Survival Politics

After my sojourn at the Earth Fare, I had occasion to consider a discussion about the nature of Amerikan politics. I had the idea that the history of such is, at least in one major sense, a history of politicians so evil and nasty that the citizens of their state can only rid themselves of the pestilence by getting that politician elected Chief Executive. After all, this removes the individual from the state for at least four years and after that, with almost certainty (one exception), the individual will never hold public office again and their evil is neutralized.

I don’t think I need to offer examples, do I?

Fashion Statement

"Nothing says peasant like flip-flops."

Overheard from conversation of two of Huntsville’s fairest while grocery shopping at Earth Fare

Yes, I have to admit to overhearing this statement yesterday; I could not help doing so unless I covered my ears and departed the premises. This arrogant sharing and false demureness when confronted with it are symptoms of our modern age for some reason that I fail to grok in fullness. The conversation of the strapping red-necked fellow we encountered in MalWart last evening was less compelling, being nothing more than receiving selection instructions from his Ayesha. [1]

At one level I was rather taken that in a scant one-and-a-fraction generations the denizen of Huntsville, Nawth Alibam’s shining city on the hill had progressed in sophistication from "trailer trash" to "peasant" without losing any of the social caste distinctions that have always made the society of the lands of the old Confederacy a closet fascism/oligarchy. The position on the azimuth may have changed but not the azimuth itself.

At another, level I had to reflect on why I found the remark so compelling. Southron belles have always has a talent for sharp tongued mots, no doubt the result of running society from the seraglio, but this one had a temper and edge that hearkened back to an earlier day of foundation garments, tight white gloves, and useless, but highly decorative, hats. I had to recall that I had briefly had one pair of flip-flops in the freshman year at the campus of the Black Warrior. In those days we called them ‘shower shoes’ and that was why I had purchased them, to protect my feet from the sewage and ichor that seemingly could not be removed from the tile floor of the shower rooms. I soon discovered that grasping the post between great and first toe caused all manner of foot ailments and I had to discard the flip-flops for a strap sandal, this one with a much thicker sole.

My years of working in laboratories around all sorts of chemicals and other wonders of nature – like liquid nitrogen and electric fields – distanced me from sandals, or any form of unsturdy footwear, a proclivity that continues to this day. So I have to ask is there really some social distinction between those who wear absurdly inadequate footwear but refuse honest bareness, and those who wear functional footwear? Is this some symptom of the modern youthful attitude that work, especially if it entails discomfort or actual expenditure of energy and the generation of waste heat, is sacrilegious, or the province of the untouchable? Is this a negative fashion statement of those who expect, demand even, entitlement?

[1] For those unfamiliar with the literary reference, it refers to H. Rider Haggard’s novel of the same name, which is translated by him as "she who must be obeyed." This too is a commentary on human society and the bond of cooking that cements family.

Mind Consumption

Gaak! How quickly we make the transition from sweltering to shivering. One of my associates, Electric Displacement Magnetic Inductance, announced this morning at the gym entrance, as we awaited the key mistress, that winter had arrived. The response uttered to this was that a week’s worth of persistence of coolness at the appointed hour would be necessary to achieve statistical significance.

Anyway, the density of educationalists was up, it being a MWF, and the arrogant, strident, overloud voices could be heard all over the gym in conversations of measureless (as in zero measure) content and a complete incapacity not to be intruded upon by such. Another reminder that being an educationalist is not about educating the young but exercising power and authority over them. Sometimes it seems that all that is needed is a clipped mustache and a bent arm cross.

On which dour ground it seems somehow fitting that researchers at Duke U have conducted experiments that indicate consumerism is an ansatz for religion.[Link] That is, brand identification seems to be more pronounced among those sampled who did not profess deep religious belief. This raises the question of whether consumerism is religion or religion is consumerism? Both have as basic tenets abandonment of independence and submersion of self in a slavery to a collection of constraining and unresponsive conditions. No mention in the reportage of those who are neither religious nor brand ridden.

In a related matter, we have a report of a PEW survey that indicates that the more fundamental and evangelical one’s religious belief/organizational affiliation, the less one knows about religion.[Link] This is certainly in whelming agreement with what has been observed here in Nawth Alibam: the more strident and fascist the religionist, the less they know of their religion or anyone else’s. Which, of course, is entirely in keeping with the precept that all that matters is faith and nothing else, including being a good person.

