Nasty Drunks

Yesterday was a bit stressing. Had to take FD SCP to see her cardiologist. Medium ungood. Artery stretchers indicated. And putting up with both our nerves and emotions.

And the walk in the park this morning was not quite pleasant. No wind and it was needed. And the new pen diversion podcast channel – same podcast, different organization – is quite less noisy, in the EE sense. 

I had occasion to consider another difference between bogs and nerds. This got provoked by some survey I was asked by the YAHOO org to do but had to cease early on due to retching. The subject was television content and yes, it is and was that bad. I do NOT watch many kinds of popular television. Quiz programs is one mostly because they are quizzes on things meritless and valueless. The popular guess-the-phrase game is one in point. How is this entertainment? Or even engaging. But on a bit of consideration it is interesting to most (many?) bogs but very few nerds. I suspect because it captures aspects that are life relevant to bogs but not to nerds. 

Anyway, the difference is knowing. Bogs know many things but almost all rather shallowly. That’s a basic definition of a bog. And much of what they know is inaccurate in the extreme. Even among the ones that know better. Or should. But nerds tend to more of an Ising model. They either have no interest in some “subject” and hence know almost nothing about it and openly admit such, or they are interested and have a rather complete knowledge of. As one of my bosses once put it, (slightly paraphrased) bogs are long pieces of narrow tape while nerds are combs. 

Along that azimuth, I noted an article [Link] about some work at U Kentucky that indicates that religious people – the article calls them spiritual which rather seems a pun – make nasty drunks. This seems to fit. I recall years ago reading a book that claimed that, in the mode, Chinese are nice drunks but Japanese are nasty drunks. Argument was that Chinese are argumentative when sober but Japanese are polite. So the ethanol releases the inner being. Many religionists are wearing facades, in my observation. They want to appear to adhere to the tenets of their religion but they have temperament problems. This often shows in their driving. Many christianists definitely do not practice their religion while piloting a motorcar. Especially those in pickup trucks. This may be excusable since pickup trucks really can’t be piloted anyway; they can only be survived. Maybe.

So the idea is that these religionists are just pretending and when they get drunk and their inner self comes out it isn’t anywhere near where they want to be seen. Which is comforting. Because it is at least real. It’s desirable to be a better person, and I respect them for trying but I can’t abide them imposing themselves on others. That’s just plain bullying. And it isn’t good nor right.

But it is part of the falseness of their religion.

I don’t watch religionist television either. Although that is admittedly hard on Sundaes. But that’s why we have DVD players.  

Stray in gym this morning. And the podcast episodes not at all bad. Although a SCIENCE segment on the nature of Chinese censorship of social media was most revealing. And encouraging. Paternalistic, but encouraging. Which fits with the better aspects of Chinese society. 

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

recently and it rather reminded me of why I am quite happy, as an ORF, not to have to talk to politicians very often. What they see as important – usually their re-election – and what I see as important are pretty well orthogonal. And they really don’t want to talk about my interests.

Also, the nature of our speech is different. Politicians talk a lot with very little content. My speech tends to be the opposite: little talk, lots of content.

STEM NERD Writing 5

Better. There was wind this morning. So the constitutional was a bit nicer. And I had occasion to consider composition some more. Following on the previous blot it occurred that some cogitation had to be put onto examinations.

Examinations in college are a bit different than those in high schule and previous. They tend to be rather a bit more formal and seldom take less than the whole class period. (Yes, in some of those weird two hour classes there would sometimes be a one hour exam, and always the second half of the class. Evolution in action.) They also tend to be a bit more frenzied. After all, in college there is no one demanding that the majority pass. You are on your own to survive. 

At this point I should invoke Chad Orzel’s taxonomy: type 1 courses are those where you read the text before class and discuss what you read in class; type 2 are where you go to class to learn how to read the text after class. Type 1 courses are basically composition courses: essays and the like; type 2 courses are basically problem solving, some theorem proving, courses. Their exams are a bit different. Exams in type 1 courses generally have a composition component, either an essay or answers to discussion questions where composition is graded. Exams in type 2 courses tend to be problem solving courses where elaboration of steps is critical. This latter is still composition, at least in the nerd sense, but completely different from the former. 

