Cold Out There?

Gad! A foul night. And I sorrowed for the fowl. Watched a crowd of wee birds engulf the watering bowl I service in warm times for them and the tree mammals. But the outdoor taps are now shielded up for the season and the horrible temperatures last night precluded any refilling. 

On which matter it is 20 degF as I write this which is a good 4 degF lower than predicted by the weather beavers. They did this last winter, overestimating the minimum temperature, and it made for some stressful and frightening times. When one lives in PTSD of ruptured water pipes, such errors are dangerous. But my tap dripping seems to have prevailed last night with the only penalty being an absence of REM sleep after midnight. And a lot of achy this morning. But a stout shower bath has helped and almost steeled me to assay forth into the exterior world on a variety of errands. 

But given that stress some good news needs be recognized. First, that the Repodenialist Tsar of the Yankee government lower house of thieves legislature has rejected draft legislation that would impose sales tax collection on the internet.[Link] I suspect that the real reason for this is unmentioned, that collecting sales tax on the internet will damage it irreparably. I have this vision of the lord high mayor of Greater Metropolitan Arab dispatching an Arab police constable to Maine to extradite some Maine entrepreneur who makes some craft stuff that he/she sells on the internet and can’t afford the overhead of capturing taxes for all the petty villages and shires of the Yankee republic. I am not sure who I feel more sorry for, the constable or the crafts-person?

In a sense this is rather analogous to Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. If enough people commit a crime then none are punished. If commerce is too dispersed then tax collection fails. This is why taxes and cities go together. Or as my Great Uncle George would say “doesn’t matter how hot the knife eventually you can’t spread the oleo any further.” uttered – he claimed – during the days of rationing during the Great Patriotic War. 

The second is that the powers of FOSS have defeated the corporate barbarian Groupon who brazenly tried to steal a long standing FOSS trademark.[Link] I personally was quite in favor of the use of tactical fusion devices on the headquarters of the vile capitalist pirates. One of my other colleagues was in favor of enforced sterilization of the staff and their offspring so that such evil can be rooted from the gene pool. This colleague also has conventional religionist leanings.

The combination of the two indicate one troubling thing: capitalism and democracy have become incomparable and one must cease. I fear war is inevitable.

But then my brain is addled from too little sleep and too much temperature deprivation. 

Good Addiction

Fawg! Real fawg! Not that stercus uttered by Weather Beavers when there is enough aerosol to see but the visibility is several miles. Real can’t see five point something football fields (American, that is) fer the white goop, not the red. Driving to the edge of Scant City, where it went away, was a lovely exercise in last-man-on-Tellus emotions. 

And the podcast! An episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” consisting of a lecture by A. C. Grayling on liberties.And incidentally, how the relgionists will always cheat and enslave us. But excellent mundane day fare. Which gave me cause to contemplate whence I go with with the new book.

Which led me once more to think about maths and bogs. In keeping with the old saying that “there is no royal road to learning”, there is no special maths escalator for bogs. Or anyone else. But I am entertaining the conjecture that the problem is that bogs are unable to embrace maths because that would make them not-bog and they are unwilling to abandon their current pathetic lives. I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Are we all really THAT BAD at math?” and immediately found a lovely case study of bog and maths. I was particularly taken with some of the article:

“Oddly enough, I got my best grades in math and science. It was mostly because I was a quick formula memorizer. I could plug and chug with the best of them. But there was very little practical application for what I “learned.”

Ask me how to calculate the cosine of a right triangle or, well, to do pretty much anything I learned in calculus, and I’ll give you a blank stare. Heck, just ask me why I would need to do those things, and I’ll give you a blank stare.”

Yes, there is no practical application because you haven’t learned enough. The memorization is inescapable. Until you can learn enough to actually work real problems all you are going to get is memorization and fake problems. That hopefully reinforce the memorization. Expecting to do anything with high schule maths is about like seeing a picture of a screwdriver and expecting to assemble a motorcar. Or a plasma cannon. 

So blame part of it on the constricted hose of high schule – public education in general – education. You aren’t going to learn much maths in high schule. Maybe the equivalent of one semester in college. And then, if you’re a bog, you’re going to avoid that. I forget how many bog seniors had deferred college algebra – a course most nerds place far beyond in college – and suddenly found themselves mousetrapped into a no-graduate situation. Several even offer pittances to take the tests for them.

The only way you learn maths is the way you learn anything. You have to go beyond. If you stick with what they teach in public schule then you are doomed to be an ignernt bog. And yes, that is maybe redundant. I find it amusing that bogs embrace athletics and practice (learn) for a lot more hours than they are in class. But ask them to put in extra hours on maths or science and they act like you want to neuter them. As if learning athletics is somehow exalting? Other than endorphins, of course.

So don’t cry to us when you fail, bogs. You did it to yourself. With help from your parents, who are just you a bit older and not wanting you to be better than they. And teachers who don’t know any more than they present – if that – and don’t want you to know more than they. And a schule system that is more interested in good order than good people. The only road to STEM is doing more than the system provides. Mediocre schules produce mediocre people. Bogs, in other words. And all schules – public at least – are mediocre. So it’s up to you. 

Creativity Sought

Halfway through week out. Saturday was a medium day. And the temperature this morning was almost high enough for a constitutional. But I stayed home on the stationary bicycle and listened to the remainder of an episode of “The Pen Addict”. The podcast has improved a bit recently. A couple of weeks’ alternates made me receptive that they hosts have cleaned up their grammar a bit; there are still egregious errors but the frequency is down. On the negative side they still can’t get the RSS download files named right and I have to download and manually rename so overwrite doesn’t bite me. And the fire seems to have departed the whole thing. Or maybe its just doldrums of a static marketplace?