On deliberation, isn’t the same operant of brand ridden bogs? Don’t they try untiringly to convince you that the branded products they pollute and corrupt themselves with are the best and only products that should be used by anyone? Once more we have to question just how much of religion is nothing more than mind altering chemicals produced by our own bodies?

On which note, I am off to Huntsville, Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, to purchase foodstuffs not offered for sale by the Greater Metropolitan Arab food emporium, aka MalWart. But that’s another type of religion, faith in medicalists. Which seems to fall into the category of the only game in town so it matter naught how crooked it is.

It’s All Organic

Yesterday was a resonance. I rather doubt that the air temperature here in Greater Metropolitan Arab reached 70 degF; it was a multi-dimensional, most emotional, counterpoint to the long HOT, as in HAWT!, summer that we have suffered for our addiction to consumerism and pollution. Why this morning I was almost chilled while waiting for the staff at gym to arrive and allow access to the facility; so much for the modern technology of magnetic key-cards and 24/365.25 access. But at least the density of users was reduced, it not being MWF, and especially the density of educationalists and weight bouncers.

The podcasts this morning were science, or what passes for them from the mediaists, although I can stretch and rationalize that the Science (periodical) podcast isn’t really a journalistic product since it is so deeply embedded in nerdery, but the other pieces were. One, a special (?) for ‘The World" folks dealt with electronics and managed to mention not why this was being done – it being the first appearance of such in the feed. As might be expected from an actual journalistic instrumentality, and particularly this one, it was short on nerdery and long on democrat politics such as social justice and a return to the good ole days of feudalism. But what caught my attention span was a segment on a over-priced, flimsy web camera whose manufacturer’s marketing publicist was yammering about their product’s alleged sustainability with the statement that "the camera is made from organic materials rather than plastics."

This rather grabbed up my consciousness and after a bit of using the part of my brain blogged about yesterday, the part that has to do with reflection, I formulated some hypotheses. First, there seems to be a need, under certain circumstances, to have a bridging category between bog and geek that we might call ‘technobog’. Second, it seems that the word ‘organic’ may serve as a discriminant, a factor of identification as it were, between geeks and technobogs, on the one hand, and nerds on the other.

To the former, ‘organic’ indicates some biological product that is alleged to be grown without benefit of pesticides, ‘artificial’ fertilizers, and anti-microbicidals. To the latter, ‘organic’ is fairly congruent with its use in chemistry as any molecule that contains carbon – with a few exceptions – and often, but not always, has a biological origin. Notable exceptions seem to include, carbides, diamond, graphite, and, maybe, Fullerenes, although there is some indication of a biological source of some of these.

Perhaps I should give as an example that to geeks and technobogs, humans, almost without exception, are not ‘organic’ but to nerds they are.

So now whenever you hear some neuro-void bragging about the foodstuffs they purchased at their ‘organic’ supermarket you will know what they are and what the person off a bit who is trying, and perhaps failing, to keep from rolling on the floor with laughter is.

Last evening being Monday, FD SCP encouraged me to sit and watch the 1700-1800 news on the electromagnetic acousto-optical receiver with her. This included both the local – as in of Huntsville, for Huntsville, for Huntsville – news and the national news. I was also enjoined not to through anything at the screen, as a matter of familial economy, and not to roll in the floor over something read by one of the news readers that indicated that some humans really are descended from simians.

Anyway, a great deal was made of the educationalist conference on-going up Nawth. I was underwhelmed with everything except the depths of belief that such activity will have any positive effect on education in Amerika. Research, the latest piece I have seen is this [Link] from U Notre Dame, consistently indicates that our organizational addictions will preclude us doing anything more than prevarication to improve the education of our young. Simply put we have too much inertia in everything from how people have to live their lives in modern society to how shuls have to be run to make any worthwhile changes.

But we may rest assured that the matter will be something of continuing utility as a source of complaints and commentary.

