Return to Good, Maybe, temporarily

Not badly. Another night of not having to arise to inspect drippage, although I find the practice has an inertia. And I suspect that nature will be perverse and I will have another night of inspection before I can quite restore cooperation between sleep and bladder. It was, in fact, sufficiently warm for me to assay to the park for a constitutional this morning, the first of the year. It was a mixed bag. I had a bit of discomfort shading to pain in my foot so the going was a bit rocky, and the recently recharged batteries in my head lamp weren’t, and it was foggy, and I was more  bundled than I like to admit even if comfortable most of the time. And the podcast, an episode of Prairie Home Companion from several years ago – yes, I am that far behind due to scheduling changes – was only two laps long. But otherwise it was great and wonderful and quite restful.

Speaking of which, I ran across an article [Link] in a rather disreputable British news(?) rag about how academics from Tel Aviv U have discovered a heart 300 KY old. Seems that neandertals like to come home to a cozt (?) home after a long day of human stuff. Anyway, its a neat thing in that its rather old and indicates that humans have had fire a lot longer than the Promethean myth.

Also ringing in on the subject is a work [Link] from fair Hahvahd indicating that most people have 0.01 to 0.03 nenadertal DNA – unless you are of fairly pure African descent. This is only sorta new but I always marvel at the irony of this result, which evidently the liberals can’t talk about and the religio-conservatives won’t, that the folks from Africa that used to be held in chattel slavery in this country, partly justified by their lesserness, presumably genetic, are actually more purely Homo Sapiens than the folks who “owned” them. And the only obvious way to maintain their attitudes is to adopt diversity so they can argue mongrels are more robust, which they seem to be, at least in dogs, but that also opens the tent to the camel, at least metaphorically. In either case, the gig is up and both sets of prigs are undone and embarrassingly so.

And lastly, rebounding on a previous topic, I noticed that the Tuscaloosa News, the news rag of the town adjacent the Campus of the Black Warrior, has printed a descriptive indictment of the meteorology instrumentality in middle Alibam.[Link] Is it any coincidence that the Alibam Dermatologist aka Guvnuh has residence in the town? Probably. But it is nice to see some of the blame going to inept weather ferds instead of just politicians. Both deserve some guilt and shame. And a bit of fear.

Good Sex?

Yesterday was not the usual. And yes, I seem to have survived the medical procedures, at least thus far. Not sure my mental faculties are all that I should like them to be, but the aftereffects thus far are more the result of medications than procedure.

This leads me to contemplate an article [Link] I found about work from U Arizona. This work indicates that the success of modern homo sapiens is largely the result of miscegenation with other species of humans. And, yes, I know I have commented on this numerous times previously.

Anyway, what makes this cognitively attractive is not that it occurred, such is a matter of blatancy given recent efforts in genome mapping, but rather how it came about. The recorded history of humanity since around 500 BCE is replete with all sorts of proscription of miscegenation. In that paradigm, miscegenation is not reproductive activity between species, but between geographic and ethnic groups. When I was a bairn growing up in the old confederacy pink humans were not supposed to have reproductive relations with other shades of humans, or even with pink humans who were not denizens of the old confederacy.

That taboo is somewhat relaxed these days although not actually eradicated, hence the question of how did those ancient humans have the smarts to reproduce with different humans? Could it be that these attitudes towards miscegenation are an artifact of age and that it has only been since the invention of writing and civilization and such that enough people have lived long enough for these attitudes to emerge?

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No state names for scientists?

The day of reckoning has passed and the day of reckoning is approaching. We have lots of days of reckoning whether they are misinterpreted Mayan turning points or stolen holidays. At the moment we are in the middle and waiting for things to either get better or crest.

Yesterday, in my normal internet readings I ran across an IO9 article [Link] about a SCIENCE article, which is behind a paywall and while I can get past that paywall, most can’t and I don’t want to frustrate anyone so I’ll just go with the IO9 link and let those who want to go to the money grubbing, information stealing autarks. Not that one can be a nerd and not live without SCIENCE, at least for many disciplines, but I still object to paywalls for research paid for by the Yankee government and other speciously beneficial organizations.

