A State of Evil?

The peopling of the Americas has always been a fractal of mysteries. A great part of the mystery is embedded in current societies. As a nerd, I find the objections of descendants of earleir emigrants to science to be obstructionist and mystically petty. Hence I was surprised and pleased with the “news” of DNA sequencing of a human of Clovis culture.

The results are, as often are, emotionally charged and mixed. Yes, current Amerindians are descendants of the Clovis people, but the Clovis people are themselves related to humans who dwelt in central europe. So yes, the remains are an ancestor but current Amerindians are also the same humanity as the hater “white” man.

I have to admit that I am continually puzzled by all this “race” grrr brrr. As a child growing up I was exposed to the whole spectrum of old confederacy prejudice towards those who are not (adequately) “white”. I vividly recall the paired drinking fountains in the Woolworth’s downtown and the striking differences in the school environments. But I also recall noting that (a) the whole idea of difference was specious and just plain garbage, and (b) that if I wasn’t careful to hide that attitude I would be injured or killed by those who did not perceive as I did.

When I got to college I was pleased to learn that the whole concept of “race” is absent any substantive scientific validity, but this did not improve my understanding of the concept, especially as it changed from being righteous to sinful. I use that terminology carefully because the whole “race” rhetoric seemed to have some religionist context; it could only be used in a pronouncitive, derogatory fashion, immenable to discussion or analysis. “Race” was bad, never mind that we don’t know what it is or that it is specious, I have decided you are “racist” and therefore BAD.

I realize this is not unusual among bogs. They consistently do things based on an absence or actual contradiction of data. It is, sadly, in the nature of bogs to do so. I see no way to alter that situation short of extinguishing all bogs and since that means extinguishing the species, not an action to be entertained. And sadly, it seems that such attitudes are also anti-science and themselves apparently contributing to the extinction of the species. So not only is the concept of “race” outside of comprehension, it is also detrimental. Simply put, whether righteous or sinful, “race” as a meme has a negative effect on humans.

And we still don’t know what it is.

Afghan Futility

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday and it occurred to me that one on the list is different: Macedonia.

The Macedonians came and conquered. Being previously a tribal people, they had a simple recipe for handling tribes who failed to cooperate: extermination. After a couple of “genocides” they had no problems except homesickness.

Everyone else was either thrown out or left in disgusted exhaustion.

The sad part of all this is that we knew all this before we went in, we knew we would fail, and the politicians and flag officers decided to go in anyway.

On the road to Third World status.

Scientist Intelligence

Not a bad morning so far. A bit nippish but nowhere as heat deprived as the middle and aft end of the week, Or at least that’s what the weather beavers foretell and I suspect they are being optimist and misleading. The gym was pleasantly sparse although the podcast was a bit dull.

So I was in a very good situation to consider an article [Link] sent me by a colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, about how natural scientists are more intelligent than social scientists. I am not sure of this, personally. It seems to me rather like comparing one type of fruit with another. Are biologists less intelligent than physicists because they can’t do maths as well? Are biologists more intelligent than economists because what maths they can do they get right? I am not sure.

From what I have seen, intelligence quantification is somewhat arbitrary and subjective. Not to mention that intelligence itself is poorly posed and worse defined.  It seems rather like measuring the mass of a proton with a postal balance.

Having worked with other STEMs, and I think I can, on an individual basis, extend the appellation to include social scientists, I know that their smarts – I shan’t call it intelligence – is different from that of natural scientists. In facts, mathematicians are different from physicists from chemists…….. So there.

But I am still not convinced that bogs are actually intelligent. Or even sentient.

The Technology of Deity

But A good morning so far. The weather beavers are foretelling temperatures well below the phase change for the middle to end of the week and I have scant doubt they are pulling their predictions short to avoid a mod storming their station. Despite this I bundled up and ventured out to the park for a constitutional and it was enjoyable until my back began to complain about the winter inactivity cost.

But I had chance to further consider a cartoon [Link]

that I happened on the other day. In my case I am a bit older since the day of the hand held calculator started when I was in college.