And while we’re on stupid things that we aren’t going to quit doing, I note a study from U North Texas that indicates that using cellular telephones in moving automobiles causes 16K discorporations per annum in the Yankee republic. [Link] My first thought was that this effort had to be accurate since it was performed by some academics from a college no one more than 100 km away from it had ever heard of (unless they are a football opponent.) And my second was what difference did it make since we aren’t going to prevent folks from using cellular telephones in moving automobiles any more than we are going to make changes to effectively educate our young.

But it does occur that the two may be related. After all the same folks who use cellular telephones while motoring are the ones who were educated by the current educationalist system, aren’t they? No inferring cause-and-effect, but there may be a correlation. And ignorance is sometimes awfully hard to distinguish from stupidity.

A Thought in Motion

Monday has returned and with it a considerably less warm start to the week. The expedition to Scant City this morning was considerably less pleasant. Too many people on the motorways moving at speeds considerably in excess of the posted limits, a decrease in the number of seniors at gym, always an ominous metric with people who sicken quickly and unsicken slowly, and the number of educationalists was up so the arrogance level was considerable; it even outpolluted the gym’s own propaganda blitz for noxiousness.

On nerdier ground however, research by mathematicians (?) at Case Western reserve U indicate that thoughts have inertia, or something akin to it. [Link] Seems that, based on a simulation, thoughts once started do not just wander off or die a heat death as we have always thought, but have to be turned off by counteracting neurons. And as a result, it takes more energy to turn off a thought than to continue it. So does this mean that seniors have more rambunctious counteracting neurons?

Since when do mathematicians dirty their minds and hands with simulations? Back when I was a student that was one of the distinctions between mathematicians, and scientists and engineers. Mathematicians didn’t touch computers; it was if they were somehow impure and polluting.

Speaking of polluting, researchers at U Maryland and Georgetown U have done a research that indicates advertising may backfire. [Link] As I understand the reportage, it seems that advertising makes people think about what is advertised. This is supposed to keep the product in their thoughts (absent counteracting neurons, presumably) and thus more likely to purchase the good or service when opportunity presents. Certainly this is the explanation offered for the increasingly interminable commercial interruptions in television programs, that product in mind equals cash flow.

Now it seems that there is a counteracting process. Seems that part of the thought process is to consider how the product or service will be used and whether that individual will benefit more or less than their vision of other humans. If they think their friends and enemies will get more good (use) from the product than they will, they are (supposedly) disinclined to purchase. So does this mean that celebrity endorsements actually have negative effect or do people really see them as worthless prostitutes who won’t use the product or service at all and hence provide a ground zero of comparison?

Speaking of celebrities, experiments at the LARGE Hadron Collider [1] indicate some form of entanglement in pairs of protons.[2][Link] Seems that they have observed some pairs of protons that are conserving some component of momentum after collision. That is, instead of a uniformly (?) random distribution of direction of motion after collision, in some pairs they are observing mirror image motion. Unexpected symmetry strikes again as the quantum pokes it head out of the foam and into human perception of reality.

Meanwhile, the Yankee government has been spending some – too little, I fear – of the tax recycle [3] well. Seems they made a pair of very accurate clocks that now allow them to measure relativistic differences over very short space-time scales. For example they can now tell the difference in tame rates for height differences of a third of a meter. And they found out that time flows slower at the bottom of the stairwell than at the top. So if you want to live longer become a troglodyte. Better yet, stay away from tall building, which are usually found in cities.

[1] Apologize – I know it’s not Punday but the cooling of my brain evoked the pun.Even if it is visual.
[2] In my student days we would have said a form of bonding.
[3] Since the Yankee government ‘makes’ the money in the first place, taxation is just a means of recycling what they made back into their own coffers. But the money bogs tend to lose sight of this for some reason, which is why, most assuredly, they are bogs.

In Nerd We Trust

It being Sundae, somehow it seems appropriate to consider a recent article in Scientific American dealing with measures of trust.[Link] The poll was conducted jointly by Scientific American and Nature periodicals, which is a bit of a strange joining. After all, Nature is one of the most conservative refereed journals around, the English analog to Science, and Scientific American is one of the liberal and unrefereed journals around. The only things they seem to share is a claimed interest in science and a demonstrated obsession with revenue.

The poll is also warped since it has a sample population that is pretty well skewed to readers of the two periodicals. Anyway, caveat emptor.

