Old Biology

This is going to be one of those extended weeks of rather intense medicalist entanglement so blogging will be a bit off. How much I say will depend on factors including exhaustion and discomfort (e,g,. PAIN!) 

Along that azimuth, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

this weekend and immediately thought about how accurate the first part was – the avoidance of steps and such; going up is easier (!) than going down and it isn’t just seeing one’s feet in the bifocals – and clueless in the second part. Not about the young woman whose breeding fitness is demonstrated by ignoring old men – they seem to instinctively know the DNA rots after 40 – but the difference between geek and nerd. I am bemused by the religion aspect but that may be nothing more than common usage and/or audience demographics – lots of bogs. 

But there is a perception among many young women that geeks can be reformed but nerds cannot. Reformation in this case means reducing to bogdom and doing all of the husband things ala Wrangham. 

I decline to get into the arguments over sociability versus intellect as heritable characteristics.

The Evil that Men Do

Once more into week in. Back to gym through the falling of liquid – thankfully! – dihydrogen oxide. As is usual with “foul” weather, more nuisance in this instance than foul, the density of gym occupation is diminished from the mundane day mode but I shall not complain except about weight bouncers trying their best to obstruct the walking path.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with the Holocaust in Denmark. Or perhaps I should say the absence of the Holocaust. This national solidarity however gave me occasion to consider the solidarity of the nation at that time. And to then consider the farce of Indiana’s latest political flatulence.

Not that I can complain very loudly. Alibam, after all, also has one of these laws protecting “Religionist Freedom”. But since I am at best an occasional nuisance for the evil that is politician in Alibam, I cannot deny some culpability.

It occurred to me however, that these laws are nothing more than government sanctioned racism. I quote from the Macmillan Dictionary of Anthropology:

“race: the common use of the word is to refer to a group of persons who share common physical characteristics and form a discrete and separable population unit has NO scientific validity”


“racism: doctrines of or beliefs in racial superiority, including the belief that race determines intelligence, cultural characteristics and moral attributes.”

One way of looking at this is that race and racism are “Us – Them” manifestations. The “moral attributes” seems most applicable here. I should also comment on the “physical characteristics”. I take physical to be synonymous with observable. So any form of differentiation of humans based on observables is racism. Which means it is inescapable. What matters is whether hurt is done.

If differentiation occurs to provide better medical attention, then I hold that differentiation to be good. If differentiation occurs, on a subjective and arbitrary basis such as social or religionist tenets, then that may be bad shading into evil. And when it is condoned by government, whose sole purpose is the betterment of the state of its members – humans – then that shading into evil is strong.

I heard this morning from a babbling head on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver that the religionists feel beset and besieged. The question ignored was what has their arrogance and evangelism been if not attacks on our privacy and rationality and the sanctity of our own, differing, beliefs that we should be permitted to hold so long as we harm no one else. What permits, nay, empowers these people to inflict themselves and their beliefs on the rest of us? Nothing except their own arrogance and bloodthirstiness. 

So these laws are actually doubly evil. The laws not only hurt humans that the government is supposed to protect but also enable other humans to do their evil without let or fear of punishment. 


One of my colleagues, Velocity Spin, sent me this cartoon: [Link]

and I was a bit befuddled. Back when television was monochrome and dinosaurs roamed the earth (they still do, for that matter,) the responsibility of the lecturer was to make announcements in class; the responsibility of the student was to be there. If you weren’t in class you had three choices: ask someone else in the class, if you knew anyone and they would talk to you; ask the lecturer and hope for a mild tongue lashing and extra work; or suck it up. So I went to class. That’s avoiding the decision space.

Actually it was a survival activity. If you went to class you were more likely to get a better grade in the course. At least in the STEM courses. I’m not sure about the bog courses. I had some semi-geek friends who majored in bog disciplines and they seemed to not go to class very often but still got fair grades. As in fair-to-middling, not in the maths sense or the young woman sense. 

If any of us had asked the lecturer to put announcements in a bulletin board the answer would have been an absolute zero (Kelvin” “NO!” Maybe with several !. 

So how have things gotten in this sorry state. I am befuddled. Is this part of university as factory, diploma as education? But it’s one more instance of me being glad I am NOT young.

Ice but no Cream

Ice Cream Day. Again the air temperature is below the solidification of dihydrogen oxide. So no constitutional in the park. But I did assay a spin (?) on the stationary recumbent while listening to much of the rest of that episode of “The Pen Addict”. Not a particularly useful episode but at least they didn’t blather on ala “fan boy” about small notebooks.

