Rampant Curses

Prelude

Nice day so far. I do tire a bit of this oscillation between what I think of as ‘cool’ and ‘warm’, realizing that such is completely subjective and a hold over of childhood susceptibility to bog programming. Falls into the same category as holding doors open for humans of the female persuasion which I rationalize as mommy programming to alleviate my guilt over sexism. This is one of the true curses of being old when you are stuck in the habits of mores past that have become anathema in mores present.

In the Old Confederacy

One of my Colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, and I were discussing the behavior wonkies of Nawth Alibam/Southron bogs and we came up with a epiphanal hypothesis that the primary religion of the old confederacy is football christianism. Film at 11.

Shards of Clovis

Tuesday being science podcast day I listened to the latest episode of the SCIENCE podcast, among others, and was thrilled with an excruciating error on the part of the hired mediaist doing the podcast. It speaks volumes that actual knowledgeable nerds are not called upon for the podcast except the actual researchers being interviewed and that an error of this magnitude could be perpetrated. Shows how degenerate SCIENCE has become, why this is more akin to something coming from Scientific American. The hideous error? The journalist referred to the "Clovis civilization"! Embarrassment all around! Are these the lost cities of gold as well?

The egregiousness is that the Clovis folk, heretofore thought by archaeologists to have been the first folk in the Americas, had a culture and one or more societies, but no civilization. No cities, no civilization. To use the venerable words of Andy Griffith, ‘she done stepped in something", that something being a science cow flop.

The matter being discussed, [Link] also covered in this article, [Link] was the validation of a projectile point in the remains of a mammoth isotope dated to almost a kiloyear prior to Clovis. In fact, the PP was itself made of mammoth bone, indicating some sort of recursion, although not the type of idea used by anthropologists or easily explainable to mediaists.

New Forms of Denial

Lastly, I found an article in the Economist, [Link] which makes it at least as suspect as one of those gossip newspapers sold at grocery store queue stations about the denial of climate change. Apparently a large part of the effort is to impeach data taken prior to any living observer. Thomas Boyle would certainly understand this argument but I rather doubt he would accredit it. Despite this, and some analytical legerdemain, it appears that the magnitude of the thermal trend is not impeachable, which would indicate that the citizens of Texas should consider as a fitting fate for their current chief executive on ground of gross irreality and bottomless (?) stupidity.

Let us get past the cause and figure out how to do something about the effect before we start killing each other over food and living space.

Mundae Moans

Natter Stuff

Into the week in. The weather beavers are foretelling a warming period and this morning was more clement than the weekend. The gym was a bit denser than last week but still few educationalists despite the resessioning. The podcast was an episode of CBC’s "Best of Ideas" that was the second segment on what it means to be a mohammedan in the west. I shut the recording down after 40+ minutes, unmoved from the hypothesis that any evangelical religionist is evil. But I was offered up the additional hypothesis that there are no moderate religionists, so the time-bandwidth expended was not without some benefit.

Open Message to Repulsians

Much of what I observed on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver was about the Repulsian debates. The first thought in reviewing this information is that the absence of a Demoracrat debate is the first good thing that can be said about the present administration in some little time. It does occur however, that if that administration is not to be extended for another quadannum, then it will be necessary for the Repulsians to attract moderates to their ballot. Sadly, based on what I have seen of the candidates for candidate so far, the wisest strategy is to establish plausible deniability. That is, to boycott the choices offered by the political parties by not voting. None of the candidates for candidate have displayed any reasonable modicum of technical intelligence although the debates have been replete with self-service, unfettered ambition, and much blatant stupidity.

Book Binding

I noticed in WIRED [Link] an article on ‘Nine Essential Geek Books to Read Instantly’, at least connotatively. I perused the list, and is my weakness with lists made by others (sometimes even myself,) I am want to comment. So I shall

  1. Gary Gygax, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979. Geeky, yes, but essential, maybe. I am not sure what is to be learned from this tome. Game manuals are rather like law books, a collection of poorly composed laws generally in such a fashion as to admit the greatest amount of interpretative leeway and disagreement possible. This one appeals to a Geek penchant for not treating fantasy as fiction. I played wargames in my younger days but for a combination of recreation and analysis. Much of our combat success in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the demise of the former Soviet Union was a byproduct. The WRG Modern Combat rules are much more instructive for nerds, especially if you decompose the tables.
  2. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 1979. This one is on the border between Bog and Geek fiction, and bad fiction at that. It’s rather a failure of what what Terry Pratchett succeeds at by actually not pretending to have any science embedded.
  3. Alan Moore, Watchmen, 1986 to 1987. Never read this one. If it’s as bad as the movie I saved some time. Superheroes are very geeky inasmuch as they can’t always do a good job of separating science from fantasy. Do not get me wrong, superhero tales are fine when it is apparent they are fantasy and hopefully humorous, or, at least, tongue-in-cheek, but not dystopian.
  4. Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, 1979. This book is very popular among the pseudo-scientific disciplines that can’t do maths well. Stick to James Burke or someone real like Max Jammer.
  5. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game, 1985. Fair science fiction. Overdone as a mentally oppressive series of which this is the cornerstone. The kindest thing to be said is that at least it isn’t John Ringo.
  6. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, 1992. Tried to read this one. Gave up as a waste of lifespan.
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954 to 1955. I have discussed previously. This is again for the geeks who can’t tell that fantasy is fiction. Stick with Heinlein.
  8. Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 1992. Another can’t tell something is fiction. What is here is good but it doesn’t tell you that if you can use this information, you won’t because the metaphor is dominated by PowerPoint and its clones. The information is valid but only practicable prior to the Great Patriotic War.
  9. William Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984. Fair, at best. Its a cult classic among computer geeks but it is science fiction in the same sense that any discipline that says its a science is.

