Not Dripping but maybe Drooping

This is second try for the day. Some computational evil swallowed the previous and I am too desolate to try to recreate. So this is a second try. If it fails, despair. Especially given this is continual headache season. Not helped by dripping requirement.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, has been sending me cartoons and in the sundae spirit I will beat on those a bit. First, [Link]

this struck me on two azimuths. The first was the absolute bogusness of the maths. What is it about all media displays of maths that they are so obviously whacked. Is this why the Simpsons don’t do such? And most gratingly, where is the differential under the integral? Oh, my headache.

The second was the accuracy. FD SCP does difficult calculation – beyond my capacity – every time she dons clothes. I don’t. And that gender differentiation seems universal. At least among homo sapiens. 

Which brings me to some work [Link] that sapiens has been miscegenating with neandertals for about 54 KY instead of the 36 previously thought. Long enough to have lost some of the neandertal DNA. Which bring up the question of what dangers does that loss expose us to? 

And it seems worthy to note this on sundae when the mystics and superstitionists are off to services and the myth of vacuum creation. Which does explain why this gender differentiated behavior. All of the make fashion sense was in that rib.

The second cartoon [Link]

is also notable for its accuracy. My room wasn’t that way as a teenager since my other was a fiend about order and if I wouldn’t order things she would as a punishment. And a horrible punishment it was. But now I know that such room disorder is the sign of a truly ordered mind and I endure. As do most of my colleagues.

From whence surely came some work at U Arizona on steering lightning bolts with laser beams. [Link] The only problem with ths is that it is only academically new. I recall reading science fiction books on this as a teenager. And no credit given so far as I can tell. So much for academic integrity. 

That’s enough. Selah. I’m going to enjoy the not dripping for a few minutes.


Good Addiction

Fawg! Real fawg! Not that stercus uttered by Weather Beavers when there is enough aerosol to see but the visibility is several miles. Real can’t see five point something football fields (American, that is) fer the white goop, not the red. Driving to the edge of Scant City, where it went away, was a lovely exercise in last-man-on-Tellus emotions. 

And the podcast! An episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” consisting of a lecture by A. C. Grayling on liberties.And incidentally, how the relgionists will always cheat and enslave us. But excellent mundane day fare. Which gave me cause to contemplate whence I go with with the new book.

Which led me once more to think about maths and bogs. In keeping with the old saying that “there is no royal road to learning”, there is no special maths escalator for bogs. Or anyone else. But I am entertaining the conjecture that the problem is that bogs are unable to embrace maths because that would make them not-bog and they are unwilling to abandon their current pathetic lives. I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Are we all really THAT BAD at math?” and immediately found a lovely case study of bog and maths. I was particularly taken with some of the article:

“Oddly enough, I got my best grades in math and science. It was mostly because I was a quick formula memorizer. I could plug and chug with the best of them. But there was very little practical application for what I “learned.”

Ask me how to calculate the cosine of a right triangle or, well, to do pretty much anything I learned in calculus, and I’ll give you a blank stare. Heck, just ask me why I would need to do those things, and I’ll give you a blank stare.”

Yes, there is no practical application because you haven’t learned enough. The memorization is inescapable. Until you can learn enough to actually work real problems all you are going to get is memorization and fake problems. That hopefully reinforce the memorization. Expecting to do anything with high schule maths is about like seeing a picture of a screwdriver and expecting to assemble a motorcar. Or a plasma cannon. 

So blame part of it on the constricted hose of high schule – public education in general – education. You aren’t going to learn much maths in high schule. Maybe the equivalent of one semester in college. And then, if you’re a bog, you’re going to avoid that. I forget how many bog seniors had deferred college algebra – a course most nerds place far beyond in college – and suddenly found themselves mousetrapped into a no-graduate situation. Several even offer pittances to take the tests for them.

The only way you learn maths is the way you learn anything. You have to go beyond. If you stick with what they teach in public schule then you are doomed to be an ignernt bog. And yes, that is maybe redundant. I find it amusing that bogs embrace athletics and practice (learn) for a lot more hours than they are in class. But ask them to put in extra hours on maths or science and they act like you want to neuter them. As if learning athletics is somehow exalting? Other than endorphins, of course.

So don’t cry to us when you fail, bogs. You did it to yourself. With help from your parents, who are just you a bit older and not wanting you to be better than they. And teachers who don’t know any more than they present – if that – and don’t want you to know more than they. And a schule system that is more interested in good order than good people. The only road to STEM is doing more than the system provides. Mediocre schules produce mediocre people. Bogs, in other words. And all schules – public at least – are mediocre. So it’s up to you. 

Creativity Sought

Halfway through week out. Saturday was a medium day. And the temperature this morning was almost high enough for a constitutional. But I stayed home on the stationary bicycle and listened to the remainder of an episode of “The Pen Addict”. The podcast has improved a bit recently. A couple of weeks’ alternates made me receptive that they hosts have cleaned up their grammar a bit; there are still egregious errors but the frequency is down. On the negative side they still can’t get the RSS download files named right and I have to download and manually rename so overwrite doesn’t bite me. And the fire seems to have departed the whole thing. Or maybe its just doldrums of a static marketplace?

I have found out part of why I miss the constitutional. Some work at Stanford [Link] indicates that walking generates creative thinking. I suspect I put this in the academic affirmation pile. After all, Darwin was a great proponent of the creative benefits of walking. But then biologists and psychologists are not always very cooperative. So I now have to consider if I want to try to retime my constitutional or not? Or reposition? And is there any indoor place to do so? At least in Greater Metropolitan Arab. 

