Unsuffered Sadly

Today is anti-Fools day so it seems fitting to recognize some, those who spring immediately to mind, who qualify as such:

  • Anyone who has to do with professional basketball. This one has the merit of including both fools and stupids as well as being amusing since almost anything that damages the perversion cancer that is spectator sports almost certainly benefits the survival of the species;
  • The multitudinous folk on FaceScroll who have the grammar skills of children who flunked out before getting to high schule. Intriguingly these folks are aware of their inability since they are very insecure in the face of corrections but do everything they can, physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively, to avoid improving their skills. This leads to the hypothesis that a substantial fraction of humanity is simply incapable of learning grammar and raises the question of whether the population of FaceScroll is demographically balanced or biased to these people; and
  • The folk at Marshall Medical North who compose the text for their on-campus commercials. Their skills seem to reside around the level of a eight year old who has steadily ingested lead based paint since infancy. It can’t – likely – be the folks who do the IT there since IT folks have relatively good composition skills as a group. It cannot be said to be amusing since it occurs with such frequency as to rival acute hemmorhoids of the mind.

More to come later if I have time enough for cogitation and blogging.

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Alibam Living

Cliche: It was a dark and stormy night. People were killed and buildings were maimed or destroyed which comes as a surprise only to those who comprehend neither forces nor stochasticity. The hardest part was sitting about waiting for the mess to arrive. After that it was just anger and exhaustion.

We did have a tornado near Greater Metropolitan Arab. Not very near as it turned out, but the weather gestapo turned on the sirens. Repeatedly. With no supporting information. And they wonder why people come to ignore them? Perhaps they cry “Wolf!” too readily and often?

I did not get much sleep last night. Given the tension communicated by the doom-saying weather beavers on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver, I was loathe to retire so I merely removed my shoes and reclined on my bed. Slumber did incur but I was roused, halfway by a sensation of cold and then fully by the harpy sirens. Happily FD SCP had the reception tuned to what was about and I could quickly assure myself that the probability of any threat to us was somewhere between nil and minuscule.

Yep, about the right range to set off the sirens.

After waiting for the tornado to get safely past any veer, we both retired and I arose this morning rather truncheoned. But I did motor to gym and do my bit, albeit in a somewhat diminished fashion, and tried to listen to science podcasts that were all too short or too blah.

And the nonsense is supposed to repeat today.

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Cursive Comedy?

Evil looms! The weather beavers are foretelling all matter of dire circumstances today and into tomorrow. I can only hope to be here then and with electron potential difference to Castellum SCP. If not, then perhaps some blogging today may be in order.

First, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday. It has a modicum of humor in its one-sided intensity, something we find in angst and endocrine dominated teenagers (and some adult bogs) whenever their space is invaded. Or undesired work is demanded.

The history is not inaccurate, insofar as it goes. Which is not very far. Which is, I have learned, how far we can expect our schule systems to go. On a good day.

The actuality is more complicated. Let us start with the instrumentality and proceed to the reality. Yes, dip pens are difficult to print with. And cursive was invented partly to minimize the shortcomings of the dip pen and vegetable inks. That is not why cursive persisted.

By the time of the American rebellion against the British over-tyrants, the dip pen was on its way out. Thomas Jefferson, among his many other acquisitions, had a fountain pen, admittedly primitive, but nonetheless superior to a dip pen. He has, I believe, commented on how  long he could write with it. Modern pens. largely because of improvements in ink technology more than pen design. are almost blotless, so there is, on that basis no advantage of cursive.

There are plenty of others, especially in education.

Simply put, cursive is faster than either hand printing or keying. It is not as fast as any of the methods of “shorthand” but it is faster than any other full text method of human putting information on paper.

And writing has other advantages.

Keying is not only slow but it is hideously limited. Copying an diagram or sketch or equation with a keyboard device is somewhere between impossible and hideously difficult. And usually SLOW. Not so for hand on pen on paper.

In the context of note-taking, cursive is superior to hand printing. It is faster and less mentally intensive than hand printing, thus permitting both more comprehensive and more analytical note-taking. But both are superior to keying.

Also, it is known [Link] both practically and analytically that writing something down – not keying – is a good way to learn that thing. In effect it not only moves the information into multiple areas of memory but it is also, in effect, explaining that thing to ourselves. But somehow we keep forgetting this as technology advances and then we have to refind it.

And yes, cursive is adult, at least in the sense that one has to learn how to write in cursive, and practice it, and acquire some adult motor and mental skills to use it. That;s part of why it is quick. And effective.

And discarded by the irrelevant?

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Dud Humanity

Not bad so far. A fair walk in the park. The weather was not as nice as yesterday but the podcast was egregiously horrible, which is a good thing since it makes all the others I listen to much better in comparison. It also gave me reason to consider why I dislike the contemporary use of the word “Dude” as a male salutation. People of my generation grew up on television being cheap (frugal is the socially correct term) and broadcasting enormous quantities of bad – and inaccurate! – Western (so called) movies about cowboys and indians or desperadoes, or both. A Dude was an auslander. Not a good thing in the Repulsian, dark ages, hang physically different people from trees in the middle of the night, social order. Not a good picture except maybe we had democracy in those days, unlike today when we have elections being sold to the highest payer.

