One of the joys of living in Greater Metropolitan Arab is that occasionally the local government does something so egregious that it makes you appreciate how well the Alibam goverment and especially the Yankee government works.

This is one of those times.

The Greater Metropolitan Arab government has been installing a stop light on mian street to let them not use a constable to direct traffic at an intersection near one of the local public shuls. This project has taken over a week and today has reached what we hope is a creshendo by totally blocking off the road.

Now this is not a minor road; this is the main street in town, and no detours are marked orwarning provided other than barricades to close off the road.

This project has been handled in such a way as to bring tears of joy to the transportation directors of any good Fascist or Communist dictatorship. For a supposedly democracy it is an embarassment and a shame.

Keep up the good work city fathers!

Mating Rituals

Ran across this cartoon [Link] this morning,

and have to respectfully take exception.

First of all this is how almost all nerds try to interest the opposite gender in college. The exception are those who have been out in the world enough, in my day a rough tour in ‘Nam, to become bog socialized. The thing that is different about the wonk shul from (most) other colleges is that there are lots (relatively) of female nerds there.

To the average bog, this method looks like it flat won’t work. Experience indicates however, that it works about as often with female nerds as regular bog approaches do with female bogs. [1] So if the population of male and female nerds is about equal, the probability of this nerd approach being successful is considerably more than if male nerds outnumber female nerds 10:1 (or more!) And that is the situation at most colleges, at least when I was an undergraduate.[2] But for someone who is not a nerd and hence analytical, the approach might be misperceived to be valid at the wonk shul when actually it is the demographics that makes it work there more obviously than everywhere else.

One more reason to be calculate!

[1] It may also hold with females approaching males but my experience with this is very limited so I can not make any meaningful observations other than to note that females are considerably, in the mean, more subtle than males. I had a colleague in undergraduate shul whose approach was very direct, of the order of “Hey woman, wanna have sex?” Now recognizing that this was the second half of the ’60’s, I have to advance that his success fraction was statistically indistinguishable from the union of all approaches.

[2] All this changes in graduate shul. By that point everyone in graduate shul is either a nerd or a geek and approaches are largely irrelevant since all that matters is survival. Casual sex is recreational – cheaper than a movie – or a means to share expenses.

Sez who what?

I have to also make note of the pronouncements by the current administration’s secretary of state, the former but one First Lady, [Link]

“a new information curtain is descending across much of the world,”

referring to China’s internet censorship.

Two thoughts immediately arise over this. First, is this the same woman who had no idea what Firefox is less than a year ago? And didn’t Gooey say all of this better and earlier? Which begs the derivative question of why a major Yankee government department is acting as shill for a corporation? Isn’t this a democrat administration? We expect that sort of prostitution in a republican administration but this ill suits the aristocratic elitism of social engineering.

Of course in all fairness, it is not at all clear that the former governor of Alaska, who is the actual jealousy motivation of this pronouncement, knows what Firefox is either. After all, that politician managed to get an email account hijacked. Duhh!

The question the arises when are we going to get government officials, at the national level at least, local and state are clearly impossible, who are computate as well as marginally literate – if not calculate or sciencate?

The second question that arises is whether China’s censorship is really all that worse than the repressive Intellectual Property laws here in the Yankee republic? Denial of use of information is the same it would seem regardless of whether its rationale is ideological or avaricious.

Now, This?

Sunday once more, the heavens have been open all morning in the delivery of dihydrogen oxide droplets, spiced occasionally with a bit of electron flow and accompanying acoustic fireworks, and it seems a day, or at least, a morning, to keep one’s corpus warm and dry and one’s mind occupied.

In reviewing the lees of the week’s feeds I first note a bit in that the Alibam council of thieves legislature has made mandatory physical exercise for children enrolled in grades K-8. [Link] The reportage indicates that such has been mandatory for some time but this particular piece of legislation shuts off loopholes of exemption. Given my recent blot on the mental scarring caused by most coaches and teachers of physical education, [Link] I cannot help but take note of this example of legislative stupidity. At least I presume it is simple stupidity rather than the usual personal greed that motivates our elected representatives here in Alibam as I have been as yet unable to perceive how in particular they may increase their wealth by this enactment.

I understand the facade of obesity but fear, as is so often the situation with congress critters, that the end state will be the opposite of what is publicized. Given the negativity of physical educationists and its long term negative impact on the citizenry, we must consider whether such is the actual intent of this legislation? Is it the intent of these legislators to alienate the present generation further away from exercise? if so, the avaricial aspect is easily seen since the producers of junk food are the ones to profit and thus the legislators may be reaping bribes and grants and donatives from the producers of energy drinks and pork rinds.

I also forsee a further degradation of our already decrepit educational system, ravaged and consumed more by the Yankee government’s Every Child Left Behind than it could have been by the tender ministrations of William Tecumseh Sherman. If those who have difficulty with the gladiatorial games of public shul physical education, either mental or physical, are not permitted exemption from such tortures then the only recourse is either special classes or parental litigation under the terms of the Yankee government’s laws dealing with discrimination and disability. And both of these will add further economic burden to the educational system.

How deep these additional taxes will cut is impossible for the observer to estimate. While educational establishments since Sokrates have decried inadequate funding, the volume and stridency of these cries have reached such a volume as to completely drown out any perception that education is ongoing. Instead, it seems that our shuls have become fund raising charities exceeded in annoyance only by oriental religionists who used to frequent western airports. I expect any day to see members of the educationalist apparat with shaved head and orange attire – and not a jumpsuit although that might be more appropriate given the crime of how children are educated these days – stopping automobiles and demanding money or else entries on children’s permanent records.

