Paleocomputate

A bonny day so fr, even if Sol is not yet visible from ground level here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. My browser tells me it is 54 degF and my aft porch wireless thermometer is in close agreement. I was thus able to venture forth to the park for my morning constitutional. And a nice thing it was despite the moral loading of disturbing the resident felines, a thing totally alien to the personality of capitalist/fascist Alibam. This bothers me, more now than in my youth, but I do have to excuse myself in that it is a bit more survivable in Nawth Alibam where the iron glove is cloaked in Army green and hidden by NASA propaganda.

Also, having observed the iron hand in other states, some supposedly more human and supporting, I find that sometimes studied indifference is better than intrusive nit picking. It seems that it is in the nature of government, being an organization, to put its own well being ahead of its members’. And as atomic theory tells us, the proof is in the raisins.

I was amused yesterday to run across this cartoon: [Link]

and appreciate the anthropology humor. No doubt comes of dragging battery water about through caves while an undergraduate. I muttered over the memory this morning while egging on the yelps of pain in my periodically capsulated shoulder.

This led me to consider the various periods of humans. The connection, for me at least, is to the stone ages: neolithic; mesolithic; and paleolithic;followed by the metallic ages, and what is now the mesotechnic, I should imagine. Although from observation, it is perhaps the postphyte? Or is that humor too much for a punday?

And I have to make note of an article [Link] inquiring about the death of MegaHard. One of the noteworthy things here is that this is not the usual run of contemporary journalism and definitely not a MegaHard puppetry. This gave me occasion to reflect on the nature of computing. Yes, the desktop/laptop has been overblown. The PDA craze was premature, lacking adequate wireless and network – the two are different and we forget at our risk! – connectivity. But we have to keep in mind that entertainment, to use an energy analogy, is control rods not fuel rods. Yes, there are lots of things that can be done, and more easily, on a slab, whether telephonic or lithic. But there are other things, some of which have actual instead of just social necessity, that are better done at a desk or lab bench. That’s why tables still exist all this time after Plato (and the tiring academic example of table as a Platonic form.) I may want to monitor the instrumentation of my experiment via a tablet, but I certainly don’t want to be storing the data on a hard drive slaved to that tablet. Oh, my aching shoulder.

We also tend to forget that all this infosplosion, whether real data or just selfies in one form or another, increases the demands on servers. And the best user OS have always been based on server OS, at least to my experience. Or is it just that the tool kit is that much better. Certainly it is in the MegaHard environment.

On which note, is MegaHard going to die? Yes, but not for the usual list of suspects. It will likely die from heat death. Its products will cease to be new tools and just be old tools and the brightest and best won’t want (a poor Agnewism but it is punday) to work there any more and the organizational intelligence gestalt will pass through a cusp and suddenly the organization will be stupid and dull and slime moldish.

What we can learn from this is that the electronics revolution has pretty well run its course. Yes, it has been the darling of civilization since the early part of century 20 when we first got radio and flash lights and such but the days of being the darling are about over. Computers are fast becoming what cars were in the sixties. They may all get electric windows but we’ll never quite get to the flying car. That won;t mean there won’t be a big industry and a big piece of defining civilization but it won’t be the thing of glitter and lights and nocturnal emissions.

In closing, I offer one last bit of challenge: consider why the pickup truck is so popular and so little used for its intended function?

, , , ,

Pedaling, not Driving

Two day and the gym still moderately sparse. And while the podcast episodes today – Science – were not particularly sticky – except Smolin’s discourse on time – I did come to a couple of pre-Wednesday realizations:

  • Corporations are Predators;
  • Adverticement is Falsehood; and most significantly,
  • Consensus is NOT Causality.

That’s all, folks!

, , ,

Chaotic Stupidity

Mundane day is back. And joyously! No noise pollution courtesy of the city parents, and the gym was delightfully sparse. The podcast was another episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” series on secularity and it was quite good, finally getting around to the advancements in society being directly the result of increasing secularity and the inherent controlling nature of organized religion. And the evil (?) of fundamentalism. There was even a bit of humor about the latter which is rather refreshing for one who lives in the religionist pig pen of the old Confederacy. They even talked about how the obsession with end times is a direct fallout of reconstruction.

On a more intriguing azimuth I ran across an article [Link] about the half-century anniversary of the beginnings of the study of chaotic behavior. Unlike James Glick and others I am not quite comfortable with calling it Chaos since the origin of the term is non-STEM. I also had to reflect that much of the original maths development, especially with the classic logistic differential equation, was simply bad maths. That was always a problem for me, on the one hand the finite difference maths types talking about error propagation and instabilities of too large a step size and the chaotic behavior folks talking about BOOM! behavior at step sizes far beyond the stable. Why, I wondered, couldn’t they get their stories straight?

