Book Stupids

Back to week in. The air was trying to go fawg this morning but only being successful in turbulence shielded spots. Gym was almost back to modal, except for the educationalists and weight bouncers, so the loud chatter and bullying was down. And the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s "Best of Ideas" was about microbes and humans.

In the aftermath I got to consider an article [Link] I ran across. It reports the fraction of the Amerikan population that did NOT read any books last year.

This led me to consider illiteracy. Usually illiteracy is defined as being unable to read. But a more general casting is not reading, and that implies that we should include those who do not read, whether by choice or ineptitude, among the illiterate. This is much better. Normally the Yankee republic claims a literacy fraction > 0.9 which makes it a meaningless metric. But under these criteria if drops to 0.77 (of less) which is much more in keeping with the intellectual tenor of the nation’s population.

There are those among the information technology types – geeks and nerds and even a few bogs – who claim that technology will do away with reading. Everything will be videos. I personally find videos rather sorry and slow. Nothing is less interesting to me than a TED talk. Much time spent conveying little information. I suppose that is a consequence of the information revolution. We feel so rich in information that we can be lazy about it. And are.

I feel the urge to read a book.

Birthdays and Friends

Winter is held at bay a bit although my constitutional was compromised by having to wear plastic pants and a slicker. And the podcast file was badly corrupted probably due to the prevarications of the Oneonta Telephone Company. But the walk itself was bracing. Not so the soaking that crept past the polymeric barrier.

So firmly in the outer side of week out and incoming to the second week of the stress season, I am not greatly moved to make soaring pronouncements that will be studiedly unattended by the boggerate.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me a link to the nonsense about the Chickem Man, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s, tweets about the birthday of Isaac Newton, Knight. [Link] Seems my colleague made similar statements on the Facescrill and received zero negative comments and several positive ones, even from religionists. Scant wonder. Religionisists, especially the organized and insecure leadership ones, want publicity. And are insecure. I suspect they fear that if they don’t respond they will be seen as weak and unworthy. Which is, as I recall, what Christians are supposed to be?

So those who protest supposed attacks on religion are themselves displaying their own failings? Seems quite human to me.

I did take some amusement that the day is the actual birthday anniversary of neither. Sir Isaac’s birthday was 25/12 but in Julian calendar so it is now somewhere in January? And Joshua ben Joseph was born in March? Maybe. If actual. Since I never met either it is largely a matter of what trust I place in others and from experience I can advance that, modally, science nerds are more trustworthy than religionist bogs. On the other hand the latter are much more likely to steal and use violence. So I will stick to accepting the day as Newtonmas because it is patently the lesser error.

This does bring us close to the question of how many friends a human can have? [Link] There’s a lot wrong with this article. It should en entitled something like how many friends can the human mind support? Also, what is a friend? Can we define the parameters concisely and precisely? The article doesn’t.

Depending on source, some of which actually have some research backing them up, the answer is somewhere between a band and a Band, in anthropological terms. That is, 25 – 150. I suspect the range is a matter of how the individual defines friend and not just how the researcher tries to. Or doesn’t.

If I consider FaceScroll, the number of FS "friends" I have is closer to the upper bound. But I don’t consider a lot of these folks to actually be friends. More like acquaintances, former co-workers, former fellow students, and past friends that are more distant now. Even a couple of former lovers. But not what I really consider a friend, in the main. Not that I can do a good job of quantitatively defining friend. My rule of thumb is how much money will I loan them. Acquaintances get a soda pop; peripheral friends get lunch; real friends get a co-signer. Not that real friends actually ask. That’s part of the definition. It’s a Heller thing.

That money thing is another characteristic of friends. The arguments over money are not about who has to pay, but about who doesn’t have to pay. If you have lunch with a friend you don’t talk about who pays how much of the tab but whose turn it is to pay the whole thing. And the rules aren’t turn about. It’s sort of the opposite of war. You don’t argue whose ground it is, but whose it should be.

Fuzzy Set Theory anyone?

Loser Seaon 2?

