Sex and Marriage

No dihydrogen oxide falling. But I did oversleep a few minutes. Still got to gym on time if a bit frantic and the place was a bit crowded for a two day. As usual the podcasts were diverting but not memorable. Although the Guardian’s primary topic of the statistics of sexual activity was moderately illuminating. But, as always, failed to get to the real nature of humans. I suspect we prevaricate more on sex than anything else, especially to ourselves. Denial or insecurity I suppose.

Along that azimuth, I noted an article [Link] that talked about marriage by starting with a startle bit about the Southron Baptists advocating early marriage. Since Southron Baptists are among the most whackadoodle of the Southron theo-fascists my attention span was focused. The article claims that the church is pushing this because more young people are having congress prior to marriage. If we are to credit the latest English sex survey (covered in the Guardian podcast) the fraction is O(1.0). 

I should comment that I was raised in a Southron Baptist family and am the black sheep in part because I am not. Southron Baptist, that is. Or any other organized religion. 

When I was a kid, the Southron Baptists had pretty much abandoned their predestination origins. In fact, I didn’t find out about that until I studied American history after college. Instead, they were pretty much anti. They were against ethanol, drugs, sex, dancing, homosexuality, …. At least officially. It was also common among the members to indulge in at least one forbidden activity. 

My problem with the Southron Baptists, and almost all organized religion, is that they don’t want to have discussion. They don’t want to discuss, they just want to pronounce. A characteristic they share with the Muslims is an emphasis on – nay, demand for – obedience. And it has to be blind obedience. No asking the good questions like why is the deity so insecure that he wants prayer? At least the laudatory stuff that comes across as the most shameless suck-up. Baptists don’t discuss that stuff, at least with the outer circle and since I have never been part of the inner I don’t know if they do or not.

I have given up on testing. At least with religionists. They can’t handle it and are in adamantine denial. For the most part. But most go to the extreme of not discussing the fundamental questions that get paved over with the macadam of ‘holy scripture’. And without the freedom to discuss anything as rational adults, they don’t qualify. At least in my taxonomy. 

I am in favor of marriage. If it’s done right it’s a very constructive symbiosis. All the data indicate that the more mature the participants the higher the probability of success. And nothing is more wasteful than failed marriage except capitalists. 

And I don’t object to religion organizations having some role in formalizing the activity. That formality provides a much needed aspect of inertia, not that any religionist would likely use that idiom. But I do object to their autarchy and rule making. Marriage is hard enough without destructive constraints. Maybe the bogs need them. But I doubt it.

Real Right Stuff

Yesterday I received an eMail from a company called (named?) Huckberry to enroll in a contest whose first prize is primarily a ride in a “vomit comet” airplane to “Be An ASTRONAUT!”. [Link] Huckberry is a company that trades (preys?) on the individualism angst of their customers, mostly GEN Ys, by selling them ordinary things in a distancing frame,

I was a bit engaged by this contest. It brought back a flood of memory. Back when “We Seven” was published, I received a copy as a christmas present from a cousin. One of those name drawing things that organizations, groups, and extended families do to keep the nonsense and expense down. Evidently she thought that any boy – we were about that age – wanted to be an astronaut. I recall thinking what a horrible present it was to receive. But I read it anyway. I read any and every book in those days. Information deprivation; few books. Despite my parents being (sorta) readers.

I grew up in Huntsville. All of my primary and secondary schuling. Astronauts were a new thing and not uncommon in that town becoming a small city. NASA was in the news every night. They spent half their budget on publicity. 

And I was totally uninterested. My parents gave me a “jumpsuit” and a “space helmet” one other christmas. I wanted a chemistry set.

I can express my attitude. Consider John Glen. Trains for years. Sits in a rocket. Goes to orbit. Goes around the planet three (?) times. Lands.

Besides space travel is SLOW. How many days did it take to fly (?) to Luna? Three? 

This is not to say that I think manned space exploration and travel isn’t important. Eventually Tellus will get hit by a big space rock and we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs. And I have little desire to be a bird. Not sure if I care about my descendants that much but then this isn’t exactly free will. But until we get some propulsion other than rockets, and speeds at least two-nines of light, we’re just futzing about. 

Needless to say I didn’t enroll. Doing stuff is more fun than being an astronaut. Even a pretend one.

Capitalist Starvation

Yuck! Dihydrogen oxide falleth. And I did not get to engage in my wanted constitutional. And I am bidded to a party this afternoon. So today is going to be a large negative. Too much boggery and misery. And yes, those are usually redundant.

I noted an article [Link] that offers that Amerikans eat more in restaurants than at home. Not surprising but the claim is hideously specious. The metric the claim is based on is that the restaurant sector took in more money in March than did the grocery sector. The problem is that this isn’t either the number of people nor the number of meals. It’s money. There is a conversion from a price per meal (RV) for restaurant and home meals, but they are not equal. For any given person, home eating is almost always less expensive than restaurant eating. The exception most often is holidays or some other ritual occasion.

So yes, Amerikans did spend more money in restaurants than grocery stores last month, but more meals? Nyet!

The data also have no useful demographics, like type of restaurant or – more insightful – age/gender/… demographics. So we can’t say whether the GEN Ys are really the drivers of this. We all (?) suspect that. GEN Ys have a nasty entitled attitude towards eating, at least many of the ones I have known. Yes, there are cool heads there but there are fewer in fraction than GEN Xs.