Obvious differences in the two tend to be physical. Exams in type one courses were written in what were – in my college days – called “blue books”; a booklet of 8-12 ruled pages, about 6″ x 9″ with a blue paper cover. The cover usually was printed with the college name and designated places for student and course name. Exams in type 2 courses were written in “green books”; a booklet of 8-12 pages ruled on front, gridded on back, about 9″ x 12 with a green paper cover, similarly printed. Type one exams were usually written in ink, usually BIC ball points in my day; type 2 exams were always written in pencil. And one always carried a separate eraser. I was partial to Pink Pearls.

Part of this difference is that maths – problem exposition – need more white space than words. Also maths had to be checked whereas words were graded in part on neatness.  

The point, since I have done rather a drunkard’s walk here, is that exams were a primary influence on composition. They were similar to note taking except that the information had to originate between the ears. But the same skills that one had to develop in note taking were in play here as well. 

STEM NERD Writing 4

Not a bad morning. Decent if a bit too high temperature and absence of wind in the park but constitutional was bearable. And the podcast was endurable. But it did put me back on the subject of composition and mindlessness but along a different azimuth.

Back when I was in high schule, I was asked to make the halftime public address announcements for the schule band at (American) football half time. I had never done this and actually did not care for any form of athletics but especially spectator sports. Not that I minded the effort of athletics but I disliked the vicariousness of the spectator aspect, the contrived, artificial, meaningless importance of the competition, and the noxious festivity. It was therefore fitting in later life that mu daughter would be a cheerleader.

But I did like the band. Not the marching part. That detracted from the music but it often seemed that the only reason the band existed and music was taught at all in high schule was because of athletics. So I agreed. I then took very exacting notes of what I needed to cover and wrote myself out a script. And when the appointed time came and I was at the microphone, which I discovered had a noticeable latency, I discovered that I could NOT read my script. My handwriting was too poor for me to read it with divided attention.

I did learn from the experience. Primarily to make sure my legibility matched the attention I could afford. And I never tried to announce again. In fact, as soon as I got to college and saw how evil marching band could be, I walked away from that. Leave nonsense like announcements at spectator sports events to bogs, extro bogs at that. With good legibility.

But that lesson with legibility did take root and over the years had to be integrated in the whole idea of composition. In effect, that was the seed of the two part system of composition that I evolved. Write for content and key (type) for legibility (presentation.) Because two different aspects of mindfulness are needed and they should not be mixed.

But high schule never ceases to make me glad I am old.

Political Health

Once more to the edge of week out. This morning a fair constitutional. The weather was clement is a bit muggy and depressing but this after all the month of Augustus and that makes it a downer.

I noted last night an advertisement on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver of the Democrud candidate  for guvnuh. Several azimuths. The usual political prevarication about jobs. But immediately a challenge over the state’s failure to do adequately in health care, the KEY failing of the state dermatologist and his Repulsian masters. But then he had to blow the WHOLE ting and talk about lottery. Lottery? In a bible thumper state? Has Tartarus had a phase change?

Still, I have high hopes that he can be elected just so he can stall some of the nonsense coming out of the state’s council of thieves. It has become embarrassing how hard they are trying to reinstate chattel slavery. Especially of women. 

Now I expect a lot of christianist harassment and nonsense in this state. It’s the price we pay for clean air. No, I can’t defend the logic but we do have good air and we do have nasty religionist fanatics. I await them any day starting to do head choppings. 

But I don’t like being dragged back into the nasty days of religionist totalitarianism. I know we have been a third world state in Alibam for years but this is getting really bad. 

I also find it amusing that the choices for guvnuh are two has-been physicians. But I do think we are in greater need for care of cancer in the state than acne.