Fall and Fallings

Gad! A better day, thus far. Actually seems like fall out there. Assayed a second constitutional for the extrogym period what with the temperature in the high forties but once I had exited the portcullis of Castellum SCP I discovered a slight but readily observable fall of dihydrogen oxide. Being in a bit of a cynical rebellious mood I persisted and executed the constitutional in due order with only mild wetting.

The "Linux Luddites" podcast ground to a rather grits conclusion with a lovely negative – but polite!, British podcast you know! – discussion of dropbox and owncloud. Bottom line, is much hype and little function, which probably means the Winders aspect is passable but the Linux part is sewage and decay. That, sadly, is corporate Amerika.

The observant may have noted that the last few blots have been composed and posted using Blogilio instead of ScribeFire. This is in the nature of an experiment. I have always rather liked Blogilio but almost always the spell check doesn’t work and given my pre-college "education" was exclusively in Alibam public schules, a spell checker is a necessity. Happily the Debian folk have made this happen in Wheezy so I am retrying Blogilio, at least partly motivated by the crippling of the FF version by Mozilla and the flaky nature of the Chrome version. What is it that browser boys have against blog editors? Do they violate the covenant of passive absorption?

Back in October I did a blot – another one! – on the issue of desk ordering.[Link] One of my apparently loyal readers sent me a pointer to a cartoon: [Link]

that bears on the matter. This type of thing does happen. Almost always it is caused by some interventionist causing difficulty in the name of "better". This is, of course, one of the great plagues of humanity and manifests most strongly among religionists, which is a sovereign reason for their suppression of not extermination. It does happen occasionally, however, to the desk owner and it serves a useful function in that it necessitates a complete reordering and partial cull. These are beneficial if the desk user/owner is actually rational. If laziness, entombment is the better outcome.

Next, some work at U Wisconsin-Madison indicates that brain farts travel in opposite directions depending on whether one is observing reality (?) or imagining. [Link] This provoked a couple of brain farts of my own. First, can I get some sort of sensor or app that will tell me which? It would be quite useful, especially when trying to communicate with someone. Although I can see where it would lead to more failed marriages and relationships and instances of petty assault. The second was an analogy to a toilet, although I am a bit bemused to consider which of the two directions is the proper one.

Ah! the joy of cheese.

On which note, another article, [Link] from New England J of Medicine on what kills us now. This chart

is at least partly encouraging in that the highest probability is from heart problems. Worse ways to discorporate. Cheese, for example.

Fall has this effect on me sometimes.

Who Nose?

Marvelous morning. I actually got to venture out to the park and assay a constitutional. The aft porch and exterior heat exchanger thermometers were within a degF and both above – barely – forty, so I bundled and broached. Evidently I have done some low temperature acclimation because I withstood the ordeal without shivering which tends to be extreme in my heat capacity deprived corpus. I did get well chilled but the motor home was short and the house heat soon diffused the discomfort. At least the "cold" discomfort.

The podcast was an episode of "Linux Luddites" which is an approximately 2 hour podcast so if I listen on Thor’s day I still have about an hour left which about bridges the three days of gymlessness. But I have found it is not conducive to much thought, just pure diversion.

This gave me opportunity to reflect on the sad state of governance in Greater Metropolitan Arab. It seems stuck in a 1950′s (or earlier) mode. Enormous amount of budget are spent on christmas lighting. If anything, it is the town’s largest civic activity. The figures in park were unlit, for which I was quite grateful despite the darkness. I conjecture than when illuminated, these Greater Metropolitan Arab decorations can be seen on Luna. Maybe even on the dark side.

Speaking of dark side, I note that a team from SUNY has ventured a publication that neandertals were indeed a separate species than sapiens.[Link] This is coming back about to what I was taught in undergraduate college when I took that anthropology track. Very risque in those days when everyone was a vapid religionist. Superstitious fervor was second only to football game inebriation.

The rationale for this differentiation is nasal. Evidently they have decided from anatomical fingerings that neandertals had rather different noses than sapiens. This, of course, also tracks with what was said when I was a youngster, that neandertals ere characterized by their brows and noses, both large and intimidating. But what I find intriguing in this contemporary revelation is that when it is coupled with other recent indications of miscegenation between neandertals and sapiens, is that people will reproduce with each other despite their noses.

This is not new. Middle eastern peoples have been proving this for years. In fact, one of my Jewish colleagues claims that the fact is actually written down in a lesser section of Torah. I fear I have to accept his claim unverified although the persistence of nasal magnitude tends to substantiate the actuality if not the literality.

