Holiday Harrumphs

Once more into the breach – of week in, that is. And it portends to be a particularly nasty and trying week. The great American holy day is this week with all the falseness and pretense that has been attached to it, especially by the religionist-corporatist cancer. But this morning has not been bad. The air temperature is not at all bad and the rain seems to have abated for now. Lower temperatures are foretold for the end of the week which should improve the holy day enormously by offering up all sorts of excuses for ‘why bother?’

The podcast, an episode of the CBC’s "Best of Ideas" was about the social impact of drones in Pakistan. It was singularly unconvincing. Even the natives supposed to be man-in-the-street discriminated came across as theological fascists and distilled evil. It occurs that with all the intensification of religionist fervor, that religion is becoming the hardest aspect of diversity to advocate. Even christianists seem fascist these days with gleams of death camps in their eyes?

While we’re on the morbid side of maudlin, I ran across an article [Link] yesterday about a research out of U Leeds that those air blowers for drying one’s hands in institutional toilets spread a multiplier of 27 more microbes than paper towels. Even the new burst blowers have a multiplier of five! I realize this sounds like a throwaway Sheldon line on "Big Bang Theory" but since this has an academic source it has at least been refereed somewhat, so probably not too far off.

This might be ok if towels were a ready alternative and folks could vote with their selection but my experience is that most of these places only have the blowers and frankly don’t care if they kill you. So the only way to vote is by absence. Which is hard if it’s a public school or governmental building.

On a more positive side, I see the campus of the Boneyard is having a Winter Holiday Chemistry Magic Show. [Link]

I have rather fond memories of such despite the rather distasteful association of science with magic. I find that chemists are more prone to do this than most science nerds, mostly because of their historical roots – supposedly! – as alchemists. Of course alchemy was marginally legal in most places and could get one an involuntary roasting or worse. But that’s all part of the bad boy of science image that a lot of chemists try to project. I suspect it’s the intimacy with ethanol and self-constructed controlled substances. Still the activity is both entertaining and educational; I know that one of the reasons I studied science, which includes chemistry, was due to George Toffel and his chemical demonstrations. Closer to the campus, I seem to recall Gil Haight doing some such although he wasn’t quite the showman George was. But the idea of the show does dispell some of the horror of the season.

And lastly, one of my colleagues sent me this cartoon:[Link]

yesterday during the interminable rain. I found that my weather app, from Weather Underground, performed admirably, provided data by the Yankee government’s National Weather Service, which has proven itself the last winter or so to be more accurate with its predictions than the local television weather beavers. And I don’t have to abide the grating idiocy of the news readers. It is a sad indictment of Amerikan television that the weather beavers are the (relatively) erudite ones.

Also, we should never forget that Mother Nature is a feminist.

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. 

Boom Payoff?

I caved this morning. Looked at the readouts of air temperature sensing and made a command decision to ride my stationary bicycle instead of venturing out into the park for constitutional. First time I have used the bicycle since spring. Batteries still have stored charge so I didn’t have to do any dark cursing except to pick up piles of books toppled by the pedals. Not as enjoyable. Understatement. No distraction of falling down when leaving the path by wandering – or teetering. No great thoughts for some reason? Environment too sterile? Or is it the absence of the Nature connection?

Anyway, I ran across an article [Link]. entitled “An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?”

and my immediate thought was “Vanguard”. As a child I saw the evening news the day the Yankee navy blew their dominance in the “Space Race” big time. Much worse. Probably. Lost the dreams of the Yankee Space Navy with space battleships and vacuum suits with gold braid and epaulets.

But they did have good fireworks. And my father wasn’t out of a job. And I got to grow in in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. In third world Alibam.

On a less pleasant note I noted [Link] that Winders VII is now ‘officially dead’. I now have the enviable position of having no ‘live’ Winders installs in Castellum SCP. Which is somehow rather sweet.

I wonder if MegaHard is aware of this? Because if I feel that way so must many others.

Next, I ran across several articles [Link][Link] about the competition between Apple and EVERYONE ELSE on ‘mobile pay’. Not sure I care. Not sure I plan on using mobile pay anytime soon. Like after Tartarus thaws out.  Why? Because every major player on both sides has been hacked. At least once. So simply put, negation of trust. That probably won’t deter the GEN Ys so the corpratists likely won’t care about me but it will give me opportunity to complicate their operations and buy from other places.

Besides, I don’t trust my cellular telephone. It crashes at least once an hour when it is turned on. And it is slower than my old 8086 IBM PC. Even with the lousy bandwidth actually provided by the Oneonta Telephone Company.

Time to move on. Film at Eleven.

Cherry Cartoons

To observe pseudo-shabbat, I ran across a couple of cartoons to comment. First: [Link]

which led me to “MalWart – the store that offers only what you don’t want.”

And second: [Link]

which affirmed to me that the baggers at grocery stores, whether MaWart or a real grocery store, can’t bag correctly. So the only way one can get groceries bagged correctly is to bag them yourself. I usually have to put up with their bagging because of in-my-face niceness but I decline the bagger pushing my buggy to my motorcar so that I can rebag as I transfer. 

