God and Nader

Running behind this morning. Adopt-A-Physicist is almost over and there are always a few students who don’y get their courage screwed up till near ending. I am still trying to get comfortable. Brrrrrrrrrr this morning and the weather beavers are foretelling solid phase dihydrogen oxide by Ice Cream day and I didn’t get waarmed up until motoring back from errands and got overhot.

On which thermodynamic nonsense, I note that the Bishop of Rome has announced to his religionists that physics is real, Big Band and Evolution are “true”, and the deity is not a magician.[Link] Not as neat as Albert but exceptional for a Bishop of Rome. May put him up with the guy who stared down Atilla?

I am not sure on the true part. I have always viewed truth as being a religionist thing, something beyond the capabilities and capacities of humans. Which sorta supports the idea but I still get uncomfortable when science is downgraded to true instead of accurate.

On an even happier note, Ralph Nader has announced that

“Well, Hillary is a corporatist and a militarist So she’s a menace to the United States of America.”

Nice that he either finally figured that out or screwed up his courage.

I am not a big fan of Mr. Nader. Mixed feelings. Comes from having three Corvairs and thoroughly enjoying all of then. Best cars I ever had. Even better than my TR-6 with seven forward gears. Yes, they were dangerous but all motorcars are. Not as dangerous as the drivers but put them together and they are weapons of mediocre destruction. But he has done good sense. And now this. First rate.


Superstition and Slide Rules

Sparse. That’s the best thing about gym, when it occurs. Not many people. For some reason the bullies seem to go away and the good folk remain. Even the weight bouncers about today were good folk. And the cable feed went sowth about halfway through my session so the absence of distraction of the vapid sort was appreciated.

The Guardian science podcast was a set of interviews/discussions with psychologists who specialize in humans who suffer from delusions of alien abductions, vampires, ghosts, and such. There were even a few slights about religionist superstition. Well placed. Sadly there was no real discussion of how to rid society of these nut cases.

But the high point was a National Public Radio podcast about the slide rule.[Link] Sadly, the pony to poo ratio was very LOW. There was some museum curator from the wonk schule on the Charles who was prattling about the slide rule angst among engineer students taking exams. And the whole attitude was rather poor and frivolous.

I have discussed slide rule previously but it is worth visiting again. I got my first slide rule about seven or eight, as I recall. I make this point because by the time I got to college my slide rule, which I could not use openly without derision from the cool kids – the jocks and cheerleaders, was a comfort, not a source of stress. Rather the opposite. It was a familiar tool that I could trust without cognition.

I suppose if I had been handed one as a freshman, never having seen before, and told to learn immediately to crunch numbers there might be some stress. I do not take direction easily. It is evil. But none of the people I knew were uneasy about slide rules. Many of us had brown up with them. In fact, they didn’t bother to teach slide rule in high schule because so many already knew and the ones who didn’t were destined for bogdom anyway.

And I rather take exception to the implication that the slide rule disappeared overnight once the nerd calculator was introduced. Technocratic prevarication! Electronic calculators had been around for years but weighed and bulked their own table. The first portable calculators were strictly add/subtract/multiply/divide so they could not replace the slide rule. The first nerd calculator, the HP-35, introduced in 1972, was a replacement but was so expensive that no student, nor professor, could afford without a gifting. Only corporate nerds could afford them. I was working for the Yankee army before I got a nerd calculator issued me, and HP-55, and it was late in my graduate schule attendance before I could afford a personal machine, a TI that felt like a cheap occupied Japan imitation of an HP. My first personal HP was an HP-25 and it was a marvel and a delight. But I still had a slide rule in my center desk drawer when I retired. For some things it was faster than a calculator. Even an RPN. 

So as usual, NPR vertically copulated.

Fawg Madness

Fawg season has arrived. Second day. Run off the road to Castellum SCP twice by pickup truck road hawgs wanting the whole road. Not a bad session at gym however. Listened to some blather on podcast about the psychology of Dostoevsky inferred from his novels and biographies. Rather a pile of poo with scant pony. The best offerings:

There is no such thing as a moderate addiction;


Adult = Child + Puberty.

The latter was a telling argument for why we should do better as parents and indeed upholds the advocacy of one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, that reproduction should only be allowed under license and licensing should be based more on how good a parent one would be than one’s genes.  There is a wrinkle on what the penalty should be for unlicensed reproduction. I think I favor the discorporation of the miscreants approach. 

Speaking of discorporation, I noted on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver (visual only) in the gym that the female lead in “Welcome Back Kotter” has discorporated from cancer. This saddens me a bit. The program was excellent, notably the last thing Travolta did that was even good, and the female lead was hideously under-appreciated. 

Crazy in the Dark

Once more to the boundaries! Of week out that is. Air temperature markedly increased. Executed constitutional with only a light jacket and a glow-in-the-dark boonie hat. No, not a Daniel Boone fur hat, a jungle hat except it’s made of eye-burn-orange cloth that glows nastily in reflected illumination. That’s so I can be seen by any others, especially highly strung out young women with pepper spray. Or electron accumulator wands.

On the subject of crazy in the dark I ran across a few articles. First, an article about the maths knowledge/skills of biology graduates. [Link] The simple result is that they aren’t calculate. In fact, they’re something of order sub-high schule in such.Which isn’t a surprise to me since I have had to deal with biology acalculates for years. And yes, that is redundant. The distressing thing is they brag about it. Makes them almost as bad as bogs.


