Bad Writing

Strange morning. First of all the gym was strangely populated. I suspect this reflects this being the lass week before schule resessions. And the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” was decidedly strange. First, I had to cycle through three episodes because the first two were repeats. Not sure how they got into the folder but they did. And the third was a lecture on journalism. All I can say about it is that I came to the realizations that:

Journalists act like they create stories; they don’t; all they do is ‘write” them.

And I ran across an article [Link] that is rather poor journalism. It doesn’t even tell me where the work was done although there is a link to the journal. 

Anyway, the article advances that children raised in religionist homes have difficulty telling real from imaginary. And when challenged they use their religionist beliefs to justify their delusions. 

What makes this such a neat article is that while we all – except maybe the deluded religionists? – that this is the situation and a common one at that, the academic officializing actually makes this something that can be discussed. Usually we accept that most religionists are deluded and going to do and say whackadoodle things but we never say anything about them because they usually resort to some form of violence when we do.

But now there is some hope of having a rational, perhaps even peaceful, discussion when this occurs and get these people to quit persecuting everyone else.

And if we can make that happen then there is hope we can persuade the journalists to do better as well,

No Mechanical Ability

End of week out. Precipitation coming – my teeth tell me so if the weather beavers didn’t. Less pleasant in park this morning but not in the bad pile either. It being ice cream day I need to clear some tabs so the latest series will have to wait a bit.

Ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it struck home because I had a bit of a debacle this week with the television provider. They sent out new interface box and their instructions failed miserably. I spent six hours trying to do what should have taken one and still failed. And FD SCP had to schedule a technician visit. I hate corporations that can’t give accurate directions.

A somewhat parallel outlook was held by FD SCP on this, who holds that I am generally unable to use tools, which I agree with so long as it doesn’t embarrass. Anyway, this cartoon: [Link]

conveys that with the wonder of why the lack of ability would be gladdening?

Selah. For now.

Although I am a pretty fair Applied Theoretician. 


I have tried to read economics books. The usual result is somewhere in the first third of the book I throw it to the floor, stomp on it, and take it to the used book store for credit. The problem is always maths.

Consider the following. Drag force ~ – (coefficient) * velocity^exponent where exponent is usually on [1,2]. In classical, Newtonian mechanics, the one-dimensional problem can be solved analytically but the two- and three-dimensional problems cannot.

Economics practice is equivalent to using the one-dimensional solution in the three-dimensional world just “because it’s soluble.”


Simple Models

Gad! Rather a hectic day yesterday but today seems to be starting better. No precipitation but a mediumness of fog. At least, I think the extinction coefficient through the clumps was one per kilometer or more.

I find I have a bit of catching up to do so I shall start with a cartoon: [Link]

that struck me as rather strangely relevant. FD SCP and I still subscribe to a "paper" newspaper, the Arab Tribune, [Link] which is delivered by the Yankee government postal service on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is not really a newspaper, more of a gossip sheet. But we gave up on the Huntsville Times back when they couldn’t maintain reliable delivery.

And yes, I do get all sorts of information on the internet via a couple of different services and RSS feeds. But the primary reason I purchase the paper is that I won’t pay for an electronic newspaper. Not sure why, but I won’t. Perhaps it violates my mind model of the internet. The internet is supposed to be egalitarian; information is supposed to be free, whatever that means. But for me it means you provide me with material product or no pictures of dead Yankee politicians (and Andrew Jackson, of course.)

I suspect there is another reason. I doubt I would read the Tribune on-line. I read it now to get that task done. It takes me about ten minutes for ten (at most) pages. The reductionist would say one minute per page but I don’t read it all. Maybe a few news articles and advertisements but no sports and gossip. Unless FD SCP tells me to on the latter. But no sports. Which gets to why I won’t read it on-line. Once on line the gibble is going to increase and I won’t want to mostly pay for such. Maybe with a cafeteria system where I can pay for what I want which isn’t the gossip and the sports.

But what makes this strange is the question the kid asks. Not the asking part but the telling part. What kind of bairn is interested in news? I certainly wasn’t at that age and I don’t think my friends were. Nor was my daughter interested in news. I’m not sure she is not. Happily we haven’t ever suffered from that social activist mind rot thing.

The other cartoon: [Link]

that came to my attention did so because it is so deliciously mixed. It conveys the primary problem of communications between bogs and nerds. Bogs don’t so much use language as abuse it. And we nerds usually are slow replying because we have to compute the probable meaning and intent of the gibble the bogs emit. One example of this is the erroneous use of geeky when nerdy is the proper word.