Lovely morning. Air temperature high enough to permit a constitutional in the park. A bit chilling but in the end worth the depredation. And the outside, bit of natural poking through, environment gave me pause to reconsider the extent of the seasonal losing.

From the transitional category we have to anoint those folks who fell for the Sony conspiracy and actually went to the celluloid epic palace for (or downloaded off EwTube) the movie that is somewhere behind a silent, black and white version of "Crime and Punishment" for our attendance. I shall not mention the name so as not the embarrass the oblivious.

On the permanent category however, we have to give honorable (?) mention to all the folks who are still using Winders XP. I am not in the mode of defending Winders serfs, even though I still run XP on a couple of lapboxes for the sole purpose of using Sciencey Wurd because the manufacturer, Son of Garbage Disposal, hasn’t released the long promised Linux version yet and if I want to get nerd papers written I have to suffer Winders.

But those folks who still run XP, which includes FD SCP, do so because they have inadequate choices. None of the later Winders are satisfying and fulfilling and some – Metro by its original name – is as noxious as Unity. And Ubuntu has finally been restored to some – peripheral – sanity with the release of Ubuntu MATE which is a reasonable ersatz of Gnome 2. I installed it on my testing box, delighted with its speed as a live CD, and augmented it with KDE 5, which is also quite fast. Not that I expect the evil Baron Michael of Canonical to come to his senses but one of these days he may get a Unity phonebox to play with and leave us to move on with our lives.

The same seems unlikely for the Winders XP folk. They increasingly are one with the denizens of Grand Fenwick and have no Q Bomb lurking in the shadows of a dungeon. I cogitate Kaddish for them. They are stuck in a chasm between changing to an OS that works as they want and upgrading – so to speak – to new hardware and new OS that do not what they wish. This is the very epitome of slavery of the mind if not body, but it is purer than submission. Martyr are implicitly losers and that sadly is what these stalwarts ultimately are but nonetheless admired for their dedication to good.


Loser Season?

Starting back when I was in high schule and continuing in college I was repeatedly amazed a bit at how football players consider everyone else to be "losers". Except, at the campus of the Boneyard, rugby players who considered football players to be losers and made it stick. I have always entertained that idea that most, not all, football players – and coaches – are losers. The ones who can’t do anything else except prostitute themselves to being objects of perversion.

Sp I kept getting drawn to this idea the last few days. I should comment that it has been a long week and shows no sign of becoming any more hurried. Evidently pain and torture are supposed to be slow. Yesterday I arose and did the stationary bicycle thing, it being too reduced in air temperature for a constitutional, and was left with several hours before FD SCP arose from slumber. So I perused a bit of internet. On Lifehacker I noted an article on what to do if you don’t observe christmas. The list was short and urban – very urban – it basically consisted of: go to a movie; and/or eat at a Chinese/Jewish restaurant.

In Greater Metropolitan Arab, anyone who doesn’t observe christmas is considered a loser, a radical, and probably, a demodenialist. Good reprodenialist christianists – and yes, those are redundant but helpful for those who don’t live in the old Confederacy. – consider anyone not them to be evil and depraved and needing to be shot on sight. I noticed an article [Link] yesterday about folks from elsewhere in the Yankee republic who had moved to the old Confederacy for ambition reasons who went "home" for the season. My conjecture is they are avoiding the harassment from the natives over how and how much to observe christmas.

I get a fair amount of that. FD SCP and I have pretty well ceased adorning the castellum now that we are retired. No tree. No place to put it and besides too easy to stumble over their kibble. No wreaths. No illuminated exterior sculpture, plastic or otherwise. My welded steel rod toy soldiers, hand wired years ago, molder in the attic. And all around us the sky is polluted with Griswold style photonic kitsch. Back when we first moved to Greater Metropolitan Arab, people would erect quite large "greeting cards" on their lawns. Basically two sheets of plywood suitably painted, supported, and illuminated with flood lights. Big christmas cards. And we would observe these either in passing or as part of a mapped tour. Many of these cards were quite inventive, well executed, and had an uplifting message that transcended the christianist take over of solstice. No more, sadly, and I am unsure why.

