iF icS

This one got into an information landscape crack.[Link]

When are the Disney oligarchs going to come to the realization that their organization just can’t do a decent science fiction mvie. They couldn’t do it when Walt was corporate and they patently can’t do it now.

Recognize that TRON is a niche thing. It’s like The Americanization of Emily. There are folks who really like it, there are more folks who hate it, and the majority would watch almost anything else in preference. Do not translate that the few who like watch frequently into lots of folks will watch once.

If you want to aim for that niche environment that’s OK but don’t plan on surviving in your current form.

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Tooth Stick – Time Stick

The sag of the week has arrived. No substantive complaints other than the aches and pains of seniority. Didn’t have to motor off to the gym this morning – why is the weather almost always more uncomfortable M-T than F-S2? – so my thought processes are a bit different. Part of that is not having to contend with the whole get the motorcar running and piloting it all the way to Scant City and part is the stress of the gym, a decidedly senior unfriendly place! The maintenance is either nonexistent or flap doodle, so you go from machines that don;t work right to machines that are not working at all and since the aisles are full of tools and broken pieces strewn willy nilly, you can’t get to the ones that do.

And the discipline of the indoor track? Its completely negative. I keep expecting them to set up a tantric yoga sex class in the middle of it. And no stretching corner, so people use the track for that as well. Trying to take a warm up/cool down walk on the track reminds me of that old Andy Griffith monologue about football: “they try to get from one end of the field to the other without falling down or stepping in something.”

So while I miss the burn of the exercise I don’t miss the stress of an incompetently designed facility managed by incompetents. Although I can admit the consistency and even admire that maybe it means that there are places where the design and the management are competent?

But the different thinking this morning touched on the matter of time. As background, I should mention that I use one of those Oral B (R) electric toothbrushes that spasm ever half minute so you can properly address inners and outers, uppers and lowers. I was thinking that some mornings that half minute interval seems interminably long while other mornings it is startlingly short.

Now it gets a bit fuzzy and confusilating.[1] We humans are embedded in a space (maths use of the term here, not physics – more as we proceed) of four dimensions that we can perceive, no easy way of making sure that is actually the full dimensionality, of space and time. In physics terms we would call this space-time: three space plus one time dimension; but the maths folks would just say this is a four dimensional space with one of the dimensions being different from the others.

That difference extends to our perceptions. For example, we can build comparison things – sticks, if you will – that we can use to measure extent in the three spatial dimensions. This is pretty simple, and we can even pretty well tell by inspection when the space is warped or whacked in these spatial dimensions.

The same does not apply to that time dimension. Because we can’t build a ‘time stick’ we can’t directly perceive time and have to make the Occam’s Razor assumption that time is linear. So we look around and find mechanical systems – moving things – that have some uniformity of motion, or more commonly punctuation of motion. The archetype of this is the pendulum. It swings from side to side regularly and has definite turning points – if we ignore energy loss. So we say that the time between turning points is some amount of time even though its a measure of space folded on time that we assume to be linear. And almost all of our clocks are that way – they don;t measure time, they measure something else and we map that onto an assumption that time is flat.

Except it isn’t, even in our blindness. If you go look at relativity you’ll see that time isn’t linear. But since we can’t perceive time directly by comparison like we can by space with a stick, we have to act like it is and try to patch things up. That’s the modern equivalent of an epicycle, so to speak.

At least we think we can’t perceive time directly. Maybe we can. Maybe time is different for each of us and what we think is subjectivity is individual non-linearity of time? And that makes for an intriguing line of thought of how time has to be conserved and interactive. And quite quickly we get to the question again, of how do we build a time stick?

Maybe the delusion of gym isn’t so bad after all when we try to resolve the idea of non-linearity of time with the absence of a means of measuring it other than constant vigilance that means abandoning both observation and thinking.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

[1]  Yes, I realize that ‘confusilating’ is not in the dictionary. But if that would-be empress from Alaska can make up words, it is my duty as a staunch Jeffersonian to do the same just to assure that democracy (the NOT partisan kind) stays alive and well in the Yankee republic.

