Natural Opacity

Too much fun. Off yesterday to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for another inspection by the eye cutter. Better than previous but at least one more to go through.

FD SCP made me sit through episodes of BONES last evening and for once I was engaged by something other than resonance with the Hogins character (well, that too.) The Bones character made the statement that there was no closure in life and we sometimes had to just proceed on emotional inertia (faith was the term used.) That provoked some thought about and may give rise in future to some blot.

Anyway, for now, I will continue to abide what passes for living.

On which azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “The World Depends on Technology No One Understands.” The article pretty well – meanderingly as bog journalists seem unable not to do – follow the title. This is not new. I see an article on this subject every few years going back to when I was a teenager and some guy propounded the idea in a SF pulp periodical. I forget who it was, maybe Campbell but more famously, Sir Arthur Clarke stated that

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

The implication is that magic may be learnt but not understood, at least by humans. I haven’t read anything on that by Rowling but then I don’t read much Rowling and only watch the movies on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver and then when that’s the least bad.

Anyway, that captures part of the recurring theme of these articles. First, that ordinary people don’t understand technology, and second, that even the nerds who do understand one or more of the technologies don’t anticipate the interactions of those technologies completely. The latter is sometimes excused as unintended consequences.

The first lack of understanding isn’t new. It dates back to about the time that humans adopted an organization more complicated than the Hunter-Gatherer band. That’s band with a lower case “b”. And yes, that “B” or “b” makes a BIG difference organizationally. A big “B” Band is sufficiently large that some of its members (almost all?) don’t understand some of the technologies that members of the Band use. 

Almost immediately, we got to the point where specialization being efficient and survivable, there were technologies that no one in the organization understood except the users (or makers) thereof. And as human social organizations (society) became larger and more complicated, the number/fraction of people that understood any particular technology  became less and less.

The use of the word “complicated” is not only deliberate but essential. It involves technologies that most people, especially Bogs, who may also be characterized as people who don’t have to actually understand any technology, don’t know or understand, namely Maths and Complexity Theory.

I will NOT remedy that lack, mostly because my understanding of both is too small to teach and I am too old to put up with the frustration. 

Anyway, the idea is that as we develop more and more technologies, and fewer and fewer understand any but their own technologies (if they aren’t Bogs.) So we get surprised by unanticipated consequences, which are actually quite natural since they are the result of what is known as Emergence. And we probably can’t anticipate them because the humans who understand Emergence probably don’t understand all the technologies involved in the Emergence. 

So not only is not understanding Natural but doing anything about it is unNatural.

Maybe. Unless we develop (and control) AI?

So maybe we will make our own robot overlords?

Firearm Fsychology

I had a bit of an insight this morning. It was the kind where you view something in the context of something you already knew.

Many years of studying management and people and being a manager has given me a strong conviction that 0.9 of human behavior can be traced to insecurity. Sort of a management corollary to Sturgeon’s rule. 

Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps this explains the numbers of people who carry firearms on their persons as a daily routine. 

I thought about the people I know who were not required to carry firearms as part of their employment. And I realized that almost all of these people had deep insecurities that they refused to confront. And this made them naturals to want to carry a pacifier. 

And the few exceptions were people who genuinely had need of a firearm. Of course there were some of the insecure ones who needed to because their personalities and people skills were SO BAD they were virtually assured of being discorporated.

Fascist Follies 2

So now the Repulsians have a Slate: Frump and Penny; a billionaire and a man named for the least amount of money; two sociopaths: an egomaniac and a bigot. Sort of humorous in a galgenhumor way.

This just goes to demonstrate tha Repulsians are no more conservatives than Democruds are progressives. They both are myrmidons of capitalists, the only difference is who they do proskynesis to.

Political Poisoning

One day. Back to gym. Sparse again. Podcast passable, a debate on the merits of Canadian conscription during the Great War. 

Overall, I found the podcast worthwhile for reasons other than those put forward by the debators, both history academics. Seems that conscription was imposed on Canada by politicians for their own purposes of supporting a small subset of the citizenry. Rather like politicians today in Amerika. And thereby just as evil?

The other missing part was the utter revisionism of both debators. Both failed to separate themselves from later events. Yes, conscription made no difference in the war’s outcome but how were the decision makers to know that? Duhhhhhhhhhhh!

Speaking of which, I ran across a blot [Link] on the question of classroom learning and electronics. This is not the first such I have commented on but this one is particularly telling since it details an experiment performed by the Yankee army at Hudson High for Wayward Youth that rather convincingly indicated that electronics and learning are immiscible.

The problem unmentioned, except obliquely and in passing, is that learning is almost completely irrelevant in contemporary Amerika. 

Ah! The road to national failure.

Soggy Eyes

Seven day. The park was crowded, maybe a half-dozen, with loud noisy people yesterday (late drunks?) so I opted for an out-the-door walk this morning. Which meant I had to brave all the water wastrels on my street. Happily I refrained from any action other than avoiding their wasting. 

I am also almost two weeks into a five week stint of undergoing and recovering from cataract surgery. Both cuttings have now been effected and I am left with dealing with the aftermaths. Mostly, at this point, the pain and annoyance of physical restrictions and – especially – all the eye drops that I have to infuse every day. At last count, twenty-six per diem. And none of this drop in the corner stercus. Gotta be a non-contaminating droppage.

And dealing with an insurance company that has restored my trust in the aethticity and apathy of organizations. So major stress out over things that should never enter into the equation. 

Sometimes getting old is unpleasant. I envy those people who lead happy lives until they are ended by an act of nature or terrorism. Quickly, cleanly, little pain. 

Time for more drops. How do I gnaw my foot off?