Contradictory Parentage

Wherefore it being Seventh Day and the tabs upon the browsers being numerous and slowing, it is discovered that it be timely to prune back a few by inflicting them upon the righteous rationals who frequent the blog.

I told you I disliked (hated) winter; it doth have a nasty effect upon my cognition, and this last week of warmth contrasted to the previous has tilted the spins of sensation into new orientations.

The initial point [Link] is entitled “Why Aren’t There More Smart Americans?” which, as we may infer from the title (a rarity with contemporary journalism, but the editors of this periodical are more subtle in their villainy,) dabs away at the question of the stupidifying of Amerika. I quote:

He says that one reason the US lags behind other countries is a political culture in Washington in which too many leaders are ignorant of and hostile to basic science. 

The he is the fellow referenced in the article. I hesitate to say anything about him because I have never heard of him before.

Let us talk a bit about the matter, however. The primary reason that the Critters of Congress are anti-science (both parties) is that they are arrogant, stupid, and unaccountable. Amerika has succumbed to a Dictatorship of the Parties, to paraphrase the Russians a bit. The arrogance manifests in a belief that Amerika is unassailable and that scientists are irrelevant nuisances. 

This is abetted by the parents of Amerika. Simply put, contemporary parents do not want their children to be smart; they want them to be socially integrated but adored. Geeks and nerds have, in one generation, become invisible pariahs. Because their parents want them to be socially modal. 

This contrasts rather amusingly with the second point [Link] which describes efforts to legislate a right to repair. On surface this seems completely alien to our legislative serfs of capitalist oligarchs. But when we consider the coming disasters of climate change with widespread poverty, death, and suffering, it makes sense to give those oligarchs a boost in a savagely curtailed marketplace.

Thirdly, and oddly contrasting, [Link] is an article entitled “Half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard.” This completes the cycle of the blot. Parents want their children to be social integrates, but they also want them to be successful financially. And those two have come into opposition. To be successful these days means to study business or STEM, and only old money is successful in business; the rest are serfs. And the thought is right: STEM is hard. Because it requires lots of mental activity opposite to being a social drone. 

So parents are doing their own children in. 

Galgenhumor.

Postmodern Sturgeon

The incresed air temperature has had the beneficial effect of stimulating my cognitive activities. The detrimental side is that much of that activity has been frustrating and painful.

One of my colleagues, Current Density Linear Angular Momentum, send me a [Link] entitled “Is President Trump a Stealth Postmodernist or Just a Liar?” The subject of the article aside – for now – the contents of the article are a lengthy quote fest of what postmodernism is. 

I have to admit that I managed to go to college for twelve years without being exposed to the idea of postmodernism. IMHO, that was a mitzvah. Because so far as I can tell from repeatedly revisiting the matter as a degreed adult and a practicing Science NERD, it is an overly elaborate theory that lacks any meaningful foundation. Even the name is off-putting. 

I have to admit that my own approach to the matter is rather Platonian. I am primarily concerned with views of reality since that is the sine qua non of Science NERDs. Simply put, there is no one reality. Even actual reality, that of the physical universe, has several aspects. The reality of the physicist is different from the reality of the biologist or the geologist. That doesn’t mean any of them are completely accurate but the differentiation does lend itself to Us-Them.

What seems relevant here is reality at a somewhat more aggregate level. Specifically, the difference between physical and social reality. Physical reality is the reality of Science NERDs and maybe some mathematicians. Social reality is the reality of society. Part of the latter is civilization and agriculture and capitalism. 

When we first cast out the British tyranny and established an Amerikan tyranny, we were an agrarian nation. The majority of the population were directly connected with agriculture, an agriculture whose instrumentality was familial and instrumentation was sensual and muscle powered. As a result, physical reality – especially weather – was intimately a part of the population’s reality.

Today, the majority of the citizenry live in cities. They are largely divorced from Nature and as a result, for most people, social reality is more important than physical reality. 

