganda – The Art of the Professional Lie).

Myth #2: The same tactics you employ to lose weight, will also ‘keep the weight off’

Exhibit A – the human body does not read BMI charts. Its goal is to achieve its needed nutrition. It will drive caloric intake, as well as BMI, above the obesity line in quest of this first priority.

This is false. Once you have lost weight below your body’s set point, your metabolism will work HEAVILY against you in its efforts to re-attain that weight/nutrition level it is programmed (or functionally injured thereof) to maintain.9 The same ‘life-style change’ practices (usually involves lots of money and starvation) you employed to lose weight, will need to become even more extreme and stringent if you are to keep it off (the further to the right you go on the chart in Exhibit A). If you cannot up your game of fanaticism at this later time, well then too bad for you. This elasticity in BMI will be blamed on your being a weak ‘yo-yo dieter’ (another mafia condemnation and lie).

No, the reality is that, to a great degree this is a symptom of systemic injury inside the body (pancreatic alpha cells), and not personal weakness. The body will slow its metabolism, in its quest to push your BMI back to its set point.10

Six years after participation in The Biggest Loser, they had all gained most of their weight back, significant slowing in metabolic rate still persisted among all participants, and those who lost the most weight, also showed the most metabolic slowing.

~Harvard Public Health Blog, 12 Mar 2018

Notice that you never hear from persons who are in their eighth or twelfth year of a weight loss program. That is because they suffer severe malnutrition and must back off the program in some form, before dying or destroying their health. If your liver, microbiome, or pancreatic alpha or islet cells have been damaged, you will not be able to simply ‘keep the weight off’. You must learn how to compensate for this injury first, without endangering your health.

Myth #3: You can get all the nutrition you need in a normal restricted-calorie western diet

Do the calculations (One can observe some here). Of the 110 key human micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients, one need consume over 5500 calories per day in order to get close to the ridiculously low US Recommended Daily Allowance (US-RDA) of each – even eating the perfect combination of foods. This requires at least 2 hours of workouts per day, in addition to a full set of daily activities, in order to mitigate the energy load. Something is wrong in the implied math of these cartels, and it hinges upon a lie which they are peddling. A lie which involves artificially accelerated grains and immune systems.

Those who stay at a normal weight have won the luck of the genetic draw, and are not that way because they are fanatic about working out for hours a day. In fact, not one of those I know who are of normal weight, will attribute their weight to obsessive levels of exercise and diet, especially as they get older.

Myth #4: Obesity is simply a severe form of being overweight

Exhibit B – If the weight equation for obesity was caloric-driven, then by necessity, both overweight (yellow) and obese (blue and black) percentages should have increased simultaneously. The percent of population which is overweight did not increase over the last 50 years, therefore obesity results from an independent set of input variables.

Obesity is not simply a more severe form of being overweight. Sitting on the couch, eating chips, and living a sedentary lifestyle causes overweight. Being overweight is caused by caloric differential and can happen in anyone. Obesity is caused by bodily systemic injury and is part of a disease process that happens in mostly certain genetics – yet its suffering population is rising faster than is the overweight population (see Exhibit B to the right). The condition is exacerbated by a dilution of nutrient in our plant based, and subsequently animal protein based, food.11

Ceasing sitting on the couch, eating chips, and living a sedentary lifestyle will not serve to resolve nor cure obesity. The morbidity of obesity begins in childhood, well before one begins the symptom of putting on the weight from obesity.12 13

One can lose weight, but they cannot lose obesity. One can starve themself and exercise for hours a day, and this will not cure what is caused by systemic injury and disruption and nutrient shortfalls – any more than such activity can cure a broken leg.

[As far as] The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are concerned, obesity has been categorized as a chronic illness since 2004.

