Weekend Edition

March 16th, 2018

Hawking’s departure – a great loss

March 16th, 2018


In April 2007, for 4 minutes Stephen Hawking was in a state of weightlessness, that is, zero gravity, when the plane carrying him dived through the sky. PHOTO/Zero Gravity Corp/New Scientist

Stephen Hawking in Chicago, in 1986. PHOTO/Associated Press/Wired

person is helpless, hardly aware
when she/he is in a vegetative state
but if the brain is functioning even when the body has given up
the person can work miracles
Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) was one such person
victim of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
a progressive neurodegenerative disease
which gradually paralysis the person
and in a short period snatches that person’s life

at 21 ALS attacked Hawking
he was told he had two years to live
instead he lived 55 years
later in his life he lost his voice
computer attached voice synthesizer provided him a voice

he was full of life and wanted to do so much:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death
for the last 49 years.
I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die.
I have so much I want to do first.”

Hawking was a witty person with a good sense of humor
in April 2015, Hawking was asked to react
to British singer/songwriter Zayn Malik leaving the group One Direction:

“My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay
close attention to the study of theoretical physics.
Because one day
there may well be proof of multiple universes.
It would not be beyond the realms of possibility
that somewhere outside of our own universe
lies another different universe.
And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.”

“This girl may like to know that in another possible universe,
she and Zayn are happily married.”

Hawking warned of the fragility of our planet
and it’s vulnerability to man-made disasters:

“Life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out
by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war,
a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.”

Hawking never forgot the roots of Homo sapiens:

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.”

Hawking was not shy to revise his finding on black holes:

There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought.
The information remains firmly in our universe.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans,
but if information is preserved,
there is no possibility of using black holes
to travel to other universes.”

“If you jump into a black hole,
your mass energy will be returned to our universe,
but in a mangled form,
which contains the information about what you were like,
but in an unrecognizable state.”

Hawking was not very hopeful of the survival of our earth:

“I don’t think the human race will survive
the next 1,000 years, unless we spread into space.
There are too many accidents
that can befall life on a single planet.
But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars”

Hawking warned humans from getting in touch with the aliens
the consequences of such a contact he compared
to imperialism and colonialism,
particularly with the experience of the indigenous people:

“I think it would be a disaster.
The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us.
The history of advanced races
meeting more primitive people on this planet
is not very happy
, and they were the same species.
I think we should keep our heads low”.”

Hawking also asked us to beware of
the potential dangers of AI or artificial intelligence:

“The genie is out of the bottle.
We need to move forward
on artificial intelligence development
but we also need to be mindful of its very real dangers.
I fear that AI may replace humans altogether.
If people design computer viruses,
someone will design AI that replicates itself.
This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans.”

Hawking advised people to be curious and inquisitive about nature:

“Remember to look up at the stars
and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see
and wonder about what makes the universe exist.
Be curious. And however difficult life may seem,
there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Hawking didn’t minced words on Trump’s policies
of banning Muslims and on climate change:

“I would ask him why he thinks his travel ban is a good idea.
This brands as Daesh terrorists
all citizens of six mainly Muslim countries,
but doesn’t include America’s allies
such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
which allegedly help finance Daesh.
This blanket ban is inefficient and prevents America
from recruiting skilled people from these countries.
I would also ask him to renounce
his denial of climate change.
But again, I fear neither will happen
as Trump continues to appease his electorate.”

Hawking also supported the Palestinians in their fight against Israel:

“I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference
[in Israel] with the intention that this would
not only allow me to express my opinion
on the prospects for a peace settlement
but also because it would allow me
to lecture on the West Bank.

“However, I have received a number of emails
from Palestinian academics.
They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott.
In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference.

“Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion
that the policy of the present Israeli government
is likely to lead to disaster.”

