Fear and Value

Now, since it is sundae and pseudo-shabbat for the christianists, or at least most, it seems appropriate to muse on the nature of humans.

First, I ran across a medicalist study [Link] of adolescent mentation. This study finds:

“fear is hard to extinguish from the developing teenage brain, and once a teenager’s brain is triggered by a threat, the ability to suppress an emotional response to the threat is diminished – which may explain why they often seem permanently anxious and stressed.”

So the basic idea is that teenagers are all walking around scared of something? It’s pretty easy to understand the persistence. After all, whatever you first learn on a matter stays with you even when you learn/know that first learning to be inaccurate.

But what causes the threat? Let’s see. You spend about ten or twelve years getting used to being a child and then, over the course of a year or so, boom!, it all changes. Is becoming a proto-adult the threat, or, as Ovid argued, it is the metamorphosis itself?

I don’t have too many memories of being scared and fearful as a teenager. But then I was an introvert and naturally oblivious because my interests were deeper than the attraction of society. Perhaps sometimes being a dork is beneficial? If anything adolescence was less fearful than being a child because there were fewer bullies beating up on you. And parents had moved from beating you with a belt to trying to influence you psychologically. So it has to be a sort of alienation and ill-at-ease rather than a panic?

The second piece is about some burial goods in an 800 BCE Danish site. The goods are the remains of some cloth made from nettles that is identified as being woven in the Austrian alps. And what intrigues me is not the mediocre journalism about the extent of the trade routes in those days, but that cloth would be a trade good. Yes, cloth was a high value thingie in those days, was down until looms not-powered-by-humans were developed, which was about the time of the industrial revolution. And cloth is a good thing to have a trade demand for because it is low in density and packs and travels well. And this was for a grave – maybe – or at least a treasured possession.

And I can attest that clothing is often a treasured possession. Often more than jewelry and even maths books. Certainly me campus of the Boneyard physics department shirts and my Yankee army war college hoodie are precious to me despite looking rather like the remains of those grave goods. But it still seems a bit amazing to me that cloth would get prioritized along with gemstones, and oddities, and precious metals. I thrill that someone would walk all the way from the Austrian mountains to the Danish bogs with cloth in a pack.

Probably a teenager?

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To dream of Sleep

OK, I’m up. That’s one of the problems with being an ORF. You may want to sleep but you can’t always. Back when I was young, I almost always wanted to sleep. When I was a freshman in college I slept a lot: took a nap every afternoon if I could; took a lot of heat from upper class-men about vegging too much; and as it turns out, that was absolutely the best thing I could have done to adapt to the new environment. Which teaches that biology is sometimes better than either common knowledge and wisdom, machoism, and even rationality.

Of course I couldn’t do that later: in graduate shule I was too far from home and had no place to curl up except in the Union reading room and it got a bit noisy afternoons; and once I got a good job napping was frowned upon by custom and rule. That was rather the norm. I worked for a lot of years and the only place I could nap was in the back row of large meetings and then you ran the risk of being embarrassed by sleeping through dismissal. So it got where you tried to “catch up” on sleep over the weekends.

Of course, we knew that wasn’t the case, at least those of us who had some depth of observation, but we still tried. And failed. And we never got to bed early enough and when we did we couldn’t fall asleep because of the stress, and ……………

So you would think with being an ORF that wouldn’t be the case. Nonsense! If anything, the stress is worse as an ORF because it is so hard to find distraction. When one is working there are so many demands on time that one can be distracted from stress and even get overworked by demands to the point of collapse, hence sleep. As an ORF this isn’t so. You have less demands, largely because you just can’t respond to them and have to simplify your life. And the stresses, while different, are still there. If anything, the medicalist ones are increased because you have to go see them more often and you know the probability is growing that this visit will be the one that starts the END. You don’t have that outlook in your 30’s, or 40’s, or 50’s.

So I get up four days a week at 0330 to go to gym. The medicalists tell me to and want me to go five or six times but I burn out at four. So those nights before I don’t get enough sleep. And the necessity of rising is a stressor. Not a bad one but a persisting one. So on the weekend I start out trying to sleep in on friday and that doesn’t work because I’m ZUT all day. So I try to taper off on saturday and sunday to get back in groove for gym. And I have to resist the afternoon nap lest I cannot sleep at night.

Now maybe I can think on something frivolous.

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Rings of Nonsense

There is supposed to be a cold front moving through but if this is cold, I am going to stick to calling it humbug. And no, this is not a rant about the nonsense of “cold”. It is just that I am rather ready for something other than summer.

Besides, I also need to “hawg” tabs so I can generate a new crop. One of my ‘problems’ is that my during-the-week generations, from various sources, now approximately matches what I get out of the RSS accumulator – although it does seem strange to talk about accumulators and information.

