Broken Internet

OK, can we get back to some semblance of modality now?

FD SCP and I survived dawg sittin’ although I am still suffering from a bit of allergy reaction that – again – puts me in mind of both Lester Sprague DeCamp’s “Lest Darkness Fall” and the Gahan Wilson cartoon about life being better without dogs. Not that I really credit the latter, not after something like 15 KY of communality. But I don’t think I would pick dogs large enough to send me to hospital by nudging me and not large enough to ride. But the DeCamp bit still applies.

The cold front was again enjoyed this morning as I constituted through the park. And I managed to take the MP3 player with me this morning so I had a bit of a diversion as I attempt to increase my duration. The penalty is paid in the small of my back.

Speaking of which, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

just yesterday and I was struck by its accuracy. Except for the last frame, of course. Let us face it, Gooey may be backed by a bunch of high tension pseudo-engineering, but it reflects a web that is predominantly bog and whack content.

Nonetheless, I do use Gooey, primarily Gooey Scholar, to help me survey what is going on in my micro-disciplines of research and thought. Of course, internet did not really exist when I was in graduate schule so from the get-go of internet and internet search, the pickings in my field(s) were extremely slim to nil and often whackoid stercus. Of course some of the people who put out that stercus hold that my stuff is stercus. And that volume has waxed and waned over the years as the search capabilities evolved and the internet rotted.

Yes, I am going to proselyte a bit that there was a golden age of the internet and it ended with Amazing and all the other internet commerce biggies beginning. The internet used to be about information. That’s why it was called the information revolution. Now it’s just about internet stuff and money. Yes, the revolution flopped. The new feudalism has arrived.

But to return to the cartoon, when I do technical searches on the stuff that I am doing research on, I get very few responses. And almost all of them – more than Ivory soap stats – are myself or people I know. Newness is the exception. And Gooey is almost useless. Because it tries to offer up money sites and that at least makes for a sort of galgenhumor. Like Stalin’s comment about capitalists. But there are other search engines that do better. At least in terms of not offering to sell me stercus. Stercus information maybe, and in small quantity, but not good and services.

But I haven’t broken Gooey. Simply put Gooey broke Gooey. Or rather capitalism and greed and all that good human stuff broke Gooey. And I feel not at all sad.

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Internet Prevarication

The lowering of temperatures has begin. While the temperature was greater this morning than last, the convective cooling was greater and more miserable. And the weather beavers are foretelling nastiness overnight.

The gym was again blissfully shy of bullies. Even the staff bullies were somehow restrained as if they lacked critical mass to sally forth and bludgeon the seniors in their usual fashion. The podcasts almost made up for it in the form of being TOO short. SCIENCE was below 20 minutes. NPR was down to sixteen. I am going to have to find other ‘casts or change my program.

One of the NPR episodes had to do with some anniversary of the internet. As is usual it was riddled with errors, inaccuracies, prevarications, and poor construction. It did strike me however, that the lesson we have learned from wireless (radio,) television, and the internet is that stercus, not cream, floats. As a result all three media have become as bad as they can be at any moment with a steady increase of bad over time. Wireless today is garbage, television is a collection of all the varieties of porn except biological, and the internet is a carnal pit of capitalism and greed. And they will get worse.

But I am still laughing at the fool who announced that we had to learn not to save what we liked on the internet because it would be there forever. Well, we now know forever is awfully short.

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Internet Value 4

Another middling night, above the phase change temperature, and hence this morning to ablutions and the bicycle. Now back to the internet.

I am not sure there is much left. In its original form, the internet was supposed to be a means of communication and data exchange among creative STEMs. That, of course, is a minor positive in that there are other ways of doing the same. Admittedly there is a convenience to email and file transfers that makes that minor positive rock solid.

Sadly however, the internet has been corrupted with so many unSTEM, uncreative people that it is almost impossible to move STEM data about any more, so that minor positive has been largely eroded by kitsch and gibble. I suppose that if one evicted all those parasites then the utility of the internet could be restored but I suspect that is an idealistic pipe dream that sublimates in the fierce glare of actuality and irreversible social thermodynamics.

