Which Kind of Electrons?

The great stressor looms. Today is the last day of week out and then we enter the week of the worst stress of the year. Not good. And then winter sets in for real.

I feel old.

On which azimuth, my colleague Mass Momentum, posted this article [Link] on the FaceScroll. It is a fairly balanced (?) discussion of the grrr brrr about electronics versus pen/paper/books for note taking and learning. Its chief advantage to me was to offer some new perspectives on the problem. Happily these perspectives tend to support the hypothesis I have been developing for some months.

My concern is a bit larger than what is portrayed in these articles. My concern is about learning and composition. To me learning means not only what I get out of "books" – information sources – but also research, and composition includes note-taking but also report writing and the like.

We humans are visual folks. Comes of being hunter-gatherers for mega-years. We are not ASCII people. When we dream we don’t see written pages. All right, sometimes when I dream I do see written pages, or printed pages, but they are memories not mind constructed things. When we dream we mostly see images, maybe with sound and smell but definitely with images. This is the rationalization for video instruction.

The problem is that the computer/slab screen has too low resolution. That’s why the race to what is called a retina display. One to one mapping of screen pixel to eye sensor.

My hypothesis is that composition is all about mindfulness. That is, awareness. The opposite of this is called mindlessness – unawareness, if you will. I picked the names because I read a bunch of article about the benefits of mindfulness that screamed "STERCUS!" because it wasn’t balanced in terms of the down side of mindfulness and the benefits of mindlessness. There are some things that we cannot do if we are mindful of them but perform easily if we are mindless of them. This is patently obvious to most people so if you don’t get it, get assistance.

Anyway, the hypothesis is that for composition to work we have to be mindful of what we are writing (thinking) but mindless of the writing. Note that writing has two components here, one is the expression of the information of our thinking in ASCII (or diagrams or symbols…) and the other is the generation of a physical representation of the information – characters on paper, e.g. So we have to be mindful of the first but mindless of the second. Yes, I know that is simple but it’s still an hypothesis.

This reduces learning/note taking to two considerations:

  1. You can’t draw diagrams or maths with a keyboard; and
  2. You can’t be mindless of key presses.

Both of these are conditionals. The first is admittedly false but only for drawing programs unsuited for the ASCII component of note-taking. The second may be true for everyone but professional typists and/or GEN Ys. More work is needed on this. Film at Eleven.

How Long?

Into week out. A day closer to surviving this holiday season. Each year I vow to go off on a trip and hide from all of this stress, never actuating, perhaps because I know the stress is internal and I will drag it along with me.

Speaking of dragging along, the news services have finally (several months!) caught up with the work at the Gawjah Institut of Technology of how long it takes a mammal to urinate. [Link] I forget when I first ran across this work but it set off a spate of micturation logging. The reports I have seen have not included human data but I suspect we are skewed to the long side from social pressure. For some reasons we humans consider too frequent micturation to be some sort of stigma.

Which is doubly difficult if one is an introvert.

I have a habit of reflecting on my memorable micturations when I review this. In particular the urination when first I arrived on the campus of the Black Warrior. Part of it was the long car trip with my father steadfastly refusing any intermission in the motoring and the second was my first trough urinal. The U was in the midst of modernizing and eliminating such but I had the good fortune to experience it before it became a Smithsonian thing. And I began to learn about the social aspects of motoring and micturation. Or perhaps I should say "or"?

FD SCP and I have a social engagement this evening and it has given me some quandry on my dihydrogen oxide intake. I have a fairly regular schedule. Plastic enough for day trips but it has been quite a while since we had an evening do and it presents subtle challenges to my scheduling. Ah! The joys of age and intro.

Film at Eleven.

Can’t Do Algebra

Sag. That’s how I feel this morning. Slept passably last night and long and then arose to a bit of stationary bicycling. Which is amusing to say since it is the strongest form of stochastic process, one that is essentially deterministic. In the maths sense, not the religious. There is a bit of uncertainty whether I am actually going to discipline myself to get on the bicycle and stay there.

This has been a soresome week. Too much to do, to little relief of stress over it. Just unrelenting to-do each morning. And two of the days with the high possibility of dire tidings. And next week bodes to be more of the same. And then winter is in full bloom. I do dislike both of the seasons, holiday and winter.

But getting back to blogging a bit, I ran across an article [Link] about a study out in the land of Golden Earthquakes about how making high schule students who flunked algebra repeat had – effective – zero effect. It has the disadvantage – nastiness, actually – of being cloaked a bit in social mumbo-jumbo (is that term racist? I f so, I haven’t been informed.) but what it actually says is that some humans just can’t do maths.

Yes, Mrs. and Mr. Smith, Johnny (Jane – gender renormalization) is mentally deficient and can never be a real human because he (she) can’t get maths beyond finger counting. At least in the instrumentality of contemporary education. Maybe with the help of a tutor who really knows maths and isn’t just parroting the syllabus written by a book company and religionist fanatics, but still probably not. Because – simply – some humans are deficient.

In fact, all humans are deficient. Fact of Life. Accept it and get constructive. Or take euthanasia. That Johnny/Jane can’t even be calculate doesn’t mean that they don’t have other skills that other humans lack. Besides, Johnny/Jane will have no problem fitting in. They just have to live in a community where the adults are perpetually telling the children they won’t even use algebra after high schule and those communities are the mode in Amerika. No they can never be STEM, except maybe a simple sort of biologist or a technician who can operate by finger counting but there are lots of other things they can do in our society. And some of them actually pay better. Because STEMs are generally underpaid.

But that isn’t something the public schule educationalist instrumentality will ever utter. Because then they might actually be held accountable and have to teach.

Of course there are lot of educationalists who want to teach. All of them claim to, so a bit of prevarication filtering is necessary. But they don’t, because that’s not what they get paid to do. And generally aren’t permitted to by the management.

So don’t take it so bad that Johnny/Jane can’t do algebra.

Cinema of Nonsense

Lots of grrr brrr over the Sony hack and the movie theater chains punching out.

First, the hack may be news but it’s more-of-the-same. Computer security in the Yankee republic is a joke. If we’re going to get upset about a hack, get upset about Target, not Sony.

Second, I hear that we have lost this cyberwar. Good! We lost a war over a movie? And not a very good one from what I have seen. So don’t cry over bombs in the sand. But do learn and improve so we can win the next. Russel Weigley told us all about it. It’s an American thing. Let’s make sure we keep it.

Brave New Buying?

Survived two successive days of dental attention. Maybe. It never ceases to astonish me how after thousands of years we humans still communicate so poorly. And with such effort. But somehow our social programming seems to get in the way.

I was thinking this morning about the merchant suggestion conspiracy. Back when on-line merchants, like Amazing, started keeping detailed records of our purchases and used that to make suggestions of other stuff to buy, a lot of folks freaked out. My reflection was that yes, all those folks do it, but they do it SO poorly. Even worse than our communication.

I have been keeping score. I get several emails each day from Amazon suggesting stuff to me. It is at least three nines (0.999) inaccurate. If I factor in things I had already thought of before they suggested them, it comes closer to four! So from my perspective Big Brother is failing seriously in this regard. Not that such isn’t also dangerous but that’s another azimuth.