Failure of Governance

Back to week in, and a great spate of stupidity portends for the week. Seems the Yankee government council of thieves has reached the point of alienation that the Yankee government will not only be shut down but forced into receivership.

I understand that each congress critter represents his/her area of election but have the local interests become so adamantine that no cooperation is possible? That seems to violate Occam’s Razor. Rather it seems more that the bonds of partisan membership have become so strong that no cooperation is possible.

That is not in the interest of the citizenry. A matter that, apparently, both political parties have forgotten. They have ceased to represent their constituents in abeyance of the demands of their party. Organizational evil is once more rampant.

It appears that the time is approaching when we must decide either to abolish political parties and criminalize membership – for they have become worse than any gang – or relinquish any vestige of pretense of democracy in Amerika. And that time may be today?

I do not think, nay, I hope, that it is time yet for the bayonet. But it may be time that recall efforts must be applied to all sitting congress critters. If it is not all, then we will have failed as a nation. And that seems entirely too likely today.

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Mistaken Sports

Nice morning out. Not as humid as yesterday – exhalation not visible. But it’s the back side of week out so a bit of cleansing is in order.

First, I ran across this cartoon [Link]

the other day and was taken with its accuracy. There are some mistakes that are too much fun to only make once. Of course if one repeats them – consciously – they aren’t mistakes any more, just destructive behavior. But that’s the nature of humans. We’re destructive. Which is probably why we won’t do anything about climate change until it’s too late and we end up extinguished in a hundred years or so.

That, of course, is the subject of this cartoon [Link]

that I ran across about the same time. I have to admit that I don’t read this particular cartoon much; its humor isn’t there for me. I suspect that comes of having spent half of my career as a supervisor/manager/executive and finding the presentation here rather inadequate.

And the problem is that what is depicted isn’t an argument. Arguments involve fisticuffs. This was a one-sided shouting match. There are a lot of those in offices. That’s why such offices aren’t very productive. They don’t know how to resolve differences.

But I do have to agree on one thing. If it isn’t a survival matter, winning isn’t very meaningful. Which leads to the next bit.

I ran across this article [Link] on a service I just subscribed to and it is a doozie. It’s an article about Southron college students avoiding their college’s football games because the connectivity in the stadium is so bad.

I have to admit to being a bit conflicted by the article. On one hand, I rather agree with the author that one goes to a football game to see the game. Yah. How simplistic can you get. You go to a football game to be seen and demonstrate you are an important member of humanity. Otherwise you’d just sit at home and watch the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver. Watching football isn’t about football. If it were, then no one would attend but instead they’d all play pick-up games in vacant lots.

And that’s where I diverge from the author. Attending football games, or watching them on the receiver, is emo crap. Maybe bog crap too although I know geeks, and a few nerds, who do so religiously. It’s their addiction, I suppose. So when I read that college students, who attend Southron colleges where football is a featherbed, skipping games for whatever reason, then I have to wonder if this is evidence that humans are still rational and not just mind rotted pond slime.

Sadly, after consideration, I suspect not. If football attendance is a social thing, and social networking is social, all this says is that football is less relevant to those who socialize thus, especially bogs who are appliancing, than social networking. If so, the interesting question is how will the colleges survive? Football pays for more than the state and the tuition income at many colleges. So when attendance sags, will all the rest of the money making sag as well? I suspect not. All that will happen will be that the wireless connectivity at stadiums will improve.

But it is nice to think that all those double-talking coaches will be back to cleaning septic tanks in a few years. Even if it is a dream. Just like that the only sports that make any sense are the ones we play ourselves. Watching someone else play sports is as bad as watching other people reproduce.

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Window Wash

On the matter of television:

Q1 * Q2 = C;

Q1 = quality of the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver;
Q2 = quality of the programs viewable on the receiver; and
C = constant.

In bog terms: the better the television set becomes, the worse the programming becomes.

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Divine Intercession

Back from my morning constitutional, and I did not have to share the trail with anything but a wee cat who seems to reside there. Must be rather nasty during the daytime with all the people and noise? Somewhat cooler than yesterday and no fog. The podcast was an episode of a pen podcast whose name escapes me, which indicates the quality of the content. It is more a distraction from the noise of my joints than anything sticky of mind.

