Winter of Dis-content

New Year’s Eve and we have reached a part of the year I roundly detest. I refer to the practice by news organizations to present a synthesis of the news of the year in the form of lists of the “best” or “top” something. These are invariably NOT the things that interested me during the year. For example, I noted this in the Arab Tribune this weekend. The list was compiled by a committee of “media” people. How incestuous can one get? Worse than Neandertals!

I also perused the TIME magazine year in review issue. I am proud and happy to report that of the ten “top” books of the year, songs of the year, and movies of the year, I have read, listened to, watched, NONE. I am proud because it has been my experience that TIME is incapable of assessing a book/song/movie at all accurately. In fact, they are contrary, in the Amerindian sense. If they tell me something is the worst of something, it will invariably be quite good and better than anything on their “best” list.

I could attribute this variance to the general and deep incompetence of media people to actually do well, but that is actually about the information in their media, not the topics per se. They also do an abysmal job of picking thing that are “interesting” – Yes, I did use the “I” word but it’s to do with others – and what they do pick they present in such a way as to minimize the information included. But they put in a lot of Extro, Emo stercus. In fact they might more accurately be called stercusists rather than journalists.

The day portends to drip and seep with this garbage, like an old car with rotting seals and way too old lubricant. Perhaps that is a metaphor of their organizations? At any rate, I look forward to today and tomorrow being intellectual wastelands of mental kitsch and vicarious perversion. Perhaps diluted with a bit of ethanol or even medical maryjane? Seems likely, and quite justified given the torture of this mental torture.

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Temporary Restoration

Back to gym! What a relief. I ache all over, but in a GOOD way. Not like I ached all week out from absence of activity. But this week still portends to be a less nasty version of last week. Gad!, I do hate this holiday season.

And after listening to television holy men and even motorcar salesmen announcing that the season is “all about” Joshua ben Joseph bar David I have to conjecture that the reason for the misery is the falseness of all this. First of all, the season isn’t just about the christianist messiah. There are [plenty of other religionist associations with the season. Why, even the solstice has some religionist association what with the shortest day of the year and the promise that Tellus won’t end up a frozen orb. Not that it doesn’t seem to deserve it sometimes, given the mess that we humans seem to keep making of it.

And the best the historians can come up with is that Joshua’s actual birthday falls in March and the winter holy day thing is a organizational ploy to steal solstice from the opposition. But you can’t discuss such things with the average christianist. Most don’t know; think the date is some revelation; and would probably do violence if the subject were brought up. In fact, I’ve only known two the matter could be discussed with; both were ministers and wise: the first had given up the ministry to be a philosopher (shades of Avorrhes?); and the second was just plain wise. And maybe a bit holy.

But at least there is some sense to the theft. The holiday this week – New Year – is completely arbitrary, an artifact of the calendar. Which is probably why there isn’t much violence and arguing about it. Also not much attention from this sector except to bemoan that the lazy shlubs at the gym will be goofing off on Woden’s day.

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Delivery of Disaster

The weather beavers are making low temperature noises again. I suppose that goes with winter. But I do not particularly have to like it. I like it better than summer. Heat cannot be avoided. Absence of heat is relatively easily filled. Except around unshielded dihydrogen oxide pipes. Preventing phase change requires work. And I do dislike imposed work.

It is the end of week out and halfway through the winter solstice holiday season. And I am about exhausted and beaten down by it all. At least this second week is less stiffing than the first. At least I hope for such given previous experience. There are too many “at least”s this time of year.

FD SCP got a UPS delivery on Freya’s day and I have been contemplating further the grrr brrr over late packages. Not what I commented on previously, but something that derives. It now looks quite likely the internet will be shackled by the localized greed of politicians and their capitalist masters. Tax will be broadly collected; small businesses will become less viable and many will disappear. And the continuation of internet commerce will depend in large part on no-apparent-cost delivery. I rather doubt that Joe and Jane Bog will purchase on-line in quantity if they have to pay both taxes and delivery even if the total is less than in overpriced brick and mortar like MalWart and such.

I see this phenomena here in Greater Metropolitan Arab every day. The merchants natter about the loss of customers, ignoring their high prices and the lower prices of the internet. The local politicians bemoan the loss of taxes – how can one lose taxes on unspent money? – and raise the rate to fill their insatiety for a period. And the local consumers do more business in Huntsville or, more commonly, on line. I see more UPS vans than police cruisers here in Greater Metropolitan Arab.