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No Measure

OK, bit of ketchup here. Yes, I know I have been unpresent for a couple of days. Spent most of Tuesday at the Scant City Memorial Hotel Dieu (aka, loosely, hospital) providing adult attendance – read, possesses valid driver’s license – to FD SCP while she had some medicalist tests performed that required she be anesthetized. My role in this was to behave myself, be inconspicuous, listen closely to what she was told but didn;t register because of the anesthesia, and pilot the motorcar bearing her away. No questions, of course, were permitted even those the question, “any questions?” was asked.

And by  the time I got her back to Castellum SCP I was too mentally deprived to reboot my mind before time to retire for slumber.

Then yesterday I got to motor into Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a staff call and purchase foodstuffs. Staff call was brilliant and sparkling and ran over so that by the time I returned to Greater Metropolitan Arab my mind was again dulled, mostly by the stress of vigilance lest I be overrun by whacked bog (or geek) motorists in Huntsville.

So now I come to the day of Thor and the weather beavers are foretelling liquid phase precipitation. It has not yet commenced but the aroma is in the air, which was a decided improvement over the aroma of frozen chicken poo that has been all too pervasive during the recent depression of temperature. Sadly, the shul desessioning is almost concluded so I expect next week to be characterized by a resurgence of educationalists and weight bouncers raising the hormone levels at gym.

As it was today the crowd was small and relatively tame so I could listen to my podcast episodes in relative peace, first about the efforts of the Canadian government to suppress citizen disquietude with the G8, mostly in the form of suspension of civil rights, habeas corpus, and fair (?) and speedy trial. And, of course, the judge involved placed a gag order on the matter so you should not have seen the previous because it does not exist any more than citizen unhappiness with government.

I suppose that I should be pleased that the Canadian government is providing its citizens with exciting stuff that stirs the blood while the Yankee government is just wallowing deeper into debt in its mad rush to become the first fourth world nation. And those who protest are just ignored. Although this may be better treatment than Guantanamo?

Anyway, I am maybe back and can get once more to mumbling incoherently about irrelevant things.

And yes, FD SCP does appear to have all of the requisite bits and not or the irrequisite ones.

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Slippery Monday Surfaces

Vast improvement from yesterday! I managed to motor all the way from Castellum SCP to Scant City for exercise, and return with only minor difficulty with low friction or obscuration. The general population seems still intimidated by the snow of the weekend as the gym clerk who opens was chauffeured by her spouse, a constable, and the general attendance was greatly reduced. Yesterday was so nasty that I did not issue forth, blowing off a family feast after an unintended episode of derriere sliding while reconnoitering my driveway and the street appertaining. Happily there was no substantive damage; I had to re-attire myself after returning inside and consign my now soggy trousers to the clothes dryer but otherwise only my always insubstantial and unsteady dignity was damaged; my fragile, often abused, coccyx was happily untroubled. Perhaps in old age I am beginning to learn how to fall?

The podcast this morning, as is my want for Mondays, was an episode of CBC’s “The Best of Ideas” that dealt with some conference on future importances held by the Canadian institut for advanced research. Like the weather, it was disappointing. Except for the last of three speakers, a geologist who happily talked about volcanic eruptions causing climate alterations so severe as to be extinction events, for humans at least, if not all current life, the other speakers were dismal lackwits.

The second, a physician, prattled on about genetics and environment in such a simplistic fashion as to make one wonder just how vapid is the audience at such conferences, and if they are as vapid as this speaker thought, would any amount of simplification matter? Then I recalled that soldiers, physicians, and biologists have the most negative of maths skills, so this in association with the individual’s environment likely explain the sub-Disney level of his attempts at explaining matters. But I did have to wonder if this fellow got into medical shul because his daddy bought a building, and went into research lest his colleagues do him in?

