Dirac Smoothie

The Age of Marvels is not yet done! I now have something to share with my grandson. The magnetic monopole has been found! [Link]

I suppose I should explain why this is important. I probably won’t. Some things don’t explain well. But I shall try. Naturally occurring magnets are dipoles. They have a Nawth and a Sowth end – like the nation. But if one slices/saws/splits a magnet in two, one of two things happens: (1) you end up with two of each – two dipoles; or (2) none because you bash the magnetism. And no matter how small you cut the bits this always applies.

But what if you could? Cut a magnet in half and have two things – half magnets – that are anisotropic: one end is magnetic and the other end isn’t. Those are monopoles, literally one pole transliterated. And that’s why this is important.

Paul Adrien Maurice (PAM) Dirac, the daddy rabbit of Fermi-Dirac statistics (with Fermi), and quantum foam, and relativistic quantum mechanics, and …….. predicted monopoles back before me, and my daddy had no attention span for the matter. And people have been looking for them for years. And now we have them. And now – maybe – we can begin to build a real engineering of magnetism. No, not just generators and motors but really useful things.

And it happened in my lifetime. I was a kid when we landed on the moon. That was just Yankee government engineering. This is science.

In the wake of Winter Storm Sherman

I noted yesterday that the Guvnuh of Jawgah stood up and apologized for the state government’s vertical copulation during winter storm Sherman this week. Good show. As the tyrannical Brits would say. Glad to see that there are mensch in Jawgah.

Nothing from that mayor of Atalanta. Not surprised. Atlanta can only survive by ignoring the rest of the planet.

Also nothing from any meteorologist. Evidently they can neither communicate nor apologize. Not mensch. Ferds, likely. Cravens as a minimum. Not that I suppose we should expect the Yankee government to apologize for anything. After all, this is minor compared to O’Bama-care.

Hatred of Winter 5

Not nice the last couple of days. As the nation now knows, the old Confederacy got snow. Even places like the official Alibam City of Thieves (Muntgum) got snow. The state dermatologist declared an emergency, perhaps to make sure his insurance would cover the absence damage to his mansion in the city of the Black Warrior.

Here in Greater Metropolitan Arab we got a fraction of an inch but somewhat weirdly – complete coverage on the roads but little on the lawns and fields. So driving was a case of avoiding the 0.99 of Alibam drivers who think the best strategy when the weather goes bad is to drive as fast as they can to minimize the transit time. This might work is there were only one person on the roads but put several and what is done is to maximize the probability of a spin out or a bumper bash. Perhaps that’s why I live in Alibam – it makes me feel smarter.

But the actual aniceness has been the abysmal failure of the weather beavers. I consult about four or five forecasting sources when the weather is nasty and while they differ a bit, all were hideously off the last couple of days. For example, yesterday the foretelling was a minimum temperature in Greater Metropolitan Arab of 10-13 degF. The actual minimum, as measured by the local weather station, not newstations mind, weather station, was 5 degF. That’s not an 0.5 error mind you, to compute error you have to convert to a rational temperature scale like Kelvin or Rankine that puts scale zero at absolute zero. So it’s really a small error except that it’s well below the liquid->solid phase change temperature of dihydrogen oxide and a deltaT of 5 degF is a big deal given the nonexistence of competent weatherproofing in Nawth Alibam houses. I suspect in most houses in the old Confederacy but I have no data on that scope.

And they did it again this morning. Not by as much, but still more than I find acceptable.

The conscript parents of Atalanta held the weather beavers responsible for the city going into chaotic collapse. I think this is overdone. IMHO, the city is always on the verge of chaotic collapse, based on personal observations. It’s more a cancer than a city and so it always seems to be one “sproing” shy of collapse all the time. But the weather beavers showed their claws and swiped back, [Link] and said they offered plenty of sequential communications that started out with “mildly inconvenient” to “heat death”. The problem is that they ignored that communication is only effected if the linkage is complete. Broadcasting isn’t communication! It’s a monologue to the sky.

The problem is at least twofold. First, there is a difference between individual response to weather and organizational response to weather. In this case it’s epitomized by the difference between civilian and military meteorology. At root: it takes an organization longer to get its response together so it needs more lead time and the civilian meteorology system failed to do this. Second, meteorologists need to get better at communicating. Not broadcasting. Communicating. That means give and take of information. Perhpas the best way to do this is for each large city – bigger than Greater Metropolitan Arab – to have an staff weather beaver who thinks in communication and organization terms instead of broadcast schedule terms?

And lastly, I just heard that the good citizens of Birmingham who abandoned motorcars are now bitchin’ and moanin’ about towage fees. What Elrods! Do some homework on what tows cost these days. And the laws of the community you are driving through. See beyond your own entitlement. Don’t be a ferd.

Hatred of Winter 4

Yuck. This is getting tiresome. Last night was almost mechanical. Except for some excitement about 0230 with the faucets in the convenience facility – half bathroom, although why it is called a bathroom without tub or shower strikes me as one of those language inertia things that indicate we are more stupidus than sapiens – when the cold water faucet had increased its flow enough to be overfilling the basin. Enough to dispell any boredom of routine and sleepiness instantly. I have had frozen drains before but never this.