I have found out part of why I miss the constitutional. Some work at Stanford [Link] indicates that walking generates creative thinking. I suspect I put this in the academic affirmation pile. After all, Darwin was a great proponent of the creative benefits of walking. But then biologists and psychologists are not always very cooperative. So I now have to consider if I want to try to retime my constitutional or not? Or reposition? And is there any indoor place to do so? At least in Greater Metropolitan Arab. 

While we’re on creativity, I ran across this cartoon:[Link]

some time ago and have been slowly, mentally, masticating it. Or its ideation. I have finally settled on the conjectures that this is all about bogs and how they aren’t nerds or geeks. Although, as we know geeks tend to have all sorts of whackadoodle ideas – that’s part of their endearing charm – but they seem to have an extra strong capacity of disbelief suspension and can revert to rationality upon need. 

But it also rings to me of how whackadoodle our education system is choking off the flow of information to students so that they have to wait until college to really learn anything. And maybe not then in modern factory colleges. But I was impressed that the cartoonist had some inkling of just how complex magnetism is. Most people think it is simpler than electricity, all because of paper and iron filings.

OK. That’s it for now. Since I’m trying to write another book I have to save some creativity mana for it. More later if I get depleted. 

The Kitsch Convention

Another confused day portends. Each year about this time the craft crofters come out of their cabins and confound civilization. I apologize for the Agnewism but it expresses the mood current. FD SCP is off today, perhaps tomorrow, in adulation of kitsch. For those unfamiliar with the term it is defined as:

kitsch n 1: excessively garish or sentimental art; usually considered in bad taste

It is a term that is infinitely descriptive, if not definitive, of almost all of the old confederacy if not the entire hinterland of the Yankee republic. I suspect that it extends into the coastal urbanologies except there are more people there who will vehemently deny its applicability. Of course there are those who will deny it here – like FD SCP – who may not be card carrying members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy but who are psychological and temperamental paragons of that organization.

Of course we are conflicted by a love-hate relationship with these women, our mothers, wives, significant others, and daughters. They also know much of this is in bad taste but it has some deeper, more primal attraction that overwhelms that repulsion. Think Bronson Alpha. And hence the craft work becomes Bronson Beta.

Nor can we claim to know any better with our overtooled garages and male accoutraments. Even we STEMs have our own, different, kitsch. FD SCP permits me offensive buts like:

so long as they stay in the study away from the view of small children and members of the ad hoc UDC. 

The excuse of all this kraftwerk is evidently the holyday season. The feast of apathy nears the end of this month; I just received guidance last evening about the procurement of dinosaur descendant carcasses for ritual roasting and consumption, hopefully on sourdough bread and anointed with Miracle Whip. And then next month is the winter solstice attended by any number of social and religionist variants on that azimuth, a veritable vector sheaf, as it were. And no celebration of such magnitude can be complete without a bevy of kitsch klods to attract dust and interfere with modal existence. 

The bribe for male acceptance, as usual, is food. Our knowledge of the nature of marriage courtesy of Wrangham of fair Hahvahd does not soothe but does placate. Calories that we are forbidden by medicalists and the same women most of the year soothe more. 

So today FD SCP is off the the Greater Metropolitan Arab Mother’s Craft Show. There is some organization of mothers here in GMA but it is evidently a goddess society. We of the male plumbing persuasion have no need-to-know for any details of that organization including who are the members. No one admits to ever having known or met any member of the organization and evidently they only emerge from their sacred groves this once per year. And then either this afternoon or tomorrow she motors to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a solstice decoration fair at the hall of American Nazi Admiration. I am unsure of the connection as well as the symbolism but more craft is involved.

The great paradox of this activity is that the purpose is not so much to acquire gear but information. Undoubtedly the aftermath of this safari will be a firestorm of crafting here at home that will be infinitely more distressing than actual purchase.

But it’s all part of continuation of the species. 

I think.

Anyway, it will give me a bit of respite from the usual week out supervision to actually think, in and around the creaks of ORF corpus.

Why Stop Them?

This has been a rough week. In addition to the usual Wednesday trip I also had to go to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill to remedy the recall of my motorcar – some problem with its politician – airbag. And this morning – and forecast all week out – the temperature is too low for me to visit the park. I am resigning myself to the arrival of winter and the cessation of my constitutional for the duration. That does not mean I shan’t be perspiring and exerting, but on the not quite satisfactory stationary bicycle instead of the outdoor path. I am considering a midday excursion but some reconnaissance will be necessary to make sure the AO is not overrun with terrorist bairns and hausfrauen. 

The problem with all this activity is that it is not my modal activity and hence the aged corpus is unused to such and reacts negatively both to the new activity and to the absence of the old. I feel rather like the fellow who was sat upon by a pachyderm but gently. One would prefer to avoid the distinction but failing that, that a full blown sitting occur and put one from one’s misery. 

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inducatance Force, sent me a cartool [Link]

which seems a wellspring of insight on motherhood and management, which are two not quite different fields of endeavor. I fear that I can only offer kritik on the former subject since I fail its physical but positive information on the latter since its physical does not include a gender check except by the incompetent.

The motherhood issue is why interrupt an activity if one (a) knows what it is and (b) is nondestructive. I can understand the interruption is one has a headache or a sleeping bairn or some such but arbitrarily? On the management side there is a further issue, which is whether the activity contributes to the purpose and function? In my experience an occasional catharsis is useful in regenerating vigor and productivity and screaming is much less destructive than explosive pyrotechnics. The latter, of course, is part and parcel of the missile development business. One of the more rewarding as well. Especially when the test dummies can be effigies. 

I am going to skulk away to some rest and hope that I can recharge my batteries sufficiently to run in circles and scream and shout.