But the prize went to the first oaf who was trying to prattle on about matters managerial and organizational. I was quite surprised that a Canadian was so antiquarian. Usually Canadians have better understanding of organization than do Amerikans but this shmendrick subceeded even the faculty of the Sloan shul. His discussion of leadership was so archaic that it lacked fluting, giving us strong indication that his parent organization is pre-Clovis and perhaps indicative of the first paleoAmerican arrivals.

So bad was his discussion, that I had to enumerate the matter in my head and since this presentation was so negative in value, I am still amusing myself with such now, hours afterward. In considering organizations, some effort is required to maintain the functionality and productivity of the organization and this is usually divided, loosely, into two aspects:

  1. determining what needs be done; and
  2. doing what needs be done.

The first is subdivided into the things that are routine and those that are responsive to irregular, often unpredicted, effects and events. Thus both determination and doing may require creativity as well as regularity and will power.

Now we may consider the exercise of social hierarchy within the organization. Excluding the executive, there are usually three forms of this: the administrator or supervisor; the manager, and the leader. In terms of our two aspects these may be characterized as:

  1. administrator: someone who determines what needs to be done and directs members of the organization to do;
  2. manager: someone who determines what needs to be done and engages members of the organization to do; and
  3. leader; someone who engages members of the organization to determine what needs to be done and do.

This forms a hierarchy from purely directive to effectively purely inductive. Administrators are pure dictators; leaders are almost pure egalitarians.

This is a simple concept and it is amusing that a people as bright as Canadians seem to have problem with it. Of course, these speakers were academics and it is indicative that they have administrators in an environment that is supposed to be egalitarian? Still, it is perhaps fitting that the roads and the ideas would be so elusive of traction?

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Unengaged

Ah, a Sundae that is rather a Sundae! Sol is barely visible now and the vista – the physical one out my house windows, not the MegaHard travesty – is one of snow covered ground except where the evergreens, pines mostly, have shielded the ground. The weather beavers admit their calculations were in error by as much as a factor of three. And the temperature was at least five degF below the phase change and will not ecxeed that temperature today so unless we get considerable insolation, the vanillaness will persist and imperil motorized travel.

We sit hoping the Arab Electric Cooperative will not blow their success thus far. The hope is brittle and thin.

So now I may engage to consider the article that have accumulated in abs this season. I start with a polemic [Link] on how young female humans – girls, if I may use that term without being discriminatory in the modern dementia that is society – are not being engaged in shul to study science and maths. The author specially wrings hands pitifully over the maths part.

I feel the ice creeping across the core of my mind. Public shul, perhaps all primary and secondary shul, is antithetical to the learning of science and maths. It motivates not. This is not just a result of Every Child Left Behind, although that is a firm and effective contributor to the general rot, because shul was a tar pit of dead and dying interests even back when I was a student, back in the days when television was not only monochrome but antennaed, and the descendants of dinosaurs wandered many back yards.

I reflect that I had, in general, good science teachers, none of them educationalists. I cannot speak to their certification credentials but I can say with the confidence of personal checking that they had real majors in their subjects. Admittedly the whole senior physics thing [1] was a near debacle going from one ineffective physics teacher to another over the scant months, a sad foretelling of the state of the contemporary high shul.

But when it came to maths teachers the population density was near zero. Yes, there were teachers and they taught maths but they knew not the maths beyond what was in their syllabus. Only the senior maths teacher for college bound students – that was not a unity but a minority in those days – had a degree in maths, and by then his efforts and abilities were either wasted or irrelevant; if students had not maths by then, they would not get them in that penultimate year of mediocrity in education.

Add to this the rise of the individual computer and the profession/discipline of simulationist. I have worked with these folks as their presence increased and while they are good folk, as good as any who exercise the Amerikan franchise and can bend the bow back over a cloth yard shaft, or its modern equivalent, but they have a strange, typically Amerikan, prejudice, that maths are irrelevant if one has their skills as simulationist. It follow immediately that if we are teaching simulation in shul, and that fact is assured given the economics of the matter compared to working with actual matter stuffs, and, lest we forget, the natural proclivities of the current young for whom electronics using is akin to tuning and hacking motorcars was in the days between my father and myself, then that prejudice against maths is creeping in to the hearts and minds of the students.