Also intriguing is an article [Link] about an academic study that indicates human intelligence has decreased since the reign of Victoria. This is another brick in the wall that suggests that technology makes us stupid. Not that we didn’t know that, but it is nice to have it made sorta official.

Now we just have to wait for the politician to pass legislation that makes it illegal for us to not be stupid.

, , , ,

Cold and Drool

We come to ice cream day, the christianist pseudo-shabat, which is appropriate since it portends to be a cold day. My Firefox weather add-in indicates that it is 28 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab right now and the temperature will rise to all of 45 degF. This is a mixed bag, if accurate. We are starting off at lower temperature than yesterday but we have the carrot of higher maximum than yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, FD SCP drug me out to go shopping for a new motorcar for her. This was not a pleasant experience. I was repeatedly whelmed by blatantly incompetent salesmen (no women?) who project greed and fraud, when they are not mentally drooling. I suppose I am spolied by having bought my last few motorcars in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill where the salesmen are used to dealing with techies and knowing that appearing stupid and boggish will cost them a sale. But FD SCP wants to obtain service for her motorcar here in Greater Metropolitan Arab and the dealer we finally settled on is the least worst of a horrible lot. At least statistically.

It may be asked why I would choose to live in a town of such blatant and bottomless incompetence, what with salesmen who mentally drool and city governance by real estate agents. The reason is simple; the distractions may be safely ignored leaving one to concentrate on important stuff, like physics. Knowing that the salesmen are incompetent and venial and cheats means that one can safely ignore their noise and decide whether the inflated price and inferior good are good enough to not waste more time over. And knowing that the city government values only people who do not live in the city means that one is free of concern over city politics and machinations. Sometimes, if the evil is small enough and inept enough, it is better to ignore it into a corner than consume one’s substance eradicating it.

This is the rule in small town Amerika, especially here in the hinterland. In fact, compared to Atlanta, Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill is similarly corrupt and competence-shy. I have long hypothesized that this differential of competence, if not greed and fraud, is why the young get attracted in such numbers to the cities, and why so many of them die young – in the cities. Cities have always been death mills of the young, going back to their beginnings. The competence draws them in and the greed takes them apart.

The other nasty piece of this, of which I have been reminded several times this week, is the idea of ‘cold’. Cold is nonsense, like the multipliers of less that have become fashionable in advertisements. There is no such thing as cold except in the minds of humans who should know better but apparently naturally drool between the ears. But since it seems fitting both in terms of our theme and in keeping with the weather, we shall discuss cold.

The human body is a heat engine. The heat is essentially a waste product like feces and urine. Since it is produced (approximately) continuously, it must be disposed of in the same fashion. The rate of heat transfer from the body to the environment depends on several factors including both the body and environment temperature. If the temperature difference is too low, our body retains heat and be become ‘hot’. This piece makes a bit of sense. But if the temperature difference is too great, then heat is pulled out faster than efficiency permits and we experience some metabolic stuttering that we interpret as ‘cold’. The most obvious of this is shivering which is as attempt by muscles to increase the body’s generation of heat.

So ‘cold’ is not only a purely human, unphysical thing, but manifest evidence of the prevalence of boggishness among humans.

Which brings us to the key question: is the mental drool of salesmen also manifest evidence of boggishness?

, , , ,

Ostrich Society

Week in resumed! Back to gym. The podcast an episode of CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with the evils of coal. And the first of a two-parter.

The podcast started off with an implied indictment of coal capitalism, that mine collapses are the result only of stinginess and safety avoidance, and then rolled on to a discourse on environment and climate change. That latter was also an indictment of capitalism for benefiting from not paying the replacement cost of natural (i.e., exhaustible) resources and for adequate programs of warming abatement.

But at least the part on warming per se was wishy washy, better reflecting the uncertainty of science at the price of strengthening the rich and denialists.

It struck me in all this that civilization is neotenous.

neoteny n 1: an evolutionary trend to be born earlier so that development is cut off at an earlier stage and juvenile characteristics are retained in adults of the species

That is, tending towards permanently pre-pubescent – childlike – non-adult.

Simply put, adulthood is all about accepting responsibility for survival. Civilization is counter-adulthood. When you live in cities you don’t have to hunt or gather, you don’t have to contend with ravenous predators (although there are predators of a different form but actually few in number,) and you can pursue activities that are counter-survival absent civilization. Like games and comic books and superhero movies and ……… Hobbies have become more important than avocations, entertainment more important than jobs. Even education has been reduced to pieces of paper rather than knowledge and skills.

It’s also no wonder that the folks who do best in today’s society, the STEMS, and justicers and medicalists, are artificially divorced from society in an environment that is simpler and counter-realistic. Except that we keep trying to define that environment as realistic. And of course, there’s religionism. And we’ve suddenly found that those with Autism can almost get by on their own.