Anyway, the first thing [Link] is that the Ig Nobels were awarded and, once again, I was not awarded. That’s humor, folks! I don’t ‘hold’ with prizes. Never have. Motivation has to come from within; the false praise of others is a sham and, if you permit it, an addiction. How many prize winning physicists have we seen that have turned into grinning nincompoops and shmendricks? But I did rather like the humor, as well as the physics, of ponytails, as in the hair arrangement, and not the actual tails of small equines.[1] I was less enthralled by the sloshing of coffee since this is a rather over-studied subject and so the publication is more one of seeming desperation to publish something, anything, than actual curiosity unleashed. I don’t know of any physicist, or many chemists and engineers – not sure of biologists – who have not studied this matter, done a few calculations, and moved on to stuff that ought to be written up.

Next, we have a report [Link] that a repulsian’s local office was broken into and Linux installed on all the computers. Of course this report had to come from an English newsrag since no Amerikan journalist would consider it newsworthy. The congress critter evidently thinks this is some sort of political statement. It probably is since the stupidity of politicians is all too easily associated with the stupidity that is Winders. But the more intriguing question is who executed the mitzvah? Was this an act of the deity trying to give warning to his unstable creations? Is there actually an intervening deity? Or is this the work of rationalists trying to strike fear in the heart of someone on the edge of the dark side. It would seem that unless the congress critter still had some social value and could be turned away from further deprivation, this would just be a prank, which it obviously cannot be but will be made of given the state of modern police capabilities.

But I should advance that my personal suspicion is that this was done by a member of staff who could no longer stomach the stupidity of the environment. BooYah!

“The tree of Liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots” or the loss of the files of a faulty OS.

And lastly, I note [Link] that Gooey will no longer support the classic (MegaHard?) file formats of (dot) DOC, XLS, and PPT. I have to admit that this is not surprising given the rivalry between Gooey and MegaHard but I also think it rather poor psychology. The use of DOC for a document – word processing file – antedates MegaHard WORD, going back to the good old days before DOS. The other two, so far as I can recall, are MegaHard creations. No matter. The point being that this does not just disconnect all the ORFs (and near ORFs) who grew up in those days, but even some of the GEN Ys. The reason: the educationalists. To this day the educationalists think that computer literacy is being able to use Winders and MegaHard Office to a level less than the ignorance of the educationalists. Hence, almost all products of the Amerikan shule system associate those file names with those types of documents. Most will adapt, but I have to wonder why Gooey did such a meaningless thing unless it is pure spite?

Another reason not to use Gooey “products”? I suspect so. Besides, I do my “Office”ing using Libre Office. It sits on my HD and works even when the Oneonta Telephone Company isn’t. And I can still save my files to backup in the cloud. And Libre Office is perfectly happy for me to use those file extensions, or even the open equivalents. Which Gooey seems to not like in their latest efforts to be Emperor of Men’s Minds. So not using Gooey Apps is an expression of being human and independent and righteous.

Big organization = stupidity + slavery!

[1]  And yes, I know I have already commented on this.

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Stercus Dei

Sometimes there are rats in the maze and we have to try to figure out the structure of the maze from the motions of the rats.

Starting on this is an article [Link] making the claim that democruds drink Heineken beer and repulsians drink Sam Adams beer. This got followed to an actual article [Link] about a survey of 2E5 population on beer “preferences” and partisan “preferences”. The survey results are summarized as:

What immediately jumps out of this is the question of whether the beer designations (“brands” and “products”) were imbedded in the instrument or solicited from the samples?

If the former then we have the intriguing situation of a survey instrument being constructed to only include “shitty” big brand beers and no micros or such. So anyone who doesn’t drink “piss poor” beer is excluded from the survey.

The alternative is even more chilling. It would seem that if that be the situation then people who are affiliates of political parties have terrible choice in beer and seriously depraved taste buds.

My personal preference is Claymore Scotch (sic) Ale although I would be willing to drink Sam Adams’ Scotch (sic) Ale if it were available in Alibam but is not for some pseudo-regulatory reason that no one seems able to adequately expound. And I can honestly say that I am neither democrud nor repulsian because of excluded middle.

In a similar twist I have finally had an epiphany over Tile GUI. It arises from the nature of laptops. I mentioned some time ago that the screen on my Dell Inspiron 8600 began to fail and I went off to find a fix. The screen has a resolution of 1920×1200 and I did get it replaced. Since then I have discovered that Ubuntu no longer liked by Dell Inspiron 8600 because it is “too old” and lacks some refinement in CPU that my machine lacks.

As a result I began to look about for a replacement. One of my primary requirements is screen resolution. I should comment that I paid about $600 for the Inspiron of which about $100 was a screen upgrade. Long story made short I cannot find a replacement and the closest I can come is a 1920×1080 that costs about twice what my Inspiron did.

Now I know what the inflation rate has been and the cost of computers. This is nonsense unless the capacity to produce “high” resolution screens is seriously broken. Since most laptops now have terrible resolution – 1200×800 level – it comes as an epiphany that they lack the granularity (resolution) to support multiple windows and hence from this the perversion that is the Tile GUI emerges. But the question is whether the factories are dead or the folks who manufacture them are whacked is not settled.

Maybe it is time for a beer or three? Or even whisky?

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Tis Freya’s day and something slithery is missing in the belfry. Yesterday was a bit exhausting with a medicalist examination – periodic – and all sorts of dashing about in Huntsville. So I am a bit flagged this morning.