The article is about how pooish the discipline/profession of anthropology is. I don’t think the matter is about science although I’ll mumble about that in a moment. The quote from the SCIENCE paper is about low pay and high unemployment among anthropologists. Not surprising, IMHO.

Anthropology is an entrancing discipline. It offers to be the physics of the stamp collecting sciences, having to do with people and their interactions and colligative properties. It seemed to have reached the level of practicality that the Yankee army was hiring anthropologists, not psychologists or sociologists, to advise them on furrin cultures and societies. Why, it;s even disliked by politicians which is always a sign of merit and worth. But apparently that’s not all.

The problem is a bit diverse. First, as with most of the social sciences, anthropology is quite accessible to bogs, requiring rather more memorization than cognition in the early years. It also involves a lot of field work which is also more attractive to bogs than lab work. And the whole thing has been celebritized by Holywood.

Pray do not get me wrong. I enjoy the Indiana Jones movies, mostly for their parody aspects. And I myself studied anthropology as an undergraduate, albeit only two courses as a ’rounding’ track. And my professors tried to get me to switch to anthropology, unsuccessfully – because of the field work – and I still follow the field today. But the problem still remains that the mental model of an anthropologist held by most folks, especially bogs and not a few geeks but few nerds, is almost entirely those movies. And therein lies the chasm that the bogs have poured into lemming fashion.

I find it intriguing that last year the anthropologists’ professional society declared anthropology to not be a science. Now we have scientists who publish in SCIENCE deprecating anthropology. I should mention that anthropologists almost never publish in SCIENCE and then only in conjunction with scientists of some respectable discipline. I have to worry why they are not picking on theater or fine arts or journalism, all disciplines with low pay and high unemployment? Could it be because they do not seem to be a science? Or is it because the anthropologists have wasted their providence and sold their birthright? And the accusers hold secret desires to do anthropology?

The World Wonders.

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To blog, perhaps to gripe?

I do not like summer! It is nasty discomfortable and reinforces the contemporary Southron predilection to stay indoors. It has always been horrible how we get wet, almost freezing weather in winter – now rarer than ever – and Southrons seem to think they need to bunker up and pretend they’re in Maine during a storm. Since the invention, development, and proliferation of air conditioning this siege mentality seems to have spread to summer.

If you hadn’t figured it out, today is officially the first day of summer. I am not sure who the official is but I am convinced they are a tool of the climate change denialists. Indeed with the rise in temperature the meanings of the seasons have changed and their duration needs to be adjusted to reflect reality and abandon the equality of time previous used?

On the subject of discomfort, I note [Link] that MegaHard seems to be committed – a hopefully prophetic turn of phrase – to rolling out its own “Unity” – they call it Metro and with the usual MegaHard arrogance are quite ignoring they plagiarized it from elsewhere – despite alienating their user base. So the question is how many will defer upgrading from whatever they are running, and how many will vote by transporting to another OS. These are unsure but we can be relatively sure that if the don’t want to use Metro they surely will not adopt Ubuntu with Unity. For one thing Winders users don’t, in the modality, have the neuronage to load another GUI and hence Canonical has placed themselves in the position of the little engine that failed.

The good news, of course, in Canonical pruning the base of Ubuntu severely is that it has expanded the base of the alternatives, especially Xubuntu and Kubuntu which it has been trying for some years to kill off. Instead, it’s de facto role as a middle provider between kernel and OS may actually be an improvement given its showing of abysmal stupidity with Unity. Meanwhile, I suspect more of those MegaHard users are going to migrate to Apple thus strengthening the position of the new fascism.

On a more pleasant azimuth, I note [Link] that the Australians have gotten into the act with cave craft. They have discovered art dating back 28 KYA.

I have to admit that this is rather more striking than the negative hand prints dating back almost 41 KYA that have been so noted of in recent days. I think I have heard no less than three podcast episodes this week that either mentioned or were occupied with. This is a sad event. The boffins are having to spend a lot of time doing repeated interviews that end up doing little other than alienating their listeners with the interviewers nonsense and inaccuracies.

