Mouth Leather

Yesterday, one of my news subscriptions brought me this article [Link] entitled “FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing”. And I rolled out of my chair onto the floor laughing. Which I regret this morning because I am sore in places I would prefer not to be sore. 

I keep telling me that this fellow is a political appointee and political appointees and politicians are techno-schmucks. But this fellow now qualifies for being a real schmuck, if not a ferd, just by his so-called ‘tongue lashing’.

Let’s start in that order since it will be a bit clearer. The techno bit comes about because both OS phones have had encryption add-ins (apps) for some time. These are not built into the OS but since both OS are *NIX OS, adding on is rather simple and inherent. So the only distinction we can raise here is that the OS masters have added a capability that already existed as an add-on. This practice has a long history. It goes back to CPM and DOS and probably before that.

So bitching about ‘smartphone’ encryption is techno-stupid. But more important, since the capability has been around for some time, the esteem political appointee grand exalted kudzu of the FBI has demonstrated that he is a social stupid by chewing on folks for what has been established as acceptable. 

Privacy issue or no the sure result of this is that the nation’s, or at least the IT community’s, trust in the FBI has been serious eroded by this brazen display of incompetence. 

Chalk up another success for the antediluvian district!

Impasse and Insecurity

Not bad so far. Back to week in. Didn’t want to arise this morning. But my bladder did and so hence to empty it and thence to gum. The fall of dihydrogen oxide has been less than predicted by the weather beavers which is not the best of news. It will be enjoyed by the bogs but since we are under our mean the water balance will be strained.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with Nietsche. Lots of noise, not much signal. But diverting more than usual. Which is about as much as one may hope for in a podcast.

On which azimuth I noted a couple of articles yesterday in the RSS accumulator tap yesterday. The first, [Link] dealt with whether we, as a society, are producing too many or too few STEM graduates. The basis of the question seemed to be a disconnect between the graduating STEMs and the needs (demands?) of corporations. Much was made about this. Nothing was made of its mirror image.

Point being, I am not surprised at this. From what I have seen of GEN Y and corporations in recent years, the disconnect is mutual and probably mostly the fault of the corporations. Pensions have disappeared, if not actually stolen. By corporations. Trust in corporations is low, almost nil. Corporations want puzzle piece employees. They have no interest in diversity unless it makes them money.

The graduates are, in my observation, equally discriminating. They do not want to work at a job that is neither fun nor conducive to their life style. Sacrifice is not going to be forthcoming. Loyalty must be earned continuously.

In a way, this is an analog of the situation in the Yankee congress between demodenialists and repubdenialists. There seems to be no interest in compromise, in finding middle ground for the sake of accomplishment.

The second, [Link] is about a PEW poll that indicates that the public is losing interest in organized religion. This would be welcome if it indicated an increase in rationality but my observation of bogs leads me to doubt that. But what is noteworthy is that the religionists want a greater say in politics. As if Amerikan politics weren’t already overcomplicated to the point of impasse.

This smacks rather desperately of insecurity. The religionists, despite the constitution, have had great implicit influence in politics previously. Now, with their social importance waning, it would seem they are unwilling to accept their minority status and must set themselves up in a master role. (See! I did listen to the podcast!) Which is a very unchristianist thing to do.

Lawnmowing and Yearbooks

I have expectations for today. The weather beavers foretell great fallings of dihydrogen oxide later in the day. My morning constitutional was passable however, on the edge between too warm and too cool, both of which are sensations, not thermodynamics and hence of great personal use in fundamental subjectivity.

Yesterday was actually useful since I was able to do a bit of work.Or I should say research, since it is not always clear that force nor distance is involved. But I was scratching a lot of ink onto paper in the form of equations and comments. Film at Eleven, if Eleven ever comes, 

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me a cartoon link [Link]

that reminded me, as intended, of how I was relieved of my lawn-mowing privileges, The only way I could abide the utter extro tedium of lawn mowing was to occupy myself figuring the optimal mowing path. Of course, I only worried this problem while actually mowing. As a result I tended to try to drive the mower up trees and over rocks and pine cones much to the despair of FD SCP and the other mothers in neighborhood who feared for the safety of their bairns and beasts. (And yes, those can be the same so long as the mother doesn’t have to admit it.)

Anyway, FD SCP claimed – erroneously as demonstrated by experiment – that I had become too dangerous and she revoked my privileges and engaged a service to mow the yard – I decline to dignify it with the appellation “lawn” – and since I would prefer paying the service than wasting my time in a pointless, repetitive torture, I acceded. Gracefully. At least as gracefully as I can be, which isn’t very. That’s why we don’t dance. 