It is scant wonder that Alibam is a third world entity if this is what we inflict upon ourselves.

Painting Rocks

I fear it is time to paint rocks and generally police the browser. Several articles of note have accumulated that have not quite crystallized into maturity of thought but the load time each morning has gotten too burdensome especially as we approach the weekend – with rain – and must suffer the slings and arrows of the ISP’s weather bandwidth inadequacies. Or whatever it is that shuts down service on weekends, especially Sunday mornings.

The first article is one in National Geographic [Link] – no mammaries in sight and hence possibly suitable for work unless you work in one of those organizations that is mystically fanatic and doesn’t condone associates thinking about evolution. The gist is that a recent (?) discovery at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov indicates that the spatial and social ordering implicit in sedentaryness, which up till now we though invented near the end of the last cold phase, was actually invented by Homo Erectus 0.75 MYA. That means that what we thought of as a recent (~15-10 KYA) human social invention has actually been around for much longer and likely as not its emergence then was more a factor of circumstances permitting it than any actual invention.

More crucially it would seem that civilization is part of our make up as humans. So much for the back-to-Nature bunch. Not that I do not enjoy an occasional hike through the woods – but not in summer when the sticker bushes and vines are in full sting, which puts the lie to the 15th Alibam’s march on Little Round Top – or the like, but going back to being a hunter-gatherer. No thank you. I have enough excretory problems as is.

On a related (?) note the folks at the Yankee government’s DARPA are warning of the extinction of the American nerd (another case of the media not understanding the difference between geeks and nerds.) [Link] I would take this a bit more seriously if the pronouncement of doom were not coming from an organization who has an absolutely consistent track record of failure. Their current propagandized success story is more a matter of the Yankee government’s imitation of Soviet era centralism – a somewhat natural characteristic of war aftermath – and elimination of the labs that actually did stuff. Of course the good side of this is that it makes NASA look good. After all NASA only spend 0.5 of its budget on publicity; DARPA seems to spend more and accomplishes less accordingly. But they do brag and arrogant well.

I have come to suspect that the reason so few are studying nerd subjects is because they require so much individual hard work. Being a scientist is not social – unless you are a social scientist – and I will not get into the morass of whether social science is science or not – and therefore interferes with texting and tweeting and what like. It also involves maths which are fundamentally individual and not a group incompetence thing. Which is were the evolution thing comes in.

With the news that the New Yawk Times is going to start charging for on-line access next year, I note an article from Columbia Journalism Review [Link] dealing with how many people will pay for news on-line. As is known to those rare few who actually frequent this blog, this is a matter of interest here, mostly because, as is appropriate for blogging, I am unsure of what my own opinions are. If I were it would not be recurring except to denigrate fools and idiots – people who disagree with me, in the main.

I am cogitating whether I would pay for NYT access. It is already a pain to have to log on those few times, a couple a week, that I visit their WS. And most of those are pointers from eNewsletter, usually the one from American Scientist, which VERY definitely ain’t of the depravity and degradation of Scientific American. But this places me in the situation that if Sigma Xi, the parent of AS, continues to cite NYT articles after they institute paywall, of deciding to discontinue paying attention to Sigma Xi. Not that they don’t have a very low pony to pile ratio as is, but what pony they do have is very good pony.

Somewhat more toothsome, is an indication of the ingestion of Omega 3 fatty acids and the conservation/preservation of telomeres. [Link] Like most folks who have cardiac infirmities I have to swallow acetylsalicitic acid and omega 3 pills every day, and the latter are more the size of suppositories than pills. Not that I mind that, I actually have more problems with the little pills getting lost in my mouth rather than going down the esophagus than getting big pills down. And while the old saw about correlation not being causation is accurate, we have to recall that physicians and biologists are the least maths aware nerds there are. In fact, they usually have to hire mathematicians to do things they should have learned as sophomores but somehow lack, for whatever reason. Hence we can expect that a lot of physicians may tell us another ‘reason’ for taking these fish pills.

And lastly, from the campus of the Boneyard, comes some research that indicates driving compromises the ability the process language. [Link] This is not quite in the oh-yeah class of academic research that merely confirms what rational observant folks have known but didn’t have a handout from the Yankee government to write up. Anyway, it confirms why we don;t drive well when the automobile is full of yakking folks – especially shul bus drivers! – and why any use of cellular phones should be forbidden by some method other than the irresolute whim of the constabulary. IOW, let us muzzle the kids on the buses and put cellular suppressors in all automobiles!

Ain’t it nice when science supports you individual convictions! ALmost like the warm and fuzzy satisfaction of superstition.

Message to Muntgum

This is not 1861. Do not entertain deluded visions of frock coats, tall hats, and standing foolishly arrogant on that bronze marker on the front porch of the capitol building, of decking out the Alibam Defense Force in butternut BDUs.

The days when first loyalty of the citizen was to state have been dust for years now.

Given the necessity of choosing between the bureaucratic cancer of political insanity that is the Yankee government and the corporate cancer of political greed that is the Alibam government, the latter shall not prevail.

Do not display you incompetence in such a blatant and sadistic fashion. Threats are no way to accomplish improvement in any but the more simian of humans.