The sad part is that the bogs are rather too dim to understand how they are "wrong" and hence will never correct their behavior. And, of course, we nerds know that we are "right" and have no need to alter ours.

Film at Eleven.


One of my colleagues, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, posed an horrible question this morning: If Android went away would you switch to Apple or MegaHard?

This is a chilling question. Never mind the: why would the primary (by numbers) cellular telephone OS go away? Just treat the question as the horrible, slimy, corrosive thing that it is.

“I would fly to some country where they sold them and obtain a FireFox phone.”

Now we can discuss whether this indicates the nation is healthy or dead.

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Broken Society

Alas, now is the summer of our disservice. Yesterday was a foul day. The new part for my primary motorcar, necessary for my self-transport, did not arrive as promised by the warehouse and hence the date when I can retrieve the motorcar from the dealer’s maintenance shop is delayed. The fellow from the fencing company scheduled to repair FD SCP’s marvelous and recently purchased fence was totally unpresent. And the electrician to repair various things I am unpermitted to assay was late unto almost nil.

And because of the electrical work I had to shut down my deskboxes and I have still not gotten them back to minimum performance.

Happily the walk in the park was modestly pleasant, I had the facility to myself, no feral felines nor conscript parents – the latter are venomous and scabrous, you know, and the podcast did not trigger regurgitation.

On a brighter side I ran across an article [Link] that basically announced that W8 is one with Vister for inept incompetence. And MegaHard has already announced W9 for later this year.

Frankly, beyond the confirmation that MegaHard has gone whackers I am not greatly interested. But I was interested enough to view another article [Link] That indicates that Apple is also losing ground. It is almost enough for one to entertain, frivolously, that rationality is spreading.

This is one of those times when I am glad that I am neither a Winders nor an Apple user. I do still use a WXP client for my writing but that is only until the next version release of the client which is supposed to support Linux. With that I can consign MegaHard to the pit. Except for FD SCP’s sewing stuff.

So maybe there is some hope for the day after all?

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Speaker for God

The Amish have a saying: “The greatest sin is to speak for God.” Or at least that is my memory after a goodly number of years. It occurred to me that this is what the Yankee governments uppest band of justicers (regrets, I am unsure of what the proper collective name is for justicers) has empowered religionist capitalist oligarchs to be.

One of my favorite authors, Lester Sprague deCamp has said (approximately) that “Freedom of Religion is the freedom to persecute those who do not believe as you do.”

Part of that is simple us versus them, in group/out group psychology that we can blame on biological and social evolution. But it doesn’t excuse it.

Bullying is evil, no matter what guise we wrap it in. Government does not have that privilege. Religion should not.

But that is the situation with Hobby Lobby and the other religionist oligarchist organizations. The religious beliefs of the owners is imposed on the employees.

If this is freedom of religion it is in deCamp’s sense, not that of the Founding Fathers.

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Is strange Odin’s day. Not off to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill until afternoon, Oral scrapings with concomitant pain and discomfort. Precipitation. Most of the day, supposedly. Decent session at gym other than my heart rate monitor was acting askew. Waiting is. But the weight bouncers were tardy so scant interaction which almost makes up for a rather poor episode of the CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks”.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

almost a week ago so it is belated but as I recall from my days as an active rocket scientist, anytime you have a thrust malalignment like this, you have excitement. Not always, even most, the good kind. But having been there and done that, it is bnice to recall and remember and not relive.

In a similar vein, I ran across this article [Link] about how work by some boffins at the Smithsonian have pushed back the dates of some of humanity’s chiefest physiological advantages to spread the development of human out over a longer period, perhaps even back to Australopithecines.

Don’t you just LOVE how spell checkers don’t work worth a flatulence with “nerd words”? The spell checker built into this editor choked on Australopithecine, offering up one one choice: Australopithecus. That’s one of the curses of being a nerd blogger. Spell checking. It’s either absent – as in the repository editors – or handicapped and ignorant – this one. Which leads to missing simple words misspelled since you can’t trust those red underlinings.

Which it seems, is indicative of what this human development bit from the English Museum of Amerika shows, that modern humans aren’t near as smart (or wise) as we like to give ourselves credit form On the other hand, however, we do now have an easy way to distinguish the smart members of the species, at least here in Amerika. We just ask the Yankee Government’s National Spying Agency who they consider an “extremist.”

Of course, they will probably do an Infernal Revenooer Service stunt and claim the email was lost in a disk crash. Actually, I am not all that convinced that they don’t have a lot of such. They are dependent on a lot of closed, out-of-the-ordinary code and they don’t do the right IT things. Or rather all of the Yankee government doesn’t do the latter. But the IRS is triply suspect. So I wouldn’t be surprised at lost of crashes. Which is probably why so many corporate tax evaders get away with their crimes.


