Tattering Life

Better. The air temperature is still too low for me to assay a constitutional but except for the frigidity of the shower room not as unpleasant in the house as yesterday. And I don’t have to rush out in the next thirteen minutes to position the recycle bin to be partly hauled away, partly dumped in the street sometime before dusk. This sorry situation with the recyclage/rubbish collector contractor of Greater Metropolitan Arab is a microcosm of the deterioration of the nation.

I ran across an article [Link] on how increasingly mature adults are choosing not to work because they can;t get work that is good. I am being deliberately ambiguous here because because this is not only not quantitative (except in panic numbers like the fraction of not-workers in each county in the Yankee republic – 0.23 in Marshall County where Greater Metropolitan Arab is) but it is highly subjective. A good fraction of these not-workers are such because they lost one or more jobs in the recession and now have no prospects other than burger flipping (as a class of employment,) which won’t sustain a decades old life style.

Another group are those chewed up by the marketplace and spat out on the verge. The classic of this is the weekend warrior who has spent the last ten (?) years in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been mangled by pyrotechnics and shrapnel, and is now unfit for any role in society other than pond scum. Regardless of any PTSD or similar.

No small amount of this smacks of a capitalist utopia run rampant. So long as there is any source of paying customers, no corporate economization is too extreme, and no burden on the tax payer too large. Unfortunately there are already signs that the economy is creaking towards another collapse, this one caused by too many corporations having no loyalty to employee or customer in search of cash flow.

But what fundamentally struck me about the article was the complementarity of reprodenialists and demodenialists. They are two side of a single family. On the reprodenialist side we have those who hate family but are shackled to it and live in crippling fear that their dead beat relatives are going to show up on the stoop one day and destroy their lives into clay existence by leeching forever.

On the other hand, the demodenialists love family and hence can completely ignore it until they are in need and then they demand full support. Their greatest fear is having no family to succor them – never mind they offer none of meaning or substance – and thus must compel that such exist. In a way it’s a tale of ant and grasshopper except they are now the same, bipolar species.

At least it is supposed to be a milder day today. than yesterday. Weatherish, that is.

How Much Life?

Yesterday, I was reviewing the FaceScroll and discovered that one of my colleagues, Magnetic-Electric Fields, had posted an article (not this one, but it was handy: [Link]) about the Smif Collech President having to apologize for saying that "All Lives Matter." The problem was – apparently – that the "correct" catch phrase/slogan was "Black Lives Matter." and not being accurate was viewed as derogatory and derisive and divisive. As I understand it however, the conservative reaction to this bit of policy pogrom was that all lives do matter.

I have to admit that my first reaction to all of the demonstrations about statistics denial and constabulary realities reminded me of the Leon Uris novel about post WW2 Berlin. (I forget the title and am too lazy to seek it out.) In a meeting of the four party governing committee of Berlin the Russian member is complaining about student demonstrations and how he wants committee agreement to send in some storm troopers. The French member makes a lackadaisical comment that the purpose of students is to protest/demonstrate and the Russian’s plan to shoot more Germans evaporates.

Demonstrations are useful in helping governments – as opposed to politicians – gauge how important some issue is while giving the demonstrators a sense of accomplishment. Demonstrations do not occur except when people feel excluded from government. But the relevant bit, at least for this, is that demonstrations are themselves an illustration of the subject of the demonstrations. This was revealed to me when I saw demonstrators (on the television,) in Nawth Alibam;s Shining City on the Hill in repose on a major street. The revelation – reminder – was that the constabulary have a responsibility to protect the public from the demonstrators, and also (!) to protect the demonstrators from the public and the constabulary. This is not easy and not infrequently fails.

I am unsure whether this failure is human or organizational, but it is common. I immediately reflected on the Vietnam era "We had to destroy the village to protect it" and Lt. William Calley. IT is so hard for organized humans to execute a multi-faceted protection mission that they often fail by extending the protection to damage. This is especially the situation when the protection involves the rule of law and the details of the words become more important than their intent or spirit. We humans are matter entities and we are not comfortable with thinking, especially in times of stress.

The other side of this is not only that locality matters, but how do we decide what locality is. Take the idea that all life matters. Does that mean that we humans should starve ourselves into extinction because the lives of other animals and plants deserve respect? The boggish answer is a resounding NO since then no thought is necessary. But clearly we accept a good deal of cruelty in the treatment of food animals and potentially food plants as well. Just how sentient are plants? And how much is sufficient to accord them survival status?

