Good Men Be Silent

This is rather nerdish. I note on Lifehacker [Link] that Antonio Ereditato and Dario Autiero have been forced to resign from the OPERA project by a vote on “no confidence”. If the reporting is to be believed, which has to be taken as a premise.

This is heinous. It is not the way to reward honesty and integrity. More importantly, it is not good science practice. At the risk of being accused of Racism, it is even Fascist.

Toes and Tiles and Togetherness

I fear that it is once more that time of week when tabs have to be brutally dealt with. For one thing, the browser keeps turning into a digital rock (digilith?) or digital mist (digimist? enough Hunnish compounding already!) Isn’t it bad enough to be living in the hinterland where broadband is anything but and no one seems to care except the users?

Speaking of caring, it seems that tree hugging is an inherently human activity after all. Courtesy of some work by Case Western Reserve U folks in Ethiopia, fossil evidence of a still (partly?) arboreal humanoid contemporaneous with Australopithecus Afarensis has been unearthed, [Link] The bones, highlighted in the figure,

indicate that this (unreported name) humanoid had a spayed great toe suitable for better grasping of limbs and trunk of tree. So while afarensis was doing the ground pounding thing this cousin was still doing the Tarzan thing. The dating on all this is approximately 3.2 MYA so it seems that our differentiation into conservationists and planet despoilers has taken a long time to get to the current sorry state.

On which note, I should say that the Dogwoods are in bloom here at Castellum SCP although I expect them to mostly be washed off in the rain this weekend. Rather early as I recall for this?

While we’re on blooming, next is a rather amusing piece from PC World (they’re still around?thought they got hit by a meteorite years ago?) about how the Linux desktop is booming. They report visitation fractions by Linux users of between 0.014 to 0.25 with the fraction increasing in correlation with the nerdiness of the site. No data given on LOLFELINE sites – and no comments about either the sites or the compounding. But what is treasurable about the article is a quote,

Post-PC? Not Quite.

Yes, Linux is a longstanding leader in the server world, and its Android derivative is now a leader in the mobile world too, though you can keep all the silly “post PC” hogwash.

Desktops will be with us for a long time to come, and as long as they are, a fully alive and fully free desktop Linux will have a rightful place among them.”

Maybe there is a reason for this rag to still be around if they are actually saying such sensible things. Of course, if they are then the bogs aren’t reading there.

On which note, I found another article [Link] proclaiming that the combination of the demise of WXP and the release of W8 with its tile GUI METRO was an opportunity to lead Winders serfs to freedom (and Linux.) What is impressive here is what isn’t said. The Linux community has been alienated by Tile GUI for over a year now with Gnome 3 and Unity, and the forces of righteousness have used the natural voting environment to elect new code that emulates Gnome 2 and the golden desktop of last year. Isn’t it amazing how the determination of ambitious, self-righteous, greedy organizations can wreck such havoc and destruction in such a short time. Wait until you get to see what MegaHard can do!

Anyway, yes the old desktop, which we are assured is not dead, at least for those who still have work to do, is still around for those who are willing to abandon the wasteland of time and effort and productivity that is the Tile GUI and actually learn how to use a computer. Yes, I admit that I do proselyte the occasional Winders user to try Linux, but only under appropriate circumstances. Simply put, that user has to already be showing grave signs of being micturated with Winders and is more interested in being productive and effective than in being socially subjugated to Big Brother.

And yes, there are distros that are intended to ease the transition and delay the need to do real user stuff like command line bashing and adding repositories and fixing glitches but I operate on the philosophy that I want to make it seem easier than I described. This has the advantage that fewer see the Attack Rabbit of despair and run away, never to leave their Winders womb again. Instead they decide they are better humans than they thought if they can survive the travails of Linux, even if it is Mint of one of those other cotton candy padded distros.

And while we’re on that subject, a study from Yale U indicates that “A person’s mere presence in a room can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour.” Given that we have more microbial cells in and on our bodies than we have body cells, this is not really a surprise. But the reason I liked the article was a quote (again,)

“All those infectious diseases we get, we get indoors.”

which is rather instructive. It explains all sorts of things from why life expectancies are shorter in cities than in the hinterland, despite the difference in medicalist attentions, and why civilization, in general, is bad.

Although with the pollen the way it has been the last few weeks indoors is not all that bad in terms of minimizing allergy reactions. But it does raise the question of why we should bother to cover our mouths when we cough?