This is not to say that I do not have my preferences about notebooks but small notebooks are more for short memoranda (memory aides), rather akin to Tweets but of value and purpose, rather than real notes. To me a real notebook is basically 8.5 x 11 in^2 where I can actually develop maths and problems of interest. Alas, one cannot carry such in trouser or shirt pocket so there is a place in life for small notebooks, especially when FD SCP proclaims that I can’t drag a real notebook along since that means I will be more interested in doing work than attending to her.

Speaking of notes, it seems time to clean up a few tabs. First, I note an article [Link] entitled “Who Cares If Antivirus Works, As Long As It’s Low-Key”. Yes, this is an anti-virus article and hence one is moved to ask why a Linuxite cares about AV? Answer (simple) is that I don’t want to be a disease vector. So I have AV on my boxes. But I do have them scheduled to scan while I am somnolent. So I suppose I do care about loss of performance. 

The author’s natter is this. That people seem to care more about unintrusiveness than effectiveness. I have to question this. They have AV do they not. And presumably they use it? And so what if it is only two nines effective? Arguing effectiveness on almost all AV programs is like arguing effectiveness on children’s sanitary wipes. The microbes are gonna be back in an hour or so even if the kids are shut up in a clean room, which they aren’t. What counts is getting to herd immunity. It’s the same argument that vaccines don’t have to be 1.0 but everyone needs to vaccinate to keep everyone secure. It’s a social thing and a good one, possibly unlike social media.

So why my natter? Well I admit I don’t expect journalists to comprehend basic maths – differential equations and stability theory – but I do expect them to not be too superstitious either. Which this polemic is dangerously close to. Save that stercus for whatever day your sect observes as shabbat. And spare me the nonsense. 

On a related azimuth, I also noted an article [Link] for a surficant that reduces adhesion. It’s billed as a way to coat the inside of squeeze bottles so you can get all the contents out. Nice try. May work ok for Newtonian liquids but how about non-Newtonians and semi-liquids? Also no mention of health effects? But it did occur that one could  use this to make fleece linings of jackets more friendly. I have a raincoat I purchased from the Maine Guide Store. Impossible to easily and conveniently get one’s arms in or out of the fleece lines sleeves. In fact, this coat is an archetype of poor design. Which may be indicative of dementia among the management of the corporation. No wrinkle pants is another. Perhaps if they ingested this surficant it would improve the blood flow to their brains and reverse some of their madness?

Saturn’s Rings are Bumpy

Our discontent has returned. When I arose at 0415 – yes, I slept in; it’s Saturn day after all – the heat pump temperature sensor told me the external air temperature was 32 degF. And now at 0541, the Arab CCR weather station informs me the air temperature is 30 degF. 

So no constitutional in the park. I had to make do with a spin on the stationary recumbent. And I continued to listen to that episode of “The Pen Addict”. Diversion primarily. Cannot say that I am taken by a heated discussion of orange inks. Not that I dispute anyone’s use of them. In fact, I definitely don’t don’t contest it. They are more than welcome to my share. The furthest afield I go is red ink for editing and grading. And that tends to be fill the pen, do the work, and flush the pen. Carefully and thoroughly. My taste in ink color runs to dark blue through the so-called blue-black, which isn’t. Black that is. Black ink tends to be gummy. Makes a nasty mess if one doesn’t over-maintain the pen. Which is another source of problem. 

But this put me in mind of a couple of articles I had seen and offered some insight. First, an article [Link] entitled “Linux users alarmed over Windows 10 lockout”. The article is about how MegaHard has once more shown their grasping greed by implementing strong lock-out in Winder X under the guise of security. I hate to tell the author, who is apparently at least a bit of a MegaHard hack, that rather than being alarmed I am pleased. This will push a lot of mugwump users, those undecided between staying Winders serf or becoming a free citizen over the fence. And the ones who stay on the MegaHard are the ones we don’t want. The last thing the Linux community needs is a host of OS parasites.

Take that Canonical!

Let us face it. Winders serves a very useful function as the OS for the computationally impaired, the computer cripples, as it were, to steal an inappropriate paraphrase from that Agriculture secretary of years gone by. As a society we don’t object to industries that build products to make life bearable, even easier, for those with disabilities, do we? So why not for the acomputate? 

Further, this is a clear indication that MegaHard continues to run scared and its ‘make nice’ with Linux is maskarovka. From what I can tell WX is at best slightly less of a failure than WAte. And there are lots of better answers than a dual boot system. Although if you do have to dual boot the solution suggested by the author is good if it doesn’t trash the box. How deliberately setting that up helps MegaHard isn’t clear other than reign-of-fear.

I favor two such solutions. The first is to buy a WX tablet. They’re going to be almost given away since no one wants them and Android (and Fruit) control the slab marketplace. Then you can get a laptop with just Linux on it and either run W in a virtual box or not at all and move files to the tablet via stick. The alternate, which I practice is to hang onto that old WXP laptop for the W programs (program in my case) that is necessary and use the Linux box for all else. 