I did however, note an article [Link] detailing the discovery of lithic spears dating to 300KYA. This would make the oldest spears known. It is not clear if these were true throwing spears or just stabbing spears. The distinction, and date, are somewhat important in their relationship to the emergence (?) of war.

Of course, there is the question of whether war was separately emergent or a consequence of the evolution of organization?

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What Evil Lurks

Strange morning, at least thus far. The gym session was a bit unusual in that I listened to two episodes of “Techie Geek” podcast – one was very short – and there was a kerfuffle at the adjacent hospital, Scant City Memorial, involving a fire engine. The gym was quite low density and so the number of educationalists was low despite their bullying behavior.

In that spirit, and given I have to motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City of the Hill to do medicalist things, this blot will likely be a bit strange. First, an article [Link] about a study by academics of the persistence (and accuracy) of journalistic reportage of scientific papers. The academics looked at a group of initial papers that suggested further work for confirmatory purposes and led to second papers. They correlated these with the number of newspaper articles reporting these papers. The number of journalistic articles for the first setwas about an order of magnitude greater while those for the confirmatory articles was an order of magnitude (approximately) less. Yes, Virginia, that’s two orders of magnitude difference.

More important, perhaps, is that the interest level, as reflected by popular media coverage, reversed. In effect, the media played up the initial, potential, findings but largely ignored any confirmatory or clarifying findings.

OK, I know that despite their claims, these journalists are in business and that business is essentially selling attention gathering so people look at advertisements. But are none of the journalist profession’s (?) claims of objectivity and such meaningful? Based on this one study, apparently not.

It would seem that not only is all advertising propaganda and, to use the vernacular, lies, but the stuff written in newspapers and read on television is entirely selfserving and slanted. Evidently media and accuracy are orthogonal.

In closing, and keeping with the theme, this [Link] courtesy of the podcast, is an article on the words that will get you observed by the Yankee government secret police if you use them. So now you can be deluded and paranoid.

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College MIsuse

OK, middle of week in and on the down slope of gym. I am in Greater Metropolitan Arab today because the gallop to Huntsville is postpones until tomorrow to piggy back a visit with the gum medicalist. The gym was a wash today, the podcast episode was singularly unmemorable other than a bit about the fungus infecting bats, which gives us a basis for comparison between the two candidates for chief executive. By analogy:

  • democrud candidate – slime mold;
  • repulsian candidate – white nose fungus.

On a more constructive azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Choosing a Major: 3 Vital Things to Consider” on a website I had never heard of before. Quiet frankly I am very uncertain that this is the type of website that college students visit. It seems much more likely to be the type of website that parents of college students visit and hence the type of article that parents print out and hand to their children, not trusting them to actually go to the website if emailed the URL. That’s assuming the parents know how to email a URL, which is about as low a probability value as the students going to the web site.

Actually, the article is much better that I would have expected given the type of website this is, one of those wastelands devoted to spurious fiscal advice. It speaks loudly and resoundingly of the state of knowledge and education in Amerika that such sites are abounding, catering to bogs who can spend but not grok money even in minuscule fullness. The article consists of three numbered sections and as a list it is one of those strange attractors that I cannot evade interacting with.

  1. Realistically, What Can You DO With Your Major? This is a trick question. First, most students have no idea what they can do with their major. If it’s a very directed major, like business or engineering they may have a fuzzy, but in general there’s no good idea because the examples that are given are the rare, great instances that 1E-6 can attain. The best you can do is to get an idea whether a major is socially important, like business, or law, or medicine, or STEM, and offers the strong possibility of a good salary. But you have to remember that there is lots of competition for the good and that if the major isn’t fun you will be mediocre at best.
  2. Will You Make Enough Money to Be Worth the Cost? Another trick question. It’s very popular these days to look at ROI for a college diploma. That’s an estimate of the money you’ll make versus the money you spend in the diploma (and all the stuff to get it.) The problem is that it’s all an estimate until you die. So don’t overvalue the estimate. And don’t forget the fun factor. If you aren’t going to have fun with your major then no money is well spent.
  3. Will You Be Able to Live Your Desired Lifestyle? OK, this one is only sort of a trick question. The simple answer is that you will not live your desired life style regardless of major. First and foremost, society will change and alter that vision. The life I wanted to live when I went to college is long gone because it was based on how things were when I grew up. There are other factors, such as change in knowledge from getting the major, but they all add up to altering that desirement. In actuality, like the other two questions, this is a money question. Can you make enough money to live close to how you want and still be able to retire and afford medical care….? If your gene locked to be a hippy, ignore this question.

The problem with these questions, and with the website is that it’s all money. You may go to college for money but if that’s the only reason, then spend the money on a means of discorporating yourself and get the genes out of the pool. The main reason for going to college is to become an adult and maybe self-learning and rational and cognitive and all that sort of thing. Fail at this and you’re a blue collar bog with a diploma.

Remember, money is like feces. You want an alimentary canal that works and a plumbing system in your residence that works but beyond that, you only worry about it when it doesn’t work right.

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