So scant surprise to me that boys or girls are not engaged by maths and sciences. They have no reason to and many reasons not to. And despite their natural rebellion at that age they can still be shaped by educationalists and parents who are equally whacked and ignorant. If collapse is not eminent, slavery and tyranny are.

[1]  Yes, the ordering of science courses was as broken then as it is now. Instead of proceeding physics to chemistry to biology, the reverse maintained even as it does today, and the fundamental reason for this silly stupidity is the maths instruction.

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Birthday Browsing

As I go about the morning browsing while awaiting FD SCP’s rising, I note two things on the LifeHacker web site: [Link]

  1. Numerous articles on how to set-up your new Windows/MAC individual computer/various smart phone, but nothing on setting up your new Linux individual computer. Patently this omission reflects the absence of need to explain such to Linux users.
  2. And the distinction of commercialism – value is what the owner places on a possession, cost is what it takes to acquire it. So commercials that use the word value are in error, the proper term is cost.

Somehow such perfidy seems appropriate of the corruption of this day?

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BAO 2

The phase change, water -> snow, has occurred. Strangely, I have no desire to launch into a rendition of “White Christmas” or any other carol. Perhaps “Aura Lee’, in concert with our troops in the field this day apart from their families. Somehow the tenting song of the Army of Northern Virginia seems appropriate for our nation this winter.

Birthday Anniversary Observation

Rain falleth, giving over later, the weather beavers foretell, changing over to snow, giving the day a portent of some Bing Crosby 1950’s nightmare of cinema and secular babble. Somehow that seems fitting for making this day the observation of the birthday observation of Joshua ben Joseph bar David or of Isaac Newton, Knight is equally contrived, one by uncertainty of birthdate and the machinations of numerous bureaucratic exigencies, the other by the technical renormalization of the calendar.

The matter is well, to me, summed by this cartoon: [Link]

It thus seems to matter little, given the capitalist absorption of the day, whether we note the anniversary of birth of Joshua or Isaac, what matters is how we act this day.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas reminds us we are not alone. We are not unrelated atoms, bouncing and ricocheting amid aliens, but are a part of something, which holds and sustains us. As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same. Christmas shows us the ties that bind us together, threads of love and caring, woven in the simplest and strongest way within the family.” Donald E. Westlake

“Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night. God said, ‘Let Newton be!’ and all was light.” Alexander Pope

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Mistunneled Vision

I have always been one of those out-of-the-box physicists, mostly in terms of what I am interested in and how I look at modeling. Back when I was in graduate shul, when I knew enough to try things but not enough to do them always on my own – or always know when to ask for help – this exasperated the more doctrinaire of my professors because it got in the way of their carefully laid course plans.

The amusing thing about this, of course, in those days, was that the ones who were most anal about following their course plan were the ones who were the most anti-establishment and counter culture. I actually worked on a model trying to associate the length of hair with tolerance of variation in methodology. Simply put, the shorter the haircut the more understanding the professor tended to be. Evidently those who want to be adored cannot abide not being obeyed?

I went through graduate shul wanting to work on molecular structure quantum mechanics when no one in academe thought that was worthwhile – everything that needed to be done had been done by Roald Hoffman and there was no point in wasting effort on something that wouldn’t get published. And when I got out of graduate shul I gradually developed into working on dissipative systems in association with working for the Yankee army so I missed all the opportunities to do the work since, much of which I dreamed about as a graduate student.

One of the things I found out was that this attitude is accurate in the sense that if you do something out of the ordinary in physics, you probably can’t get it published in a physics journal. Most of what I did over the years in physics was snooted away by the physics journals so I ended up publishing in other journals.

