Bad Taste Beer and Linux

End of gym week, and well done, over all. Even the educationalists were trying, rather ineptly but trying, to be kulturny. The only down bit was that I listened to a Linux Action Show podcast. This is a weekly where most of the Linux podcasts are monthly or random, but it is also easily the worst. Not in technical content mind you, except for its dearth but that is to be expected in a weekly, but because the presentation is almost pure stercus. The only positive thing I can say on that azimuth is that there is little profanity. There is also rather too much political/social correctness and very much too much “dudeism”.

But they do review things that the others don’t and while I find many of their review to be of stuff I wouldn’t swap a good defecation for those I do care about are worthwhile after I filer out the dudeisms.

On which azimuth I see [Link] that Anheuser-Busch is being litigated for watering their beer. What took so long? Why is it that Amerikan Big Beer is so bad? Can we litigate them for bad taste? Both in business practices and in the beer itself?

More medicalist stuff today. Selah.

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Organization Blat

Epiphany while motoring to Huntsville for medicalist appointment:
Big bureaucracies try to solve problems by writing job descriptions;
Small bureaucracies try to solve problems by adopting new technologies.

Brain Blat

Occasionally I come up with an idea for a thing that I don’t care to work on myself. Here’s one that just came to me courtesy of a chocolate croissant: A Stain Labeling Pen.

The idea is a marker pen that I can write the name of a stain on a piece of clothing, preferably while wearing them so moderate heat stable and non-bleeding, that can be seen until wash day for treatment with the appropriate cleaning regime and then washes out completely in the wash process.

All yours. No intellectual property claimed by SCP.

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Evil in Sheeps Clothing

Nasty night last. Rain and winds. Drove my land kite to Scant City and back for gym this morning and it was indeed good kite weather. Happily not much traffic at those hours although what there is tends to be either oblivious to conditions or overly aggressive. Especially educationalists. One does not want to exit the parking lot followed by an educationalist. Good way to wind up in a drainage ditch or worse.

Tuesday is science podcast day, which is rather more choppy than the other days because of the number of shorter podcasts I listen to. SCIENCE podcast for the first twenty minutes of arm bicycling; usually Guardian Science for the first twenty minutes of leg bicycling although with a series on sustainment mechanics that is decidedly too corporate and monetary I may fall back on Material World for the next few weeks; and for the last twenty of leg, a collection of short segments from NPR. That order is sort of like wine at weddings, good stuff first and rot gut after everyone is snookered.

But one of those NPR episodes had to do with the birth control aspects of O’Bama Care. The creationists were all holding that the day and week after pills are abortificants and hence abhorrent to their mysticism while all the real science types are saying the pills aren’t abortificants. And this is moe than just semantics.

So while I am not a biologist type I was rather struck by the contradiction of the argument. Most of the religionists hold that they are entrusted by deity with stewardship of the planet. This raises the question of how their stance on human population increase tracks with their stewardship when it not only means the extinction of many species of animals, and the pollutive gutting of the environment, but also the accelerated extinction of humans.  All their stance seems to favor is the short term benefit of the religionist organization, not either the religion nor its adherents.

So how can unbridled increase of human numbers, to the point of ecological collapse and extinction be moral or good or holy? As one would expect with those who deny testability, no meaningful response will be forthcoming. But the evidence is increasing that organized religion is evil and destructive.

Not that government is any better but it doesn’t really pretend to be.

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Balkanized Amerika

It did strike me this morning when I was watching yet another hand wringing bleat about sequestration that the nation has failed. Further, national polls and statistics are now largely meaningless.

There is a simple reason for this. By and large, local/state populations tend to be satisfied with their Congress Critters, at least enough not to frequently throw away their seniority, while being dissatisfied with other states’ Congress Critters. But since the folks in this state do not elect other states’ Congress Critters the dissatisfaction is vacuous.

What is now important is not what the majority of people want but the correlation of what people want by state. Do the maths. It will be instructive.

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2 Pi over 5

Back to week in. SO far a good day. The educationalists were not especially obnoxious, nor noisy, this morning and the weight bouncers were conspicuously absent. And the podcast episode, one of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, was entertaining if not actually inspiring, mostly dealing with the insanity of aristocrats with a social conscience. All the while I was listening I kept asking myself how much better things would have been if they had simply disposed of all the aristocrats and adopted real democracy. But then we cant expect such smarts (or chutzpah) among the English.

The accumulator was fairly bare yesterday, so I am a bit at odds for some commentary this morning. The best I can come up with is this photo [Link]

whic is noteworthy for its five-fold symmetry.