Riligionism Freedom

Yesterday, I received confirmation of something that I had hypothesized for a LONG time. The state of Alibam, and indeed, much of the old Confederacy, is religionisticly fanatic. The Gallop folks published [Link] this summary:

The surprises here are small. Utah is more fanatic than Alibam. OK. I’ll accept that. There are parts of some Alibam cities, in Birmingham particularly, where there is a general atmosphere of foreboding, but not the down town area. Salt Lake City on the other hand feels like one should be accompanied by a squad of recon Marines and unmanned aerial vehicles. Reminds me of some of those documentaries of Nazi Germany and the sweeps for intellectuals, LGBT, and Jews. Except in this case it’s everyone who isn’t a particular strain of Mormon.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Force Inductance, reminded me of what Lester Sprague deCamp said in Lest Darkness Fall, that ‘freedom of religion is the right to persecute everyone who isn’t of your religious persuasion.’ Certainly that perversion pervades the left hand list.

And I wasn’t surprised by the inclusion of Oklahoma. I’ve been there enough to know that in some ways it is just as perverse as Utah or the old Confederacy. But it has a fieriness that comes of living in a much more marginal environment.

I can almost rationalize the old Confederacy. They lost, the infrastructure burned to the ground by Sherman and his imitators, the governments stolen by Yankee gangsters and native capitalists, and troops stationed to maintain their legal culture. But it has been a century and a quarter and the paranoia needs to be dissolved. Needs, but isn’t, and I suspect won’t. Too much of the power structure of the new Sowth is built upon this persecution, too many politicians and preachers hold their social and organizational status because of the hate they spread like cheap balm.

I cannot say much for the states on the right hand list. I have visited most and can say from experience that they have their own versions of distrust and enmity. More than one are alienated to strangers. And the District is in grievous need of tons of Preparation H. So as bad as the religionism is in Alibam, it at least is the evil that I know and can, much of the time, live with.

But at least my hypothesis has been strengthened by data.

It’s in there somewhere?

Back when I was an entering freshman in college I must have projected naivety since a kind upper classman delivered some advice to me about note taking. Among the bits was an admonition to take notes because the act of writing would help me remember and I would have the notes for later reference. I took this so much to heart that I had almost all of my notes with me, unread in years, when they burned in the great fire of ’01.

What I did not learn until later was that you have to look at what you are writing. I have since learned that we may visualize what we are writing but more so we speak it and thus looking at what we have written adds a stronger visual sensory component to the memory.

I had occasion yesterday while visiting my periodontist to make use of this, interrupting the hygienist in the midst of film removal to write down an instruction so that I could remember it after I left the facility.

But I also came by a bit of a question. The current generation, the so-called GEN Ys, do not write. They lack both training and developed ability. Only those who have had calligraphy as a hobby know any cursive. But they do key, and so the question arose in my mind as to whether keying is as effective as writing for remembering?

I can think of arguments both ways, but I tend towards keying being less effective simply because almost all of the GEN Y can key without looking at what they are keying. So no strong visual sensation to enhance the memory.

I also suspect that no font, no matter how striking, can be as effective in provoking memory as writing. All writing, despite the best efforts of first and second grade teachers, is individual. So all writing is different, and at the same time, because it is ours, clearly ours. We recognize its shape even if we have problems deciphering it. At least I do, supposedly the result of too much education and not enough precision in forming letters, but actually, in my Id, I know it is a lack of discipline on my part.

So while I know not, and would like to know, I suspect that one of the penalties of abandoning writing is reduced memory. That seems a strange thing to say given the same complaints were raised as occurring when writing was adopted.

Shining Education

This may shape up to be a bit of a rant. I ran across an article [Link] on AL.com entitled “Huntsville best-educated of Alabama’s metro areas, with 20,000 residents holding engineering degrees”. This claim is based entirely on engineering degrees.

If you read on there is a grudging consideration of baccalaureate degrees, in which instance Madison county comes in second to Shelby county. But no meaningful reportage on graduate degrees, and the article finally degenerates into a pep rally for U Alibam in Huntsville.

The first question that pops is simply “Are engineers educated?” The classical answer, ala Capella, is a resounding NO! I don’t know about these days but engineering students do not take many liberal arts courses and those they do take are service courses ‘tuned’ to engineers. When I was an undergraduate my associates who were studying engineering took a syntax course largely oriented to writing reports and correspondence, sort of a business shule type of course but for geeks, a literature course, which was widely hated, and a psychology course oriented towards technical workplace dynamics. That was it although I might say I did envy them the latter course in later years.