In a spuriously related matter, I noted [Link] that the campus of the Black Warrior has discontinued its yearbook. I have to admit to rather mixed feelings of this. I purchased yearbooks/annuals throughout high schule and undergraduate schule. In the former case I have the remembrance that the matter was not optional. And there was a rather raucous practice of passing annuals about for people one barely knew to inscribe some noxiously maudlin comment. Happily this practice died in college, along with so many of the noxious ilk.

But this weekend is the fiftieth anniversary of the first graduation from my high schule, which is my forty-eighth. FD SCP and I were invited to the drunken festivities but we declined since the EXTRO level is beyond painful. But I suspect there was much thumbing of annuals. 

It is not that I do not stay in contact with fellow graduates on FaceScroll, but that is about the limit of my desire. I especially do not wish to suffer the painful crowding that such events exhibit, nor the loud, unpleasant (at best) music and the horrible food and the dipsomania. Sadly this year there were vicious personal attacks from former class leaders against those who declined to attend. I am repeatedly reminded of the Fukushima power plant. 

I also have to admit to losing most of my yearbooks in the great house fire of 2001. The loss, I discovered, has been minimal. I do not spend much time looking at the pictures, mostly because as an intro, I knew so few and did nothing socially capturable. Still, the books do serve a marginally useful purpose to answer “who?” questions when some classmate is mentioned that I recall not. The picture almost never resolves the question. But it is never an important question. I had few friendships in high schule. Some acquaintances became friends in college. Most high schule friends are estranged or died in Vietnam. 

Most of my friends are nerds, or, at least, geeks. A few are bogs. Very few are people I went to high schule with. A slightly greater number are people I went to college with. Most are people I worked with. 

So maybe yearbooks are irrelevant.

Apple Fritters

This morning, while crusin’ FaceScroll, I ran across this:

I have to admit that I was rather taken aback by a company announcing that their customers are not smart enough to worry about security. Or how to use their computers. 

But then I took a breath and thought about the Apple users I know. Most of them are smart, but not in computer ways. That is, they have appliance smarts but not tool smarts. And they are entirely too comfortable with the Apple slavery thing. So that at least explains why Apple can say these things and not lose big fractions of its customer base. They know they are slaves and are happy with it. Except maybe for plastic phones? 

But are they really too stupid to use the OS are they just oblivious. The latter I think. 

Vacuum Wind

Again a nastiness. Had to go to physician’s office to queue for an influenza inoculation. Medicare mavins only. It was horrible. My ears hurt from listening to the banality. I even asked one of the nurses if they were bleeding.

Then after I had a bit of time to think about I realized that what I was hearing was basically the same sort of thing I have heard since high schule. Maybe before, but I don’t recall. It’s social noise totally void of information, except possibly counter-factual, uttered only for socialization purposes. Which it usually fails at. Like yesterday. 

But it did make me wonder why people do this. It’s got to be common although I have conjectured that it is primarily a bog thing. When nerds gather they either have actual, informational, conversations or they are silent. Nerds are more used to social discomfort and hence can handle the difficult silence. They just go off and go good stuff inside their skulls. Which apparently bogs can’t do or don’t like to do. Maybe both? 

What is perhaps more disturbing is that these people have nothing to say. Does that indicate they don’t know how to convey information? Or that they have no information to convey? The latter seems more likely. Or at least that they have inadequate confidence in what they know to utter it? Is this actually a situation of nerds having more confidence than bogs? Is this an instance of bog incompetence? 

More cogitation, and a discussion with my psychologist colleagues, is indicated.

Electro-phonon Debacle

Yesterday was a young disaster. Got up, went to gym. Good, relatively speaking. Low density of educationalists and weight bouncers. Not much harassment. Podcast, two episodes of the “UK Ubuntu podcast”, was passable. Not much useful information but adequately diverting. Got in motorcar, drove towards Castellum SCP and as soon as I got to the city (?) limits, the dark engulfed. 

Total power outage. No house lights. No street lights. Perhaps no traffic lights although I didn’t get that far. It was so dark that I missed my turn off and had to overshoot and return. Since no electron potential difference, no point in awakening FD SCP. So I sat for a half hour. FD SCP woke up – it’s a sinus season – and after another ten minutes the potential difference was restored.