Is this a disaster? Only in terms of hurrying the food collapse. Restaurant cooking is several times more wasteful than home cooking. And with food shortages already looming – the California water shortage, e.g. – all this does is move us closer to catastrophe on the landscape. 

Maybe that’s a good thing. I used to think the extinction of humans to be bad. Lately I am unsure of that.

But I do keep coming back to thoughts of the founding grandparent. 

Propagation of Ignorance

Spitting again this morning. The constitutional was almost pleasant. The podcast drones on, at most moderately diverting but not really engaging. The only real attention grabber is the points of obvious ignorance. Sometimes it is amusing just to listen in on what bogs talk about. Not for long, mind, but for a while. A little while. About sixteen or so minutes usually.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

not long ago and I grabbed it because it epitomizes my experience with on-line courses. Not much better than a blank screen. I know the GEN Y like (?) them but I do not. Every one I have taken has proven to be a BAD teacher. And not in the slang way of good. I mean no learning. 

This is a problem when they are certification courses. I have told the tale of the credit card training course that was supposed to take an hour and took eight because it had irrelevant information relative the certification exam. This is one of the reasons people break rules. They aren’t taught well, if at all. And don’t get me off on politicians and constables and physical quantities. No state legislature has any idea of what speed is.

And while I’m on the azimuth, I noted yesterday [Link] that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, another one of those things politicians do NOT understand and underfund dangerously) has found an aircraft carrier – Great Patriotic War version – that was used in nuclear tests post-war in the Pacific and then sunk by the Yankee Navy because they couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

Seriously? That’s what you do? Sink glow-in-the-dark ships and wait for Godzilla to trash Tokyo? Makes me wonder why the Neandertals died out. Much have been from disgust?

Trickster Thunks

Lovely! The park was shrouded in something between a light mist and a heavy haze this morning. As one would expect from such the wind speed was quite small and so no strong cooling. Pray note the difference here between cooling and cool, the latter a thing I am never. The podcast was an episode of “The Pen Addict” (part of) and I got to share the AO with a pair of rather talkative and moderately loud young women. When did we start calling them females and not women? Am I missing something or is society whacked? Or both?

I started out a few days ago to write a blot about this cartoon: [Link]

but it got eaten partway through by the box. 

My favorite cartoon has always been the Wiley Coyote ones. I know they are “Road Runner” cartoons but I watch for the coyote. I like the old ones better than the new since the humor is better. The new ones are rather too heavy handed, reflecting a lack of sophistication among scripters, I suppose. Anyway, deterioration and rot regardless.

This reminded me that our contemporary society has a rather corrupted view of what is a hero. We tend to describe anyone who is a member of the constabulary, fire brigade, or military as a hero regardless of their exploits. I do not deny that they are admirable for their avocations but calling them heroes is a bit of an insult.

The idea of hero comes to us from classical Greece. It refers to someone who perceives some activity as evil and replaces it with something else which may be more or less evil. It is not so much about good and evil as making change and that change has its price.

So no, I don’t think of coyote as a hero. Nor do I think of road runner as such. The opposite. Coyote and Road Runner are about a status quo, a modal behavior. They are a parody of biological competition. The parody is that the road runner doesn’t get eaten and the coyote doesn’t starve to death. That’s a bit part of the cartoon aspect. 

Happily that cartoon treatment results in a pair of rather nice role models. The road runner is the quintessential bog. He demonstrates how to cope in society when you can’t do anything but exist. And the coyote is a nerd. He demonstrates the ultimate in never giving up, which is an ideal but also a challenge (untreated.) Since I am a nerd, I have always found coyote to be a role model. Imaginary, admittedly, but still a role model of perseverance. 

But I do wish there was a cartoon role model of rationality. That would be a true hero.

Different P

I just ran across an article [Link] entitled “Editors Are Trying To Fix Wikipedia’s Gender And Racial Bias Problem” and immediately thought “is it really a problem?” 

First of all, let me deny that I am being willfully themist. I do not deny that being them averse is without difficulty and loss. (I am using the more general term ‘themist’ as in us-versus-them because I dislike the misuse of the word sex for gender, as in sexist, and the continued perversion that is the basic idea of race. Been there, said that, move on.)

Rather, what I am concerned about is that we seem to suffer from a delusion these days that anything that can be thought of can be built and anything that is difficult is a problem. Both of these are unrealities fostered by the increasing ignorance of the boggerate and the false perception that looking up stuff on the internet is either knowing or understanding. 

One of the important things in nerdery is being able to recognize the difference between a problem and a parameter. Problem implies that a solution exists and the difficulty can be alleviated or, at least, replaced with a different difficulty. Parameter implies that the difficulty cannot be alleviated but is a condition that you have to learn to live with or walk away from.

There are different kinds of parameters. Conditional (or passing) parameters are difficulties that could be alleviated if some technology existed; permanent parameters are difficulties that cannot be alleviated with any technology. 

Do I need to say that us-versus-them is permanent? At least until we eliminate humans. So the choice here may be, at least shoudl be recognized as a possibility, that this Wikipedia “problem” isn’t and they gotta learn to live with the situation!