Weaher Particles

The weather beavers are foretelling all sorts of atmospheric nastiness for today and tomorrow. Or I should say that the local audio-visual electromagnetic receiver weather beavers are. The tone of the Yankee government weather service and the national weather types is somewhat more restrained. So what we are being told is conflicted from the get go.

That conflicted runs through this matter. Do we all sit in the basement and wait for the house above to vanish off to Oz? Do we go and invest in spirits so that we may be anesthetized when we discorporate from being ripped asunder by winds, pummeled to goo by hail, burnt to crispies by lightening, or impaled by flying debris?

Or do we just go seize the day with the sure confidence that ending is stochastic?

In similar vein, I have received several emails from non-physicist colleagues, who are poking or peeking (to borrow that old metaphor) about the rumor that a Higgs boson has been observed. [Link]

The bogs among these have almost universally used the phrase ‘god particle’ which I find rather distasteful. It implies a rather chauvinistic relationship between deity and dohickey. There is the implication that the particle embodies the deity or that the deity embodies only that particle. As one of my oldest and most respected of colleagues, Dielectric Current Momentum, used to chastise me, pantheism is contrary to christianist doctrine, which implies that god is not omnipresent, which in turn casts doubts over omniscience.

The particle, if it exists, and is as the standard model theorists hope, is the mass propagator. That is, it manufactures that quality of stuff that is gravitational in nature. Whether it propagates inertia is as uncertain as what either gravity or inertia actually are.

I do not object to it being named although I feel this to be a disservice to Higgs. If this does turn out to be a boojum,  then his excellent work will immediately be bankrupt to the masses.

But what is most telling is that more than one instance of a particle must be observed to assure that the dohickey is actual and not an artifact of inaccuracy. When we have seen a few hundred, and under suitable variation, then we may be confident that there is something. Until then, the matter is as elusive as the deity often is.

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Darkness Receeded

At last, the weekend has subsided into history! If this be spring, I do not want to experience summer. Even the thoughts of the misey of the climate change denialists is not sufficient to allay my disanticipation.

Off to gym this morning and an episode of CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, which was some address by an imam whose propaganda was less mystical than humanist. All that I took away was his dismay at the decomposition of diversity, which I viewed with dismay at his denial of the paradigm that when something becomes an organized program rational humans abandon as a form of tyranny, or for bogs, as not needful of their attention.

At least the place was fairly calm, I hope reflecting that the christianists may have obtained some expanded consideration of what it means to be a mensch after the observances of the weekend. Not that I expect my hopes to be realized.

Meanwhile, I ran across a PEW poll [Link] this weekend that seemed to stoke my worst analyses of observation. Seems that when it comes to mystical irrationality, the states of the old confederacy once more lead the nation. Mississippi beat out Alibam for most superstitious, once more dashing even the pride of being first at the worst. And they have lots better roads, at least in terms of quality of surface.

As for me, I spent the day of reversing irreversibility reversing the propaganda doled out on the edutertanimentalist networks such as history channel on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver. Much of the program dealt wiith different varieties of propaganda about the free range rebbe and how his philosophy and existence have been distorted, discredited, and abused. Such was not, in many cases, the intent of the producers but that was what shone through like an inner light.

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Thermodynamic Reflection

I was struck this morning by the analogy between the tale of Humpty Dumpty and Easter. Both are about mechanics.

In the case of Humpty Dumpty, we have a egg-person who gets broken. The shell of the egg is ruptured and the personage is lost, and all of the efforts of human organization are unable to reverse the event and regenerate the person.

In the old confederacy and many other places on Tellus, today is observed as the anniversary of the reversal of breakage of a mystical individual. I will not venture any commentary on whether the reversal was real or imagined, or even conspiratorial. What I will advance is that it seems fitting to reflect on the philosophy of that individual and how that philosophy has been warped and broken by the organization of religion.

And on a tone more in keeping with the more common observation  of today, I offer up a video of engineering structures analyses of a Cadbury easter egg:

Crash Test Creme Eggs

The Cadbury easter egg, although vastly degraded by the purchase of the company by an Amerikan firm that produces truly abominable candy, is still a fitting metaphor of today. It mimics the structure of an actual (chicken) egg, substituting confection and candy for the various components of shell, yolk, and such. If one consumes the substance (philosophy) of the confection, one is uplifted. And its quality is not enhanced by the presence of human organization.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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If it ain’t fruit?