Now I find out that physicists don’t do literature searches in non-physics journals. So they end up going and doing things that have been done before and published in other fields, b ut when they do it, if physics is ready, they publish in physics journals and it is great. As one of my colleagues commented the other day, “when non-physicists collect stamps, it’s called stamp collecting; when physicists collect stamps it’s called philately.” This refers to Eddington’s quote about physics and stanp collecting.

I saw two examples of this the other day. First, an article [Link] in the New Yawk Times about a burned out particle physicist who is studying the mechanics of cities. Not an unworthy activity but it completely ignores that physicists and modelers have been working with city planners (and the like) since I was in graduate shul, probably before, and doing similar things. But the results had to be published in city planning journals and so physicists can’t find these earlier works because they don’t exist.

The second is a fellow at Clark U who has looked at how different Platonic solids pack. [Link] (This is to the journalist article but it contains a link to the actual paper.) Think styrofoam peanuts here, in a box, and the question is if you fill the box with peanuts, how much of the volume of the box is not peanuts?

The problem here is that this work has been done before. Years ago, back in the seventies when there was a technical explosion in packing materials, the Yankee government, especially the military services, did a lot of work on how to pack stuff. Their interest was in protecting content from shock, vibration, corrosion, soldiers, ….. but a big piece of answering that had to do with the fraction of volume occupied by packing materials, to say nothing of how that volume changed over time, which is a dimension not addressed in this paper.

The problem, of course, is that this work never got published in Physical Review, or any other physics journal. Not that it was classified and hidden from the godless communists, but that the editors of physics journals didn’t think this was physics so it got published in engineering journals, and as we all know (?), engineers can’t do science. In fact, non-academics can’t do science. But today, this is physics and it gets published in physics journals.

Apparently one of the problems of overpopulation is that while you have lots of people having good ideas, many of those ideas are old ieas reinvented and untraced. Because of our tribal prejudices.

“Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

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Thermal Nonsense

Gad! This is getting a bit stressful. I made my usual pilgrimage to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill yesterday and had to skip one of my planned stops for foodstuffs. It was not an immediate requirement, which was good, inasmuch as the parking lot at the particular grocery store was completely full, at least to the point I did not see an available parking space so I motored on. Happily the nut quotient of the drivers was fairly low.

And now the heat content of the atmosphere is decreasing again. To be expected, I suppose, now that we are past solstice and officially (who makes it official? the weather beavers union? or do they have a cabal?) winter, but it was a bit unpleasant this morning going to gym. I fear I am not yet inured to the special situation when the temperature is right around the water-ice phase change point.

The primary expression of this is in the master entropy closet at Castellum SCP. On mornings when the air temperature is low enough for the heat pump to be ineffective but not so low as to kick in the resistive heating fully, the ablutitorium is chilly to downright cold, recognizing, of course, that such is an irrational, unphysical, humanistic characterization. For temperatures above this band, the heat pump keeps the facility nicely habitable; for temperatures below, the resistive heating auxiliary.

But when it comes to venturing outside there is a secondary instance in the form of determining the appropriate level of swaddling to be donned. This is especially difficult when going to gym since the wind may not have picked up yet and exercise clothes are less heat conserving than street clothes. Hence the discomfort this morning with resulting difficulty in being at ease with the exercise. It is thus perhaps fitting that the bulk of today’s attention went to Melvyn, Lord Bragg’s “In Our Time” episode on Daoism.

Happily, with shul desessioned the educationalists were in short supply as were the weight bouncers, probably because of the impending holidays.

But then I got here and discovered several downloads had failed, once more demonstrating the inability of the Yankee government to get computer stuff right, and I noted an article that claimed a gallup poll had found 0.4 of the sample population in Amerika to be creationist.[Link] Sadly, the lees of boggery will likely always be with us, indicating perhaps that they are self=perpetuating? Or perhaps, a better term would be self-creating? Yes, that does seem appropriate.

Anyway, as the time winds down for the social stupidity that the observation of winter solstice, Mithra, whatever has been appropriated by organized religion has become, the stress level increases. So be cool and truck on!

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