Hawking’s response to interpret Donald Trump’s rise:

“I can’t.” “He is a demagogue
who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”

Hawking gave a simple but a very rational and scientific answer
about the existence of God:

“We are each free to believe what we want,
and it is my view that
the simplest explanation is there is no God.
No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.
This leads me to a profound realisation.
There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either.
We have this one life
to appreciate the grand design of the universe,
and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

“I regard the brain as a computer
which will stop working when its components fail.
There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers;
that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

(Like Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu fanatics
Christianity also has plenty of such nuts
one of them is State of Texas Representative Briscoe Cain
who must have received a letter from the Christian God
because he’s damn sure that such an entity exists
and that entity has created our world in six days:

“Stephen Hawking now [that he's dead] knows the truth
about how the universe was actually made.”

“While many see him
as one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century,
and no one disputes that he was brilliant,
the fact remains that God exists.
My tweet was to show the gravity of the Gospel
and what happens when we die, namely, that we all will
one day meet the Creator of the universe face to face.”

a person named Courtney gave a befitting reply to Briscoe Cain:

“Such a fitting exercise in compare & contrast.
Whereas Hawking spent a lifetime
using his God-given brain tackling life’s deepest mysteries.
@BriscoeCain, on the other hand,
prefers flashing his God-given red ass all over the place.
Jesus must be so proud!”

Hawking was one of the greatest physicists
the world has ever known
he couldn’t move his body
but his mind was strolling/jogging/running all over the cosmos
trying to demystify the universe for all of us
March 14, 2018, is one of the saddest days
when we lost such a great genius
let’s hope more people incline towards science and rational thinnking

(Karl Marx died on 14th March 1883
Albert Einstein was born on 14th March 1879)

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Lie after lie: What Colin Powell knew about Iraq 15 years ago and what he told the U.N.

March 16th, 2018


US Secretary of State Colin Powell holding up a vial that could be used to hold anthrax, in his presentation to the UN in February 2003, ahead of the Iraq invasion. PHOTO/Timothy A Clary/EPA/Common Dreams

Colin Powell delivered his presentation making the case for war with Iraq at the United Nations 15 years ago, on February 5, 2003.

As much criticism as Powell received for this — he’s called it “painful” and something that will “always be a part of my record” — it hasn’t been close to what’s justified. Powell, who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, was much more than just horribly mistaken: He fabricated “evidence” and ignored repeated warnings that what he was saying was false.

Unfortunately, Congress never investigated Powell’s use of the intelligence he was given, so we don’t know many of the specifics. Even so, what did reach the public record in other ways is extremely damning. While the corporate media has never taken a close look at this record, we can go through Powell’s presentation line by line to demonstrate the chasm between what he knew and what he told the world. As you’ll see, there’s quite a lot to say about it.

Powell’s speech can be found on the State Department website here. All other sources are linked below.

Public Certainty, Private Doubt

On that February 5 in front of the U.N. Security Council, was Colin Powell certain what he was saying was accurate? He certainly was:

POWELL: My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Later, regarding whether Iraq had reconstituted a nuclear weapons program, he said:

POWELL: There is no doubt in my mind …

That’s in public. What about in private? According to Larry Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff, here’s what Powell was thinking at the time:

WILKERSON: [Powell] had walked into my office musing and he said words to the effect of, ‘I wonder how we’ll all feel if we put half a million troops in Iraq and march from one end of the country to the other and find nothing.’

Unambiguous Lies

This is some of what Powell said about the infamous aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq, supposedly meant for their covert nuclear weapons program:

POWELL: It strikes me as quite odd that these [aluminum] tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets. Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don’t think so.

Powell’s own intelligence staff, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, prepared two memos commenting on drafts of the presentation. They were later quietly released as appendices to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on WMD intelligence.

The second INR memo, written on February 3, 2003, told Powell this:

Our key remaining concern is the claim that the tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that “far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.” In fact, the most comparable U.S. system is a tactical rocket — the U.S. Mark 66 air-launched 70mm rocket — that uses the same, high-grade (7075-T6) aluminum, and that has specifications with similar tolerances. Note that the Mk 66 specifications are unclassified, and the Department is planning to share them with the [International Atomic Energy Agency].