There are lots of nice graphics on the web site but I will only pin to one, which is sadly illegible even at magnification.

The range of the measure is [1,5] with a value of one being completely untrustworthy and a value of 5 is giving that individual full access to your passwords and the pins for your debit cards. Since we expect, if the sample was large enough that the responses would be approximated by a Gaussian, I am going to map the number onto [-4,4] so the the not-to-be-trusted scores are negative and the maybe-to-be-trusted scores are positive.

This gives the following scores

  • Scientists (the folks sorta comprising the sample population) = 2
    Friends/Relatives/NGOs = 0.2
    "Citizen groups" = -0.6
    Journalists and Mediasts = -0.8
    Corporations = -2.4
    Politicians = -2.5
    Ministers, Rabbis, Priests, Imams = -2.9

which basically says that anyone who cares about us trusting them, isn’t. Must be some scientific equivalent of Heller’s Catch-22? Except maybe for mothers?

But the thing that confuses me is that the measure (adjusted) for the respondents trusting in the Theory of Evolution is 2.6 while the (adjusted) trust in the big bang is 2. Could this indicate that a preponderance of the sample population were not only scientists *and science geeks) but biologists as well? Remember the content of Nature.

And the reason that political office holders force the shuls to teach non-science is because they don;t like being untrusted and are getting even with the public and scientists?

Zombie Sundae

Once more to the Sundae, and in this instance a cold front has entered, stage left, and is condensing water out of the air into rain. Spent much of yesterday running about on errands, so there is all sorts of tabs sitting about in the browsers to make little of.

First, researchers at U College London have indication that cognition is brain exercise. [Link] Put in boggish terms, there is a region of the human brain that is associated with a particular form of cognition known as reflection, which is the consideration of what has been experienced. They now have evidence that the more an individual reflects, thinks and learns about previous experiences, the larger this region of the brain becomes. Another piece of evidence of the difference between nerds and bogs, evidently.

But we can hypothesize that the bogs compensate for not thinking, perhaps even remembering, what has previously been experienced by having a larger gastro-intestinal tract. After all, the choice is a big brain or a big gut, isn’t it?

Next, we have research [Link] from Cornell U on why folks who use their cellular telephones are such adamantine rectal pains.[1] Seems that hearing a one sided conversation, which the human brain cannot forecast well, is an attention span sink of infinite depth. Two thoughts immediately emerge here. One is that the official government thieves officials should take action immediately to suppress cellular telephone operation in regions of danger to humans, such as inside automobiles that are under power. The other is that the same officials should enact legislation legalizing either individual cellular telephone suppressors or open season on shmendrick cellular telephone users. In fact, if the latter, a bounty should be paid for the carcass, especially if reproduction has not yet occurred and the stupidity has been removed from the gene pool.

Next, we have a poll from the PEW folks about why members of a sample population don;t use the internet. [Link] It seems that 0.21 of the sample population do not use the internet, and 0.31 of these gave their reason as a lack of interest. As one of my colleagues, Magnetic Induction Force, pointed out to me when he sent the citation, there is a certain boggish stupidity in claiming one has no interest in something one has no experience of. I was able however, to find statistics to indicate that this is about the same fraction of humanity who has difficulty doing two things at once, such as walking and breathing.

This article [Link] indicates two things that I had already suspected. First, the Yankee government is dedicated to assuring the on-going and deepening ignorance and stupidity of the citizenry. This was made evident by a gag order on a pair of public spirited syntacticians who pointed out grammar and spelling inaccuracies to that same instrumentality. The second, is that Amerikan citizenry, in the main, is perfectly content with its mental slavery. One cannot help wondering how far away we are from Swift’s solution and Soylent Green?

Next, some Italian astronomers have actually found something productive, as opposed to voyeuristic, that one may do with Gooey Tellus. [Link] They used the web toy to find meteorite strikes in the Egyptian desert and then went and confirmed them, demonstrating for once that Gooey is not just facade and prevarication. To say nothing of misdirection?

[1] Yes, that is a new category of rectal pain. Previously we have had acute rectal pains, and chronic rectal pains, But now we have a term for those rectal pains that are acute, chronic, and insufferable.