A convenient starting point might be the spring of 1966 when TIME magazine broached the subject of the existence of the deity: [Link]

It is intriguing, in a warped human way, that the question was posed as it was. The idea of the deity, especially in the christianist sense, at least in Amerika, was so ingrained that it was impossible to posit that all our grrrr brrrrr might have been merest superstition and mumbo jumbo.

This was not mentioned in high schule. We had prayers uttered at most gatherings but no mention of denomination or any of the things that cause riots and head bashings. Such were reserved for teacher disciplinary actions. I have long entertained the idea that the primary reason for competitive elitist athletics in public schules is to have stalwarts with strong arms to wield the truncheons. But in the fall we went off to college and the matter was at least discussed in dark corners, away from the fanatics of the various religionist centers adjacent campus, whose buildings seem to rival the actual campus in size and number, by people who inquired of things they could not inquire of previously.

Skip ahead to the fall of 1971. I was a graduate student at the Campus of the Boneyard. And every STEM graduate student, and many of the upper class undergraduates, had an advertisement for the Hewlett Packard 35 calculator [Link]

taped to a wall for easy admiration and dreaming in idle moments. Seldom has a thing so riveted a population. The mania, strangely, even spread among the faculty. This was indeed a thing of great wonder. A rechargable calculator that would do nerdish number crunches, like logarithms and trigonometric functions, and fit in a (large) pocket (the actual leather case had a belt loop, unknown to us until years later.,) far beyond the scope of even a twenty inch slide rule. In one fell swoop the desk straining Frieden and Marchant calculators were obsolete and the numerical practice of STEM created anew.

The phenomena was nationwide, if not planet-wide. All STEMs of any metal and merit wanted one of these and alternately asked Santa Claus and the deity for one. Except for a few faculty with trust funds or extravagent but thrifty wives (STEM faculty were all men in those days, except the rare woman in maths or biochemistry) and undergraduates with doting but wealthy parents, all were disappointed. And in that season the outlook of young STEMs everywhere towards Santa/deity changed a bit, fulfilling the nature of TIME’s question. In that brief period, and courtesy of the innovation of two STEMs named Hewlett and Packard, the STEM conception of the role of the deity, like the nature of STEM itself, changed throughout the social segment. And in the terms of the cartoon, all because of the technology of a hand held calculator.

Well should we remark on it. 

Third World Amerika

Marvelous. Actually warm enough I got to venture out to the park for a morning constitutional. Of course, I was more bundled than Nanook but it was a good experience.

Also good was an article [Link] I ran across that supports my repeated impression that Alibam is a third world state. Turns out there actually is some statistical data that indicates Alibam really is repressive, antediluvian, oppressive, feudal,……………

This is not satisfying. If one smells blood and finds oneself in a slaughterhouse, perception of accuracy is not satisfying. And now our  council of thieves is off again oppressing women and those who are not mind ridden by superstition.

Alibam used to be a good place to live, mostly on account of the climate. Now, because of the denialists, even that isn’t the case.

Ineptitude Humor

Social media is all abuzz about the committment of Remington to bring a manufacturing facility to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. The reactions are either resoundingly positive or resoundingly anti-gun. My reaction is suppressed laughter.

The laughter is at the humor of the situation, how a community founded on engineering excellence has degraded itself into rot and ruin. In days previous the Huntsville community, which styled itself the “Rocker City”, built rockets that took humans to Luna (and back!) and missiles whose probability of kill given a hit (Pk|h) was 0.8 or greater by design.

Now they are giving great effort and voi9ce to a company the manufactures weapons – firearms – whose Pk|h is in the range of 1E-03 to 1E-06. Way, three to six ORDERS FOF MAGNITUDE less lethal. And the Huntsville community is excited to have such ineffective weapons manufactured there?

Perhaps they should change their stylization to “Maiming Capital of Tellus” since that’s what firearms are good for. Their Pm|h is about 0.5 or so.

And that’s why I am laughing.