Next, an article [Link] maundering about whether ‘digital’ magazines are dead? I find the adjective odious. The magazines are not themselves digital. A better designation would be eMagazine or some such but then one expects stercus from WIRED. What is worse is that the piece is an apology for eMagazines being slow. No wonder. Not many people want them. I don’t. I know that isn’t very sustainable but that’s it. Even though slablets satisfy Gullidge’s Manifesto that you be able to take the reading to the entropy cellar with you, I don’t find them utile. And I want something I can get back to and fundamentally, ePublishers come across as charlatans and carpetbaggers. And like everyone else I don;t want to pay for eContent.

I used to subscribe to WIRED. Found it has a pony to poo comprehension ration of less than 0.1. So I dropped the subscription. I still get them in the post. And put them in the recycling bin. Which is an improvement. Now WIRED is pretty direct that it isn’t looking to ORFs as its demographic. But its demographic, at least those among my colleagues, say it is eCrap. Or pCrap. Take your pick. So I have to wonder about the integrity of an eMagazine article by WIRED.

And lastly, an article [Link] proclaiming that the internet sleeps. Another WIRED article. Also fundamentally inaccurate. It turns out that what happens is that the internet gets disconnected – or deconnected? – during local sleep time. The humans turn off the physical equipment, the routers and boxes and such. To save money on electron potential difference flow.

What makes this interesting is other articles I have read about kids staying up all late hours to use the internet, No reconciliation. To be expected from WIRED?

I have been frustrated this week with the small screen. I now understand why GEN Ys spend all their time staring at their phones. It’s because the things have worse execution speed than an original IBM PC. Mine has turned blue with the different languages I have used to express my dissatisfaction with it. There really is a difference in screen size and speed. And the phones have neither.

Identical but for Lies

Once more into the boundary between out and in, and once more adult supervision. FD SCP has ended her work week and I am already smarting under the onus of her projects. The park was a bit low in warmth this morning but not from a wind. Not quite comfortable and the necessary bundling seemed excessive for what the thermometer proclaimed. I tried out a new Linux podcast and was disappointed, which probably contributed to the ill ease. Not that it is a bad ‘cast, just that it is a style not amenable fully to me. 

On those azimuths, several thoughts. I have been watching the political races in Alibam increasing in heat. I have a great interest in the guvnuh race since it is really a good versus good failing and being evil race. The latter is the incumbent who found ways to grease the pockets of cronies but not provide medical care. That latter is still a repudenialist tactic, of taking an opponent’s good and making it seem bad. This is particularly the case with the attorney general race. If we go on positive aspects – what the candidates are for – then the two are indistinguishable to a confidence level of 0.95 which is the standard statistical goodness for bogs. 

I should comment that the bogs don’t understand that – heck!, I don’t understand it fully but that’s because statisticians are a special subspecies of nerd – but the parrotage they are taught in college stats classes – and then promptly repress – is o.95 (or 0.05 which is the same) confidence level. And I will insert the snideism that that confidence level is on the posing of the situation, not its actuality. At least, not always.

But getting back to the attorney general candidates, the two are essentially the same on what they are; the difference is in what they say the other is. The incumbent is claimed to be incompetent and the toady of monied interests – what politician isn’t? – while the challenger is claimed to be incompetent if elected because of – good political logic here – twisting good things done into evil and bad. We can only worry if the same goes of the incumbent. 

I don’t expect my concerns to be resolved. An article [Link] in IO9 shows the restrictiveness of state voting laws:

Alibam is notably one of the most restrictive states. In fact, voting in many ways is more restrictive than in the days of poll taxes when money was openly paid to purchase votes. 

The real lesson is about society. Individual voters are well aware that they are being deceived and prevaricated. But they vote for the evil anyway because with the partisan system there are no alternatives. And in Alibam, there is really no difference between the parties. Except which lies they throw about each other.

Hurts Talk

I had occasion yesterday to come to consider the nature of human communication. And yes, this was a result of my weekly pilgrimage to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Which was abbreviated and amodal because of seasonal sinus drainage. Headaches and nausea. Neither of which inspire communication effort.

Anyway, I came to reflect on conversations between an adult and a child. Leave aside for now the ones where the adult tries to ‘reduce’ to the child’s assumed level and the conversation is an abysmal failure because of the artificiality and deception. No, consider only honest conversations.

These conversations are generally failures because of differing world view and a mutual absence of interest. Such conversations fail quickly and are difficult with increasing magnitude over time. And this is for modal children (adults) who don’t suffer any communication disability such as Autism spectrum. For them communication is much more difficult.

It struck me, mostly because all of my communications (verbal, at least) yesterday were with bogs. Nice people all, insofar as I could tell with brief conversation, but bogs nonetheless. And then it struck me how like adult-child conversations these were. And no, I am not going to say which side was adult or child. Not relevant and highly distracting.

But what it reminded me is the enormous world view differences between bogs and geeks and nerds. Talking with a bog is much like talking with a slightly mentally disabled child. One can’t talk maths because they deliberately forgot what little they learned immediately after high schule. Nor can one talk about reality because bog reality is social while nerd reality is rational. At least in the main. There is some overlap but usually not much. And the density of interest is almost always different. What bothers bogs is almost always nuisance parameters for nerds (see! math speak,) and what bother nerds is irrelevant to bogs until it kills them. 

Further, what interests bogs is highly voyeuristic while what interests nerds is participatory. Again, that maths handicap, at least in part. So there is this fundamental impedance mismatch. Which brings us back to the model of adult-child conversation. 

And perhaps some insight into why nerds have so much problem with society. 

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.