Irresponsible Parentage

This seems a fitting subject for All Hallows Eve.  I ran across this picture: [Link]

yesterday and felt vaguely frustrated. Not the physics. It’s Abysmal and I may natter on that later, but what is frustrating is the maths. 

I have run across several articles lately on this subject, starting with one [Link] entitled “Parents feel ‘unequipped’ to help children with maths” and ending with one [Link] entitled “Damaging maths mindset holding pupils back”. Both bemoan that maths are too difficult. What is frustrating is the moaning. We know that maths are difficult, even for those who have a talent for maths, which is a small fraction of the species. Why can we not acknowledge that and buckle down?

We seem to have two alternatives. One is to acknowledge that maths are difficult and only teach maths to those who have adequate talent, maybe 0.1 of the species. And damn the other 0.9 to a subordinate existence as perpetually ignorant serfs. The other is to acknowledge that maths are difficult and teach maths to everyone and they – parents and students in particular – cease complaining and work. Yes, we know it is hard. So is life and if you don’t want it to be hard crawl into a corner and discorporate.

But let us cease whining that maths are difficult and expect to be excused so we will quit whining. Parents need to quit telling their children that maths aren’t important and they won;t need algebra after high schule. The only thing that does is assure your children will only be Gammas. At best. 

Telling children that maths are unimportant as a means of avoiding the difficult is destroying them and the species. Do you really want to be evil? Then do the hard thing and be a good parent. And if you can’t do the maths to help them then either learn some or hire a tutor or give the kids to someone who will.

God and Nader

Running behind this morning. Adopt-A-Physicist is almost over and there are always a few students who don’y get their courage screwed up till near ending. I am still trying to get comfortable. Brrrrrrrrrr this morning and the weather beavers are foretelling solid phase dihydrogen oxide by Ice Cream day and I didn’t get waarmed up until motoring back from errands and got overhot.

On which thermodynamic nonsense, I note that the Bishop of Rome has announced to his religionists that physics is real, Big Band and Evolution are “true”, and the deity is not a magician.[Link] Not as neat as Albert but exceptional for a Bishop of Rome. May put him up with the guy who stared down Atilla?

I am not sure on the true part. I have always viewed truth as being a religionist thing, something beyond the capabilities and capacities of humans. Which sorta supports the idea but I still get uncomfortable when science is downgraded to true instead of accurate.

On an even happier note, Ralph Nader has announced that

“Well, Hillary is a corporatist and a militarist So she’s a menace to the United States of America.”

Nice that he either finally figured that out or screwed up his courage.

I am not a big fan of Mr. Nader. Mixed feelings. Comes from having three Corvairs and thoroughly enjoying all of then. Best cars I ever had. Even better than my TR-6 with seven forward gears. Yes, they were dangerous but all motorcars are. Not as dangerous as the drivers but put them together and they are weapons of mediocre destruction. But he has done good sense. And now this. First rate.


Lessons Obtained

The Athens HS stabbing demonstrates to us that Helicopter Parenting is alive and pathological.

It also leads us to conjecture that we have too much capacity to move information and too little capacity for communication.

The political campaigning and its allegations of toadying to “special interests” teaches us that the evil that we accept within ourselves is unacceptable in others.

Off the Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill through the precipitation. Definitely a hat day!

Superstition and Slide Rules

Sparse. That’s the best thing about gym, when it occurs. Not many people. For some reason the bullies seem to go away and the good folk remain. Even the weight bouncers about today were good folk. And the cable feed went sowth about halfway through my session so the absence of distraction of the vapid sort was appreciated.

The Guardian science podcast was a set of interviews/discussions with psychologists who specialize in humans who suffer from delusions of alien abductions, vampires, ghosts, and such. There were even a few slights about religionist superstition. Well placed. Sadly there was no real discussion of how to rid society of these nut cases.

But the high point was a National Public Radio podcast about the slide rule.[Link] Sadly, the pony to poo ratio was very LOW. There was some museum curator from the wonk schule on the Charles who was prattling about the slide rule angst among engineer students taking exams. And the whole attitude was rather poor and frivolous.

I have discussed slide rule previously but it is worth visiting again. I got my first slide rule about seven or eight, as I recall. I make this point because by the time I got to college my slide rule, which I could not use openly without derision from the cool kids – the jocks and cheerleaders, was a comfort, not a source of stress. Rather the opposite. It was a familiar tool that I could trust without cognition.

