Geek Doillies

Mundane day again. Mediocre time at gym. Moderately sparse, weight bouncers few and restrained (absent?) and educationalists sparse enough to keep the noise level down. Podcast poor, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with some minor immigration incident a century ago in Canadia. 

This did lead me to the current practice of issuing apologies for incidents (?) of the past. I am not sure these do any good except to possibly open the path to communication. If they do that, they are worthwhile. However, given that they are issued by politicians their veracity has to be highly unlikely.

This seems a corollary to the rule that all advertisement contain at least one deliberate inaccuracy. Which leads to the observation, only recently obtained, that once the density of advertisement in a segment of television programming reaches some critical amount – which may vary with the individual observer – the observer ceases to watch the programming and either goes elsewhere or does something else. Hence, More is Failure.

On which note, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Girls prefer computer science without the geek chic”. This article is about a social science (sic) experiment that is claimed to indicate that girls – pre-maturity women – are more comfortable in computer science classrooms that are decorated for girls and not for geeks. Presumably this partitions between girls and geeks so there are no girl geeks in this sample?

Some of this is unsurprising. I always found myself more comfortable in old classrooms with squeaky board floors and pipe visibly above than in more modern classrooms with linoleum (preferable to indoor/outdoor carpeting) and sound absorbing tile pseudo-ceilings. I also never cared for work-spaces with motivational posters. Such were the opposite of motivating and always made me consider whether management was whacked to think these had some effect or that the bogs were so whacked they were motivated by such. I later found out – as a manager – that they are cheaper than artwork and saving money is more important than employee satisfaction or effort.

The question is then how important is the disciplinary decoration of a classroom. Thinking back to my college days I recall that all chemistry classrooms had a periodic table which came in handy maybe once per term. All physics classrooms have blackboards on all walls except the back wall which is usually the entry/exit wall. Maths classrooms are similar. But I do know – from a solitary FORTRAN course and a couple of applied maths courses – that engineers set great store in having “inspirational” or “camaraderie” artwork in classrooms. And despite its name computer science isn’t a science and is more like an engineering discipline. 

So why don’t girls want to be part of the group? That is a question that isn’t answered by the survey. Is this one of those things where people want to know something to make money but not to be part of the group of the something. If so, why is such behavior desirable, or abided? This seems the relevant question. If the group malfunctioning and malfunctioning because of its social nature, then it should be altered. Otherwise we should question the motives of those who do not wish to be part of the group but profit by it. That sounds like theft.

Lawn Differences

Noticed this article [Link] that illustrates the difference between California and Alibam. In the land of golden earthquakes they decorate their lawns like this:

In Alibam most decorate their lawns with old motorcars (well rusted), failed appliances and electronics, garden gnomes, Confederate battle flags, and such.

Difference between cool and hick.

Phones and Cos-play

Ice Cream day. End of week. Dihydrogen oxide falleth. Walked in park anyway. Refreshing. Gave me the oomph to return home and do stuff. 

Noted this cartoon: [Link]

which struck me first with the misuse of the word “dumb” which means “Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes.” [1913 Webster] A common misuse is to equate silent with stupid. So why do I tend to associate talkative with stupid? Possibly because that is more accurate?

Which brings us to “smart phones”, which most assuredly are not. They are neither intelligent nor sentient, at least in the consciousness aspect. Yes they do sense an environment but they do not have anything but programmed ability to respond to that environment. But I have noticed that the most persistent users of such phones are people who appear to lack intelligence. Neuronegs, as some refer, which is a term I dislike but have to grudgingly admit has considerable validity. Not quite a synonym for bogs; bogs don’t use their intelligence, if they have such, which most do but appear not to. 

Anyway, I am of the conjecture that I should like a not-smart phone, clearly not a dumb one or I should be unable to hold converse with people I call, or who call me, but one that does not waste my time doing things I do not want it to do. I suspect my desire is irrelevant and orthogonal to social reality.