This leads me to reflect on the whole thing of such. For many years there was all sorts of pronouncements by applied mathematicians and such that odd numbered symmetries above three were “impossible”. That got quashed a few years ago but examples have been few. So it is refreshing to observe this one.

I am not sure what the argument was. I was exposed to it a long time ago, my interest was a bit low, and so I chose to let the seemingly hokey argument pass unquestioned. I already had a reputation in those days of asking “why” too often and insistently.

The weather beavers say rain this afternoon. Observing the map I see that Birmingham, what was the flatulence orifice of Alibam in my youth before the iron industry died, is already wet. We are a few miles away but weather is seldom one’s friend in this state.

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In Search of Potential

Yesterday was a great day. After the usual round of downloading podcast episode, editing metadata, and transferring them to player – and charging player – she decided we had to venture out to purchase electrochemical accumulators, what the bogs refer to as batteries. Ayeh, courtesy of the council of thieves politicians in Muntgum this week out is a “tax free” period for the purpose of disaster relief (?) necessities. The list is available on the Alibam income tax web site and is notable more for what is not on the list than what is. If I were making up a list of what I needed in the event of a tornado blitz (e.g.) that list would be a lot longer and more diverse than this “official” one. Once more the council of thieves politicians displays their incompetence, greed, and slavery to corporate interests.

But that’s the nature of living in Alibam, one step away from national socialism or other form of tyranny.

Speaking of which I caught a broadcast from WAFF news last evening on a pro-chocice/pro-life demonstration in Huntsville.[Link] The bigotry was laid on with a bull dozer. Less than five seconds were spent on the pro-choice demonstrators; almost two minutes on the pro-life. And the facial and verbal expression of the news reader were blatant in their bias. So much for objectivity and fairness in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill.

On a more pleasing note, I see that the Yankee government has finally extended its open access policy to more than biomedical research articles. [Link] This is quite pleasing. It signals that the YG may be actually cracking down on avaricious journal publishers by compromising their autarky. And, it makes more taxpayer supported research available to people who can use it. And from an acute rectal pain standpoint it may also get rid of some of the noxiousness of the Freedom of Information Act that has never been funded adequately and is widely abused by corporations for their own greed. So a small booyah to some unsung staffer in the president’s palace.

A second good bit is an article [Link] entitled “I Can’t Find a Single Productive Use For My Tablet”. That sums it up. A fairly comprehensive, albeit subjective, as such things necessarily have to be, indictment of the slab as work surface. I admit I don’t like the throw-out that W8 may be a mediocre work medium – and ignoring Ubuntu tablet completely – but at least the analysis is not totally whacked. It’s not like the guy will likely discorporate any time for absence of neural activity, even if it is less than we should like. But the points are not bad and it is worthwile just because of the bravery and honesty – well, semi-honesty.

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Every Child a Boob

Once more into the breach, or, in this case, the week out. And not a bright outlook. In fact a bit dismal out this morning after a night of rain. I am also in the mode of clearing tabs and I find most of them this morning to be dull and uncommentable.

I have however, been cogitating the nature of freedom, something we have rather little of these days. And the politicians seem Hell-bent on reducing that, regardless of their party. But the mode I was thinking in goes back to he comments yesterday about the emerging requirement of a college diploma – I am unsure this means one has satisfied the REAL requirements for a degree any more – for any sort of job.

There will, of course, always be jobs that college graduates will not seek except in the direst of circumstances. Those that do not pay a living wage, much less enough to retire the now coupled college debt, and those that are abhorrent. I rather doubt that we shall see many wetback graduates toiling in the fields of vegetables and fruit. In many cases these jobs are scorned by Amerikan non-graduates of even high shule because of the labor required. So we have become an affluent society of aversion.

But there are several things troubling about such a trend. If nothing else it will further alienate the necessary but menial jobs. This may have the minor benefit of raising their wage levels but only at the price of reduced numbers of positions. If anything it will advance the proliferation of automation with its detriment to society. It seems also likely to further the degradation of academia.

It is exceedingly rare, in my experience, for any position to require less educational and knowledge credential than the work requires. Jobs that require a baccalaurate can usually be performed by an “associate”. This follows from the absence of freedom in almost all positions, a constraint that leads to great waste and dissatisfaction.

But it is in the nature of education that it is highly individual. The best criterion is that one has learned how to think in a constructive, creative, positive fashion. What data was accumulated along the way is less important than the skill. Sadly, this is hard to assess and the old way of a committee review for a degree has proved long ago too expensive even in the graduate environment. Hence we come to the other side of the abyss, that educational institutions are uniform, in several of the horrific meanings of that word. In my day it was largely a matter of courses that could be assembled with some freedom to meet the uniform requirement for a degree sans examination. Today that freedom has disappeared and the nature of courses has become so uniform that who teaches a course is of only minor importance, hence the demise of tenure.