Fabricated Evidence

Powell played an intercept of a conversation between Iraqi army officers about the U.N. inspections. However, when he translated what they were saying, he knowingly embellished it, turning it from evidence Iraq was complying with U.N. resolutions to evidence Iraq was violating them. This appears in Bob Woodward’s book “Plan of Attack”:

Powell had decided to add his personal interpretation of the intercepts to the rehearsed script, taking them substantially further and casting them in the most negative light. … Concerning the intercept about inspecting for the possibility of “forbidden ammo,” Powell took the interpretation further: “Clean out all of the areas. … Make sure there is nothing there.”

None of this was in the intercept.

Intercept for more

Meet the CIA: Guns, drugs and money

March 16th, 2018


PHOTO/Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs/CC by 2.0

On November 22, 1996, the US Justice Department indicted General Ramón Guillén Davila of Venezuela on charges of importing cocaine into the United States. The federal prosecutors alleged that while heading Venezuela’s anti-drug unit, General Guillén smuggled more than 22 tons of cocaine into the US and Europe for the Calí and Bogotá cartels. Guillén responded to the indictment from the sanctuary of Caracas, whence his government refused to extradict him to Miami, while honoring him with a pardon for any possible crimes committed in the line of duty. He maintained that the cocaine shipments to the US had been approved by the CIA, and went on to say that “some drugs were lost and neither the CIA nor the DEA want to accept any responsibility for it.”

The CIA had hired Guillén in 1988 to help it find out something about the Colombian drug cartels. The Agency and Guillén set up a drug-smuggling operation using agents of Guillén’s in the Venezuelan National Guard to buy cocaine from the Calí cartel and ship it to Venezuela, where it was stored in warehouses maintained by the Narcotics Intelligence Center, Caracas, which was run by Guillén and entirely funded by the CIA.

To avoid the Calí cartel asking inconvenient questions about the growing inventory of cocaine in the Narcotics Intelligence Center’s warehouses and, as one CIA agent put it, “to keep our credibility with the traffickers,” the CIA decided it was politic to let some of the cocaine proceed on to the cartel’s network of dealers in the US. As another CIA agent put it, they wanted “to let the dope walk” – in other words, to allow it to be sold on the streets of Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

When it comes to what are called “controlled shipments” of drugs into the US, federal law requires that such imports have DEA approval, which the CIA duly sought. This was, however, denied by the DEA attaché in Caracas. The CIA then went to DEA headquarters in Washington, only to be met with a similar refusal, whereupon the CIA went ahead with the shipment anyway. One of the CIA men working with Guillén was Mark McFarlin. In 1989 McFarlin, so he later testified in federal court in Miami, told his CIA station chief in Caracas that the Guillén operation, already under way, had just seen 3,000 pounds of cocaine shipped to the US. When the station chief asked McFarlin if the DEA was aware of this, McFarlin answered no. “Let’s keep it that way,” the station chief instructed him.

CounterPunch for more

Did Marx base Capital on Dante’s Inferno?

March 15th, 2018



Marx’s Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital by William Clare Roberts (Princeton University Press, 2017), £27.95

Marx’s Inferno by William Clare Roberts seems unsure what kind of book it is supposed to be. On the one hand, it is a detailed investigation of the pre-Marxist context for some of Karl Marx’s ideas. But on the other hand, it attempts to find, in Dante’s Inferno, a precursor to Capital not only to the way Marx writes about his ideas, but the shape of the ideas themselves. In his introduction, Roberts writes:

My argument takes its orientation from some of the literary aspects of Marx’s book—its use of tropes and metaphors, its allusions and citations. For all that, however, I do not treat Capital as a work of literature. Rather, I treat it as a work of political theory. Its tropes, metaphors, allusions and citations are approached as signs to be interpreted, as the linguistic traces of intuitions that can be fleshed out in theoretical terms (p3).