I was listening to a podcast episode of the CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” this morning and swearing under my breath as some biologist/paleontologist made a hash of a discussion of the optics of moth wings. This is why I consider outreach to be terminally flawed. We do greater evil and damage telling the bogs inaccuracies than not telling at all.

Still, I was taken with the beauty of the Australian site as well as the art. At least this comes a lot closer to being art than that kindergarten hand turkey thing.

Lots of Arts

The podcast episodes this morning were all about either cave “art” or the microbial life forms living on humans. Since I have already had a bit of blot on the former topic I can dispose of it rather rapidly.

I heard surprisingly little questioning the validity of the dating method, which dates the formation of calcium compound deposition after the paining was laid down. This rather surprised me. I should have expected some noise there as well as a discussion of how they can be assured that the calcites really are later than the painting. I have to assume that the calcites are removed from atop the painting rather than beside as reported by our unerring journalists.

But the thing that rather roasted my sensibilities was hearing some haggis-head [1] say that neandertals were not humans! Someone needs to explain to the chappie that the human designation derives from the genus, not the species. Of course they may not have adequate processing capability to appreciate that in which case a repast of haggis is indicated. Long pig is optional.

The stupidity was at least as bad with the questions from the audience. I have to admire Abe Flato’s patience with bogs and their questions. I was especially taken with the questions about internal microbes after the statement was made that all samples, except feces, were collected using swabs. Evidently the understanding of human anatomy is another in the category of algebra disciplines not used after high shule by the boggerate.

On that note I am happy to note, in the Register, of course [Link] the event of the NASA ‘Planetary Exploration Car Wash & Bake Sale’ to raise money for planetary exploration in these times of government self-destruction and political haggis heading. Given the state of things I should say more money rather than less needs be spent on this since those of us with actual cognition should like to emigrate to a planet with fewer bogs – and politicians!

Similarly, and also in the Register, [Link] – how is it that England has so much more competent journalists than the Yankee republic? Is it the flavor of tyranny? – is an article about how the IT boffins are criticizing the government for spending too much money on protective measures and not enough on shock and awe. I am not at all sure that putting the heads of cybercriminals on pikes would be successful in alleviating the problem but it certainly would have enlivened the pageantry the other week of the diamond anniversary of the current tyrant-monarch.  In fact, given our superficial knowledge of English history, cybercrime certainly seems to fit the bill as treason, at least as much as for unproducing wives and errant brothers-in-law. Or even real criminals? Perhaps a return to the protectorate could help with the problem?

At least it’s not an absurd and illegal amnesty program of selectively instructing sworn officers to ignore certain aspects of the United States Code. Such, of course, is purely an Amerikan tyranny.

[1]  For those who are unfamiliar with the term, haggis is a form of unsalted oatmeal, usually with meat added, that is aged in the stomach of a sheep. A haggis head is someone whose brains have been scooped out and replaced by haggis. In effect, their skull serves in the office of the sheep’s stomach. The quality of cerebration can be inferred easily and directly.

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In light of the recent bit on hypertension and hunter-gatherer bands I got to cogitating on the latter a bit. Supposedly bands are egalitarian. This does not mean that they don’t have leaders; there are always brash extroverts who make too much noise with too much ego and are easier to abide, when it isn’t dangerous, than to kill. And there are always introverts who stay in the background until the extroverts lead the band into danger and they step froward to dispose of the extroverts and lead the band to safety.

So I have been considering the ‘hazing killing’ of a Floridas A&M drum major in this context.[Link] Originally marching bands were small affairs, about the right size for a hunter-gatherer band, with a small “b”. There was also the Band with a capital “B” that was 2-4 times bigger and reflected the spouse and goods exchange pool. The Floridas A&M band is larger than the latter but it shares some aspects of the hunter-gatherer social organization.