The second cartoon: [Link]

which struck me as a further dichotomy of geeks/nerds – those who hide behind (e.g.,) bike racks and those who do not. I suspect we all want to dress up in costume – without ridicule, of course. I am unsure of bogs in this matter but I suspect it is not so much a lack of desire as an aversion to social critique. Bogs tend to be unable to handle being laughed at. They tend to get violent or psychotic under such attention. But are those two the same?

Geeks, and to a lesser extent, nerds, are more open about such amusement. They raise costuming to a high level. Notice the increase in “cos-play” in recent decades. Of course, since they do such, they are expected to do so and the quantity of derision and laughter is much abated. Or is that the Bogs being envious of the greater honesty and chutzpah of geeks and nerds. Sadly such envy will probably result in more bog violence. 


Ode to Mediocrity and Failure

Freya’s day. Moderately not-unpleasant in the park. A bit humid. Wind low. Had to shuck top layer. But not quite conducive to contemplation while walking.

I ran across an article [Link] purporting to define the “perfect” hamburger.

And I began to roll on the floor laughing. And gasping for breath.

The hamburger is an abomination of foodstuffs. It is on the level of paleolithic (pre-pottery) soups. 

You start with ground beef. That’s second rate meat that has been pre-masticated to remove all of the texture and much of the flavor. Actually the flavor is still there but it has been so thoroughly mixed that there are no colors of flavor, only gray. And not fifty shades.

Then you heat the meat in a sanitary fashion. That means some specified temperature for some amount of time. This is the same process that a blacksmith uses when he wants to temper iron. Make it tougher and homogeneous, that is. So now the flavor is destroyed by thermal decomposition of its molecules.

Next you put the flavorless meat on a lifeless bun, probably baked in a steam oven, add vegetable and fruit bits made tasteless (even negatively tasting) by chemical preservation and coloration. And you add compotes of various vegetables and spices that have been produced in great factories to a standardized formula using low bidder ingredients.

Rather reminiscent of the Challenger experience, isn’t it. Except for the freezing of various key components. Oh, if you buy the burger at a fast food restaurant, the meat was also frozen, wasn’t it? So it is like the Challenger experience. Except the explosion is disappointment. 

Modern Amerikan Capitalism has reduced the hamburger, never a great thing to begin with, to just another salt-sugar-fat processed food. No different from breakfast cereal or cookies or tv dinners. 

Yes, if the burger is warm and fresh and you are hungry there is a mild pleasurable sensation. But for a real meal you have to have stuff with flavor and texture and more than a bit of risk.

Yes, the hamburger is a fitting symbol of the contemporary mediocrity of Amerikan society.

Hat Day

Thor’s day. Survived the gallop to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Sat with colleagues and discussed matters mundane and real. Procured foodstuffs. Then off to gym this morning. Passable but partly because last gym day of the week.

Ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and was rather taken with it. I particularly liked the “distancing” declaration. As I get older I have more desire to distance myself from the bogs and schmucks but less inclination to incur their mumblage over my appearance. I know I should not care but the mumblage is a form of friction and sometimes stealth is safest. Especially among religionists (like christianists) who will happily discorporate someone to avoid having to think about their beliefs. (Their in this instance refers to the religionists, not the discorporated one. Point of Clarification.)

I suspect all kids have a superhero cape. When I was a bairn I used an old, ragged towel. Never the same one twice. And since my idea of superhero was first the batman and then Adam Strange, the whole cape thing was soon discarded. I never had a Viking helmet. The closest I have is a tam in sorta my tartan knitted by my physical chemistry laboratory partner Displacement Current Mass. As with every kid who grew up in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, I had a space helmet but it was so hot, damp, and vision blocking that I seldom wore it for any period of time. 

I have had lots of hats over the years, mostly tweedy things that were rather bashed in appearance from being folded and crammed into pocket whether they were supposed to or not. As with many things, hats were better in the old days. And caps were only worn when playing baseball or softball. Never in public. Even by farmers. I detect caps. They are abominations. At least the ones worn by bogs today.