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?