We come once more fully into the weekend and for once I find myself disadvantaged in residual tabs. I shall have to stock up later today.

The starting point is that the Open Office folks are discombobulated, or, at least, disinherited.[Link] It seems that Oracle, who was serving in the office of a ‘corn sugar’ daddy for OO has decided to show its accurate capitalist oligarch countenance now that the Libre Office fork has reduced OO to the level of WordStar. So rather than try to recover like any real competitor would, Oracle has displayed its real colors (stripes?) and slunk off into the La MegaHard tar pit of information technology.

Money aside, I suspect this is a good thing for OO. It lets them have a good excuse to beg reconciliation without having to commit periodic seppuku for a software pseudo-shogun. Now which of the five rings of Musashi is this?

Next, a bunch of academic engineering types have done a research on bicycle stability.[Link] Evidently with even the European Union joining all the other ‘democratic’ governments in putting academics on a joy-labor camp diet the academics have to find things to do research on that are cheap. Never mind that we live on a planet flailing into discorporation, save money by taking from the creators of solutions to maintain social ‘engineering’ endowments. And bicycles are very cheap, especially if you practice dog robbing in the early hours of daylight.[1]

But the noteworthy thing about this is that almost independent of design, at least for the ones made by the engineering types and not the arts bogs, the bicycles were stable. Which is rather other than what I thought the first time I had my first ride-fall on/from/with a bicycle. I think I was ten or so and the bicycle was way too big for me but I only fell a dozen times or so, lost a little blood, and finally learned to ride. And then wasn’t allowed to ride to bicycle because my shul was on the other side of a four lane carriageway.

And lastly, we have word [Link] from U Warwick that men are, in the mean, more definite in making decisions than women. Evidently the boffins asked a mixed gender population questions like “is a tomato a fruit?” and got a lot fewer ‘maybe’ answers from men than women.

I have to be a bit perplexed by this. While I know that a tomato is a fruit I don;t think of it as such because we don;t eat tomatoes like we do other fruit. We don’t peel it or use it as a flavoring of soda pop or put pieces on ice cream. I could say that we don’t make jam r jelly of it but my mother used to make tomato jam to put on butter beans, but that was so you couldn’t tell how badly the butter beans tasted. So do people think of tomatoes as fruit? Or do they know it and think/act like they aren’t? The World Wonders

[1]  Normally we would dog rob between midnight and dawn but since this is on a college campus, its 0400-1000 that are prime dog robbing hours.

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No Puns, Just Groans

The knee of the week is once more upon us, and I have a few tabs backlogged that I haven’t had time or attention span for previously. I shall start with a bit of computer geekery.

I ran across one of those end-of-times articles [Link], this one about the ‘post-PC era’. This strikes me as a bit ambiguous since the term PC, despite MegaHard’s imperialism, is ambiguous. The term, acronym rather, may even predate IBM’s introduction in the early ’80’s of its ‘Personal Computer’. I seem to recall seeing the term/acronym earlier in magazine articles and in advertisements. Is this another Apple propaganda?

Since then, the term/acronym has been appropriated by MegaHard to mean a desktop (?) computer running a MegaHard OS. I use that qualification since the term was used back in the days when MS-DOS was actually a better desktop OS than CPM. In recent years it has been propagandized into a synonym for a Windows box, hence the use of FC (Free Computer) for a Linux box, regardless of distro.

So in one sense, post-PC may be taken to mean the box after MegaHard. What is going to happen to MegaHard is not only unsaid but apparently unimplied. Somehow I doubt the article’s author, that contradiction labeled a computer journalist, means the ascendancy of Linux, a scenario terrible to contemplate since it means the stupidification of the OS to accommodate all those boggish former MegaHard mindserfs. I may be being prideful but don’t want them dragging my box down into the IT equivalent of slime mold. 