The connection between these two ways of interpreting Capital, according to Roberts, lies in the fact that the moral categories described in the Inferno (force, fraud, treachery, etc) were in common usage among pre-Marxist socialists like Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. By analysing each of these categories in turn and showing how earlier socialists considered them both politically and economically, Roberts hope to explain how and why these categories—and the metaphors that supported them—appear in Marx’s Capital. Roberts’s focus on Dante’s influence on Marx, rather than on a Marxist reading of Dante, leads him to ignore, for example, Antonio Gramsci’s political reading of Dante.

The significance of Dante as a model lies, for Roberts, in the fact that the structure of Marx’s Capital—his “method of presentation”—has long been an object of investigation. “At least since Lenin first read Hegel’s Logic”, Roberts writes, readers have been trying to understand the structure of Capital by referring back to the structure of Hegel’s Science of Logic (p9). Roberts argues that rather than Hegel, the key to the structure of Capital lies in the structure of Dante’s Inferno. This argument is based not only on the importance of Dante in the European cultural tradition, but on the metaphorical use of Dante’s work in pre-Marxist political thought and discussion. Even here, however, Roberts seems not to be completely convinced of the weight of his own argument: “While it would be foolish to argue that it is Dante, not Hegel, who provides the key to the structure of Marx’s book, Hegel cannot claim our complete attention” (p12).

Roberts’s argument about the importance of Dante’s categorisation of sin to Marx is actually a stronger argument than that in favour of Dante as a structural influence precisely because these were the terms in which pre-Marxist socialists understood the evils of capitalism. These political discussions, and the use of Dante to connect Marx with the Owenites and Proudhon, are interesting, but tend to be weakened by Roberts’s insistence on the structural importance of Dante.

International Socialism for more

Does Duterte really care about overseas workers?

March 15th, 2018


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wears a hardhat at the country’s customs bureau PHOTO/AFP/Ted Aljibe

Populist leader’s championing of migrant labor cast into doubt with knee-jerk response to brutal murder of Filipina in Kuwait

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is under pressure to better protect the country’s millions of overseas workers after the body of a Filipina was discovered dead in a freezer in a Kuwait City apartment on February 6.

Joanna Daniela Demafelis, 29, was first declared missing by her Lebanese and Syrian employers in November last year. Bearing signs of torture, Demafelis’ body had sustained stab wounds to her neck. Her remains were flown back to the Philippines and received by her grieving family on February 16.

Demafelis’ murder, however, is not in isolation. Faced with seven other deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had already ordered a temporary ban on new Filipinos working in the Gulf nation on January 19.

DOLE is still investigating the circumstances of the deaths of the seven Filipino household services workers, namely Vanessa Karissha Esguerra, Devine Riche Encarnacion, Patrick Sunga, Liezl Truz Hukdong, Mira Luna Juntilla, Marie Fe Saliling Librada, and Arlene Castillo Manzano.

On February 12, Duterte responded by issuing a total ban on migrant workers being sent to Kuwait. With populist panache, he asked Gulf states broadly, “Can I ask you now just to treat my countrymen as human beings with dignity? I do not want to fight with you. We need your help to improve our country.”

According to official statistics, more than half of OFWs worldwide are employed in the Middle East, a rich source of the remittances that help to fuel the Philippine economy. The World Bank and Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development ranked the Philippines as the third largest recipient nation of remittances worldwide, trailing only China and India.

Duterte appealed to the country’s legions of OFWs on the campaign trail, promising to ease their processing times and tackle fraudulent agencies that often act as de facto human trafficking rackets.

Asia Times Online for more

The Revolution and its impact

March 15th, 2018


An important contribution to an understanding of the Russian Revolution’s long-term implications for democratic politics and its relevance for struggles for social justice across the world.

Achala Moulik’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its impact on global political developments in the 20th century and after. The author seeks to emphasise that the revolution, far from being a one-off event, is of a permanent character with long-term implications and has contributed to the continued relevance of the concept of welfare state in an era of free-market capitalism. Achala Moulik’s narration of the events is indeed fascinating and comprehensive not only in the national context of Russia but in the international context as well. Her courage, commitment and candour in explicating the complexities of the politics of the Soviet Union that emerged from the revolution become relevant for the struggles for social justice across the world.