In that illumination, it is clear that the internet lacks any real value. Sadly, it will not dissolve away but continue as the money leech of capitalist oligarchs and those who would destroy the species for a profit, the kind of people Stalin talked about who sold rope. And in this context the efforts of FOSS and EFF and such like are nothing more than speed bumps on the road to extinction. But it is notable that lemmings to not discorporate in place but run great distances before plunging.

Internet Value 3

A moderate night. Below the phase change temperature but barely. And I did my tim on the stationary bicycle so I can now proceed with the day.

The road to “civilization” began with the desire for more gear (goods) and has evolved to the search for entertainment (diversion.) Somehow it seems rather a let down, but that is what the majority of humanity does, spend the bulk of its time being divorced from life.

And that, in large part is what the internet has come to be. It started with sharing “funny” things, like labeled cat photographs and has developed where there are serious political debates over whether preference should be given to the transport of entertainment files over the internet. So much for DARPA’s dream. Not that DARPA is very good at either dreaming or taking action on their dreams. They are more in the nature of the mathematician in the burning hotel room.

But the question is whether the entertainment on the internet, which apparently is at least half of it, has value? Is there value in diverting those who lack any form of creativity or will power from creating mischief? Perhaps. Is there value in preventing those who have creativity but inadequate will power from exercising their creativity? Only negative. Is it possible for entertainment to itself have value? Probably not, at least based on observation and history.

So we have a situation where entertainment on the internet has a value somewhere between zero and assuredly negative. In other words, maths words, non-positive.

This is beginning to get discouraging. Is my lantern too dim? Or are there really no honest men?

Internet Value 2

Not a very fun night. Got moderately unwarm. The weather beavers once more overestimated the minimum temperature. They have a long way to go in rebuilding trust. A VERY long way. And apparently no effort in that direction.

The brrrrrrrrrrrrr gave me occasion to contemplate the value of the internet some more. From its beginning – once it got out of the direct control of the Yankee government – it has engaged in commerce. In fact, even accessing it is a matter of commerce. So the question must be addressed: is internet commerce beneficial?

Note that this is not an efficiency question, nor it is a cost question. Efficiency in the marketplace has always been a question relevant to suppliers not demanders. Customers are never efficient, only gullible. And any savings enjoyed – apparently – by customers is irrelevant since only profit is a meaningful metric.

On this basis it is very hard to make a telling argument that internet commerce has social value. There were marketplace transport arcs and market nodes prior to the internet. If the internet were to go away these or equivalent arcs and nodes would reappear. So the transport aspects of the internet are not relevant to the question.

Except, from the standpoint of centralization. In much the same way as MalWart, excessive centralization is a negative. It depletes communities of their survivability by destroying their local economies and it makes them fragile when disaster occurs by removing local concentrations of goods and services. So in this sense, the internet is an overall negative. At least from a commerce standpoint.

We do have to consider whether the diversity of goods offered on the internet is a good. This is a bit denser. Unless the thing offered is a survival thing, the diversity is irrelevant. And we have to argue that if that survival thing had not been available in the local marketplace pre-internet, then those who needed it would have found a conventional source or lived elsewhere. But since it is now available on the internet, it adds to the increased fragility of the local environment and hence is actually a negative.

In summary, the internet of goods is a negative value. So our search has to proceed.

Internet Value 1

Is the Internet worth while? That may seem a ridiculous question given what all happens on the Internet, but the question is really about effectiveness and productivity.

At gym this morning, happily sparse and surprisingly warm for so unwarm a morning, I listened to a Linux Action Show podcast episode. This one had a segment on Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge cellular telephone. I have to admit to being more appalled than intrigued with the idea of a cellular telephone that would replace all my computers.

I have to admit to being rather negative on “smart” cellular telephones. The only merit I can attribute to them is that they are at least large enough that I am not having to move the phone constantly while having a cellular conversation so I can hear what my conversant is saying and then so the microphone can pick up what I am saying. Small may be wonderful but not for telephones; I need an instrument that reaches from ear to mouth.