This brings us to Truth. This is a horribly misused term. It effectively has no meaning outside the religious. In terms of physical reality, what is important is accuracy and effectiveness; in therms of social reality, what is important is memery and kulturny. So anytime one hears (or sees) the word “truth”, one knows it is a misused – and hence contra-meaningful – word. 

Politicians have always toga-wrapped themselves with words like “truth”. Largely because what they say is inherently self-serving. In the old days, they rationalized this with “the Plebians will not understand, so misrepresentation is crucial to peace and stability.” Nowadays, they don;t care about anyone but themselves so the rationale is simply “misrepresentation is crucial to peace and stability” and continuance in office. 

One of the realities of “truth” is that everything is inaccurate, especially if it is expressed in language. We could say that everything is a “lie” but that is as meaningless as truth because of its universality. What is useful is to talk about accuracy and that implies maths and hence will not be understood by the Bogs (Plebs.) 

So what is important is not whether someone “lies”, but how they “lie.”

In the context of physical versus social reality, this is crucial. In physical reality, knowing the degree of inaccuracy is fundamental; in social reality, the congruence with current social memes and practices determines the accuracy. 

Now I’m going to do something constructive, namely, breaking my fast.

Contemporary Dilemma

How do we distinguish actual fake news from actual news denounced as fake by a caught-out politician or organization?

The Sturgeon Rule answer seems to be that anything announced by a politician or organization is prevaricative and hence implicitly and inherently fake. 

QED?

Race to the Dump

Six Day emerges! A restful night’s slumber, largely because the need to arise every couple of hours and make an inspection round of the drip posts was absent. That was a duty I did not have last night. And if the foretellings of the weather beavers is accurate this morning, not for a whole week. 

So absent expressing the discontent of the season, I shall have to dig about to express alternate discontent.

First, I note [Link] that there has been joy and excitement on the campus of the Black Warrior. It seems one of the women Greeks has gone off on a “racial” tirade of great magnitude – made possible by the wonders of technology and the cancer of social media – that has resulted in her expulsion not just from the U but from the bosom of her comrades in Greekdom. 

There are several intriguing aspects to this. The first is the instance of “racism”. Race, of course, is a bankrupt concept that has been scientifically dismissed as odoriferous rubbish numerous times. It does, however, serve a useful purpose for organizations, especially government, to impose a taxonomy on their memberships. And use that taxonomy to control said memberships.

Scientifically, what exists seems to be Us/Them-ism. We identify an in group (sometimes groups) and out groups. The in group is inherently, adamantinely good while the out groups occupy a non-stationary spectrum ranging from tolerable to hated. This distinction is not without some merit but it also has a dark side, and that dark side is an avoidance of mental health. 

When the Us/Them relationship is accessed rationally in the light of valid data, then it is a healthy thing, protecting us from stupidity. When we blindly accept an Us/Them relationship without rational validation, then we become serfs of our imaginations and irrationality. We may even accept the prejudices and insanities of society unquestioningly. In a sense, we become EXTRO Bog, since so many EXTRO Bogs are not mentally functional nor healthy. 

This appears to be the situation at the campus. It is not surprising. Greek organizations are hotbeds of fascist irrationality, at least on that campus, and have never done anything to correct the problem. They have become very good at hiding the problem, which is why the young woman in question became bus motorway. What is conspicuously absent is any effort by either organization, sorority or university, to help the young woman with her mental sickness. 

Of course, no effort has ever been made by either in this direction except for scholarship jocks who add measurably to the brand revenues of the organizations. Sadly, this indicates the fundamentally mercantilist mind set in those campus organizations. 

Perhaps we should be happy that no direct harm was done the young woman. She could, I suppose, have been sold to sex slavers or looted for her organs? 

There is little humor to be found in this matter. If there is, it is likely galgenhumor although as one of the nation’s major purveyors of college athletic pornography, the galgen may be far off. 

I should like to say I am happy to be ORF, but that would ring hollow since I attended this schule and did nothing to change it. “Against Stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain.” I am not sure that I would not do the same again. Survival dictates other states that fight or flight. 

But we don’t have to like it. That’s what happens when we find our In Group is evil and nasty. 