But some grrrr brrrr this week out of the founding tyrant of MegaHard has been sticky. He has some story, reeking of pretense, maskarovka, and self-service, that IttyBiittyMachine company refused to give him a reset key on the original PC.[Link] From which the bead telling of Control-Alternate-Delete (or CAD) was born.

My first musing on this matter had to do with which was greater, the arrogance of the IBM guy who refused to modify the design or the arrogance of MegaHard in demanding it? I finally decided the magnitudes were too imprecise for accurate estimation and we would decompose to considering them approximately equal.

As I write this, I am keying on an Avant Stellar keyboard which has the dedicated “flag” key between Control and Alternate. It serves no function except to waste area on the keyboard. This rather puts the greater blame for stupidity and arrogance on the first tsar of MegaHard, I should think. There is also the matter of the CAD bead telling is still around. It has even made its way into Linux as a means of breaking through overloaded queues of activities. As such it is a mitzvah, not for the shortcomings of the OS, but most often – almost always – the shortcomings of human activity. I have found that the usual reason for my FC (to distinguish from the arrogant hoarding of the PC designation for a box crippled with Winders) to muck up is because I muck it up. Only rarely is there some accident of updating and the like causing the gridlock.

In effect then, the real value of the CAD sequence is human and not machine. But it is still telling that (a) the first tsar could not enunciate this, which gives us pause to consider that it is not unlikely he does not realize this or else is afraid to mention it, and (b) that Winders is so whacked that it actually does need the sequence to correct faults in the OS itself!

I am also increasingly of the opinion that the more MegaHard talks the better that they make Linux look.

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Rise and Fog

Not a bad morning. A rather nice fog this morning. And it really is a fog and not the sparse mist that the weather beavers try to pass off as fog. One more bit of indication that weather beavers slept through physics class, especially atmospheric physics.

This made for a moderately pleasant constitutional in the park although I had to share the trail with a couple and I think neither of us wanted the intrusion. But it is a public park and hence, we gotta put up with that kind of intrusion.

Yesterday was a bit trying. I suspect I shall never understand why visits to dentists are so much more stressing than visits to physicians. Anyway, the experience was both stressful and trying – my mouth is still a bit sore this morning – even if absent of any dire discoveries. But I have reached the age when it is a matter of time, not instance, and each such visit is a bit more trying for its necessity. And in the aftermath I did the weekly foodstuff gathering which turned out to be rather less stressful than usual because Wednesday is ORF day at Huntsville food stores.

Along an adjacent azimuth, I noted an article [Link] sent me by colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, entitled “Why morning people are happier than night owls”. This relates (superficially) work at U Toronto on the happiness of early risers versus bats (they call them larks and night owls – since I hear owls as much in day as night around here bats seems a better term. Besides they scream a lot like the late risers do.) The intriguing thing is that they found some indication of change in mode as one ages. And here I thought it was genetic.

I fear I still find almost everyone to be a later sleeper than I. So perhaps there is something to the early riser mutation thing, sort of a watchman sort of thing. I shan’t elaborate the associations of that.

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Coin of Emission

A wet day, at least till noon according to the weather beavers. Gym was passable, only minor annoyances from the weight bouncers, and the podcast was distracting if not sticky. But it is raining. Not the downpour that makes you fear for roofs and drainage, but the kind of moderate rain that wets you from the skin out even on the porch. Rather like militant humidity.

Today is a slack day. I have to do medicalist things in Huntsville tomorrow so I will be motoring there tomorrow instead of today. So slack of fellowship this week. And other problems. But the intrusive one is the rain. When I was young, bairn and adult, I enjoyed rain. It was uplifting. I suppose this was because most people stayed away so the isolation, intensified by the rain, resonated with the introversion. But now, an ORF, it only adds to the aches and pains. Especially of ears and jaw.

I was also a bit pained this weekend by this cartoon [Link]

that prompted me to think. I am not at all sure about the optimist/pessimist thing. Although the pessimist view does appeal. After all, power corrupts so it should be treated as a disease and exposure minimized, even when the separation has to be imposed by bayonet. But I was rather more captured by the (attributed?) attitude of a physicist.

First of all, I was rather impressed by the shirt with a Lagrangian on it. But I quickly came to see the double nature of the intent, that the money would decay away, and that if one had too much of it, it would kill you. Both seem fitting. But they did give rise to some cogitation.