While we’re on creativity, I ran across this cartoon:[Link]

some time ago and have been slowly, mentally, masticating it. Or its ideation. I have finally settled on the conjectures that this is all about bogs and how they aren’t nerds or geeks. Although, as we know geeks tend to have all sorts of whackadoodle ideas – that’s part of their endearing charm – but they seem to have an extra strong capacity of disbelief suspension and can revert to rationality upon need. 

But it also rings to me of how whackadoodle our education system is choking off the flow of information to students so that they have to wait until college to really learn anything. And maybe not then in modern factory colleges. But I was impressed that the cartoonist had some inkling of just how complex magnetism is. Most people think it is simpler than electricity, all because of paper and iron filings.

OK. That’s it for now. Since I’m trying to write another book I have to save some creativity mana for it. More later if I get depleted. 

Irresponsible Parentage

This seems a fitting subject for All Hallows Eve.  I ran across this picture: [Link]

yesterday and felt vaguely frustrated. Not the physics. It’s Abysmal and I may natter on that later, but what is frustrating is the maths. 

I have run across several articles lately on this subject, starting with one [Link] entitled “Parents feel ‘unequipped’ to help children with maths” and ending with one [Link] entitled “Damaging maths mindset holding pupils back”. Both bemoan that maths are too difficult. What is frustrating is the moaning. We know that maths are difficult, even for those who have a talent for maths, which is a small fraction of the species. Why can we not acknowledge that and buckle down?

We seem to have two alternatives. One is to acknowledge that maths are difficult and only teach maths to those who have adequate talent, maybe 0.1 of the species. And damn the other 0.9 to a subordinate existence as perpetually ignorant serfs. The other is to acknowledge that maths are difficult and teach maths to everyone and they – parents and students in particular – cease complaining and work. Yes, we know it is hard. So is life and if you don’t want it to be hard crawl into a corner and discorporate.

But let us cease whining that maths are difficult and expect to be excused so we will quit whining. Parents need to quit telling their children that maths aren’t important and they won;t need algebra after high schule. The only thing that does is assure your children will only be Gammas. At best. 

Telling children that maths are unimportant as a means of avoiding the difficult is destroying them and the species. Do you really want to be evil? Then do the hard thing and be a good parent. And if you can’t do the maths to help them then either learn some or hire a tutor or give the kids to someone who will.

Lessons Obtained

The Athens HS stabbing demonstrates to us that Helicopter Parenting is alive and pathological.

It also leads us to conjecture that we have too much capacity to move information and too little capacity for communication.

The political campaigning and its allegations of toadying to “special interests” teaches us that the evil that we accept within ourselves is unacceptable in others.

Off the Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill through the precipitation. Definitely a hat day!

Order beyond Comprehension

Nothing is more alien to the mind of the military monk than change.

The quote is from J. F. C. Fuller who has the distinction of having more periods in his name than I. Among other things. But a companion to this is: nothing is more irritating to the military mind than a form of order they can neither understand nor control.

This weekend I came across this cartoon: [Link]


and I was immediately precipitated into consideration of my years of dealing with the Yankee army’s policy of “clean desk”. First of all, the name is completely inaccurate. No, not the desk part. We had desks, nice steel ones painted olive drab (O.D.) green, when I first went to work for the YA. Rather, it is the ‘clean’ part that is horribly, in all the depths of that word, inaccurate.

The opposite of clean is dirty and I have seldom had dirt on my desk and when I have it is either immediately removed or kept in a proper storage container. In some, many, instances it was actually soil but that is another distinction only understood by the most sentient of infantrymen. So for a time fraction greater than the floatability of Ivory Soap my dest was not dirty and hence within the modal usage of American English, ‘clean’.

Not so. The proper term for the policy would be messy desk and the nature of messy is almost uniquely military. 

In the same vein, the opposite of messy can be taken to be orderly or ordered. My desk is always highly ordered. But from continual experience I know that that ordering is not always apparent to other people, especially FD SCP. But it is NEVER apparent to the military mind. And therein lies the discontent.

I would be informed that my desk did not meet “clean desk’ policy. I would respond that it was neither dirty nor disordered. The only response would re reiteration. At that point, after a few years of nodding and then ignoring, I found a wonderful way to ‘nuke and pave’ the discussion.

I would ask why the minion of mindless organization was so insecure as to be unable to endure an ordering he (never she) could not comprehend? And the fireworks would begin.

No serving member of the military can admit to insecurity. It is alien to both the culture and the society. I have speculated that this is why disorders such as PTSD and Shell Shock and Funk are so much worse in the military. It is hard enough for nerds to confront insecurity, for military bogs it is, however, almost impossible. 

So they try to divert. Accusations of insubordination or mutiny are not uncommon. But if one stands one’s thesis and persists they will slink away. Until the next time. If one only brings the subject up in this solitary context. Somehow insecurity over the incomprehensible is barely, marginally, acceptable. But must not be spoken of openly. Or, at least, only by nerds who are necessary evils to preclude the destruction of the nation. 

So it’s quite a good cartoon. 

In the Storm

Kudos to the Greater Metropolitan Arab Electron Uncooperative for doing what they traditionally do when it rains – bug out. At least twice last night.

But since the electrons were unflowing I had opportunity to do some cogitation and I have thunk on a few things:

This year’s Nobel Prizes – perhaps we should call this the year of the “Glowy Gadget” since both the physics and chemistry prizes were awarded to people who built gadgets that involved glowing. I know they gave Bardeen and company a Nobel for the transistor but I am less sure of these;

People in Motorcars Aren’t – it occurred while driving back from gym this morning in the rain that one of the reasons people drive so abominably towards each other is because they don’t consider people in motorcars to be people. Instead these are motorcars with people in them. So what they are interacting with is a box on wheels, and not a people. This will require more thinkum.

Since the potential failures played merry ned with the computers, that’s it for now.