Not that what we had to take in the nerd disciplines was much better. I had to take two supposed syntax courses that were devoted to reading boring contemporary novels and writing irrelevant essays about same, and two literature courses that were devoted to reading Norton’s anthology of English literature, and writing term papers. All four were considered endurance races. It was not until I got to working for the Yankee army that they made me take an intensive 40 class hour course on syntax for technical writing that I had a worthwhile syntax class in the collegiate environment/level.

We did have more choice, a freedom that I gather is now severely reduced by the evolution of curricula. And I can say that I do not regret many of my choices. It is rather the required courses that I regret.

But to answer the question of whether engineers are educated, we first have to consider if a college degree in any form is an education? The answer to that is a resounding NO!, putting the lie to all those diploma mills and overgrown night shules that advertise their diploma equates to an education.

An education is not a college degree, but can one be educated without a degree. Certainly that is almost a nay in our contemporary society where the college degree is perceived as a necessary salvation from poverty and drudge labor. Sadly, that also is a myth and delusion. Almost all jobs requiring a college degree do not need one. They need more than high shule, yes, but anyone who has begun the road to education in attending college is almost surely wasted in 0.99 of all jobs today because the jobs simply do not need the intangibles and creativity of the educated. All they require is specialized training that college now offer as part of their industrial perversion.

So what this is all about is jobs that pay well, not education, and Huntsville is certainly a leader. In my experience engineers (and scientists) have more fun in their jobs than anyone else. Pay is not the only reason. Fun is also important. And while there are engineers (and scientists) who are such for the money, they are generally mediocre and quickly shunted into dead ends or administrative activities.

So a better question is why do we have to propagate such diversions and delusions? Why do we talk about education when we really want to talk about money? I do not know the answer to that but I do know it is a mixture of being a money based society and being a society period.

It’s not a bad metric, just irrelevant to the claims.

Mein Klumpchen

Despite having several medicalist engagements this week, I am trying to revert to something more modal in activity. As a result, I start this morning with an article [Link] that indicates that young people are not so much abandoning traditional information channels as they are diffusing into the new ones.The work was done at U Gothenberg and dealt with a test population of 9-24 year olds. Quoting from the article,

“people in this age group do watch TV and listen to radio and recorded music somewhat less today than 30 years ago. The same trend can be observed for reading, especially when it comes to educational textbooks and nonfiction. However, children and adolescents still use traditional media more than the internet. In fact, schoolchildren (age 9-14) spend a whole 75 percent of their media time on traditional media; for the age group 15-24 the proportion is 60 percent.”

My question is, if this is the case, why can’t people this age write or speak intelligently? Is absorbing information the only thing that is important? Surely not or the social web sites would have foundered at inception. But cursive is a dying, if not dead, skill – although I do admit my cursive to be legible even to me sporadically – and their grammar and composition is as bad. And the latter transcends the argot differential of ages. Yes, I used terms as a ynglng that my parents and adults could not understand but I worked very hard to obey the rules of syntax. Our young seem to have discarded that practice as irrelevant and antiquarian?

And in a related article, [Link] a PEW poll claims that, contrary to Wired magazine, the web is not dead. Evidently the PEW folks have some fundamental misunderstanding of what the internet is since they claimed the Wired argument that

“Web was “in decline” and “apps” were in the attendance because they provided “simpler, sleeker services” for the growing number of people using mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets.”

has been disproven by the cloud. Where do the PEW folks think apps are acquired?

As I recall the Wired article ended up claiming that the web was dead in much the same way that God is dead. Living things evolve and the web/internet/cloud/bit sea may not be biological, is definitely not intelligent nor sentient, but it does evolve because biological entities are tightly coupled to it informationally.

But at least this gives a GOOD object lesson of how seriously to take PEW polls.

Questionable Sermonology

One of the by blows of probability theory is that sequences tend to occur. One of the perversities of human sentience is that we tend to see patterns, even when there are no patterns. Today seems to be the convolution of these two.

First, courtesy of MakeUseOf [Link] we have a lovely plot

derived from the Wall Street Journal, the one that is impolite to everyone who doesn’t have a chair on the exchange, of newsprint and toilet paper use over a short period of time (in human terms.) MUO seems to think  this special even though they miss a rather important matter, the amount of newsprint (as in newspapers) that is used as toilet paper. Their figures for tissue, which includes nose wipes as well as anal wipes, as thus degenerate.