And it’s fragile without our being able to contend with that fragility. There are too many of us so no one can accomplish anything. Why, even our politicians tell us that wanting us to be good little nebbishes. And to die early by living in cities.

, , , ,

Allergy Speedbump

Not much to relate this morning. Rather coolish this morning compared to last week and what is foretold for later this week, one more evidence of the increased weather variance from increased mean temperature (energy.)

Allergies have been hideous all weekend, and continuing this morning. Hard to be cognitive when you are looking at things through a veil of tears. Does offer some insight into the progress of humanity. If we have been plagued with the natural impediments of illness and infirmity it was not just the creation of a critical mass of relevant information that was necessary for any technological and social advance, but also means of freeing ourselves of the distraction of these petty and seemingly ubiquitous maladies.

Incidentally, I have come to the hypothesis that tear formation is emergent, an example of complexity, but I have not yet had occasion, or attention span, to develop a specific model.

Civilization Jello-down

OK, it is official. Civilization has just changed. Drastically.

Seems that the folks who publish the Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer publish a paper version.[Link][Link] This comes as a scant surprise. I read in article that they sell the thing for 1.4E3 $Amerikan and only expected (maximum) to sell 1.2E4 sets this year. That’s less than the annual budget for Greater Metropolitan Arab, which is saying a great deal given how no monies are spent in Arab unless there is some expectation of attracting NEW taxpayers. One of the benefits of government by real estate agents.

I should comment that despite its fame and glory, EB never sold that many encyclopedias. They had to transition, organizationally, to other sources of revenue sometime not long after the cessation of the Great Patriotic War. But their fortunes were and are still tied to that information bashing activity and we should be wise (OK, the bogs get a pass on that one) to retain that in mind.

Two of the reasons for this are: (1) the EB is big! consider this photograph

which I believe comes from Wikipedia, and notice the shelf the upper row of books are sitting upon. Notice how it bows downward. That’s one of problems – the EB eats cheap bookcases; and (2) it isn’t easy to read. Heck, even the junior edition, which is supposed to be written for kids, isn’t easy to read by an adult. The reason is that EB is written for nerds and it isn’t so much an encyclopedia as a handbook. That distinction, for those who ask, is that a handbook is a refresher of what you already know; an encyclopedia is something you can learn from.

Most of the encyclopedias sold in the Yankee republic were sold in grocery stores. The second source was door-to-door salesmen. So when the latter died as a sales medium, so did EB since they wouldn’t do business with Publix or Red Lion. And the encyclopedias you got in grocery stores were cheap in price, binding, and writing quality but they were still easier to read than EB. And while these peaked in the sixties, what has died is the basic idea of what an encyclopedia does.

Simply put, an encyclopedia serves as a condensate of a real library that you can have in your home. No need to done a morning suit and summon the carriage to drive to the library to look up something. Now you just walk into the smoking room and pull a volume of encyclopedia off the (well built and not sagging) shelves. That’s it. The encyclopedia is indoor plumbing. It’s a convenience. And we don’t need it any more because we have microcomputers and the internetwork.

Or so we think. What got lost here is the trust factor. When you bought an EB, or a World Book, or any other reputable encyclopedia (i.e., one not sold in a supermarket,) you were buying a product that had some intellectual integrity behind it and so you trusted it even thought you couldn’t verify. And now we trust the internet. WHich is an even deeper delusion, but that’s the way the world is these days.

I grew up with encyclopedias. Read my way through five sets before I was eleven years of age. Gave me an education that the public shules failed at. And when I got to be an adult with a revenue stream, I bought an EB. And I couldn’t read it even with college degrees. But I could dip into it as I needed to, on things not in my fields of study, and learn. And I lost it in a house fire around the turn of the century.

And the EB folks rescued me. They sold me EB on a CD (later a DVD). And it was good. So long as I ran WINDERS. Now I still buy EB on DVD and wrestle with WINE. But I also consult Wikipedia, but only for what is not in the EB. Because Wikipedia is not only not trustworthy, but it is even more poorly written than EB.

So as long as the EB folks publish the EB on DVD, I am good, and the rest of Tellus can turn into slime mold for brains trusting the Internetwork. Apres moi.

Have you ever put jello on a plate and left it out, looking at it every ten minutes or so? That’s what I am talking about.

But it’s no big thing, because that’s how most folks were anyway. From the get go. Week old, unrefrigerated jello. Between the ears.

Market Service

That almost ideal of days, a rainy winter sundae, seems to be upon us. We shall see. And in the province of shall see, it is time to peer into old tabs and eradicate them either immediately or after snide commentary.