On the bright side, boffins the wonk schule on the Charles have determined that the Y chromosome, the “Dude” chromosome in modern boggese, is not really a withering pustule of genetic material speeding along on a path to a unisex – all female – humanity.[Link] Instead, it is – supposedly – a finely tuned racing engine of survival. Much joy can be felt among humanity that external genitalia is not – maybe – on the endangered species list. A more intriguing question is whether there is a poaching apparat for these organs along the lines of the horns of large mammals?

Less encouraging is a survey [Link] that indicates that most Amerikans are slime mold acognate when it comes to science:

Intriguingly, the boggery seems to swallow medicalist thing but be rejective on things involving science such as the nature of reality and climate. Hence, the contention of slime mold level cognition – ‘keep me alive to not think’ sort of thing.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the boggery could stay out of the way in running things but they do and hence we have the current situation of rule by the rich parasites on society. That’s the definition of modern slavery.


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Star Stuff

My kind of morning. Maybe. A bit of fog a couple or so meters above ground, indicating that an inversion layer is likely. Makes for all sorts of stuff being trapped, like aerosols and – yes – pollen particles. But when I performed my constitutional in the park the temperature was sufficiently low that I could see my exhalant and that made for a rather brisk walk. So now I can anticipate a day of wonder and awe. And probably boredom. The weekends are that way. When one is ORF.

One also lives in dread of minor aches and pains since there are no physicians available shy of the emergency room – a half day killed – for amelioration until Monday. My cardiologist keeps reminding me – annually – to take my cardio medications in the evening because that is when “incidents” with greater probability density. I should ask about weekends sometime.

Speaking of heart, I watched this week’s episode of COSMOS yesterday. The GnatGheo channel keeps airing it after my bedtime and somehow I lose mental contact with watching it until weekend. Another good episode. In fact, so good that it seems meaningless to do a review. Yes, there are warts. And sly digs at the mystics and superstitionists, most of which evidently get past them since no comment gets made. Perhaps they are so nerdy that only scientists can grok them? I did receive a rather antediluvian email – pure ASCII text like the Good Ole Days, no pun misintended – from Amazing that they had a date when they would ship my pre-ordered DVD of the series. Not soon enough that I can leave off the disagreements with the DVR but at least a day described.

I was also happy to see the show poke at greedy capitalist oligarchs in the last episode. Another group that needs some culling, or at least some transplant of ethics and morality, an absence that they share with the superstitionists. The good  news is that they seem to be proliferating a bit which means that a feeding frenzy may erupt and trim them back to a manageable population size.

I also have to comment that Tyson is doing this rather better than Sagan did. At least his voice and speech mannerisms don’t send one out of room screaming in mind pain or looking for something brickish to hurl at the receiver. Already there are wonderings if he will make more nerd programming.

Enough. The down side is that I watched the episode yesterday and can’t save it for today or tomorrow. And it is still too vivid to watch again. But perhaps I can follow up a bit more on his comments on Thales and Democritus. Now what did I do with my classical Greek to modern (?) English dictionary?

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Hamlet Question

The dihydrogen oxide has ceased to fall in bothersome quantity. I understand, from the weather beavers, that more is coming and flooding in the lowlands – not here on top of Brindlee – is foretold. But by the time I roused myself from bed – the second time, the first an hour earlier at the modal hour to micturate – and gotten the morning routine of cleaning and clothing done, I could venture the park for a constitutional and only wet the soles of my shoes.

My headlamp, a nasty thing because of all the straps, was almost unnecessary by the time I concluded and, back aching, I returned to Castellum SCP. Here now to consider yet another article [Link] on replacing WXP with some flavor of Linux. I had read one [Link] in Infoworld that was strangely strained and indecisive until I figured out it was a grudging cave to MegaHard. And hence to be ignored as propaganda.

The former article is a bit confusing in terms of who the audience is: user or IT guy. It seems to satisfy neither. The unsentient IT guy these days is still pro-winders. If his organization adopts Linux then he has a lot of thankless and repetitive stuff to do in the near term, including actually having to talk to users, and the prospect of looking for a new job in the far term. Alternately, the content is also antithetical to the user base since the average MegaHard serf is almost genetically disinclined to become a Linux user, to say nothing of the IT guy not wanting that transition either. Despite the prevarications and worst efforts of Cannonical, one cannot be a Linux user as ignorant and slime moldish as a Winders user. That’s the fundamental reason why I wait for someone to demonstrate sincere willingness to change before helping them make the leap.

As the Yankees discovered after THE war, some slaves cannot be freed. And it may be criminal to free others, those too old to care for themselves, e.g. That doesn’t justify slavery but it does recognize irreversible dynamics. Not all Winders users can change, and we should not force them to; MegaHard is already doing that and the crime can sit upon their heads. The question should not be posed on whether WXP users shoudl switch to Linux, but if WXP users have decided to switch, what should they switch to? That question is less ethically compromised.

Not that we can expect journalists nor corporationists to have any concern for ethics.

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