If one recalls the novel Moscow Farewell, the ‘tagonist spends some time describing how newspapers are avidly sought to serve as toilet paper because of the inability of Soviet Communism to build a toilet paper that can withstand both the Russian winter and worker’s bowel contents and also be soft. At least compared to news print. Of course, the ink is antiseptic, making it popular for the ad hoc delivery of infants outside the precincts of hospitals. I keep expecting a panegyric on the demise of Western civilization due to this health hazard implied by eNews and tablets.

Next, from the same source [Link] I note “Bring Windows Up To Speed With Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 [Giveaway]”

and have to raise the question of why is it that one is always running into this genre of offers in conjunction with Winders, but seldom for Apple OS, and NEVER for Linux. One is occasionally presented with some web article advancing some tweaks to “speed up” or “streamline” Linux of Apple OS, but they are rare and NEVER associated with a commercial product.

One is therefore forced, unless one is a bog, to hypothesize that Linux and Apple OS do not need to be accelerated because they are of adequate velocity inherently and implicitly. The implication is that Winders is either inherently and implicitly slow, or suffers from some malady that results in slowness. The derivative implication is that the second possibility is due to bogs, since the demographic fraction of Winders users who are bogs is orders of magnitude larger than the corresponding fraction for the other two OS. This is further supported by the sales statistics of these products that indicate their customers are 0.99+ bogs.

And lastly, the grrr brrr about the “failure” of the Disney cinema based, too loosely in some opinions, on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels [Link]
[Link]
leads us to one of the great unanswered questions of modern SCIENCE (fiction), namely

If Martian women are oviparous, why do they have mammaries?

Thus endeth the sermon.

Bug on Windshield

OK, second part, and shorter than I expected it would be. Just one article, but it’s a doozie. According to a European Space Agency, [1] the ‘asteroid; 2012 DA14 that whizzed past Tellus on 22 February will be back 15 February 2013 and at a distance of only 24 Kkm.

So you have something to look forward to. At 50 m diameter this isn’t big enough to give another class of animals their chance, but it is enough to squash a human or two. Of course so of the bogs would want that since it gives them a chance at the Guiness book.
Special breath holding classes for geeks will be offered, no doubt.

[1]  Why are the Europeans so much more realistic about these things. Does Amerikan media think we can’t read them. Or just trust the bogs are too bog to do so and will ignore the geeks crying extinction!? Of course.

Information is/is not Human?

In the full spirit of lagging this week, I am just now beginning to clean out tabs and since they are spread over two boxes, this may be a two-part blog.

First, one of my colleagues, Force Spring Constant, sent me an article [Link] about how 0.51 of the ‘traffic’ on the internet is non-human. After the initial cynical chuckle I had to gag; the article is a masterpiece of chocolate covered stercus. First of all, it relates a study performed by an internet security company. Hey, security companies do not stay in business by telling you that your security precautions are adequate. Security precautions have only two states: non-existent and inadequate. That’s one of the reason I use Linux. It’s a small target and hence anything I do is a lot less (stochastically) inadequate than anything any Fortune 500 corporation mind serfed to MegaHard can do, much less will.

And second, quoting the article,

“Here’s the breakdown:
– 49 percent human traffic, 51 percent non-human traffic
Non-human traffic:
– 5 percent hacking tools
– 5 percent “scrapers,” software that posts the contents of your website to other websites, steals email addresses for spamming, or reverse engineers your website’s pricing and business models
– 2 percent comment spammers
– 19 percent other sorts of spies that are competitive analyzers, sifting your website for keyword and SEO (search engine optimization) data to help give them a competitive edge in climbing the search engine ladder
– 20 percent search engines and other benevolent bot traffic”

I immediately have to ask, what exactly is “human traffic”? Are human beings being transported somehow via the internet? The answer is a resounding NO! What we have here is apparently some sort of conspiracy of deception by the security company aided and abetted by the journalists. We will continue to hope that this is a result of stupidity on their prat rather than malice. But with journalists it is hard to tell.

Point being is that nothing on the internet is human. What is on the internet is information. Some of that information is code, some is fileish, but nothing on the internet is human. Nothing on the internet is biological, animal, human. Everything on the internet can be traced back to a human action. Browsers are directed by humans to seek out web pages just as scrapers and bots are dispatched by humans.