Shedding Colding

Five Day. Foretold to be the day we last see solid dihydrogen oxide for a while. Sadly, the weather beavers, both the Yankee Government’s and the Huntsville TV mavins, erred grievously! The NWS was off by five degF and the Huntsville crowd by at least two degrees more. How do these people retain their jobs. And why do people bitch about the Yankee Postal Service and not about these inept clowns? 

I also have a few more wordings to complain about since I have been subjected to such in great number during the bunkerment. First, I will remind the Bogs and a few Geeks that cold is a sensation and not a thermodynamic quantity. And colding is the weather condition that causes one to be cold. Again, since it is associated with a sensation it is an individual thing, not a real measure.

The same somewhat applies to hot. Hot is a sensation but in this case hoting is related to knighthood rather than sensation. So no word for the weather that causes the sensation of hot.

More ambiguous is cool. When applied to matter it also refers to a sensation but the contemporary common usage has to do with temperament and persona. And perhaps leather attire?

Anyway, bottom line, only haggis headed bogs use hot, cold, or cool to refer to weather or temperature. Such people are to be pitied if they will learn the evil of their ways and offered washing detergent otherwise.

Finally, adult humans are NOT “Lactose Intolerant.” Lactose Intolerance is an affliction/condition of pre-adolescent children. Adults who secrete Lactase may be referred to as “Lactose Tolerant.” 

Basically, 75+% of adult humans do not secrete Lactase. They cannot digest Lactose. When a population is in the majority, they are NOT weird nor unusual. They are the mode. (We also do not call them “Normal” because that is equally ignorant and stupidity-revealing. People who say “Normal” in this context are also to be pitied.) In particular, any medical practitioner who says this must be consider incompetent and reported to the local licensing board for examination. 

N.B. If this terminology is used by a News Reader, stay one’s hand. These people are deficient in every skill except looking pretty and reading large type. Just be happy you and your children aren’t one. 

Colding the Past 2

Greater Metropolitan Arab is warming up. Air temperature 7 degF up from 4 degF when I arose. And because the city government has decided the streets are undrivable, rubbish collection has been delayed one or two days – ambiguity here – the rubbish contractor has been featherbedded.

Meanwhile the Greater Metropolitan Arab constabulary has declared all the city roads drivable, which suggests either some political shenanigans or an outright rupture with the politicians. If the latter we may only hope it spreads nationwide. 

Also, the Arab Tribune, the city newsrag, has declared the Arab City Government to be stochastic, or so I have been told by my colleague Magnetic Inductance Force. This is truly amazing. I had no idea our conscript parents were intelligent enough to act in a probabilistic fashion.

Meanwhile, I am informed by the national media that the Deputy Fuhrer was school Monday by an AA Baptist minister. What amazed me was the stochasticity of a Yankee evilgelical attending services, even on a pseudo-holiday. And the advisory board of the Department of the Interior has resigned en mass.  Maybe there is still some good in society?

Meanwhile, I am contemplating particle movement at absolute zero of temperature. Seems appropriate somehow.

Also meanwhile, another colleague, Mass Magnetic Field, has declared that Alibam is CLOSED. He failed to mention that the only people dissenting with this are the idiots who are converting motorcars to coffins on the motorways.

Colding the Past

Three Day and the depth of discontent. Almost makes me envy Shakespeare and the dearth of thermometers. 

The prize for most accurate weather forecast goes – once more – to the Yankee Government’s National Weather Service. They predicted a low of 5 degF and are only one degF too high. The weather beavers at Nawth Alibam’s Shining CIty on the Hill blew it big time with a prediction of 9 degF! Way to go WAFF! [Link]

This will resound a bit sour given the general attitude in Alibam towards the Yankee government, but clearly this is a demonstration that said Yankee government not only can do things right but better than the redneck Repulsian denialist evilgelicals of Alibam. The ones who want to keep their graven idols of civil war “heroes”. That statement doesn’t mean that  I do not acknowledge either their military abilities nor their patriotism, but I somehow doubt that most of them would happily accept the mantle and train of culture hero. 