I am of a mixed mind about my nose. When I examine it for skin aberrations, it seems all too large and ugly. But when I try to breathe through it, especially after dark when my blood sugar levels are low, it seems all too small and restrictive. Besides, I am too old to worry about nasal bowleggedness. And it still tends, on occasion, to take me to interesting places of research and exploration. So I shall be content with it.

Holiday Harassment

Rough two days. Coming down off the cold interval – and yes, I acknowledge that cold is a sensation and not, very NOT, a thermodynamic observable, but when I have to rouse myself bihourly to adjust preventive measures and get NO REM sleep, that is the archetype of "cold" – I survived an abbreviated expedition to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for provisions,, at minimum, and then yesterday, chilly but not cold – also admittedly a sensation – was a medicalist day. So no blot on either day. This can be labeled/named "the year that lacked a Fall" with ample accuracy. I have in a few weeks gone from wearing tee shirts to long sleeved shirts under sweaters. And cursing the politician-denialists who will do nothing about climate change except to sabotage any effort to ameliorate, much less correct, it.

So we come into the boundary of week out and the leading edge of the holiday plague. And I am discontent already. Whatever happened to last year’s plans to go hide in a hole during this season. It is too late. Next week we have to observe the workaholic holiday of thanksgiving which at least has the merit of being originally American and secular even if largely appropriated by the religionists. Pepper spray and roasted fowl. And perhaps the increasingly empty promise of sandwiches with Miracle Whip (R). Even that joy is not sufficient to dissipate, however briefly, the carbonite that is the holiday season and the bitter temperatures stretching forward several months.

To cheer things up, I am using a saved article [Link] from some time ago about some paleontology work at Flinders U. Seems the boffins there have discovered the first vertebrates to sexually reproduce with a male organ. Yes, that one. The work deals with Placoderms, the earliest vertebrate ancestor of we naked apes, specifically Microbrachius Dicki who have "claspers" to transfer sperm from male to female.

This is a truly wonderful bit. First, the name of the university is excellent. I am envious. Contemplate the impact one would have by stating "I have a degree from Flinders U." A truly massive name. And the first (known) vertebrate to have a penile organ. Although I do wonder if the animal’s species, "Dicki", is a pun of some sort. If so, it is brazen and excellent. I wonder if one could compose a suitably bawdy beer song about this species to the tune of the Popeye the Sailor tune? The organ pun is intentional, it is, after all, Freya’s day which is also punday.

And the best part? These fossils are 385 MY old and found in Scotland. This is also wonderful. It substantiates that age old claim that the Scots invented sex (as well as whisky!), tried unsuccessfully to explain it to the English, and then had their copyright ignored by the French. And that they then invented golf in retribution. Ah well, I fear the first two are sufficient for me. But if only they had invented physics as well!

Winter makes me Stupid?

The hatred of winter continues. Not much sleep last night. Up every two hours to adjust taps. And I bailed on gym this morning after looking at the thermometer. Nineteen degF at 0330. So I pumped the stationary bicycle for two-thirds of an hour. And listened to science podcasts. And discovered that European space wonks can’t design harpoons. Which is no big deal since I can’t either. 

Speaking of which there was a bit on the Face Scroll yesterday that struck me as fiction. Maybe. Claimed to be snippets of an interview with a NASAite about first, why did the Yankee government waste money going to a comet, and then when informed it was the Europeans, why we didn’t get there first. The doubt arises from the perceived rightness of the whole thing, a parody of the very nature of Repodenialist, an oleo of arrogance and bottomless insecurity. Makes one think of joy-labor camps and rubber hoses. And jackboots. 

One of the things I dislike about winter is a continual headache. Most of the time its a dull ache that can be ignored with the least diversion but when I hurt elsewhere or try to think, a very unpolitician thing, it comes back to the fore. Now, I read [Link] that a drug, named Modafinal, that makes smart people stupid. The first question is why? And the second is do politicians cook this or make it naturally? I suspect the latter. If its a genetic thing then perhaps we can develop a medical test for identifying people who secrete the drug and bar them from any responsible occupation. Sort of the ultimate social handicap?

In other news, it seems that a California court has ruled that Gooey search results are free speech. [Link] If so, then why is the code and the algorithms proprietary? Shouldn’t they be freely available for the product to be free speech? And why do we have to put up with all those ads and purchased priority placements? Doesn’t that make it not-free? I know that California is strange but this seems just outright odd and wrong. And does this decision extend to all search engines? Or all lists? And if the search results are free speech how does this impact the European restriction of permitting forgetfulness on Gooey? 

