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.

Two Day – two casts

Much rain overnight. But passable this morning. And as is usual for a two day, the gym was sparse. Very few weight bouncers, and those the well behaved ones, and educationalists. I keep coming back to the Yankee government thing of three days (minimum) and the mental dragging of MWF. Another indication of bogs?

The podcast was plural this morning, a melange of the Guardian’s science podcast, the NPR science segments, and the SCIENCE podcast. That latter used to be first when it was forty minutes but now that it has slipped to less than twenty, usually less than eighteen, it has been relegated to a slack taking filler.

Two of these stuck a bit. The first about how the Ebola afflictee in Texas happened to  be sent home from hospital with a script for antibiotics. Seems that they did ask about travel history and exposure but the information didn’t register or get masticated. 

This isn’t really surprising. After all, Texas has the highest arrogance quotient of any state. It isn’t as high as the district’s but then the people who pump that number up, congress critters and their staffers, especially the staffers,  because of numbers, don’t live in the district. They may sleep there – a few – when congress is sessioned but they don’t live there. In fact some of them don’t have lives. Which tends to explain the whole zombie craze. Such things tend to be highly correlated with the electorate’s displeasure with congress critters. 

But after the district, Texas has the highest arrogance, either in toto, or per capita. So no surprise that a hospital emergency room wouldn’t recognize Ebola infection. Ain’t possible. Not in Texas. And if you find that unbelievable, just examine the Guvnuh.

Of course, Alibam isn’t much better. The arrogance level is lower. Except in Muntgum. But the incompetence level is much higher than the arrogance quotient. And it’s hard to be arrogant when you’re incompetent. Except out of insecurity and compensation. Which we have lots of in Alibam. Also lots of absence of smarts and rationality. 

On which note I saw this morning that Alibam has a law that requires pregnant women to stand trial to be permitted to have an abortion. And the court is encouraged to appoint justicers for the fetuses. Only in Alibam (and a few other incompetency states) are the unborn considered citizens. At least in chicago they limit that sort of thing to the dead. 

I probably shouldn’t say that so loudly. With the election coming the repudenialists will probably appoint ambulance pursuers for all the pregnant women to vote proxy for their unborn citizens. And I would expect them to extend the idea to unconceived as well. Anything for office!

But on the good side I heard that the biodiversity of New Yawk’s Central Park is exceptionally high. Comes of having a variety of plants introduced over the years. And probably lots of animal and people fluids? I doubt you would find such in green places in Alibam. The politicians are determined to abolish all of them for any money available. 

Cartoon Failure

Definitely reduced heat in atmosphere. The local Arab weather station, part of NWS amateur network, sez 46.5 degF. Big difference. I bundled up to go to park. Even gloves, as ridiculous as that may seem, but this is a Southron boy (all right that’s absurdist) and handled the constitutional without – quite – crossing the boundary into shivering.

And the weather beavers foretell even less heat tomorrow morning. 

Nice fall. I fear I missed it, but it must have been nice to not have been noticeable. Or else so short it wasn’t measurable?

On which note, I came across a cartoon; [Link]

that rather upset me with the first line.

They say that water cannot be created nor destroyed.”

Which has a pony to poo ratio of ZERO! Absolutely STERCUS! Sturgeon’s rule raised to a high, perhaps infinite, power.

If I could have commented on the website I probably would have but then I would have probably been deleted for nastiness. What cartoonist wants to be told he fails at suspension of disbelief? Utter failure. 

Let’s start with the chemistry:

2 H2 + O2 <-> 2 H2O

Note the two headed arrow. That means I can combine oxygen and hydrogen and make water. It can be created. It is, every time we ‘burn’ hydrogen. As in a hydrogen fueled vehicle.

And if we put it in a sealed container and heat the container up to 2 kilodegC, then it comes apart. 

Now we don’t get temperatures of 2 kilodegC on Tellus and we don’t have many naturally occurring sealed containers so dissociated water is rare on Tellus, except…

In a solution of itself. Water is weakly ionic. So it dissociates in solution. 

So the premise is whacked.

It’s still a quite good cartoon series, just that this one is unbelievable. And shakes our confidence in the cartoonist. 

Mostly Sunny

Survived. The trip to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, that is. And that is no minor thing. And too many of my necessary food locations are on the nawth side of Huntspatch. 

The weather beavers are foretelling much discomfort this week out. Like early winter. Pray do not tell the repudenialists lest their profanity add to the already considerable heat burden.

The good yesterday was that I managed to work out a nice maths problem that has been bothering me for several years and surprisingly I found it was not as I thought. Which is bad in that I have solved the problem but good in that now I have the challenge of groking the solution. And the new problems thus engendered, to paraphrase Chaucer.

And I ran across this article [Link] yesterday about a picosecond pulse laser. This is exciting. It will let us test to see if there is any indication of a critical time for molecular absorption to occur. 

And Adopy-A-Physicist season is upon us again.

My plate runneth over with fun!