I did emerge this morning for a brief visit to the gym. My shoulder has begun to trouble me for not doing exercises that require machines at the gym. The experience was more and less than I hoped. More and less cold that it. And the trickles – and FD SCP – maintained in my absence, which was quite a blow to my male pride. But I still have a long day to endure even if I do sneak off for coffee and converse this morning.

One of the tools I have found useful in this series of Polar Vortex raids is Wunderground.[Link] I find it an enormous help to have actual weather station measurements available as well as Yankee government forecasts unbent by local weather beavers. Last evening I consulted five different forecasts and got five different pictures of this morning. The standard deviation was considerable, enough to cast all of the forecasts into doubt. So it is helpful to have actual measurement to clear the view.

I have to contrast this with earlier life. When I was in college I paid almost no attention to weather forecasts; it was too much trouble to obtain one. Then in early working I relied on the local evening news program on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver – first mono and then poly-chrome – as accurate. Even up into retirement this model prevailed. And now with the internet we have more forecast than we can handle. And a demonstration of why the institution is under siege.

But I am wistful of my undergraduate days when we might look out a window to see if it was raining. If the temperature was lower than we expected we walked faster; if higher, we shucked coats. That was partly due to one television for evevry several hundred students. As I recall only one of the men’s dorms, the biggest one, had a television and it was a rather undersized monochrome in a too small room that picked up only one channel in Birmingham. Yes, those were the glory days of slide rules and French curves. And if I could be young again I would want to be back then, not now. Heck, I am not sure I want to be now even at my age.

Unfair Respite

Definitely a mild night. Still had to get up every hour because the clemency meant dripping instead of trickling and our faucets are not cooperative. I have several theories on why this is but have no obvious way to test and not run the risk of frozen pipes. So I fret over faucets like a hen over eggs.

unfortunately the weather beavers foretell the eminent return of the dread Polar Vortex pin offs and today is the only supposedly good day for a while. I can recall when summer was the torture with its oppressive heat and the worry over air conditioning failing and winter was a minor nuisance if one had to drip. Now the situation is somewhat reversed with summers – last summer at least – relatively clement and winters the torture. Of course part of the torture is my own inability to withstand the sensation of cold.

But this does give some insight into how easy it is to confuse weather with climate. But does this apply to politicians? Are they really human?

On which note I yearn for the restoration of previous modes. I miss my trips to gym, both mentally and physically. This bunkering is nasty and deleterious. How do the chaps in the space station stand it? I  also miss the freedom of movement that I have enjoyed. Scant wonder seniors want to maintain that as long as possible.

It seems the nasty outlook has inertia. I had oped I would be encouraged and positive after the iciness abated but evidently two days is not enough. This, at least, is something worthy of cognition.

Diminishing Dislike

The discontent is ebbing, at least briefly. Mild (??????) night last and today is supposed to break into liquid dihydrogen oxide temperatures. FD SCP will be able to exercise her clothes washing machine and the faucets tonight are supposed to be in the drip range. Phalanges crossed but sleepage significantly better last night. Only three arisings.

And with this improvement comes some consideration of the external universe. I noted recently [Link] that the Yankee government’s copyright gestapo did a raid on an Ohio celluloid epic palace to nab some poor fellow who happened to be wearing a Gooey Glaz. Turns out the jack booted storm troopers were unrequited since (a) the fellow has his eyeglasses integrated and didn’t have the Glaz functioning. Similar to another debacle involving traffic constabulary when it turned out they couldn’t prove the device was activated while driving.

And then I ran across a politico-techno diatribe in a news rag on nerds versus trogbogs (troglodytic bogs, i.e.,) who deny or distort because of insecurity and greed.[Link] Or some such. I was rather taken by a couple of statements:

“The dichotomy is deep, scientists often knee-jerk-denying any
credibility to “Scientifically Illiterates” (with little or no science
education) and Deniers generally knee-jerk believing their faith-based
“knowledge” over science derived opinions. We are all chained within our
bias.”

and

“the Republicans (see Tea Party) and Justice Scalia have no science
training and are scientifically illiterate, but feel they know the
science is wrong and their faith-based knowledge is right (e.g.
Evolutionary Theory is wrong, Global Warming Physics is wrong;
Scientists don’t have spirituality, patriotism or group accommodations)”

And yes, science is wrong – always – in the sense that it is ever striving to be more accurate. So at any moment today’s best effort may be replaced by something better. The faithists, on the other hand, have the same demonstrably inaccurate – erroneous – wrong – stuff without any hope of improvement, at least without finding some new faith, which is surrender to reality, at least in a small way.

That’s the nature of society. At its core, a society is a set of semi-dynamic rules that exist on the edge of violating the real rules of reality. When they violate the latter too much the society is doomed. The question is, how far away is ours?

The legal system is one in case. It has always existed as a religion, transcending the real rules of reality. Examples of egregious violations of the real rules include the delusion of “truth” and the utter dependence on human witnesses whose memories are continually rewritten. Scant wonder that so many politicians are, or were, justicers. The nonsense with modern technology is a symptom that should be an issue. It is indicative of the denial of the influence of technology (and reality) on society. We have a political system that is failing, an oligarchy of “professional” partisan politicians who increasingly represent only a diminishing minority of the citizenry. They have corrupted democracy to such an extent that it seems unlikely that any reform is possible short of actual revolution. That leaves us with unpleasant choices – trickling or plumbing.