I ventured out yesterday to check on the maternal parent unit and after that was played out I motored about the business ghetto of Greater Metropolitan Arab in search of an open business. We have no theater but all of the movie rental places were closed. We have one Chinese restaurant and it was closed. No Jewish restaurants. The only store I could find open was a rather ratty petrol station cum junk food store. Such is the hubris of living in the Old Confederacy. If one does not observe christmas then one has to bunker in and be prepared, which is very boy scout and evidently no longer acceptably christianist.

The other part of the reprodenialist milieu is that today will be the great day of returning unsuitable presents and looting the stores of the lees and returns of others. The false trappings of christianism are fully returned to the dark holes they reside in until next year. And winter is charging in.

At least I don’t have gutter light strung that I will have to studiously ignore removing.

Dies Vis

The day of stress has arrived. But after yesterday it seems refreshing, at least at this slack moment. After yesterday I have no doubts that I am an Intro; the crowding of family repast and the house social after were as exhausting as a day of cap trooper training. To say nothing of the time wasted. Not that I am likely to have accomplished anything with it but perhaps I might have and certainly I did not with this.

I am not against family. It can be abided and even, occasionally, joyful, but any large gathering immediately puts intros in bunker mode and all ones energy is dedicated to not shivering in abject rejection.

I did run across this cartoon: [Link]

the other day and I was taken by it. It is inaccurate but that is in keeping with an almost uneducated adolescent. Assuming the cartoonist isn’t also so deficient, which is a holiday gift.

A Neatist technically is one who is against disorder and for false order, which is not quite the same as portrayed here but probably beyond the comprehension of many bogs. There are, in this case, two types of order: room order and mental order. The sum of the two is approximately a constant although the constant depends on the individual.

What intelligent, rational people do is to maximize mind order and thereby minimize room order. What unintelligent, maybe ration, people do is maximize room order. This is especially the instance with parents who have lost comprehension of the nature of mind order of adolescents. That memory gets eroded by too much socio-economic reality. Only those who can rise above this morass can identify with all stages of mind order.

And simply put, they’re both "wrong" because the adolescent’s grasp of order is incomplete and will remain so absent the right education, which is becoming increasingly rare.

The problem is acerbated by emotionally engaging containers. Which tends to prove "das ding an sich". Holiday Humor. Sadly isn’t punday. Selah.

No Bad Stercus

It seems Sony has suddenly realized – is their management really that bad? – that the North Koreans – assuming that’s who is really responsible – have given them an assurance of great profits on their rather horrible movie.

Long Winter Nap

One more day. But the stress starts to peak today in family repast. Oh! The joys of the season. And then the weather gets miserable.

I recall a science fiction story of a society that had electronic suspended animation. This technology manifest itself as a marital practice. Men would keep their wives in suspension except when they needed social diversion or accompaniment. Not really any mention of reproduction or children. Or what would happen to the population levels. Another instance of rich self-extermination akin to having too many children?

Anyway, rather genderist and paternalistic but that was the era. And economic. You can only sell science fiction that is a LITTLE way out. Go beyond that point and the next generation will appreciate your too brief career and discorporation from starvation.

But what appealed here was the idea of some way to suspend oneself and only be aware when the weather was good. Spring and Fall? Of course one has to be independent economically but that fits ORF as does the idea of stretching oneself. Of course the pensioning organization would probably want to suspend payments during suspension but that might be worked out. Would play merry ned with all sorts of other organizations. Like the power companies and the mortgage companies and such. But it is very appealing. Especially at this time of year.

Something about escaping all of this stress and relatives and superstition and such.

Incomplete Humans

Stress day closes, at a rate of one second per second. Diversion now made difficult by the continual presence of FD SCP. But still today and tomorrow of gym.

On which note, very sparse today. Only one weight bouncer an he the good one. As in not a bully. In fact the population was almost limited to the aged, the lame, and the obese. But the podcasts were diverting.

The most memorable of these was the Guardian podcast which featured a discourse by the (THE?) Canadian astronaut Mark Hatfield on being an astronaut. It was not without some meaning.