Would I want an Ubuntu phone? Not right now. I don’t want an Apple phone and my Android is not too bad. It is hideously slow. My old IBM PC circa 1984 CE was faster. In fact it is arguably the second or third best computer I ever had. It was well made and its only negatives were no hard drive and too few pixels. The one after it, a Wyse AT was easily the best I ever had. The build quality was almost as good as IBM’s, it had a hard drive and a few more pixels. And I could get great things done on it.

Partly because it didn’t connect to anything. Except a printer.

As a computer, my “smart” cellular is about as useful as my Radio Shack mini color computer. Maybe less. The color computer certainly was faster and the programs, which I had to write myself, were faster. And the only thing it connected to was a television and a cassette tape machine.

Yes, my “smart” cellular lets me check simple emails, and my calendar, and lots of other things that depend on wifi access and a lot of patience. And it wastes a lot of my time, and aside from the telephone part itself and maybe the calendar, it doesn’t contribute to my getting stuff done. And the helter skelter nature of Android updating assures that every time I turn it on I have to waste time updating. And then I get to recharge. So the availability factor of the thing as a computer is around 0.5.

So maybe there is something to the question

Heady Stuff

Forget the Grinch, this year it is the Weather Beavers who are spoiling the holiday week. The last thing I want to do around Newtonmas is drip faucets. And the Target breech. How’s that for a snapshot of how we have corporate slavery?

My browser tells me 42 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab and that may be about as good as the day gets. And this is supposed to be a good day in the week. At least the gym was sparse this morning. It was abundantly clear that schule was desessioned. No educationalists that I could find. The weight bouncers seemed to be bemused by this with their numbers reduced and all of their vocalizations limited to grunting, which was actually an intellectual improvement over the blather emitted by the educationalists. No wonder they lay claim to so many communities’ intellectual leadership – classic insecurity.

On a more joyous side, the Yankee congress has told the DoD that the country needs a “cyber militia”, which evidently is some sort of boondoggle for the air corps guard.[Link] I keep thinking of all those rich kids who hid in the air corps guard during Vietnam and all the poor kids who got sent to be infantrymen and airmen on site. There is probably a sort of sense of putting these cyber militia in the air corps since the army would have no idea how to recruit nor staff nor train. Which is the ideal place for rich kids avoiding some responsibility. But I have to give some thought to how the various state governors can use these militia during national disasters. Does the governor shopping at Target early in December qualify as grounds to deploy the state’s cyber militia?

I also see that academics at U Pennsylvania – somehow that makes sense – have suggested that the actual reason hunter-gatherers adopted stationary agriculture was to make beer.[Link] And here I thought it was because they got tired of wandering and never having nice things and wanted to be Burnsians and collect gear. Why is it to have great camping gear you can’t be year-round campers? The World Wonders.

Anyway, it seems a reasonable conjecture – maybe hypothesis? – that certainly upholds the food shortage idea. Or at least in this case, ethanol shortage. After all, only a few fruit actually ferment naturally and they tend to be ground droppers and hard to come by. So giving up nomadism to drink beer seems eminently good. I think the founding grandfather would approve since he claimed beer was proof the the deity’s love, probably the only “proof” of the deity’s existence that has ever been credible and not required pre-agreement.

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Corporate Bubble

Cowardice. That’s me. After yesterday, and the temperature lower today, I did not assay forth to the park for morning constitutional. Instead I sneaked an ansatz on the stationary bicycle in my study here at Castellum SCP. In the process I save a few minutes not enwrapping myself in clothes of the exterior and motoring across and back. Not much but enough to do a bit of Solstice Holiday shopping.

And then I snuck a few emails in and came to a rather startling epiphany: focused advertising is a social fiction!

 You know of what I speak, the promised benefit (????????) of internet civilization that merchants will know what you want to buy – even when you don’t know it yet – and only offer you advertisements of resonant and relevant things and services. You know, all those ‘especially for you’ sliders on Amazon? And it’s all a prevarication!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My realization started with Amazon, who can’t separate out the occasional – few – things I order for FD SCP from the vast majority that I order for myself and always offers me more in the FD SCP bin than the SCP bin. An artifact of my eclectic tastes and the sparsity of the marketplace, I thought. But the precipice obtruded courtesy of on-line shoe stores that are continually sending me eAdvertisements for shoes that are not available in my size. And if there is anything these merchants should know, it is my size since there is ZERO variance in their records!!!