So either everything on the internet has to be considered human (dispatched) or everything on the internet is non-human by composition and form, but there is no middle state, no socially/politically correct mixture. Either pure one or the other. Selah.

This is not to say that there are not threats and they need to be responded to. And since we don’t know where their human sources are – usually – tactical nuclear strikes are impractical. So anyone who doesn’t have a firewall and antivirus (even if to prevent being a disease vector,) and a couple of other minor things is a poor citizen, survival stupid, and deserving of whatever crotch cooties they get.

Next, from another colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, comes an article [Link] that claims that the wonks on the Charles have found that memories are stored in neurons (not a BIG surprise, is it?) and that they know how to read and rewrite memories. That latter is a big deal, I think. It means that mindwashing is now a looming reality, not just a tool of government. On the good side it means that you can get all those bad memories erased thus making yourself less hag ridden, more likely to do other stupid things and get yourself killed, but maybe think you are happier? On the bad side it means that you can have all sorts of false memories planted, so 1984 just became steam punk conservative.

And incidentally, the whole legal system of Western civilization is now a sham. Because of this witnesses are not just subject to the human propensity to edit memories but now their memories are totally untrustworthy. Welcome to the new world where only video or confession counts. Say hello to the rebirth of torture and inquisition.
 
On which note, I see via the Marketplace Tech Report [Link] that the Yankee government is now telling their contractors that any computer equipment they bought with any YG money have to be disposed of in YG approved recycling facilities.  My question is how do we get a YG approved recycling facility? Greater Metropolitan Arab is a computer wasteland. The real estate agent government puts no effort or funds into anything that does not attract new residents so things like sewage, electricity, and recycling of anything, much less computers, are priority after last. The YG doesn’t want old computers, with trace amounts of rare earths and other strategic materials going to some third world country for recovery. They use the excuse of health hazard but that one rings totally vacuum for any organization but especially the YG. Here in GMA we either have to go to Guntersville and lie about where we live – sort of like all those folks who live in Marshall county but have Madison county tags because the Madison county tag office is accessible and effective but the Marshall county one is barricaded and antisocial – or go out in the dark of night and dump in the verge of some county road.

I just want to get rid of the things. I have no desire to be a disposaphobe, by effect, of old computers. I don’t even mind paying a bit but no more than it costs me to load in motorcar and drive out to a county crossroads at midnight. Consumerism in Action!

And lastly, at least for this box, I fond an article [Link] entitled “Windows 8 may drive me to Linux”. The reason, “surprise, surprise” as Gomer would say, is tile GUI. The bad news is that time Gui has been in Linux for over a year and the larger demographic representation distros have been that way for a year. The good news is that those distros have been abandoned and/or hacked severely for the last year as rational Linux users reject their rejection by the fascists of Gnome and Canonical.

Yes, I agree completely that the tile GUI is wonderful on a smart phone or tablet but an absolute La Brea on the big screen of desk or lap box. And those offspring of tertiary syphilitic prostitutes who developed and packaged tile GUI in distros have the characteristics of such children. Namely, they’re mentally and maybe physically unfit for existence. So the other good news is that Linux can be hacked and there are folks working on reinventing window GUI although for some reason Gnome 2 seems to have disappeared and its imitators are pale and watery in comparison. If nothing else you can “roll your own”.

The bad news is that you can do neither if you are not willing to get beyond being a Winders serf. You have to learn to do command line and add repositories and all that stuff that IT staff will get you fired for if you do in workplace and that you get your daughter’s nerd/geek friends, that you can’t stand and have bone chills over having reproductive activity with your daughter, do on your home boxes.

So if you;re not willing to be a learning human for a while, maybe you would be better off to accept the mind fetters gracefully. And admit that you are not much more than feed lot residents.

Drilled

I admit to being behind this week. Too much interminable waiting cloistered in medicalist precincts. So this morning while trying to overtake my desired position, I ran across this cartoon [Link]

and was STRUCK by how accurate the ‘Foxworthy” of this was. This gets to the differences among bog, geeks, and nerds.

  • Geeks argue over things that do not exist in the real world as if they do.
  • Bogs argue about things that exist in what they mistakenly think is the real world, again, as if they do.
  • Nerds argue over thing that are in the process of being shown to be in the real world. and
  • Both bogs and geeks think the real world isn’t.

And none of them understand the others except dimly.

But the redeeming aspect of all is the capacity for humor.