Humans naturally do an us-them division. It’s a survival – i.e., biological and genetic – thing. We can only get away from it by being rational and we humans aren’t good at being rational. Again, bogs don’t like to think and they are the majority. The Lanchestrian majority. But doing us-them means that we shall always value us positively and them negatively. And so long as we don’t value rationality we are going to be that way. So no surprises in any of this. Even among the folks who are appealing to rationality we have irrationality. As the president of Smif can attest.

I once had a professor in undergraduate schule tell me that maturity was transcending the gonads. I didn’t understand that very well until years later when the hormone surges ebbed. So there is no reason we should be surprised that we are having these demonstrations or dysfunctional discussions about abortion and population and ignoring climate change. Yes, Virginia, Life matters but we don’t want to talk about it or do anything constructive about it.

We just want to ride the hormones.

Full of Sound if not Fury

Survived the expedition to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Actually almost enjoyable. Everything went right except my cellular telephone. It was pretending it was a Winders phone – crash every other CPU cycle and do nothing in between. Of for my Motorola brick! Which is saying something since the current phone is a Motorola. Has to be the OS. For some reason the Ubuntu phone suddenly looks much more attractive.

But this did prompt me to as myself what is the Android human type? As we know, The Winders human type is bog and the Apple human type is geek, and the Linux human type is nerd, at least modally, so what is the Android human type. I am not sure. It may be anti-geeks, since a lot of Android users have hatred fro Apple and its slaves. But a lot of folks I know who use Android are geeks. And there are bogs and nerds who use Android. It must have a different dimensionality?

Speaking of which, one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, send me this cartoon: [:ink]

and I recalled my own days in elementary school. Although I wasn’t taught a lot of elemental things there and so I am unsure of the taxonomy’s validity. I never attended preschule since we didn’t have those things in the ’50’s. We just have mothers. Which most kids these days don’t have. Their biological mothers work and so their social mothering is left to hirelings. Not saying these latter aren’t good folk and are probably more qualified than the biologicals, just that was how things were and are.

I did get to participate in a play, I believe in third grade, but it was a paltry thing that lacked anything as cool as a "head cold germ". As I recall I got a role mostly because of my memory rather than any talent. Happily I disposed of any idea of acting as work quickly and got to re-concentrate on those things that weren’t taught in schule, like reading and writing and maths and science.

I hear lots of complaints about the current irrelevance and incompetence of the schools. I have even uttered some of them. But this is not new. Our schools have always been irrelevant and incompetent, the playthings of politicians who usually don’t send their children to them. Education, I am convinced increasingly as I age, is a matter of the individual and some help from parents and mentors; the schools are a detriment and a cancer.

Except for having pageants with head cold germs.

Sweet Alibam

I get asked, mostly by folks who don’t live in Alibam, why I live here. Previously, I have detailed why FD SCP and I reside in Greater Metropolitan Arab, but I have never dealt with why Alibam?

This started to percolate yesterday when I ran across an article [Link] entitled – rather well, I should offer – "Why Do Brits Say "Maths" and Americans Say "Math"?" The article deteriorates rather rapidly after the title and never really fulfills its titular promise. But it did bring me to consider the residency question.

Of course, I was gestated, delivered, and matured here. I started college here mostly because of being paid to do so but I left the state for graduate schule and quickly came back and stayed. Why?

Obviously, FD SCP grew up in Missississississippi and Alibam is a minuscule improvement – in some ways – from M….. But that’s another story except that FD SCP wants to stay here so that’s one of the reasons I do.

You also have to understand that Greater Metropolitan Arab is in Nawth Alibam which is the STEM part of the state and is thereby considerably more rational than the rest of Alibam although no where near as rational as really rational places. But compared to the Rest Of Alibam (ROA) it is wonderful.

I have commented previously that people in America are pretty much math averse. In fact, math hating. They tell their kids that they’ll never use algebra after high schule and so the kids never learn it. That’s why Amerikans say "math"and the British (and knowledgeable, calculate Americans) say "maths". We know there is a lot more than arithmetic and algebra.

This means that almost all Amerikans are acalculate, and never more than marginally computate, rather at the level of being able to access YouTube and FaceScroll. That’s why cybercrime is rampant in Amerika.