~ Yasmine Ali, MD/MSCI

Myth #5: People are heavier today because they are more sedentary and consume more calories than the past

According to the USDA, the average person consumed 300 more calories per day in 2016 than they did in the 1970’s (the majority of the increase coming in the form of concealed oils).14 In contrast however, 69% of people by 1987 claimed to exercise regularly,15 far higher than the rate of 24% that claimed this in 1960.16 Thus our extra caloric intake has mostly been countered by extra physical activity.

Of greater salience to this argument, is a principle outlined in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, which found that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 20 years ago are still fatter. People today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, given the exact same diet and exercise plans.17

If you are 40 years old now, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than if you were a 40 year old in 1971 to prevent gaining weight.

~Jennifer Kuk, Professor Kinesiology and Health Science, York University

On a personal note, I fast for the first 9 hours of the day and then consume a glucose (no sugar) drink (See this article) after my afternoon workout to prevent a blood sugar crash (my pancreas is injured and will not release glucagon, which triggers release of glucose from the body and liver, to prevent this). Then dinner consists of a protein (as a side dish – fish, chicken, lamb in smaller quantity, not a main entree), spinach or kale, stewed potato (for potassium), and lots of veggies of varying kinds with grass fed butter and sauerkraut. I will finish the evening while writing, researching, or viewing a program, with a single beer and a bit of cheese. I do not consume grains for the most part, save for rice bread and a bit of organic corn tortilla once or twice a week.

As a result while my weight is not obese, my body systems still bear the injury from the introduction of glyphosate in the Fall of 1995 along with damage from early childhood immune system tampering resulting in a couple chronic autoimmune syndromes. If I eat as a normal person my age and gender does, I will gain 3 to 6 lbs a month easily, even with workouts. As a result, I suffer severe anemia and nutrition shortfalls, which have required a lifetime of supplement research and testing to help resolve. Most people cannot do this – and remain victims of these two cabals and their colluding mafia.

Merely losing weight, does not in any way shape or form, cause one to lose the systemic dysfunction of obesity. This chronic condition is for life.

My daily regimen results in 3470 calories burned and 2240 calories consumed on an average daily basis (see example personal logs extract in above right image). I keep meticulous and very detailed logs on this. By now, under the Wishnofsky dietary formula, after all these years, I should weigh minus 1200 lbs. So obviously the calorie understanding of weight only applies to a short time-span, and cannot be used to adjudicate what is happening to the American population at large (pardon the pun).

It is time for these excuse-making myths to die. They only serve to harm the innocent and protect the diabolical. We close now, with a list of twisted logical arguments which help sustain this collusive and evil cabal.

Myth #6: Deception thru Affirming the Consequent – If p then q. Given q, therefore p

  • People who increase exercise, weigh less after they do so. Therefore, all normal-weight persons are consistently exercising.
  • People who restrict calories, weigh less after doing so. Therefore, all normal-weight persons are consistently restricting calories.
  • If you stop what you did to lose weight, you will gain weight back. Therefore, if you gain weight back you have failed in your program discipline (and are now a failed worthless human).
  • People who are obese have poorer health, therefore obesity is the cause of this poor health state. So don’t be obese.
  • I work out 3 times per week and am fine. You can work out 3 times a week as well, and you will be fine too. It is just a matter of motivation and habit.
  • All the people who consume premium gym/exercise program/equipment are young and good looking. Therefore, using those things will keep you young and good looking.
  • Nutritional supplements often come in the form of pills. Therefore, those who use supplements are looking for a quick-fix pill solution.
  • Mega doses of Vitamin C was found to not cure cancer. Therefore, supplements are a waste of money.
  • Fit people workout for a mere 20 minutes per day on average. Therefore, 20 minutes per day workouts is all anyone needs in order to become fit.

All of this reflects the widespread false common wisdom and industry propaganda which is employed to deflect accountability from these industry cartels and their complicit diet industry mafia. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on just how incompetent and dishonest these industries really are.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The ‘Worthless Human’ Lie of the Diet Cartel”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 9 Jul 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/2022/07/09/the-worthless-human-lie-of-the-diet-cartel/