No wonder most politicians are justicers.

Milk Confirmed

Mundane day. Dihydrogen oxide falling. Happily. The weather beavers are foretelling deep winter weather the next few days. Did I mention that I hate winter? So today is the last enjoyable day for a while.

Speaking of enjoying, I noted an article [Link] that indicates that adults drinking milk increase their risk of discorporation significantly. And it’s a bunch stronger for women than men. Put in short terms, if you consume the Yankee government daily recommended dosage of milk your probability of discorporation per diem is doubled.

Why is this enjoyable. Because I can’t digest milk. I’m a modal human. In a statistical sense, 0.75 (approximately) of the adult population of Tellus do not secrete Lactase. Hence cannot digest Lactose. Hence get gas and such. That’s a crushing majority. Except in Nawth Amerika where a disproportionate fraction of the 0.25 live. And the modal folk like myself are discriminated at. Try going to a chain restaurant and getting non-dairy creamer. In fact, they are so oblivious they think half-and-half is NDC.

So I have the enjoyment of knowing that all those folks who do the harassing are putting themselves at greater risk and shorter lifespan. Not that I want them to drop dead but if they won’t give up the harassing biology dictates that I do all I can to persist. And this means I don’t have to be offensive nor agressive. They’ll take care of themselves.

Not Dripping but maybe Drooping

This is second try for the day. Some computational evil swallowed the previous and I am too desolate to try to recreate. So this is a second try. If it fails, despair. Especially given this is continual headache season. Not helped by dripping requirement.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, has been sending me cartoons and in the sundae spirit I will beat on those a bit. First, [Link]

this struck me on two azimuths. The first was the absolute bogusness of the maths. What is it about all media displays of maths that they are so obviously whacked. Is this why the Simpsons don’t do such? And most gratingly, where is the differential under the integral? Oh, my headache.

The second was the accuracy. FD SCP does difficult calculation – beyond my capacity – every time she dons clothes. I don’t. And that gender differentiation seems universal. At least among homo sapiens. 

Which brings me to some work [Link] that sapiens has been miscegenating with neandertals for about 54 KY instead of the 36 previously thought. Long enough to have lost some of the neandertal DNA. Which bring up the question of what dangers does that loss expose us to? 

And it seems worthy to note this on sundae when the mystics and superstitionists are off to services and the myth of vacuum creation. Which does explain why this gender differentiated behavior. All of the make fashion sense was in that rib.

The second cartoon [Link]

is also notable for its accuracy. My room wasn’t that way as a teenager since my other was a fiend about order and if I wouldn’t order things she would as a punishment. And a horrible punishment it was. But now I know that such room disorder is the sign of a truly ordered mind and I endure. As do most of my colleagues.

From whence surely came some work at U Arizona on steering lightning bolts with laser beams. [Link] The only problem with ths is that it is only academically new. I recall reading science fiction books on this as a teenager. And no credit given so far as I can tell. So much for academic integrity. 

That’s enough. Selah. I’m going to enjoy the not dripping for a few minutes.


Uncommon Maths

I still hate winter. Although last night was a bit less stressing. Perhaps acclimatization? Or trusting that the weather beavers were accurate in foretelling an abating? Anyway already some indication of that. So perhaps I can retrieve my mind.

On which azimuth I noted an article [Link] on Common Core maths. Something called the box method. It utilizes something called the “box” method that I have to admit to shaking my head at for quite a while. Then I realized that the “box” method was what I was already doing, but only by comparing it to their presentation of the classical method that I learned in elementary schule.

I have to admit that I use that classical method for many years until I got to college, became somewhat calculate – maths literate – and adopted a system called chunking that seems to be a more robust version of what these folks call the “box” method. I also have to admit that almost no one that I know uses chunking and those who do not cannot understand how it works and tell me when I try to explain it that it gives them headache.

I actuality first espied chunking when I had to use an abacus in a maths lab once. It’s fairly easy in that context. Also if one is used to doing Taylor expansions. Which is how I do roots of numbers. Also, roots of polynomials but that is even more esoteric.

Anyway, based on this, I can immediately see two problems with this approach to arithmetic. First, renaming the method distances the publoc educationalist apparat from the maths community. I suspect this was on purpose so that the educationalists wouldn’t have to answer for their evils. And secondly, I doubt that the method can be taught to the majority of primary schule educationalists much less that they can teach it to their charges. So a double – multiplied – probability of failure!

On the positive side, it seems that humans have a natural grasp of probability. [Link] But evidently it is only primitive peoples. Not those educated in Amerika. From my experience.