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!

Vacuum Wind

Again a nastiness. Had to go to physician’s office to queue for an influenza inoculation. Medicare mavins only. It was horrible. My ears hurt from listening to the banality. I even asked one of the nurses if they were bleeding.

Then after I had a bit of time to think about I realized that what I was hearing was basically the same sort of thing I have heard since high schule. Maybe before, but I don’t recall. It’s social noise totally void of information, except possibly counter-factual, uttered only for socialization purposes. Which it usually fails at. Like yesterday. 

But it did make me wonder why people do this. It’s got to be common although I have conjectured that it is primarily a bog thing. When nerds gather they either have actual, informational, conversations or they are silent. Nerds are more used to social discomfort and hence can handle the difficult silence. They just go off and go good stuff inside their skulls. Which apparently bogs can’t do or don’t like to do. Maybe both? 

What is perhaps more disturbing is that these people have nothing to say. Does that indicate they don’t know how to convey information? Or that they have no information to convey? The latter seems more likely. Or at least that they have inadequate confidence in what they know to utter it? Is this actually a situation of nerds having more confidence than bogs? Is this an instance of bog incompetence? 

More cogitation, and a discussion with my psychologist colleagues, is indicated.

Half Failures?

Not bad so far. The weight bouncers were only moderately nasty and bullying, and the educationalists wee scant on the ground. And being 2 day the podcast episodes were scienceish and despite a persisting error on almost all vectors to commit one of Burke’s sins and confuse technology with science there were some moments of moderate good. 

The most notable of these was the Guardian science podcast which was definitely NOT about science, being an interview with some Israeli academic about his recent book on the historical development of homo sapiens, but entertaining and informative nonetheless. 

This put me in a mood to consider an article [Link] one of my clipping services found yesterday. The article is quite localized, dealing with an urban community in Wisconsin where half of the high schule freshmen are flunking introductory algebra. 

I have to admit that I did not perceive Wisconsin to be part of the downward race of Amerikan states to third world status. So this was a bit of a surprise and not a pleasant one. It is not unexpected. We have teachers who have inadequate knowledge of the subject they are trying to teach. We have parents who have told their children that algebra is something one learns in high schule and then never has any use for. And who have no maths skills themselves other than fingers and a calculator – algebraic, of course. And we have the children who are the second generation who have been told that trying is as good as learning. An Amerikan recipe for failure and inferiority to African failed states.

I have to admit to some alienation. I taught myself algebra out of my father;s navy correspondence course textbooks when I was about ten or twelve. After that trigonometry. And was thoroughly bored with high schule maths until a brief consideration of derivatives in second semester senior year. But first semester calculus in college was a visitation of epiphany!

Sadly, these supposed bright kids will not know such. Because they are already failures. They are acalculate and likely will remain so. They are almost certainly doomed to be the illiterate of our society. And all because of the way that educationalists and parents are vertically copulated. 

But the lesson in failure may do them some good. Maybe. But I have scant expectation that those few, pathetically few, who learn from their failure can transcend the barriers of broken educationalism and incompetent parenting.

Podcasts and Sturgeon’s rule

Crap morning. Oh the weather is fine. Lower temperature and the weather beavers keep making a deal that this is first day of fall since that season commences at 2200 hours. So not a complete day of fall; that is tomorrow. Only two hours today. What a load of stercus!

And the gym was pleasantly sparse. Not may educationalists nor obnoxious weight bouncers. But the podcast was a disaster.

I started out with an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”. This one was the second component on Ideacity. And it was a real hair puller. I barely got through the first speaking, on quantum computing, and then the second, on telepresent robots, started raising all of yesterdays meals to the gorge, including the ones already defecated. The primary problem was the speaker who was one of those enthusiastic geeks who can curdle air with her evil. And this was the worst kind of evil. It was that evil that comes about when there is too much good. This speaker had no evil intent, only good, but it was so bubbly and exuberant and loud that it became evil and hurtful and something that could not be withstood. 

So I deleted the podcast episode off the MP3 player sine die and diverted myself by listening to the second half of last week’s “Linux Luddites” podcast episode. Nothing like snarking and cynicism to be balm to the festering wound of good rebounded. 