On which note, this article [Link] indicates that Apple continues to lose market share in the tablet azimuth. The article claims “Apple’s market share in the tablet arena dropped from 64 percent in Q3 to 57 percent in Q4, with Amazon nabbing a 14 percent share.” Since we don’t know Amazing previous take, the comparison is incomplete which implies that the survey firm is being less than objective and altruistic. And I am sitting here amazed that I actually used the words “firm”, “objective”, and “altruistic” in connection. Must be due to the soothing effect of the precipitation?

I feel rather conflicted on this. After all, it is a matter of which master the possessors – given the nonsense of modern licensing it is less than clear that one can own a tablet, especially an Apple one – serve? As is so often the case with modern society and corporations, terminology is inverted. Vendors used to offer service; now they claim that to assure they are serviced with cash flow. Modern licensing and contracts are one form of the current slavery. And that neither political party in the Yankee republic will even acknowledge it is an indication they are as much slaves of corporations as the citizenry. 

Next, via NASA through the Scientific American, [Link] indications that we may not be able to blame soccer moms (and their mommy vans) for global climate change. It seems that the cause may track back to the end of the last cold phase when we humans began to seriously experiment with sedentarism. And, of course, agriculture, which was necessary when we killed off all the animals for a day or so walk around. 

I cannot help but be reminded of that quote of the first Lord Wellington, “if there is something of which I know nothing, it is agriculture.” Not necessarily believable given the period and his profession, but it seems that we are again presented with some new information about an old subject. And we shall get to observe how wildly the politicians deny that farming is part of the reason the species may be doomed.

On a more enjoyable branch, the same disreputable rag offers us a guest blog [Link] speculating on the role of beer in that sedentary process. Sitting still started so we could have more possessions, stuff, Burns’ ‘gear’, and that leads us down a path where beer could occur accidentally and then drive us to the cultivation of wheat. Not completely digestible but definitely palatable. The story, that is.

Regretfully, it is still a bit early for me to do beer. Never has been one of my morning libations.

And lastly, a lovely article [Link] on why the Gnome folks have wondered off into some sort of la-la land and have ceased to pay attention to what users want? Is this some sort of corporate greed or merely artistic fascism? It is often hard to tell, especially in our modern world. The good news is that it is recognized and numerous contraries efforts are under way. But it seems strange that we can unify over how out GU Is work and not over our own freedoms?

Martket Servitude

That almost ideal of days, a rainy winter sundae, seems to be upon us. We shall see. And in the province of shall see, it is time to peer into old tabs and eradicate them either immediately or after snide commentary.

On which note, this article [Link] indicates that Apple continues to lose market share in the tablet azimuth. The article claims “Apple’s market share in the tablet arena dropped from 64 percent in Q3 to 57 percent in Q4, with Amazon nabbing a 14 percent share.” Since we don’t know Amazing’s previous take, the comparison is incomplete which implies that the survey firm is being less than objective and altruistic. And I am sitting here amazed that I actually used the words “firm”, “objective”, and “altruistic” in connection. Must be due to the soothing effect of the precipitation?

I feel rather conflicted on this. After all, it is a matter of which master the possessors – given the nonsense of modern licensing it is less than clear that one can own a tablet, especially an Apple one – serve? As is so often the case with modern society and corporations, terminology is inverted. Vendors used to offer service; now they claim that to assure they are serviced with cash flow. Modern licensing and contracts are one form of the current slavery. And that neither political party in the Yankee republic will even acknowledge it is an indication they are as much slaves of corporations as the citizenry. 

Next, via NASA through the Scientific American, [Link] indications that we may not be able to blame soccer moms (and their mommy vans) for global climate change. It seems that the cause may track back to the end of the last cold phase when we humans began to seriously experiment with sedentaryism. And, of course, agriculture, which was necessary when we killed off all the animals for a day or so walk around. 

I cannot help but be reminded of that quote of the first Lord Wellington, “if there is something of which I know nothing, it is agriculture.” Not necessarily believable given the period and his profession, but it seems that we are again presented with some new information about an old subject. And we shall get to observe how wildly the politicians deny that farming is part of the reason the species may be doomed.

On a more enjoyable branch, the same disreputable rag offers us a guest blog [Link] speculating on the role of beer in that sedentary process. Sitting still started so we could have more possessions, stuff, Burnes’ ‘gear’, and that leads us down a path where beer could occur accidentally and then drive us to the cultivation of wheat. Not completely digestible but definitely palatable. The story, that is. Regretfully, it is still a bit early for me to do beer. Never has been one of my morning libations.

And lastly, a lovely article on why the Gnome folks have wondered off into some sort of la-la land and have ceased to pay attention to what users want? Is this some sort of corporate greed or merely artistic fascism? It is often hard to tell, especially in our modern world. The good news is that it is recognized and numerous contrarian efforts are under way. But it seems strange that we can unify over how out GUIs work and not over our own freedoms?