Yes, I hope MegaHard is giving themselves a lesson in floor painting. Or is it coffin painting?

Freya’s day. And I snuck one past the weather beavers. They foretold that the air temperature in Greater Metropolitan Arab would be 38 degF, which it may be but at 0500 this morning my heat pump external sensor said 41 degF and so I assayed a constitutional. This was a mixed bag. The parka I had to bundle in was heavy and so my back hurts a bit. But the snow – unforetold, mind you! – was very pretty and entertaining. The podcast was the first few minutes of an episode of “The Pen Addict” that mainly talked about how vertically copulated the Yankee republic is. 

Cannot argue with this. If anything, the states of the old Confederacy are a prime causation. As one of my colleagues, who asked to be unattributed, said

“Alabama and Mississippi are in a struggle to the death to be last.”

I can’t argue with this although I am envious of the statement. It’s one of those that’s obvious once it’s pronounced. I will probably be asked what last means so I will elaborate. In any of those lists of good/bad things about the states of the Yankee republic, they always list the fifty states in descending order. If it is a good metric (sorta?) then the first state listed is the most good and the fiftieth state listed is the least good; if it is a bad metric (again, sorta?) then the first state listed is the least bad and the fiftieth state listed is the most bad. And Alabama, along with Mississippi is trying to always be number fifty.

Why? I am not sure. Evidently it is something that the council of thieves and the guvmint think is necessary and desirable, like not having adequate medical care or schules. Those who subscribe to the Yankee guvmint’s race taxonomy claim it’s a racism thing. I personally think it’s more about greed and stupidity, but since I don’t pretend to understand I can’t claim my theory to be any better, But it ain’t fiftieth.

I also get asked why I continue to live here. That’s an easy one. Because I don’t have to work very hard to avoid things. I like to do things most of the population doesn’t, like think. So I don’t have to waste a lot of time dealing with thinking people. Of course, a lot – most – of the people aren’t very rational but that’s not all bad. Sort of like being stuck in permanent cosplay. And it’s relatively cheap to live here because there isn’t much to spend money on. Not that the guvmint and its masters aren’t trying to get your money but they do it in such putzish ways. 

Which is not to say it’s a bad place to live. There are still a few trees that haven’t been chopped down for export. And if Harry Harrison tried to write a DeathWorld novel about Alabama no one would believe it. 

So I’m going to enjoy the day. And do some experiements to help me find a working replacement for Ubernote. Film at Eleven.

Canoniacal Impropriety

Survived the expedition to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. The most accurate comment I can make is that nothing screams robotic motorcar necessity as loudly as pickup truck drivers. 

But I survived. Despite these pickup truck drivers and the other crazy motorcar drivers in Huntsville, and returned to Greater Metropolitan Arab with only mental wounding.

And I went to gym this morning, last of the week, which is daunting since the weather beavers are foretelling No Constitutional this week out due to low air temperatures. Anyway the gym was delightfully sparse and the podcast, an episode of “The Linux Action Show” was provocative. This latter largely followed from an interview with Mark Shuttleworth. 

I am NOT a fan of Shuttleworth and the interview reminded me quite quickly of why. The fellow is singularly paternalistic. Too much of the interview was “the developers know what the user needs and I command the developers”. And “if you ain’t a developer, you’re slime mold”. So I thought it worthwhile to review why I don’t use Ubuntu any more.

I will mention, only in passing that my disillusion with Ubuntu came early on when the community – not Canonical nor Shuttleworth – abandoned Gnome 2. This led to considerable experimentation until I finally settled on KDE as my GUI/desktop of choice. 

But, and this is a Shuttleworth thing, in process I had to confront the Unity thing. I should mention that several years ago, when I first became a manager, I went to one of our mechanical shops and deliberate did a bit of work exclusively for people who are left-handed. I am right-handed but I wanted to experience the difference so I could better manage. 

Now, let me offer that, for me, using Unity (or trying to) is akin to working with those left-handed tools. I can use it but it is neither comfortable nor facile nor efficient nor effective. I recognize that it is more useful on the small screen but as for me, it is negative on the large screen.

That is not a show stopper. There are other desktops/GUIs, which come in their own sub-distros or can be installed in parallel. But I began to have a problem with a desktop organization who abandons its members for the sake of potential future members. 

But I also had a problem with the version updates. Here in the hinterland, internet connection is not always good. In fact, it is almost always mediocre to poor with the statistics strongly on the lower end. When I started using Ubuntu I could download a disk image of a version update disk. It might take a couple of tries but I could download (eventually), burn a DVD, and do the version upgrade. And only once was it a smashing (as in nuke-and-pave) failure.