But then looking at emails from merchants proclaiming that these goods are “special” for me pushed me into the abyss and realization. The whole thing is an elaborate maskarovka! (And yes, that may be redundant, my Russian isn’t that social.) Yes, they do some analysis on what I have bought before, even just looked at, but it isn’t very good analysis – which puts me in mind of the pompous asses who run INFORMS these days. Simply put, all the vast data processing and mining and analysis that is supposed to personalize internet society is largely a fiction, especially once you get a standard deviation out from the mode. It probably only looks convincing to bogs whose cognitive faculties rival slime mold’s. But certainly not that of rational people like geeks and nerds.

In one sense this is quite comforting. All that spying by corporations is obviously superficial, low hanging fruit, and propagandistic. In other words, its advertising and hence utter overt falsehood. Deliberate, evil, inaccuracy. So what they tell you they know is far from any actual semblance of what you are.

But that is also scary because it indicates that if they decide you’re a borderline terrorist or schule berserker then the decision will almost certainly be a false positive. Which means a massive inflation of the phase know as “Punishment of the Innocent” that is part of any project. The epitome of this, right now, is the O’BamaCare web site. The politicians vertically copulated it but that is being covered over with histrionics over STEM malfeasance. It’s an old management trick: keep sacrificing virgins until the people quit looking at the priest.

Enough. Gotta see if there’s a frost or not.

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Good Roads and Poor Choices

Back from my morning constitutional, and a lovely morning it offers to be: a bit foggy and cool, and blissfully, the park was sparsely populated and absent of wolves.

I received a newness yesterday, an email from a Congress critter that attempted to respond to a petition I had eSigned. I was left a bit bemused. On the positive side, it was not a letter, wasting paper and effort and the taxpayer’s hidden support of franking. So that part was good. But the contents were abysmal. The same “I did this” almost all irrelevant and historic. One more datum that politicians are not trustworthy, nor faithful. The matter at hand was what mattered, not the appearance conveyed by past claims, none substantiated by verifiable citation, and the emergent attitude was as odious as a three day old skunk. Hence the bemusement.

I also ran across an article [Link] in the student newspaper of the Campus of the Boneyard dealing with network access to course materials. This is evidently a national trend, if not planetary, and enjoys all sorts of academic and pseudo-academic interest:

“Students hold high expectations for anytime, anywhere access to course materials and for leveraging the use of their personal digital devices inside and outside class,” the study said, showing about half of U.S. students want instructors to better incorporate smartphone use.

What I found missing was any discussion of how this impacted actual class/lecture attendance, and the nature of that attendance.

Back when I was a student at the campus of the Boneyard, there was a problem with lecture attendance, especially in the larger classes. I never received an answer to my question of whether this was because those classes tended to be rather dreary or that all classes were boring and dreary and it was easier to not be missed in a large class? An early example of logical, relevant questions that organizations do not tolerate, I suppose.

I fear my attitude to this increased availability of additional material is that it is low hanging fruit used as a diversion, in effect, a means of avoiding teaching. Teaching is, of course, much more difficult in college than in its preliminary schules because of the speed of information. College courses present much more information in a term than do (e.g.,) high schule courses. But one expects the students to be more advanced, closer to the cusp between taught and self-teaching. But from what I read of studies of what is learned in college, the system seems to be failing to teach and the students seem to be failing to learn. That is a recipe for disaster.

I suspect the material is one of the contributors. WIth more and varied material, teachers become overwhelmed and rationalize that what they present is already available, so extra effort to impart is unnecessary. Students, I suspect become disillusioned with an increasing amount of material, discouraged. When I was a student I did good to read some of the textbook and work the homework problems. Notes were vital and one must attend lecture for notes to be worthwhile. In a way, notes are as personal as a toothbrush. I suspect this is the root of our failure.

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