His basic message was if you aren’t the best at doing space stuff, don’t bother. And of course, he is quite good at doing space stuff.

I should comment that I grew up with the whole astronaut craze. I well recall getting "We Seven" as a christmas present. It convinced me I never wanted to be an astronaut. And I never considered it after that.

Incidentally, astronaut basically means sky sailor which probably explains why I lack interest. Being a sailor is hard and not, to my view, very much fun. It’s not about thinking and understanding reality and being creative. It’s about staying alive and going somewhere in a dangerous environment that is ill suited to humans.

Not that I wouldn’t like to go space traveling but not with several thousand year old technology, dire physiological (and mental?) degradation, and too d*** long.

But his talk did put me into thinking about celebrities since he is one and I don’t really care. Coupled in with a podcast about altruism and biology it occurs that celebrities exist because people are incomplete. All of us lack something. We are never completely satisfied with our lives. Some of us are so unsatisfied we would change in an instant if offered. I harbor the delusion (?) that most of the latter dislike their jobs and the lives they have to live thereby.

So they need a golden calf.

I have had people I admire. Most of them are other nerds, some were even extros. (Being an astronaut is an extro thing.) But I see no reason to admire people because they act or dance or have more money or get seen a lot. But after thinking, now I do. To quote POTUS #16, "As would not be a slave, neither would I be a master.) which is the best argument against slavery I have ever heard. Just so, as I would not be an admirer (slave) of celebrity so I would not be a celebrity (slave of admirers?) And thus I should at least acknowledge that they divert attention away from me.

So I am made more satisfied with my life thereby. And I still have no desire to be an astronaut.

Which Kind of Electrons?

The great stressor looms. Today is the last day of week out and then we enter the week of the worst stress of the year. Not good. And then winter sets in for real.

I feel old.

On which azimuth, my colleague Mass Momentum, posted this article [Link] on the FaceScroll. It is a fairly balanced (?) discussion of the grrr brrr about electronics versus pen/paper/books for note taking and learning. Its chief advantage to me was to offer some new perspectives on the problem. Happily these perspectives tend to support the hypothesis I have been developing for some months.

My concern is a bit larger than what is portrayed in these articles. My concern is about learning and composition. To me learning means not only what I get out of "books" – information sources – but also research, and composition includes note-taking but also report writing and the like.

We humans are visual folks. Comes of being hunter-gatherers for mega-years. We are not ASCII people. When we dream we don’t see written pages. All right, sometimes when I dream I do see written pages, or printed pages, but they are memories not mind constructed things. When we dream we mostly see images, maybe with sound and smell but definitely with images. This is the rationalization for video instruction.

The problem is that the computer/slab screen has too low resolution. That’s why the race to what is called a retina display. One to one mapping of screen pixel to eye sensor.

My hypothesis is that composition is all about mindfulness. That is, awareness. The opposite of this is called mindlessness – unawareness, if you will. I picked the names because I read a bunch of article about the benefits of mindfulness that screamed "STERCUS!" because it wasn’t balanced in terms of the down side of mindfulness and the benefits of mindlessness. There are some things that we cannot do if we are mindful of them but perform easily if we are mindless of them. This is patently obvious to most people so if you don’t get it, get assistance.

Anyway, the hypothesis is that for composition to work we have to be mindful of what we are writing (thinking) but mindless of the writing. Note that writing has two components here, one is the expression of the information of our thinking in ASCII (or diagrams or symbols…) and the other is the generation of a physical representation of the information – characters on paper, e.g. So we have to be mindful of the first but mindless of the second. Yes, I know that is simple but it’s still an hypothesis.

This reduces learning/note taking to two considerations:

  1. You can’t draw diagrams or maths with a keyboard; and
  2. You can’t be mindless of key presses.

Both of these are conditionals. The first is admittedly false but only for drawing programs unsuited for the ASCII component of note-taking. The second may be true for everyone but professional typists and/or GEN Ys. More work is needed on this. Film at Eleven.