Then the practice moved to internet preferred and then internet only version upgrades. And I have three failed version upgrades in a row. Three successive nuke-and-paves in eighteen months. So I gave up on Ubuntu. 

I run two desk boxes. One has Debian, the other SolydK. Both handle updates better than Ubuntu. I recognize that both are unsure from a futures standpoint but I do know that Ubuntu is going to have to get a whole lot MORE stable in its update process to bring me back.


Two Food

Two day and not too bad so far. The gym was moderate and the podcasts, science in subject, were varied an not at all bad. In fact, quite good in the sense that there was no mention of basketball insanity nor of Frau Clinton and her criminal disregard for the nation’s laws safeguarding classified information. There was some sidebar mention of another Texican asshat wanting to be POTUS but that didn’t intrude very far. 

But it did raise an instance of the modern paradigm of minority governance. Consider a presidential ballot with the two “legal” candidates being our sado-fascist from Texas and the unpunishable criminal former FLOTUS. What better illustrates the failure of modern Amerikan government than governance by two political parties that together represent a minority of the electroate and whose members are the only ones allowed to hold office. So much for democracy in Amerika!

The podcasts, on the other hand, were actually entertaining, if not edifying. I learned that breast feeding, at least in Brazil where the study was conducted, results in a more intelligent, as measure by IQ, and economically productive child. I contrast this with an article [Link] I recently read that asserts that intelligence is a melange that comes and goes over time. Of course neither study measured anything important like literacy or calculacy. But let us face it, public breast nursing is rather more titillating than public feeding with a bottle. Or am I being prurient? At my age? 

The other thing I recall is that it has been found that, among other things, watching food programs on television contributes to obesity. Seems that there is no audience attraction for fruit and nuts – talking about maybe but not actually preparing – but there is for foods that make one feel good and eat too much. And contain the wrong things. 

These folks must have sampled different food programs than the ones I watch when I can’t find anything worthwhile. I admit I don’t watch many such but when I do it is for entertainment, not recipes. Because almost all of the food they show is off-putting. Now I admit that fried SPAM (the “meat” product, not eMail) takes me back to my college days but now all it invokes is fears of grease nausea. And the other foods are worse. 

I suspect the problem is that I spent a lot of my career for the Yankee Army of Occupation traveling around and thereby eating in a lot of places. The lesson I learned from this is that home cooking is almost always mediocre but it it almost always better than restaurant food. Chain restaurant food, in particular, is propaganda. Fancy restaurant food is Potemkin-esque, all facade and little substance. In general, any place that worries about “presentation” isn’t worth eating at. And the best places are non-chain holes-in-the-wall that barely pass the sanitation inspection. And they run to an 0.5 (or so) probability of diarrhea.

Not that there are not good restaurants. Sadly, they have a short life expectancy. For example, we have a good restaurant here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. It’s up for sale. 

Barbed Wire Baby Doll

Yesterday was a wasteland. I spent the day downloading my Uberbote data and trying to find a program that would import the data file. Three gags later I am only highly frustrated. 

“Whom the Gods would kill…

While I’m in such a mood it seem appropriate for today to be Mundane day. I shall not catalog the negatives and the positives are either nonexistent or so microscopic as to be lost in the noise but let me say that at the moment, dementia looks rather attractive.

On which azimuth, I noted an article [Link] that asserted that Mattel is going to produce a “talking” Barbie. And no, this is not one of those pre-recorded things. This Barbie will supposedly “converse” via some AI-in-the-Cloud connection. Needless to say the article was more than a little negative, mostly about privacy. My concern is do we really want our daughters to have “real” “Imaginary friends”? Norby stories aside, I am unconvinced that robots are good for children. No, not the Nipponese robots that destroy Tokyo ones. Those are OK. Not that girls seem to really like them. 

SCPdatter had all sorts of Barbies. Most of them are still here and still in their boxes. SCPdatter wasn’t too big on plating with Barbie. She preferred something more warm and fuzzy. Which Barbie isn’t. 

Several years ago Detroit experimented with a motorcar that talked to you. It told you when to shift gears and use the blinker and change the lubricant and refill the petrol tank. It was an abysmal flop. Never got past first stage customer testing. 

Maybe that’s why I don’t think much of Puppet Master Barbie? With apologies to RAH.


Disaster Portends

I have just discovered that Ubernote is going away. Suddenly I feel like a “caught” addict. I have been dependent on Ubernote since its inception and now I feel abandoned and stupid. 

Rationally, this tells me that my concerns about trusting the cloud were valid.

Now I have to wait to see if their claims that I can get a copy of my clippings is truthful.

Gonna be miserable for awhile.