First of all, we have to recognize that a marching band is relatively egalitarian. Yes, there is a band director who has authority, but that authority has to be largely limited to academic matters. If the hand gets too heavy ways are found to dispose of the director. And a drum major, as the grade indicates is more of an administrative than a command figure.

Now a marching band is clearly not a hunter-gatherer band in that it does not exist primarily for food gathering, but it does exist as a way of life and since many of its members are on scholarship, survival is definitely a part of band culture. So a marching band will share some social traits with a hunter-gatherer band.

And that includes a very strong, well defined, us-them, in-group/out-group behavior. So a new member of the band is not really a member until accepted as such. And because membership carries survival responsibilities, unlike the boy scouts or a professional society, loyalty and culture sharing must be firmly demonstrated before real membership is accorded. And until this is accorded the newcomer is a pariah or worse.

So despite all the grrr brrr about inhumane treatment and racial prejudice, which is only inaccurate in terms of misunderstanding what humane means and how the race boundaries are drawn, what seems to have occurred here is natural and beneficial. Not legal, mind you but those laws are the laws of a different organization that has no regard for the needs of other organizations. That is the nature of organizations; they only respect others that can hurt them badly. Organizational cooperation is strictly survival and pain avoidance.

So if you are an administrative newbie among a band of performers you cannot be effective and retain your welfare if you are not accepted as a member of the in-group. In such circumstances, risk of loss of life is acceptable, and in this instance, unfortunate. But then we all do stupid things for short term goals.

But we don’t do a very good job of understanding being human.

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A Health Too Far

One of my colleagues, Mass Angular Momentum, sent me a link to this article [Link] that I had noted but not yet read. Given his indication of relevance to me I quickly read and began to cogitate.

The article detail – all too shallowly, but it is journalism, after all – work out of U California on incidence of hypertension among hunter-gatherers. Notably, they find it is largely absent.

As my colleague observed, this is not surprising. The hunter-gatherer existence is, or at originally, was free of most stresses. Yes, they might stress over being able to find food or romance or whether to switch from H&G to making blanks for tools, but they were largely spread over the group and less frequent than the stresses of civilized life. Speaking logistically, the more people in the area, the more interactions and the more stress.

Also, we cannot discount diet either. There have been studies indicating that a pattern of gorging followed by starving is more healthy than constant adequacy. One suspects it is hard to deposit barnacles on the plumbing if they are periodically serving as food reserves.

But I cannot help worrying about the reliability of the data. Since the end of exploration on Tellus, there have been no hunter-gatherer bands not corrupted by some contact with civilization, the observer effect if nothing else. This is strengthened by the pictures in the article of hunter-gatherers attired in civilization clothing. These folks are not leading a pure HG lifestyle and lacking controls impossible in human studies reduce science from experiment to observation. And falsifiability is impossible.

It is also a bit of a trivium. We cannot recapture the HG lifestyle for numbers of people. If any of our own stream to join the few HG bands we shall destroy them in a situation akin to that on the news last night of scaling Everest. The magic of consumerism is that it destroys everything. It is indeed the red blob.

We could, of course, kill off 0.99 of the population of Tellus, somehow eradicate the survival guilt of the remaining 0.01, and return to a hunter-gatherer existence. Maybe. But there would be no returning. It would be a one way trip since we have largely destroyed the resources that permitted us to leave that life style for civilization.

As for me, I volunteer to be part of the 0.99. I am past the age of 45 and hence living on borrowed time for a hunter-gatherer. Besides, physics and physicists are as irrelevant to being a hunter-gatherer as being a physician or banker or plumber.

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Hot Stuffings

Tis sundae again and after a too long night of being sociable, even with good friends and colleagues, my spirit is a bit flattened this morning.

On which note, I found an excellent, if a bit overlong, article [Link] in the Guardian about how contemporary society is destroying itself by making extroverts demigods and introverts pariahs. The only surprise here is that someone would actually own up to this and therefore that it is published in a British newspaper is not a surprise. No Amerikan newspaper would think it newsworthy.

The piece is essentially a paen for a book on introverts/extroverts but somehow I doubt many introverts will read the book. Maybe those who are unwilling bogs and want to let out their nerdish reality?