This brings up the question of how we separate the evils of individuals and society from the biology of survival, especially when we come to their interactions. One of the things Thoreau teaches us is how difficult it is to cast away society and we should remember this when we condemn members of past society. Castigating the more egregious practitioners of social injustice is largely misplaced; those we should be condemning are the forgotten who started the practice and made it a part of their society. 

Of course, we also have to accept a lot of social collapse if we do. 

The lesson that we fail to learn from history and the present is that we cannot dissipate our evils by condemning those who practiced those evils in the past. We have no way of going back and rectifying such, not that we should if we could. If we are to blame anyone it is those today who continue these practices; they are the only ones we can do more than ground our hormones over.

As to be expected with such low air temperatures, the air is relatively dry and my sinuses are sharing that experience with the rest of me. Enough. Selah. If the day warm from this Fimbulwinter abates I may return.  But in the interim I need be gird my loins to venture out and place the rubbish bin on the verge in anticipation that the contracted rubbish lorry will make its rounds this day. Given the whiteness of the streets and how that white will become ice under the first pressure of a motorcar and the density of idiocy in Greater Metropolitan Arab, that icing seems a certainty and hence the folly of my task.

But such is part of marriage and society.

MANA 1

One Day. And already weirding. First of all, it’s the holiday of Martin Luther King 2. Also – in Alibam – the holiday of Robert Edward Lee. Both are somewhat abandoned. The Yankee Government is observing the former and all the folks who have that connection are unofficed today. But the schools are also in session and given the usual touchy-feely of schools, that seems to indicate some negation. But the silence over the state holiday is intriguing? Perhaps there is some tippy-toe among the state politicians?

It is also a day of weather weirding. For some reason, this winter seems to be a season of two stage colding aggressions. Two weeks ago, there was such and today is the interbellum between the latest. As such, I went off to gym. Air temperatures barely less than the liquid->solid phase change of dihydrogen oxide. A glorious temperature foretold not to be attainable after today until Freya’s day, at least with any persistence. So a week of shivering and discontent portends.

Two weeks ago, FD SCP and I bunkered in and we probably will again this week but we are trying to do so less. The acclimatization (or is it aweatherization?) is difficult. (I despair of using words like acclimatize and incur the wrath of climate change denialist redneck Repulsians and since Alibam is a snake pit of such…) And unpleasant. In fact, existence under these conditions is unpleasant. And stressful. So why not venture out into the lowest strata of Tartarus and end one’s existence more rapidly?

The podcast this morning a gym was a bit enlightening. It was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” interviewing the author of some philosophical novel about imbuing dogs with sentience and speech and (possibly) humanity. The narrator and author prattled on for fifty minutes in the most positive of words about the work, none of which inspired in me any positive thought about reading the work. It did, however, illuminate me on the intellectual depths of borderlike Bog-Geeks. The only good part was the occasional utterance of absolute Bog ignorance. 

This led me to contemplate what would be needed to “Make Amerika NOT AWFUL”? Since one of the activities that people will be practicing today is preparation for the possibility of snow on the morrow, I naturally hit on the matter of bread as an awfulness.

Simply put, bread in Amerika is AWFUL. It is sliced white bread that lacks both taste and texture. It is the penultimate symbol and actualization of our mediocrity and failure as a nation-state. Amerikan bread, at least the pre-sliced white species, adds nothing to either food or society. The kindest thing that I can say about it is that at least it does not breed disease carrying insects. Sadly, that is a statement of its value as a foodstuff.

Why is Amerikan bread so abysmal and AWFUL? Simply put, because it is made in factories by Capitalists and the citizens don’t care. These two conditions are self-supporting, or perhaps, self-destroying would be a better term?

And no, I do not eat such bread. If I cannot find good bread in any store, I will make my own. Or I go without. I do not frequent restaurants that serve mediocre bread.

Which Amerikan slice, white bread is far below. 

So one way that we can Make Amerika NOT AWFUL is to get rid of this cancerous excuse for bread. That would serve two purposes: it would make citizens of Amerikans again; and it would abase the false gods of Capitalism – the other form of Evilgelical.