This is rather worse in Alibam although it isn’t obvious from the state level statistics. That’s because you have lots of calculate, computate folks in Nawth Alibam, working in Huntsville but living all over Nawth Alibam including Greater Metropolitan Arab.. So the rest of the state population has to be especially acalculate and acomputate to drag the average down.

That means that there are lots of dullards here in Alibam. Most of them are nice people except for the usual suspects – politicians, other criminals, local government, and some of the constabulary. But you can be almost certain that any clerk in any chain business will be inept if not incompetent. Most of the small family businesses are eptly run but go to WalMart and you’re on your own.

One of my colleagues claims Alibam is the model for some television program about zombies that I have never seen, nor care to. Sometimes reality overwhelms art, and television has never been very good art. And has steadily deteriorated since it was invented. Evidently resolution and content quality are multiplicatively constant on television.

But that’s one of the reasons I stay in Alibam. Most of the people I have to deal with in the community are direct, if not actually honest, and not mentally challenging. That is important to an Intro Nerd. Simplicity – better, absence – of social interaction is a plus. And it gives us less distraction from thinking about things that are actually important. Like nerd stuff. Physics. Maths.

Now you do have to put up with a lot of nastiness. The government tortures and bullies its citizens. There are lots of addiction mongers – drugs and religion. But those exist even in really rational places, if to lesser degrees but greater presence. Besides, they give us something to relieve our stress with by complaining.


Art and Current

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! No, the air temperature isn’t that low, it’s just that there was a wind and my heat capacity starved corpus couldn’t take a full constitutional. So I stopped one lap short and fretted until the misting cleared on my eyeglasses. I knew things were marginal when I robed myself but I went anyway because the worst constitutional is better than the best stationary bike ride.

In some ways still better than yesterday. At least I didn’t have to exchange wet clothings for dry. But there is still a bit of shiver to my bones. Not that I am not a bit happier than in past days, which seems strange since next week is marathon dental week when I have to visit two different dentists.

Perhaps the exhilaration is due to the news [Link] that room temperature superconductivity has been achieved. Maybe? I can recall when John Bardeen and company got the Nobel for superconductivity. And John asking the President of the U if that meant he got a second free (didn’t have to pay for) parking place. Showed what was important. No prizes, but certainly relief from nasty, mind destroying, bureaucratic trivia. I sometimes conjecture that civilization is likely going to be the cause of the extinction of humanity.

And the first "art" has been discovered. [Link] At least until some older is found. But this is an incised sea shell that is 0.5 MY old. Yep. Mage-year! And it wasn’t marked up by homo sapiens. No, homo erectus did the deed. Which sorta indicates that art is way easier than science. The ranking of politics is still out, but my guess it will ultimately be ranked with miscegenation and genocide. Not that either of those really make any sense, but then neither does politics.

That’s enough. Going back to enjoying the feeling because with the holidays onrushing I know that feeling won’t last long.

Inundated by Utilities

We had winter rain last night. And both the Arab Electron Uncooperative and the Oneonta Telephone Company caved. Cravens and Scalawags!

So the first I apprehended upon arising was to reboot computers. And discover the internet was unpresent. So I took myself to my ablutions and concluding such found the way still closed, I assayed a constitutional in the park. It was goodly albeit I did drench myself to the point of necessitating rerobing. But now the internet is returned – in a fashion – and I may attempt those things that need be done.

I did have occasion to think a bit in between drops intruding on my concentration and I have noticed, I think, a savage difference among podcasts. On these week outs I alternate a bit between Linux podcasts and pen/paper/pencil podcasts. And I have noted a bit of a difference in tone. The latter are a bit more oily in tone. I am entertaining the conjecture, perhaps hypothesis, that this is due to the difference between maker and user. I rest this upon the guesting on the latter podcasts. When they have a guest who makes something, even notebooks, then the oiliness recedes .

The distinction is a bit strained, I fear. After all even users of pen and pencil and paper make things, or at least do some composition. But they also have a decided taint of collector. Of geekness pure and simple. This is lacking in the Linux podcasts because everyone has to make something even if it only a BASH script or a spreadsheet.

On a more happy tone, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday and since it was halfway supportive of the reality of algebra, I grabbed it. And it did make me reflect on how much of the algebra (and maths) that I had learned did I remember. And I sadly have to admit to much less than the total. But I am constantly refreshing myself and even occasionally learning anew. And that is the difference between bog and nerd.

Maths are life. Those who do not maths only exist.