But the good that came of this was to once more consider the relationship of podcasts and Sturgeon’s rule. The latter holds that 0.9 of everything is crap. It doesn’t say how the crap is to distributed so too often the bogs, the few who know of the rule, think it means 0.9 of anything is crap. That is inaccurate. Podcasts are a case in point. 

Taken as a whole, that is the set of all podcasts, 0.9 are crap. But at the next level of inspection, individual podcasts, what we find is a spectrum. Some podcasts are 1.0 crap; some podcasts are 0.1 crap, or less. Although it is hard to get below 0.1 just on the general nature of human language usage.

The CBC’s “Best of Ideas” is a good podcast. Its crap level is about 0.3, mostly because it puts out a lot of stuff and excellence can’t be sustained that much even by the best. Today was one of those occasions when an abysmally crappy episode emerged. Most of the podcasts I listen to have low crap levels. They’ve been selected for that.

Not that I don’t listen to a lot of crap podcasts. We need to not lose sight that the purpose here is primarily to divert me from the unpleasantness of exercise. So another form of unpleasantness is acceptable and even welcome. 

But not when it is sickening and hurtful. And this one was. 

Life Physics

Another morning of inadequate wind speed. Comfortable so long as one moves but not stationary. Of course a constitutional in the park is ab initio and de facto kinetic. Rather enjoyable podcast this week out. The guest was not only knowledgeable and engaging but also not the usual pen/pencil/paper for the sage of pen/pencil/paper geek. Although the grammar was egregiously bad and hurt the mind sharply. Smartly, even, if I may assay a bit of a pun.

My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, sends me cartoons of what he – rightly, almost always, > 0.9 – perceives as mutual interest. Which usually mean physics and a few other nerdish practices. The first [Link]

is rather hurtful. Not, of course, for the tag line. We physicists admit we are rather immature. In fact, we brag of it in the gravest of insecurity since physics is really only done by the immature and to call a physicist mature is really a horrible insult.

No, what is hurtful is the “rubbing it in”. Prizes are largely irrelevant, negative even. They do no good for the recipient and they are embarrassing no end. How does one act? Falsely humble? We know what our strengths and weaknesses are and usually, what we have accomplished. And we don’t need some outsider to affirm that to everyone else. What do I care what you think? Thank you, RF!

But the Nobel is moderately acceptable. It lets you make a boring speech on physics to a bunch of bogs who have to sit through it nicely. So it is like a Scots’ confection. Very sweet. 

I noticed that the Scots have declined “independence”. Wonderful. Very satisfying. It is nice to know that among nations they are still one of the most rational, perhaps the most. This was an enormous display of rationality – not having to pick up all that boggish nonsense of getting along with others, and furriners at that, something better left to the English who are rather too stuffy to realize how unpleasant it really is – and charity, rescuing Great Britain from its own stupidity and incompetence. Absent the Scots the rest of the house of cards would soon collapse into children fighting in a sand pile over a plastic pail. Or the Bog equivalent thereof. 

And they, alone of all nations, know how to spell whisky. And make it. 

The other cartoon [Link]

is a bit more fun. It reminds me of a delightful seminar presentation I heard at an interdisciplinary conference on philosophy and the sciences. The seminar dealt with the idea of the vacuum. No, not a suck broom. Nothingness. This is a topic at the basis of science. We forget often that Boyle labored mightily on this matter at about the same time Newton was inventing fluxions and gravity and poking his eyeball. 

Of course that’s not what the cartoon is about. It’s about bogs and lectures and how their minds work. Or is it all children. The problem with schule, especially the oppressive public schules, is that what they present is what someone else has decided is important and MUST be impressed into the minds of the youth. And thereby it is in some degree rot and cancer and garbage.

For me, my years in schule were torture and pain until I got to college. Then I got to college and could, increasingly, ignore the unpleasant and useless and concentrate on what was pleasant and useful. I am told that is not the way any more, that even college is unpleasant and useless, and not just because it admits everyone. So one more reason to be glad to be old.