After a while, which included scanning old textbooks on nuclear physics, I came to the idealization – the spherical sheep, if you will (and know the joke,) – that the ideal money would be made of a radiactive metal that has a fairly short half-life – years, not centuries – and decayed into a element that was gaseous at common temperatures.  That way not only would it be fairly deadly, but the decay products would go away. So there would be no cleanup.

But secondly, because too much money will kill you, the situation reduces to the optimist view of giving money to the poor because then the radioactivity will be their problem. Of course, being poor, they will spend it quickly and then it will be corporate Amerika’s problem which is nice because they are the real cancer of society and the medicalists do treat cancer with irradiation.

And it will also deter counterfeiting because that would be counter-survival for the counterfeiters.

Over all, an excellent scheme. I am surprised that a physicist could be so practical.

But then this is likely a cartoonist pretending to be a physicist. And we all know that cartoonists are the ultimate practicalists.

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More Than A Decimation

The “R” word has been uttered.[Link] “R” as in Reduction In Force. Firings!

The Yankee army has announced that, as a humanitarian effort, it will fire 1 in 7 of its civilian workforce next year.

Stercus Tauri! This isn’t about being kind and humane. It’s about being Army.

Supposedly this is to prevent the horror and agony of furloughs during sequestration. But that’s just the organizational spin, the prevarication. What it is actually is that on those days when people are off on furlough, there is no one working and the Yankee army feels insecure and threatened. Those poeple are not available for immediate direction and intimidation. Flag officers and political appointees, who aren’t furloughed, have no one to boss about.

So, the better thing to do is to get rid of a few people and have the rest around all the time for bullying and time wasting. It’s not about effectiveness, it’s about hedonism.

Nothing strikes terror like the mention of a RIF. Except for the folks who can retire, everyone suddenly gets anxiety attacks, butterflies, watery knees, fear eating away at rationality. Productivity falls to near zero. And managers give pep talks intended to divert while saying noting constructive.

It makes Byzantine politics look like a town meeting. And more money is wasted than will be saved for years. But it’s the way the Yankee government does things.

So if you work for the Yankee army, be prepared to be bullied and harassed and violated more than usual next year. And if you work under contract to the Yankee army, expect to go without next year. People who are under threat of being fired don’t work very much. Why bother?


Tobor the Chauffeur

Enjoyable constitutional this morning. Actually cool – I could observe the condensation of moisture in my exhalations – and not wet as yesterday. I also had some occasion to mull on the subject of robotic, or self-driving, motorcars. This was prompted by a perusal of the October, this tear, issue of Popular Science. The egg of the cogitation was this article [Link] and the annotation in the first picture “Unguided Car May stop abruptly or turn without signaling.” The latter is almost universal in Alibam, especially for lane changes.

These self-driving cars are not greatly present in Alibam. Some of the universities have experimental vehicles, usually in their engineering departments, and seem to be rather learning labs for students, but nothing on the scale of Gooey or, supposedly, but unseen, Tesla (the motorcar manufacturer, not the scientist, who is discorporate.) I would rather suppose that roborcars, to coin an amalgamation/contraction, would chatter back and forth incessantly so that there would be no surprises. And that is the nugget of my cogitation.

Human driving has a large component of unpredictability. Each vehicle has at least one objective and responds to traffic conditions in its own way. Some of these are weakly predictable. Any slow down in Nawth Alibam precipitates a mass movement into the other lane, assuming it’s a four lane motorway. Overall, the motion of motorcars generally seems chaotic most of the time, and rather too rapid for the limits imposed on speed. Although this latter may be due to trusting, inaccurately, in one’s speedometer, which does not measure speed. Indeed, one does not measure speed directly, but rather distance and time and computers speed. But the justicers and their constabulary minions quite ignore this and the bogs have inadequate knowledge to descry the tyranny.

Returning to the behavior of human drivers, there is a major difference between roborcars and and the human variety. But we are talking about intermiing them and this strikes me as having rather intriguing colligative properties. There would seem to be certain fraction ranges where great chaos would occur although I have to admit that this conjecture is based entirely on suspicion rather than any experimentation. It does however, seem to demand such, probably in the form of simulation initially.