Over all, I don’t sense any immediacy here. If anything, WIRED has once more broadcast their irrelevancy to anyone who isn’t neurotic about celebrities.

Free in Life

We come once more to the sag of week out. Yesterday was a bit odd as FD SCP and I continued to explore a week out gallop to try and prevent the creaks from setting in. So much of yesterday was spent being boggish. In general a success except that the quest for the Italian ham sandwich of undergraduate days was spurned when the Pasquale’s we entered turned out to only be doing buffet at the luncheon period. Anyway, the weather is supposed to be warming although this morning’s difference was minor; overall, no frost either yesterday or today that I could observe as I spread seed for the dinosaur descendants and their ascendants. The weather beavers have miscarried again!

In keeping with our theme of proper disrespect for false authority, we have a bit of treat this morning. Somehow, I am unsure of the source, I received a most distressing link [Link] to a video of a scattering event. One of the particles is an iPhone 4S and the other is a 12.7 mm round and the collision is fulfilling.

That’s one set of mind chains that won’t shackle a human!

Next, a piece [Link] on the extinction of cognition. Overall a poorly done piece but it does raise the question of whether bogs are creative or not? ANd I am not talking about success in using a Xerox machine or a MegaStone client or even following a recipe. Those are at best craft. Rather, can we expect some act of actual originality from a bog untainted by any substantial fraction of nerd/geek?

If we look at modern lives, of brief awake home occupancy period and the majority of time spent in the workplace, to or from the workplace in transport, or doing consumerish activities varying from maintaining ‘life’ to frivolous destruction of Tellus and its ecosystem, then we find little time or effort on matters creative. Slack time is spent in vacuous activities such as watching athletic or fictional ‘entertainment’ on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver, perhaps in actual physical activity at gym but again being entertained or mind blanked, not in even the mundane pseudo-creativity of craft that our parents (or grandparents, depending on age cohort) practiced. Even nominally creative activities such as art compositions, are performed in the organized vacuity of a class. No, creativity is rare and perhaps rightly so. The bogs serve a righteous role as graphite moderators in the nuclear reactor of human society. They are not there to generate creations, only to absorb some so that only the best percolate.

Of course, we could take the idea that if a bog is creative then they can’t be a bog – they have to be a geek or nerd. Sounds like the road to slavery.

Science Pseudo-Journalism

OK, into the prime of week out and Saturday is well launched. I managed to rise from my aged slumber, perform ablutions, engage the podcast accumulator, and exit Castellum SCP to spread seed for the remnant descendants of the dinosaurs and their heirs by dint of extinction meteorite. Nothing seems to fulfill this blatantly improbable tale more than watching a confrontation between a crow and a squirrel. The crow is 3-4 times the volume of the squirrel, half again the stature even if the squirrel rears back only on hind legs, and surely  a bit more mass. But when the staring occurs, unless the squirrel is outnumber 3:1, squirrel wins consistently. No wonder some bogs think mammals are the chosen of the deity.

Anyway, having returned from acquiring short breads for the maternal parent, I can now turn my attention to more alleviation of tabs. First, is a lovely article by a Scientific American journalist about what a shmegegi another journalist at the Atlantic (magazine, not ocean!) is about his description of physics. [Link] Talk about one cooking vessel communicating another on absence of albedo! I have to hope that this is an indication that Scientific American has paid some attention to its critics, including in minor detail SCP, about sacrificing scientific accuracy and reader challenge on the altars of socio-political correctness and catering to slime mold level mental habits. I fear that any return to the thrilling days of yesteryear when SA was the paragon of public science communication, challenging adults and children to comprehend science in greater detail than any other amateur source is going to be stillborn. Simply put, Amerikan boggery is largely hopeless until they are once more reduced to serfdom.

Next, over at SEED (magazine) where they posture a lot but produce a lot less so that while SA sometimes is on the maybe-subscribe list, SEED never gets close, they have an article taking off on Feynman’s one-statement-for-after-the-apocalypse. [Link] Now, coming from Feynman, this is supposed to be something simply stated that serves as a watchword for jump starting science after the collapse of civilization. Inherently, this also has to have a social dimension to it because humans, after all, are social, that is, organized and organizational, animals.

Well, most of the statements gathered were pretty good and held quite a bit of nerdish goodness, except for the last,

“Knowledge is a public good and increases in value as the number of people possessing it increases.” —John Wilbanks is vice president of science at Creative Commons,

which holds absolutely no scientific content and is a sad embarrassment to Creative Commons. It tempts one all too much to dismiss the organization as the creation of an attorney. But rather than be dismissive, we have to recall that creative commons is about law and the slavery of humans, not per se science. So the sadness is once more pointed at the SEED folks for violating their own rules, which seems to be the paean of journalists in the modern age.

And lastly, from Ars Technica [Link] comes a report that the medicalists advise that wee bairns not be exposed to television programming. It rots their brains, among other things.

Given the widespread introduction of television after the Great Patriotic War, this undoubtedly explains the profusion of bogs and the dearth of nerds in modern society.

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Into the Box

I do not usually make political comments. I am not now. I am making a comment about human nature.

One of the Repulsian candidates for cheif executive candidate has proposed a change to a national sales tax of 0.09. This would combine with existing lower level government sales taxes for a total of ~ 0.15 to 0.2.

At this level of unstated taxation, register shock will be severe, resulting in renigs and a general downturn in ‘optional’ purchases. In effect, the current depression (no ‘r’ word here!) will be deepened and extended in duration.

Incidentally at the risk of being consiratorial or even cabalistic, has anyone noted that ‘999’ is the flip of ‘666’?