This may be expected to intensify as the requirement for employment further become only a demand for a certificate and not demonstrated cognition. After writing all week about ways the species ends, this seems likely the most horrific, to reduce our intelligence to facade.

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The Actual Rock

Ran across this cartoon [Link]

shortly ago. Was engaged.

First, there is the aspect of Rat being the brunt for a change. I support proper disrespect but not when it is not deserved.

Second, I agree with the implied assessment. The internet is not trustworthy. If anything it is less trustworthy than most “holy” books, like the bible, if not by much. And unlike them, it is fairly open. But that openness means that one cannot tell poo from pony. Hence the need for the encyclopedia.

I have numerous – annual – copies of the electronic Britannica. Every year I buy one or more copies, depending on the needs of the few educationalists who will talk to me, and I go through the pain of getting my copy – the one I keep – to run on WINE.

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Not with a bang

Yesterday was one of those days where the mind just did not go to blogging. So perhaps we can do a bit of make-up today.

First, I noticed an article [Link] about an Atlanta law firm that only hires college graduates for its clericals. I think this is supposed to be a case study but given the state of Amerikan journalism that point is never made, so we are uncertain of the generality. The idea is a bit sticky, as in pointed stick, in several directions. It makes the fate of those who drop out of high shule doubly damning. It also tends to confirm the horrible things we have said about the deterioration of college education. Or its extinction. I am not quite sure which. But in an age when education is a diploma, knowledge is hen’s teeth.

I was taken by one comment, that the college degree is a good way to discriminate and discard a lot of resumes. With so many young (?) people unemployed, I suppose there are lots of resumes and human resource tyrants have to find ways to preserve their life styles. But it also smacks of the idea that most of these people get that diploma knowing what their parents learned in high shule. It was also obliquely and gradually evident that these are the kids who chose unwisely, not choosing to major in the employable disciplines. And since what they studied is unpayable, the party atmosphere of college is perhaps a bit explained. It may very well be the Masque of the Red Death.

But it is what this portends that is especially damning. High shule has become irrelevant, largely, I suspect, by the corruption of Every Child Left Behind. By teaching the test, what knowledge the graduates have is unmarketable. The promise of education is individuality, not commonality. And we seem unable to comprehend that in this modern age. We have sunk far below Lang’s Metropolis. Nor will this save the colleges. Instead, the vast population of marginals will become the cash cow of those who are central and education will become even more generic and grittish.

Not that it seems to matter. The rumblings about the meteors whizzing by (and into) Tellus continue with no sign of anything concrete to be done except increasing the depths of global warming. The article [Link] in Scientific American is indicative of how the editors are trying to revitalize the magazine but haven’t been successful yet. I was however, taken by two closing paragraphs:

“In the 15-meter size range, we think it happens about every 50 years. It’s been more than 100 years since we’ve seen something of this size, but statistically it happens approximately every 50 years.
When you consider all the areas of the Earth that are uninhabited—the oceans, the ice caps, the deserts and so on—it’s very surprising that this happened over such a populated area. Very unlucky.”

The first at least shows a bit of knowledge of statistics and probability, while the second is appallingly boggific. And contradictory. If the mean time between strikes of this size meteor is 50 year and it has been 100 – patently a number extracted from the air – then we have been lucky, or fortunate, or whatever bog term one wants to use to anthropomorphize a random process. But note not a byte about prevention.

A somewhat more useful approach [Link] is this map

of the density of meteor strikes over the last 2.3 KY. Note how it looks like a map of the land surfaces of Tellus times the cosine of angle above( below) the equator. Why this is left to the student to shew. But a hint: consider presented area. And population density. Until the last few years if peoples didn’t observe it, it wasn’t observed.

And lastly, a real worrier. Based on now knowing the mass (maybe) of the Higgs boson, it is possible to estimate the instability of the vacuum, in effect the shakiness of nothing, in boggish terms. A recent estimate indicates a significant probability that our universe may end by an alternate universe emerging from the vacuum within our own and in effect sucking it in. And ending us in the process. The estimate of when is a long time away, but we do have to recall that this too is a random process.

I personally hypothesize that the vacuum in the skulls of some of the bogs I meet here in Greater Metropolitan Arab has already generated alternate universes that has engulfed their brains. But that too is the error of anthropomorphizing.

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