Impasse and Insecurity

Not bad so far. Back to week in. Didn’t want to arise this morning. But my bladder did and so hence to empty it and thence to gum. The fall of dihydrogen oxide has been less than predicted by the weather beavers which is not the best of news. It will be enjoyed by the bogs but since we are under our mean the water balance will be strained.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with Nietsche. Lots of noise, not much signal. But diverting more than usual. Which is about as much as one may hope for in a podcast.

On which azimuth I noted a couple of articles yesterday in the RSS accumulator tap yesterday. The first, [Link] dealt with whether we, as a society, are producing too many or too few STEM graduates. The basis of the question seemed to be a disconnect between the graduating STEMs and the needs (demands?) of corporations. Much was made about this. Nothing was made of its mirror image.

Point being, I am not surprised at this. From what I have seen of GEN Y and corporations in recent years, the disconnect is mutual and probably mostly the fault of the corporations. Pensions have disappeared, if not actually stolen. By corporations. Trust in corporations is low, almost nil. Corporations want puzzle piece employees. They have no interest in diversity unless it makes them money.

The graduates are, in my observation, equally discriminating. They do not want to work at a job that is neither fun nor conducive to their life style. Sacrifice is not going to be forthcoming. Loyalty must be earned continuously.

In a way, this is an analog of the situation in the Yankee congress between demodenialists and repubdenialists. There seems to be no interest in compromise, in finding middle ground for the sake of accomplishment.

The second, [Link] is about a PEW poll that indicates that the public is losing interest in organized religion. This would be welcome if it indicated an increase in rationality but my observation of bogs leads me to doubt that. But what is noteworthy is that the religionists want a greater say in politics. As if Amerikan politics weren’t already overcomplicated to the point of impasse.

This smacks rather desperately of insecurity. The religionists, despite the constitution, have had great implicit influence in politics previously. Now, with their social importance waning, it would seem they are unwilling to accept their minority status and must set themselves up in a master role. (See! I did listen to the podcast!) Which is a very unchristianist thing to do.

Apple Fritters

This morning, while crusin’ FaceScroll, I ran across this:

I have to admit that I was rather taken aback by a company announcing that their customers are not smart enough to worry about security. Or how to use their computers. 

But then I took a breath and thought about the Apple users I know. Most of them are smart, but not in computer ways. That is, they have appliance smarts but not tool smarts. And they are entirely too comfortable with the Apple slavery thing. So that at least explains why Apple can say these things and not lose big fractions of its customer base. They know they are slaves and are happy with it. Except maybe for plastic phones? 

But are they really too stupid to use the OS are they just oblivious. The latter I think. 

Electro-phonon Debacle

Yesterday was a young disaster. Got up, went to gym. Good, relatively speaking. Low density of educationalists and weight bouncers. Not much harassment. Podcast, two episodes of the “UK Ubuntu podcast”, was passable. Not much useful information but adequately diverting. Got in motorcar, drove towards Castellum SCP and as soon as I got to the city (?) limits, the dark engulfed. 

Total power outage. No house lights. No street lights. Perhaps no traffic lights although I didn’t get that far. It was so dark that I missed my turn off and had to overshoot and return. Since no electron potential difference, no point in awakening FD SCP. So I sat for a half hour. FD SCP woke up – it’s a sinus season – and after another ten minutes the potential difference was restored.

Sidebar: it just seems as if Alibam is one continuous sinus nightmare. It isn’t. There are actually several distinct sinus seasons,most months long and separated by a few days to a week of not-sinus season. Some are lucky; they are only susceptible to one or a few nose nasties. Our spectrum of pollen is enormous, spanning most of the spectrum of the nose. Even the dead of winter has its nastiness. 

Anyway, while FD SCP was doing her ablutions I did the tooth abrasion thing and then busied myself resetting the clocks in the castellum. Did my own cleansing ritual, attired myself, distributed seed to the tree mammals and dinosaur descendants and then assayed the orge. 

Rebooted both my deskboxes successfully and then discovered there was NO internet. The ass hats at Oneonta Telephone Company had economized again and fired more IT staff. This in a company that is bleeding land line users at thrice the speed of ISP users and still they maintain land line service is their core competency. Happily FD SCP motored off to her employment and I was free to say foul things in languages other than that uttered in Alibam.

Departed on errands and when I returned an hour later.- well after the 0800 opening for the corporate tardigrade that is Oneonta Telephone Company – the internet was back and I could get my network reconnected. But by that time I was mentally and emotionally drained and hence no blot.

Not that this travesty is much of a story. Other than a micro-paradigm of corporate greed, stupidity, and denial. Which seems to fit quite well in Alibam. 

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, asked – rhetorically? – on Face Scroll the other day when politician and denialist became synonyms. I thought that most apt. So I am considering renaming the two brands of Amerika’s oligarchs as Demodenialists and Repodenialists. Neither likes science. Both have their own way of ignoring reality to service their masters. None (?) have integrtity? Or if they do, we can’t tell it from the facade of the others. 

I keep getting propaganda from both sides urging me to assure that I exercise my franchise in November. The dilemma is that the only choices are those of the two parties and neither candidate is acceptable nor worthy. It’s a true Hellerian Catch-22. Everyone gets to vote but it does no good because no change nor benefit can be obtained. 

The only good thing I can say about it is that at least it is smarter than the Soviets with their one party/candidate elections.