Pursuit of the Intellectuals, Chapter Eleventy-eleven

Back yo week in. Decent session at gym although the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with the religious concept of “chosen” was a bit disturbing. One might almost take it as an admission on the part of the religionists that they know what they are doing is superstition and mysticism, that by adopting some irrational beliefs they have to somehow exalt themselves as justification (or shield?)

But on the other hand, the weight bouncers weren’t that obnoxious and harassful today.

On the subject of NSA privacy intrusion, my colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me this cartoon: [Link]

(or at least its link,) and it does seem to represent the situation rather well. Although I do have to admit that my first thought had been whether if there were a next panel, the bald fellow would be wearing the clip board about his nick?

Anyway, I fear this is a good representation of the boggerate. This is the same bunch who think wireless refers to cellular telephony. And given this level of knowledge and understanding it is rather easy to see how the NSA, and the administration, perhaps, would feel insecure with people who do know what broadband is and USB and CD and Linux…. So why not keep your eye on them. Governments have always mistrusted, watched, and discorporated intellectuals.

Although it is a bit distressing to consider people who know a bit about IT as intellectuals. Not that they aren’t good people, but intellectuals? But perhaps that is the azimuth of the times. Philosophy, or so my colleagues foolishly expound, is rather irrelevant and a waste. Arts are only of value if they have monetary value. And science is something to be denied and harassed. I sometimes wonder if politicians wouldn’t like to pass a law making literacy (and calculacy and computancy) a felony punishable by discorporation. Except for politicians. And maybe capitalist oligarchs?

Anyway, we shouldn’t forget that the NSA wouldn’t be doing this without the approval of politicians.

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Patriotic Computing

Not a bad day so far although the weather beavers are foretelling a return to typical temperatures. The walk in the park was passable, temperatures were up a bit and so the experience wasn’t as brisk. And the podcast episode was fair although it did stir my righteous indignation a couple of times so I may have to excrete a blot on the matter of pens at some time.

For now however, I feel compelled to mumble about the Yankee government’s National eSpionage Agency’s labeling of Linux folk as “Extremists”. My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, who admits freely to the perversion that is FaceScroll but mitigates by noting he also is ORF and hence has need of some relatively mechanistic (and obvious) means of social contact with old acquaintances. I have to agree that the other, now more popular, social networking “places” don’t quite make enough sense to use commonly.

I conjecture, probably inaccurately, that at least some of this is about length of expression. After all, we are mostly ORF and hence seniors and thereby garrulous. Further, we have lived long enough that we have used up a lot of our hurry, and wish we had used up our wait, so why limit ourself to High Noon Gary Cooper style of communication. My colleague and I have commented several times how inadequate FaceScroll is that it doesn’t offer a decent (or any) equation editor. How can one maintain social contact with old acquaintances and colleagues if one can’t math?

One of the articles [Link] I was sent contains a few snippets of code that indicate what key words the NSA is supposedly watching for to identify “extremists”. I quote:
“word(‘tails’ or ‘Amnesiac Incognito Live System’) and word(‘linux’ or ‘ USB ‘ or ‘ CD ‘ or ‘secure desktop’ or ‘ IRC ‘ or ‘truecrypt’ or ‘ tor ‘)”
I have to admit that I was greatly relieved once I saw this. If the Yankee government was paying special attention to Linux folk then I would be rather concerned since we are a relatively small number and easily overwhelmed by the might and force of the YG. But if they are targeting people who use words like “Linux” or “USB” or “CD” … then the fraction of population being targeted is considerably larger than the number of folks who work for the YG. In fact, the only person I know and am conscirously sure of who does not use the term “USB” is my year+ aged (post partum) grandchild. And maybe my nonagenarian parent. Although she does surprise me. So I would feel safe in estimating this captures at least (modulo) half of the population of the Yankee republic. Even of the old Confederacy.

I also received a puff piece [Link] from the Electronic Freedom Foundation along the lines that it is a citizen’s duty to be targeted by the YG and use TOR to assure our freedom and privacy. Once I got over the initial humor of considering whether a Fermion can actually be free unless alone I decided the point was valid. I am not at all sure this will be understood by bogs, especially bogs who are adherents of political parties. At least democruds and repulsians. But I am not sure they know the words anyway. That’s one of the joys one obtains when less than half the electorate adhere to a political party. They tend to get excluded from the mode. Now if the same will just occur for religionists.

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