I suppose if I had been handed one as a freshman, never having seen before, and told to learn immediately to crunch numbers there might be some stress. I do not take direction easily. It is evil. But none of the people I knew were uneasy about slide rules. Many of us had brown up with them. In fact, they didn’t bother to teach slide rule in high schule because so many already knew and the ones who didn’t were destined for bogdom anyway.

And I rather take exception to the implication that the slide rule disappeared overnight once the nerd calculator was introduced. Technocratic prevarication! Electronic calculators had been around for years but weighed and bulked their own table. The first portable calculators were strictly add/subtract/multiply/divide so they could not replace the slide rule. The first nerd calculator, the HP-35, introduced in 1972, was a replacement but was so expensive that no student, nor professor, could afford without a gifting. Only corporate nerds could afford them. I was working for the Yankee army before I got a nerd calculator issued me, and HP-55, and it was late in my graduate schule attendance before I could afford a personal machine, a TI that felt like a cheap occupied Japan imitation of an HP. My first personal HP was an HP-25 and it was a marvel and a delight. But I still had a slide rule in my center desk drawer when I retired. For some things it was faster than a calculator. Even an RPN. 

So as usual, NPR vertically copulated.

Fawg Madness

Fawg season has arrived. Second day. Run off the road to Castellum SCP twice by pickup truck road hawgs wanting the whole road. Not a bad session at gym however. Listened to some blather on podcast about the psychology of Dostoevsky inferred from his novels and biographies. Rather a pile of poo with scant pony. The best offerings:

There is no such thing as a moderate addiction;


Adult = Child + Puberty.

The latter was a telling argument for why we should do better as parents and indeed upholds the advocacy of one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, that reproduction should only be allowed under license and licensing should be based more on how good a parent one would be than one’s genes.  There is a wrinkle on what the penalty should be for unlicensed reproduction. I think I favor the discorporation of the miscreants approach. 

Speaking of discorporation, I noted on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver (visual only) in the gym that the female lead in “Welcome Back Kotter” has discorporated from cancer. This saddens me a bit. The program was excellent, notably the last thing Travolta did that was even good, and the female lead was hideously under-appreciated. 

Crazy in the Dark

Once more to the boundaries! Of week out that is. Air temperature markedly increased. Executed constitutional with only a light jacket and a glow-in-the-dark boonie hat. No, not a Daniel Boone fur hat, a jungle hat except it’s made of eye-burn-orange cloth that glows nastily in reflected illumination. That’s so I can be seen by any others, especially highly strung out young women with pepper spray. Or electron accumulator wands.

On the subject of crazy in the dark I ran across a few articles. First, an article about the maths knowledge/skills of biology graduates. [Link] The simple result is that they aren’t calculate. In fact, they’re something of order sub-high schule in such.Which isn’t a surprise to me since I have had to deal with biology acalculates for years. And yes, that is redundant. The distressing thing is they brag about it. Makes them almost as bad as bogs.


Next, an article [Link] maundering about whether ‘digital’ magazines are dead? I find the adjective odious. The magazines are not themselves digital. A better designation would be eMagazine or some such but then one expects stercus from WIRED. What is worse is that the piece is an apology for eMagazines being slow. No wonder. Not many people want them. I don’t. I know that isn’t very sustainable but that’s it. Even though slablets satisfy Gullidge’s Manifesto that you be able to take the reading to the entropy cellar with you, I don’t find them utile. And I want something I can get back to and fundamentally, ePublishers come across as charlatans and carpetbaggers. And like everyone else I don;t want to pay for eContent.

I used to subscribe to WIRED. Found it has a pony to poo comprehension ration of less than 0.1. So I dropped the subscription. I still get them in the post. And put them in the recycling bin. Which is an improvement. Now WIRED is pretty direct that it isn’t looking to ORFs as its demographic. But its demographic, at least those among my colleagues, say it is eCrap. Or pCrap. Take your pick. So I have to wonder about the integrity of an eMagazine article by WIRED.

And lastly, an article [Link] proclaiming that the internet sleeps. Another WIRED article. Also fundamentally inaccurate. It turns out that what happens is that the internet gets disconnected – or deconnected? – during local sleep time. The humans turn off the physical equipment, the routers and boxes and such. To save money on electron potential difference flow.

What makes this interesting is other articles I have read about kids staying up all late hours to use the internet, No reconciliation. To be expected from WIRED?

I have been frustrated this week with the small screen. I now understand why GEN Ys spend all their time staring at their phones. It’s because the things have worse execution speed than an original IBM PC. Mine has turned blue with the different languages I have used to express my dissatisfaction with it. There really is a difference in screen size and speed. And the phones have neither.