Flying High

Apparently the Antikythera Device has been deciphered and found to be an analog astronomical simulator.[Link] [Link] [Link] researchers at Cardiff U have also redated the device from circa 65 BCE to 100-150 BCE based on recently discerned inscriptions.

The amazing thing about this device is not so much that it was developed in the first place but the ease with which its information base was lost. Conservative estimates indicate the capacity was not redeveloped until the Middle Ages.

Interestingly, Stephen Hawking has been awarded the Copley Medal.[Link] He has also announced that humanity needs to get its act together and spread outside the solar system before we get overwhelmed with some disaster.[Link]

Considering that if the development of knowledge/ information/ science/ technology had not been repeatedly negated throughout history, we should have been there already.

Now you can go back to mindless consumerism. After all, its Christmas season.

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The One or The Many?

The debate rages. A PHYSORG article arrived late yesterday detailing results of U Missouri-Columbia research that indicates the dinosaur extinction 65MYA was the result of only one meteorite strike.[Link] This is in dissension with another research [Link] by folks at Princeton U that advances the extinction was the result of the combination of global climate change, volcanism, and two (2) meteorite strikes.

Regardless, the dinosaurs as well as most other animal species went extinct allowing mammals to expand into new niches and ourselves to result.

In a completely unrelated PHYSORG article [Link] researchers at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization have measured accelerating carbon dioxide emission. They report that during the 1990’s the CO2 emission rate increased by a fraction of 0.01 per year. In the first five years of the Twenty-first century the CO2 emission rate grew by a fraction 0.025!

Absolved from All Allegiance

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”[Link]

‘The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

From time to time I like to reread those stirring words, largely crafted by Thomas Jefferson, that say so much about the coercive tyranny of government in general, but in particular of the British government at that time. It gladdens my heart at how we finally invited them to depart from our ground albeit with the aid of military force and determination.

Now, it seems that they still practice the same oppression upon their own. I read that the British government wants to impose a Code of Conduct on bloggers.[Link] This code of conduct is already notorious for being the contemporary form of government censorship of the press and has largely reduced the content of said media to scandal and titillation.

The excuse given for this proposal is the prevention of libel and and the general imposition of political correctness. The actuality sounds much more like suppression of dissent and discussion. One wonders if the next action will be the reintroduction of the Star Chamber? People complain in blogs assuredly, but few represent any danger to society. Rather much the opposite: they promote healthy discourse or if their rhetoric is offensive or irrelevant, it is ignored.

Why is such an avowed capitalist nation state so insecure in the efficacy of the market?

Sadly, it is all too easy to imagine the United States following in their wake, especially now as the antiquated relevancy of the current political parties creaks and moans its way towards collapse.

Full of Sound and Fury

I note in The Register feed this morning an article that a researcher at U California has determined that in the mean women speak 2.E+04 words per day while men speak 7.E+03.[Link] The same report indicates that men think about sex approximately once a minute while women think about it once per day.

Sadly the reportage does not establish what the connection or relationship between these two data are. Is the difference in energy used by men thinking about sex equal to 1.3E+04 words per day? Or is the male brain so consumed with processing sexual thoughts that fewer words can be uttered – in effect, a sort of wetware denial of service attack? Or the number of words said scales as the sixth root of the period of sex thought?

I must admit that my first reaction here was that I obviously not only talk too little but I think too seldom or infrequently of sex. In fact, I don’t even recall thinking that much about sex or saying that many words when I was an undergraduate.

Rammer Jammer

I am usually loathe to comment on athletics but I am more than happy to comment on the behavior, especially when its aberrant, of large organizations. The two come together in the wake of yesterday’s announcement of the sacking of the U Alibam at Tuscaloosa (UAT) (American) football team chief coach.[Link]

I have several times commented on the practices of large organizations these days to say nice things about bad actions, which we might call the Laundry Detergent Box school of exaggeration and prevarication. As a result the Vox Magnis Corporis of UAT has spoken and we are much the less in our trust of them. I was especially taken with the words of the UAT President,[Link]

“I want to thank Mike Shula for his commitment to The University of Alabama football program. His leadership has provided our program with much-needed stability during the past four years, and we appreciate that, as our coach, he has demonstrated impeccable character and class in every way.”

The exaggeration and prevarication is self-evident here. These are the words describing someone you’ve just fired? What did the guy do wrong? Was his commitment not exceptional enough? Was his leadership inadequate? Was his stability unstable? The only negative thing I can find here is stating that the coach has “Class”, since the mention of such is a sure sign that the individual lacks it.

One has to suspect that the actual reason for the sacking was only indirectly due to the coach’s victory record. Rather, one would venture the hypothesis that the cash flow from UAT branded merchandise has slipped too much for the UAT legume enumerators to accept collegially and the shikse was dumped. Welcome to the wonderful world of Academic Capitalism.

While the sackage will not improve team performance immediately, the sensationalism, shock, and awe will immediately improve sales of UAT junk, especially as the Christmas spending season is just commenced.

One more good reason for me to give my end of the year excess to one of my other alma materi.

Cano Alea Virumque

I have commented in previous blots of how big organizations are somehow inherently less trustworthy these days. A good example of this is the Yankee Army and their taxonomy of success: an abject, crushing failure is announced to be a “qualified success”, while an actual success is an “unqualified success”. The idea is evidently abstracted from the sizing of laundry detergent where a large box is small and an jumbo stupendous box is large.

In a sense then it is no surprise that simulation is a big thing in the Yankee Army, since it is so open to proper adjustment. I cannot count the number of studies where battles were concluded with the virtual annihilation of the opponent and only flesh wounds on the part of the good guys. As great as these may seem to Congress Critters unaware of anything other than politics, such fights are notoriously rare, something on order 1.E-4 to 1.E-6 of battles. I call the interested reader’s attention to the chapter in POW on Conclusive Battles.

The new extreme of this is exposed in the latest Yankee Army recruiting War Game (people in the loop simulation) “Future Force Company Commander”.[Link] This paragon is brought to us by the same folks who are developing the Yankee Army’s combat panacea, the “Armored Combat System” which is evidently the centerpiece of the game.

Sadly, the game is deficient in many ways. It blankly assumes there is no friction and no responsive enemy – sort of like playing chess where one player gets a five pound sledge hammer and freedom to use it. Critics are already decrying the warped environment so I shan’t belabor that, just wonder whether this is a result of insecurity over the decision to buy the Armored Combat System so matter what, or insecurity over continued recruitment success, or both?

But then I recall that when Jim Dunnigan [Link] delivered the first table top training game, Firefight, to the Yankee Army back in the ’60’s. They didn’t have enough money to fulfill their contract with him so they signed over the commercial rights to the game to him.

Not Just for Hair

I see in the AP feed that Curling is enjoying a boom in the United States.[Link]

I am proud to note that we have a Curling Club in Greater Metropolitan Arab, an expression of our rich Scots heritage for those of us who have a Scots heritage and those who don’t. The news of the interest in the activity, as reflected by the importation of ~ 1.2E+04 kilograms of stones and the publication of a pin up calendar. We desperately need a new stone since our old one was lost at the bottom of the pond last winter.

The club has great hopes this will elevate our social standing in the community, currently dominated by the Arab Liars’ Club and Poke Salat Festival Permanent Committee, and the Pro and Anti-Prohibition associations.

Of course, it also means I may have competition for my position as Last Fourth Assistant Rear Sweep.