Now, on the level of a horror story of organizational and boggish insanity run rampant, is an article [Link] about a South Carolina educationalist being accused of promulgating pornography for reading Ender’s Game to her class. Is there any wonder that this nation is rapidly on its way to becoming not only a third world state but a mental feudalism as well? This whole thing would be roll on the floor humorous except for the obvious Catch 22 for the educationalist. If anyone needs to be penalized it is the craniolithic parent and the troglodyte constabulary.

But then, this is South Carolina after all, the center of mental defect and intelligence absence for the whole Yankee republic. And we don;t even have an Andrew Jackson to beat them back into line. Where are the righteous warriors of GWOT when we need them to protect us from domestic terrorism?

On a more pleasing note, NASA has finished a 17 year project to provide a map of the universe (at least the seeable portion) in the infrared spectrum. [Link] Sadly, the article is terminally geeky in its absence of any really useful information such as the spectral densities of measurement, and such, Marginally savingly, links are provided to NASA.

Hot stuff, or at least, the image of the heat of stuff.

And speaking of hot stuff, an article [Link] out of the Natural History Museum of London that homo sapiens beat out homo neandertalensis by the lucky chance of where the former chose to live out the last cold phase. Seems that the neandertal, by living so far Nawth, adapted to the cold and when it went away they lacked the warm weather abilities to compete with us.

Sort of an opposite of Paine’s “fair weather patriots”?

Of course with the coming hot phase of global climate change, so widely denied by politicians and those with bowel craniums, we can look forward to the hot adapted once more coming nawth and doing in the present occupants?

Structure Considerations

I never cease to be amazed by the Scots. Even after all the mythology is discounted. They invented whisky. They invented the industrial revolution, or at least the steam engine. They perfected the art of bag pipes. And they figured out regicide long before their southron neighbors, the English. Who probably got the whole thing by imitation and then not very well. It doesn’t say much for the English that they finally got the idea, got rid of a real tyrant, and then turned around and invited the tyrants son back to persecute them some more? If the United States of America is unready for self-government then the English are incompetent for such.

Anyway, the English have a long history of plagiarizing the Scots and then, in proper fashion, punishing them for permitting the imitation. Now it develops [Link] that they even imitated the whole henge thing from the Scots. Yes, Stonehenge, one of the great monuments of English greatness is a derivative copy of a Scots henge.

Pass the single malt. No dilution.

Speaking of the English, they do have beer. It is not as good as it used to be before the local pubs quit making their own and just started pumping corporate glop. And yes, even that is better than Ameirkan corporate glop. But what is inescapable about beer that you almost never have with whisky, is foam.

Foam is wonderful stuff. It generally consists of 0.9+ of gas, nominally air, 0.01- of liquid, nominally water, and 0.01 ish of some impurity in the water to enhance its bubbleness, especially its lifetime. Statistically, foam is a colligative of bubbles. It is the medianness of beer in that if a beer has too much, or too little foam, it is not good.

This brings up the question of what is the ideal foam? From a beer standpoint it is a large bubbled foam with definite taste. But from a physics standpoint an ideal foam can be defined in terms of its internal composition. I mention this because the classical ideal foam, which has bubbles all the same size, is a rather tired hexagonal close pack. But recently, [Link] a new, less stressed foam has been demonstrated that looks rather like the bubble equivalent of fullerene.

Probably won’t be found in beer though.

And while we’re at how things fit together, I ran across an article [Link] about a 10 year old child who was ‘playing’ with a molecule kit (balls, springs and rods) and came up with a new molecule, tetranitratoxycarbon. What is amazing about this is that the kit is accurate enough that the cobbled together obj d’art actually makes some sense from a quantum mechanical sense.

Quite frankly, the whole thing is rather local news opposite-of-sob-sister, aren’t-children-wonderful stuff. The video indicates that the molecule is symmetric which makes me rather doubt this is anything more than tinker toys artwork. But I will be looking for any news of a synthesis. As I recall these types of molecules are devilishly hard to synthesize.