Absent such, it seems that we might regard any fraction other than very small of one component, to likely be unstable. So the intriguing question may be how do we get from a few roborcars to all roborcars? And how does that work in Alibam where driving is an activity of pride and humanness? I don;t see how the more macho of our popularion, Latino or not, will yield their right to wreck? And on that azimuth does this impose a new technology chasm between rich and poor?

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Immoral Superiority

Lovely morning. I went to the park and tried to walk but after two laps I was soaked so I had to retreat to home. So be alert that this morning’s blogging may reflect that setback.

Having been a student at the campus of the Black Warrior only a few years after George Corley Wallace stood in the door of Foster auditorium (where registration occurred in those days)(I think it was Foster?,) tried to block the registration of admitted students of recent African heritage, and was evicted from the premises by nationalized state militia troop at point of bayonet – like he was a Brit, I have some familiarity with the integration situation, at least in those days.

It was a non-entity. In those days the campus was divided in several dimensions but the ones that mattered were Greeks and Independents, Hippies and Straights. The only exclusion I can recall was that there were essentially no Greek (fraternity/sorority folks) Hippies. But then there were very few Hippies, and they were all majoring in art or something related and stayed geographically in the old quadrangle. I had an English class in one of those halls and I got to observe the immiscibility at close quarters.

The Greeks were equally a world apart. The women were mostly majoring in education or home economics but actually looking for the “right” husband; the men were mostly majoring in business or pre-law. A few majored in pre-med but that was as close as Greeks got to STEM. A few of the men would occasionally date Independent women but more as a fling than honesty; the women never dated Independents. The Greeks kept trying to pass themselves off as an upper caste but this always failed because of their inability to excel at any metric anyone cared about. But they did dominate campus politics and the student government, which assured the administration of plenty of well groomed and behaved freebie lackeys.

The only place where exclusion was open was among the Greeks and the Jocks. The football coaches were pretty direct in not recruiting (or admitting) people of color to the team. This changed shortly after I graduated, mostly on account of those metrics I mentioned. Football is the main reason the campus exists, that and partying, and the two are not separable, and football players of recent African departure were too good not to be included.

But the Greeks were pretty much pink except for the Bolshevik fraternities. They even had a few Hippies as members. But so far as I know the sororities were unbrown. Except from tanning.

I find out this week that things have not changed much.[Link]  The sororities are still pretty well pink. And a power unto themselves. The Greeks always survived by being meek and pseudo-compliant in public to the administration and sullen and self-assured (reportedly) in private. They saw themselves as the guardians of civilization and if that meant trampling on a few Plebeians, so be it. Gleefully!

And they stayed pink because they were private organizations. They had charters to be on campus but they were tenants, not part of the university. So like any private club in those days they could select their membership. The bad thing about the movie Animal House is that it doesn’t do a good job of portraying how all the fraternities, even the Bolshies, were exclusionary. And geeks and nerds were only acceptable in very small doses, if they stayed in the attic or basement, and pulled up the house GPA. Barely. And don’t expect any legacy privileges.

I stayed away from the Greeks. Mostly they wasted too much time.  And were too noisy. And partied too much. And got in the way of learning. I didn’t have political opinions in those days. I recognized if the Greeks wanted to do politics there was little to be done in the field. Besides, they smelled. Not odoriferously, but behavior-wise.

And they apparently haven’t changed. But this time the Independents struck back. Which is good. A guillotine might have been better but then the state militia would have come back, like they did my senior year. To protect the Hippies. Anyway, the administration made some demands that are unobviously anything but cosmetic. And a few recent African departees have been admitted to the more liberal sororities. But it is unobvious this is more than tokenism.

I am not delaying respiration over this. I do not expect the Greeks to change, at least actually and in the core. And I am not sure I care very much. Yes, I deplore the exclusion, but since it is a cancerous institution I fear all I can do is summon a bit of pity for anyone who wants to perpetuate the sickness. Integrated cancer is still cancer.

One of the unfortunate things about academia is that it inherently likes to pat itself on the back. Frequently. And with almost no attention from outside. Which is why the academics are so avid for those back pats. Academia is the epitome of the uselessness of awards. And this appears to be one such The Greek organizations can now pat themselves for being progressive and democratic and the administration can pat itself for being politically correct. And both are stage show.

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