Sidebar: it just seems as if Alibam is one continuous sinus nightmare. It isn’t. There are actually several distinct sinus seasons,most months long and separated by a few days to a week of not-sinus season. Some are lucky; they are only susceptible to one or a few nose nasties. Our spectrum of pollen is enormous, spanning most of the spectrum of the nose. Even the dead of winter has its nastiness. 

Anyway, while FD SCP was doing her ablutions I did the tooth abrasion thing and then busied myself resetting the clocks in the castellum. Did my own cleansing ritual, attired myself, distributed seed to the tree mammals and dinosaur descendants and then assayed the orge. 

Rebooted both my deskboxes successfully and then discovered there was NO internet. The ass hats at Oneonta Telephone Company had economized again and fired more IT staff. This in a company that is bleeding land line users at thrice the speed of ISP users and still they maintain land line service is their core competency. Happily FD SCP motored off to her employment and I was free to say foul things in languages other than that uttered in Alibam.

Departed on errands and when I returned an hour later.- well after the 0800 opening for the corporate tardigrade that is Oneonta Telephone Company – the internet was back and I could get my network reconnected. But by that time I was mentally and emotionally drained and hence no blot.

Not that this travesty is much of a story. Other than a micro-paradigm of corporate greed, stupidity, and denial. Which seems to fit quite well in Alibam. 

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, asked – rhetorically? – on Face Scroll the other day when politician and denialist became synonyms. I thought that most apt. So I am considering renaming the two brands of Amerika’s oligarchs as Demodenialists and Repodenialists. Neither likes science. Both have their own way of ignoring reality to service their masters. None (?) have integrtity? Or if they do, we can’t tell it from the facade of the others. 

I keep getting propaganda from both sides urging me to assure that I exercise my franchise in November. The dilemma is that the only choices are those of the two parties and neither candidate is acceptable nor worthy. It’s a true Hellerian Catch-22. Everyone gets to vote but it does no good because no change nor benefit can be obtained. 

The only good thing I can say about it is that at least it is smarter than the Soviets with their one party/candidate elections.

Half Failures?

Not bad so far. The weight bouncers were only moderately nasty and bullying, and the educationalists wee scant on the ground. And being 2 day the podcast episodes were scienceish and despite a persisting error on almost all vectors to commit one of Burke’s sins and confuse technology with science there were some moments of moderate good. 

The most notable of these was the Guardian science podcast which was definitely NOT about science, being an interview with some Israeli academic about his recent book on the historical development of homo sapiens, but entertaining and informative nonetheless. 

This put me in a mood to consider an article [Link] one of my clipping services found yesterday. The article is quite localized, dealing with an urban community in Wisconsin where half of the high schule freshmen are flunking introductory algebra. 

I have to admit that I did not perceive Wisconsin to be part of the downward race of Amerikan states to third world status. So this was a bit of a surprise and not a pleasant one. It is not unexpected. We have teachers who have inadequate knowledge of the subject they are trying to teach. We have parents who have told their children that algebra is something one learns in high schule and then never has any use for. And who have no maths skills themselves other than fingers and a calculator – algebraic, of course. And we have the children who are the second generation who have been told that trying is as good as learning. An Amerikan recipe for failure and inferiority to African failed states.

I have to admit to some alienation. I taught myself algebra out of my father;s navy correspondence course textbooks when I was about ten or twelve. After that trigonometry. And was thoroughly bored with high schule maths until a brief consideration of derivatives in second semester senior year. But first semester calculus in college was a visitation of epiphany!

Sadly, these supposed bright kids will not know such. Because they are already failures. They are acalculate and likely will remain so. They are almost certainly doomed to be the illiterate of our society. And all because of the way that educationalists and parents are vertically copulated. 

But the lesson in failure may do them some good. Maybe. But I have scant expectation that those few, pathetically few, who learn from their failure can transcend the barriers of broken educationalism and incompetent parenting.

Podcasts and Sturgeon’s rule

Crap morning. Oh the weather is fine. Lower temperature and the weather beavers keep making a deal that this is first day of fall since that season commences at 2200 hours. So not a complete day of fall; that is tomorrow. Only two hours today. What a load of stercus!

And the gym was pleasantly sparse. Not may educationalists nor obnoxious weight bouncers. But the podcast was a disaster.