Not to say that there are not signs that MegaHard is melting down, more surely than the Kagoshima reactors. Another article [Link] indicates that MegaHard is about to release another version of its formerly worthwhile browser, Internet Explorer 10. What makes this noteworthy is that the beast will not execute on Windows Vista or earlier OS versions. While the world of Firefox/Chrome/Opera users look puzzled, since only MegaHard mindserfs, individual and corporate, still use IE, it is a clear indication that MegaHard is trying to drive its remaining loyals to upgrade to the latest and worst. 

I have to admit that I find I certain satisfaction by this behavior. Not only is MegaHard displaying counter-survival actions, but if it won;t run on XP then the only machine I have to worry about is FD SCP’s W7 box. One more reason for a minor hatred of a minor evil – Pfaff.

Next, we have a report [Link] about research at U Texas – it figures, somehow – that consuming ethanol has a good/bad effect on the human brain. The bad part is the old, stale, well worn piece about impairing conscious memory and making really ugly people look like reproductive candidates. The new, good part is that it may help the subconscious memory remember stuff. This makes eminent sense. I recall in graduate shul that one went off on Friday afternoons to drink beer with other grad students and the younger faculty. Minor indiscretions occurred but also some moderate sized epiphanies. So the good side of all this is that drinking improves your creative faculties. No wonder so manty artists are dipsomaniacs.

And lastly, we have word [Link] from France (also makes sense) that there are three types of people. The taxonomic difference is the composition of the population of microbes inhabiting the human gastrointestinal tract. The article is a big vague except to assert that the differences are at least partly genetic, and the oft heard these days claim that this explains obesity. And other, more horrible things. This puts us in mind of another article about the appendix being the restocking storehouse of intestinal bacteria. Could it be that all we need to eliminate a lot of badness is to get the appendix restocked and do a flush of the intestines?

On parting though, flushing the intestines is not a bad idea in general.

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5081

I ran across this cartoon [Link]

the other day, and found it a bit humorous as more significantly, memory provoking.

And no, I have never worked in a computer museum. For that matter, I am not sure I have ever been in a computer museum except the web kind. And I don’t think that counts.

The title refers to the part number of the ‘IBM’ punch cards we used when I was a college student. Sometimes the cards were actual IBM brand cards but about equally often they were some other brand. But they were all 5081 cards and had that number on them. They were 80 column cards and I used them only to write programs in FORTRAN and the necessary commnds to compile and run the programs.

During my undergraduate days I mostly carried cards around, The combination of a program and commands were called a ‘deck’ and the deck was held together by rubber bands. You had to be very careful putting on and taking off the rubber bands to not damage the cards.

You also had to protect the cards from the weather, especially humidity. If they got damp they puffed up, stuck together, and/or got droopy and would either not go through the card reader at all or go through mangled, which meant you had to re-punch the cards. So unless it was good weather, which on the campus of the Black Warrior was almost never because even when it didn’t rain the humidity was above 0.5 relative, you had to carry decks in something. For small decks you could put them in your briefcase, which all the nerds carried to tote around their books, notebooks, K&E slide rules (I’ve covered the science versus engineering shul choices on this,) drafting instruments like compasses and French curves, graph paper, ink, erasers, pencil leads, …..but for large decks you used a punch card box.

These boxes were the ones cards came in and few made it to the trash. Once you got to be a junior or so you had a pretty good idea of how big your deck(s) was (were) and trimmed down a box to the ‘right’ size and personalized it with inkings and creative duct tape binding.

In those days debugging tools were sparse and arcane so the run of nerd programmers sprinkled pring statements liberally and made runs until the problems could be identified and eliminated. Strangely enough, this rather primitive academic approach was also used in professional environments by all but the most educated of computer science types, of which there were few.

The question arose recently, reinforced by the cartoon, of whether geeks write code. The answer is that, in the mean, geeks not only code but they write nicer code than do nerds. The reason for this is that the folks who write most production code are geeks and they have to use industry standard standards for coding. Nerds want numbers to learn stuff and they aren’t interested in pretty or necessarily efficient code. The exception is when they are pushing the limits of the computers in either speed or RAM. So geeks write the pretty code that goes into clients and such and nerds write code that tells them about dark matter and climate change, e.g.

But I can tell you I did use punch cards up until my first desktop computer, an HP 9830. It used cassette tapes. I don’t have the cards any more but I may have some listings somewhere.

Coding was a lot more satisfying in those days.