The author is a former civil servant and writer on European cultural history, physical heritage and of biography and novels. A Pushkin Medal awardee, her play, Pushkin’s Last Poem, was performed in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the Moscow session. Educated in Washington, New York, Rome and London, Achala Moulik took an honours degree in economics, history and international law from the University of London.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Mikhailovich Kadakin, an eminent diplomat and friend of India. The author was admittedly never posted in the Indian Embassy in Moscow. The book is based entirely on her independent study supplemented by discussions with informants and experts. Her interest in Russia began early when as a schoolgirl she read Rabindranath Tagore’s Letters from Russia (in Bengali), which prepared the ground for her later pursuit of Russian literature and history as a student in London.

In her brilliant conclusion (pages 456-458), the author notes that while the Western world could adjust to the emerging social justice concerns of the times, the conflagration of the First World War and the ideology of communism were required to shake up Russia’s tsarist regime and trigger the Bolshevik Revolution, leaving behind an enduring legacy. The universality of the ideology of Marxism, according to the author, made its impact felt not just in the Western world but also in the non-Western world under colonial rule. Marx, Engels and Lenin had indeed critically evaluated European colonialism. Although many changes had taken place in the Soviet Union since 1917, including the dissolution of the Soviet state and the emergence of the Russian Federation, the ideas generated by the Russian Revolution have remained relevant, says the author, who does not fall into the trap of fashionable denunciation of Marxist-Leninist ideas.

An interesting feature of the book is the detached manner in which the author is able to explicate the collapse of the Soviet Union under President Mikhail Gorbachev and the emergence of leaders such as Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

The 461-page book is divided into six parts.

Part 1 titled “A Stormy Prelude” has four chapters, which briefly explain the history of Russia and the context of the revolution.

Part 2, “The Revolution and its Aftermath”, with 10 chapters, explores the post-revolutionary situation touching on Lenin’s new economic policy; has pen portraits of Lenin and Stalin and an interesting account of Stalin and Hitler; narrates the consequences of the Second World War, which made the Soviet Union a superpower; and talks about Nikita Khrushchev’s “Thaw” and the “Brezhnev Era”.

Part 3 explores the “Intellectual and Creative Ferment in the Soviet Union” with chapters on education, health care, science, art, literature, ballet and theatre, music composers, the Red Army Ensemble, chess and sports.

Part 4 on “Soviet Union and the World” begins with a chapter on the ideological foundations of Soviet foreign policy; the Cold War (1946-1991) and the Soviet Union’s relations with several countries, especially Afghanistan, India and Iran.

The most important section, Part 5, titled “A New Age is Created by a Dying One”, includes several chapters on the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Russian Federation and the roles especially of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin and Medvedev. It includes an interesting chapter on “Road to Damascus”.

Part 6 on “Resurgent Russia” has two chapters, “A New Prelude” and “November 1917 Revisited”. In the concluding chapter, the author provides an amazingly positive vision of the overall impact of the Russian Revolution on global politics.

for more

Don’t dare mention Yemen

March 14th, 2018


PHOTO/Geopolitics Alert

AS an occasional guest on one of the dime-a-dozen talk shows that Pakistanis watch avidly every evening, I remarked that Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem was certainly condemnable. But shouldn’t Pakistanis be more concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen — and Pakistan’s murky role in it? The other guest ‘experts’ froze and the anchorperson turned speechless; she subsequently called for a commercial break.

This is typical of how public discussion on Yemen is avoided. A glance at Pakistan’s TV channels and Urdu newspapers confirms the absence of news or critical discussion. While English language newspapers occasionally take a potshot, our obedient media generally echoes the civil and military establishment — which fully sides with fabulously rich Saudi Arabia against its desperately poor neighbour, Yemen.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office made its position perfectly clear on Dec 19. Just hours after Houthi rebels failed to target a royal palace in Riyadh, it rushed to offer congratulations: “The attack was successfully intercepted by the Saudi-led Coalition, by the grace of God Almighty, before it could cause any damage”.