I started out with an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”. This one was the second component on Ideacity. And it was a real hair puller. I barely got through the first speaking, on quantum computing, and then the second, on telepresent robots, started raising all of yesterdays meals to the gorge, including the ones already defecated. The primary problem was the speaker who was one of those enthusiastic geeks who can curdle air with her evil. And this was the worst kind of evil. It was that evil that comes about when there is too much good. This speaker had no evil intent, only good, but it was so bubbly and exuberant and loud that it became evil and hurtful and something that could not be withstood. 

So I deleted the podcast episode off the MP3 player sine die and diverted myself by listening to the second half of last week’s “Linux Luddites” podcast episode. Nothing like snarking and cynicism to be balm to the festering wound of good rebounded. 

But the good that came of this was to once more consider the relationship of podcasts and Sturgeon’s rule. The latter holds that 0.9 of everything is crap. It doesn’t say how the crap is to distributed so too often the bogs, the few who know of the rule, think it means 0.9 of anything is crap. That is inaccurate. Podcasts are a case in point. 

Taken as a whole, that is the set of all podcasts, 0.9 are crap. But at the next level of inspection, individual podcasts, what we find is a spectrum. Some podcasts are 1.0 crap; some podcasts are 0.1 crap, or less. Although it is hard to get below 0.1 just on the general nature of human language usage.

The CBC’s “Best of Ideas” is a good podcast. Its crap level is about 0.3, mostly because it puts out a lot of stuff and excellence can’t be sustained that much even by the best. Today was one of those occasions when an abysmally crappy episode emerged. Most of the podcasts I listen to have low crap levels. They’ve been selected for that.

Not that I don’t listen to a lot of crap podcasts. We need to not lose sight that the purpose here is primarily to divert me from the unpleasantness of exercise. So another form of unpleasantness is acceptable and even welcome. 

But not when it is sickening and hurtful. And this one was. 

Life Physics

Another morning of inadequate wind speed. Comfortable so long as one moves but not stationary. Of course a constitutional in the park is ab initio and de facto kinetic. Rather enjoyable podcast this week out. The guest was not only knowledgeable and engaging but also not the usual pen/pencil/paper for the sage of pen/pencil/paper geek. Although the grammar was egregiously bad and hurt the mind sharply. Smartly, even, if I may assay a bit of a pun.

My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, sends me cartoons of what he – rightly, almost always, > 0.9 – perceives as mutual interest. Which usually mean physics and a few other nerdish practices. The first [Link]

is rather hurtful. Not, of course, for the tag line. We physicists admit we are rather immature. In fact, we brag of it in the gravest of insecurity since physics is really only done by the immature and to call a physicist mature is really a horrible insult.

No, what is hurtful is the “rubbing it in”. Prizes are largely irrelevant, negative even. They do no good for the recipient and they are embarrassing no end. How does one act? Falsely humble? We know what our strengths and weaknesses are and usually, what we have accomplished. And we don’t need some outsider to affirm that to everyone else. What do I care what you think? Thank you, RF!

But the Nobel is moderately acceptable. It lets you make a boring speech on physics to a bunch of bogs who have to sit through it nicely. So it is like a Scots’ confection. Very sweet. 

I noticed that the Scots have declined “independence”. Wonderful. Very satisfying. It is nice to know that among nations they are still one of the most rational, perhaps the most. This was an enormous display of rationality – not having to pick up all that boggish nonsense of getting along with others, and furriners at that, something better left to the English who are rather too stuffy to realize how unpleasant it really is – and charity, rescuing Great Britain from its own stupidity and incompetence. Absent the Scots the rest of the house of cards would soon collapse into children fighting in a sand pile over a plastic pail. Or the Bog equivalent thereof. 

And they, alone of all nations, know how to spell whisky. And make it. 

The other cartoon [Link]

is a bit more fun. It reminds me of a delightful seminar presentation I heard at an interdisciplinary conference on philosophy and the sciences. The seminar dealt with the idea of the vacuum. No, not a suck broom. Nothingness. This is a topic at the basis of science. We forget often that Boyle labored mightily on this matter at about the same time Newton was inventing fluxions and gravity and poking his eyeball. 

Of course that’s not what the cartoon is about. It’s about bogs and lectures and how their minds work. Or is it all children. The problem with schule, especially the oppressive public schules, is that what they present is what someone else has decided is important and MUST be impressed into the minds of the youth. And thereby it is in some degree rot and cancer and garbage.

For me, my years in schule were torture and pain until I got to college. Then I got to college and could, increasingly, ignore the unpleasant and useless and concentrate on what was pleasant and useful. I am told that is not the way any more, that even college is unpleasant and useless, and not just because it admits everyone. So one more reason to be glad to be old.