I am bemused, nay, bewildered, by the absence of understanding and what I can only curse as stupidity. Scant wonder that the Yankee republic is fast falling into third world state given its absence of sense and intelligence. And no change portends in the new year except an intensification.

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Brain Bashed

Half-way through the winter solstice holiday period and well sunk into doldrums despite some actual progress. The weather is a bit better today but still not enough improved for me to assay out to the park for constitutional. The air temperature – 40 degF according to my browser and 41 according to my aft porch thermometer – is acceptable to my prescribing cardiologist but not to my heat capacity depleted body. So I had to make do with stationary bicycle. It seems a condemnation of civilization that our greatest accomplishment of sedentaryness is the chair; we even sit down to perspire.

On which note, I ran across two articles in the last few days. The first [Link] is work from Emory U that indicates that the connectivity of the brain is altered, at least for a period of time yet undetermined, by reading. Another [Link] from Northwestern U indicates that the motions we make while using a computer – mouse, keyboard, eyes(?) – also changes the way our brains represent our movement. So the brain is indeed plastic, an unsurprise given that we can indeed learn, at least the non-bogs, that is.

But what is potentially more damning is that this also indicates that reading on a computer has fundamentally different effect on the brain than reading a pBook. It appears, based on my ignorance of cognitive biology and the journalism presented in the two articles, that reading from a book has a different impact on the brain than reading on a computer screen. If so, this clearly needs to be explored in greater detail. At the least it may explain some of the enormous variances between GEN X and GEN Y, and it may explain the general ferdness of computer using societies.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue reading pBooks except when I have long waiting periods away from home. And then I shall use my eReader and not a computer per se.

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Ho, Ho, Ho

I have finally found an aspect of the holidays to enjoy. I ran across an article [Link] this morning on the failure of UPS and FedEx to meet schedule on a rather SMALL number of packages. And when I read it I realized how amused I had been by all the pettiness and stupidity displayed on the news broadcasts.

Let’s us start with some basic knowledge. You may have n toilets in your house, typically n is magnitude three to five but that isn’t greatly important, but if you flush all the toilets simultaneously you are going to get some disappointment on what happens to the stercus. The basic idea reminds me of an episode of a television series about the Yankee Army Military Academy at West Point when I was a bairn. Some prank involving rupturing pipes, and bright students being suppressed (disciplined was the YA term) by anal faculty.

Point being is that every plumbing system is designed around some flow rate. It is seldom the maximum possible – every potty pushed at once! – but some moderate value. The reasons for this are a mixture of economic and esthetic. One doesn’t want one’s house to be dominated by plumbing; it isn’t a hamster run.

Now UPS and FedeX (and the Yankee government postal service – more later) are plumbing systems. They move stuff from point A to point B, with there being a lot of points of both intake and output. But fundamentally they are structured around some load capacity. And that capacity is determined in large part by some intermediate loading. For economic reasons. If UPS (e.g.) designed for Consumermas loading then it would be 0.9 idle almost all of the time. And it would go broke paying for guys in tacky brown uniforms, and big brown trucks and big brown airplanes (do you get the stercus analogy yet?) in a month or so. And then there would be no delivery system.

So when I got exposed to the whining from all the entitlement delusionals I had to reflect on just how arrogant and petty and above all, STUPID these folks are. When you overload a transportation system – plumbing – you are going to get some failures. Some things are going to get delivered late or to the wrong place. And it can’t be helped. It’s a price of having such a system. Your choices are to have a limited capacity system or none at all. Your pick. And think about that before you open your vocalizer and make a roaring FOOL of yourself for being too STUPID to keep your mouth shut under water.

And I promised to mention the Postal Service. Apparently the folks making stercus accidents of themselves have forgotten (or don’t know) of how the Yankee government postal service used to do this ALL the time. When I was a bairn there were always packages ordered from Sears or wherever that didn’t get delivered until around New Year’s. And then the postal service figured out their capacity and set a not-later-than date to get stuff to point B, a system firmly in place now and not bitched about by vacuum skulls.

So there is some humor in the holiday after all and it is the ferds who don’t know how plumbing works.