Now I am off to make Sourdough toast that I shall smear with Maple Butter. It being winter, after all. And perhaps, maybe, reduce the general discontent.

Reinventing Stupidity

Seven Day. And foretold by the weather beavers to be the day we leave dihydrogen oxide phase changes behind for a while. And may thus cease to stress out over damages to our household plumbing. Houses in Alibam are not built for colding weather. Or ice. 

Another thing that needs to change in response to Climate Change. Which is unlikely given the preponderance of Repulsian denial-ism in the Old Confederacy. 

On an equally dismal – and comparable – azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Research reveals ‘shocking’ weakness of lab courses.” This comes from Cornell U – once host to Feynman – about how their introductory physics labs don’t teach physics. 

What is shocking to me is how this nonsense is getting dredged up once again. 

I started doing learning physics labs back in high schule. That was in the sixties (of the last century) when science was a big deal, even approved by Repulsians and Democruds, because we needed to keep the Red Hordes at bay. In many ways, Containment was a vastly superior life style than today even with hiding under one’s schule desk exercises. And fear of nuclear destruction. 

Anyway, high schule physics lab was largely a joke, mostly because of the turn over of faculty and the meagreness of equipment. But those lessons stood well with time. Two of the problems with physics learning labs are the equipment: highly specialized; hideously expensive; and not very instructive; and faculty interest. No one gets tenure for dedicating one’s career to introductory physics labs. It’s a ticket punch, not a career definer.

When I went to college I found more and better equipment, almost all of it older by I by decades, and lab teaching assistants who were more concerned with students not killing themselves than meaningful learning. 

Supposedly the purpose of introductory physics lab is supplementing what is taught in the course. That fails. First of all, the only people who may benefit from the lab – long term – are science majors, physics majors in particular. And they are the minority. Because if you try to teach an introductory physics class for physics majors the legume enumerators hang you out to dry. So you have to have a course that services (the academic variety) engineers and other science discipline majors as well as provides a blast off for physics majors.

So the majority know they aren’t going to benefit from the labs and that their task is to endure the labs to pass the course and move on. And the physics faculty have to accommodate this to survive. 

Let me also interject that introductory physics lab is unique, or, at least, was in my day. Yes, it was paced to the lectures, but the stuff taught in introductory physics is the same as taught in high schule physics just more so. So what the labs will show is already well known, so little learning opportunity and little learning. Just more endurance.

The next learning lab course – “modern” physics – is better in having stuff to actually learn but, at least in my day, wasn’t tracked to the lectures. Why? Because there was only enough equipment for one set per experiment. So the lab schedule was a staggered progression. One team got to do the experiments in sync with the lectures but everyone else was out of sync. 

The team thing is another contributor. It’s a Taylor thing. Teams are good for getting work done but they’re lousy for learning or doing really original stuff. Why, because the EXTROs want to get things done and they run the teams. In fact, even in a team of two, learning doesn’t happen. Learning is an individual activity to varying degree and physics tends to be overpopulated with INTRO Nerds. 

When I was in Grad Schule, study groups were a big deal at the Campus of the Boneyard. I tried a couple. Didn’t work. Because of the EXTROs. Turned out the study groups were encouraged because of the flunk out rate of EXTROs and how emotionally engaging they were with the administration.

The last coffin nail is time. Labs have to be scheduled. College teaching is all about floor space. And not everyone learns at the same “speed”.

So why do we expect learning labs to work? Because of the administration? Because the faculty did it? Because they didn’t learn either but think they should have? 

If we’re realistic, we shouldn’t expect anything more out of introductory physics labs than that it will “wet the feet” of students who will get introduced to real research labs in a few years. And won’t be total klutzes about it. 

Physics is about reality. Apply that reality recognition to learning labs and quite rehashing their ineffectiveness every ten years or so. So I can quite having to read the same tripe every decade. Figure out it’s a socialization process like lectures and homework problems. And take Latency into account.

Selah.