The communique went on to condemn the “increasing frequency and ferocity of the missile strikes, targeted at innocent civilians by Houthi rebels” and declared that Pakistan stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Saudi Arabia.

Siding with those who deliberately seek to starve Yemen’s children has degraded Pakistan’s moral status.

Whether the credit actually goes to God Almighty or to Raytheon’s Patriot missile system — in which the Saudis have invested a few billion dollars — the fact is that primitive rebel rockets have done little damage to a country fortified by the US and UK defence industries. Yemen no longer has an air force or air defences left; Saudi-directed aircraft roam its skies at will.

In the last year, Yemen’s markets, schools, and hospitals have been bombed and famine is around the corner. Even sanitary systems have been destroyed and nearly a million cholera cases have been reported. According to the UN, at least 10,000 have died, with air strikes responsible for 60 per cent of casualties. Over 2.5m Yemenis have been internally displaced.

We can be amazed by Theresa May criticising Saudi Arabia for using the £4.6bn worth of weapons Britain sold to it after the Yemen war began. And it’s almost unbelievable that Donald Trump had actually demanded that Saudi Arabia end its blockade of Hudaydah port. Even this vicious white supremacist does not relish starving Yemenis en masse. These might be pangs of guilt or perhaps a reluctant move to appease international opinion.

Trump and May are, at best, hypocrites. But what shall we say about Pakistan’s damning silence on Yemen’s grade-3 humanitarian catastrophe (Syria and South Sudan are also grade-3)? The Foreign Office has not condemned Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that have deliberately targeted food and water supplies, considered a crime under the Geneva Convention. Nor has it demanded an end to the food blockade. Only the threat to Saudi royal palaces and princes has mattered.

What explains Pakistan’s support? That puny Yemen somehow threatens Saudi territorial integrity, although a claim sanctimoniously repeated from time to time, is unbelievable. The Houthis are unknown to Pakistanis.

Dawn for more

Does your country have a satellite orbiting the earth?

March 14th, 2018


A technician putting the finishing touches on Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite AFP PHOTO/NASA/HO

See how many active satellites orbit the Earth, and to whom they belong

Just 60 years ago, there were no man-made objects above the planet Earth. Now, there are nearly 500,000 objects circling over Earth in various orbits. These include debris, inactive and active satellites.

The tiny Sputnik, which means “satellite” or “fellow traveller” in Russian, was the first artificial satellite to be launched into Earth’s orbit on October 4, 1957, and it changed the course of human history.

The 58cm diameter, 83.6kg metallic orb, with four antennae that transmitted radio pulses, launched by the Soviet Union, heralded the space race between the USSR and the US – ushering in an era of scientific advances, not only in military, but also in communications and navigation technologies.

There are approximately 1,500 active satellites currently orbiting the Earth. Modern society is heavily dependent on satellite technology, which is used for television and radio broadcasting, telephone calls, GPS navigation, mapping, weather forecasting and other functions.

Al Jazeera for more

Top 10 Inventions by African-Americans

March 14th, 2018


George Washington Carver in his laboratory PHOTO/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When asked to name an African-American inventor, many people might think of George Washington Carver and peanut butter. The two have gone as well together as peanut butter and jelly in many history textbooks, but it’s actually a myth that Carver came up with peanut butter. Carver’s fascination with the peanut began when he was convincing Southern farmers to adopt his method of crop rotation. Instead of growing cotton every year, which was depleting the soil, Carver urged farmers to alternate cotton with legumes, which provided nutrients to the soil. The farmers obliged, but they had no way to sell all those peanuts. Carver went into the laboratory to come up with products that would make peanuts marketable. Carver is credited with devising more than 300 different uses for peanuts, including dye, soap, coffee and ink, and his innovations provided the South with an important crop — but peanut butter wasn’t one of his ideas.

Beyond George Washington Carver, though, many people aren’t familiar with black inventors. In this article, we’ll consider 10 more notable inventions credited to African-American innovators.

Science for more