Word Natter

Hectic day. Gallop into Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for Staff Call and Provisioning. Then back to Greater Metropolitan Arab for string pushing.

Ran across an article that claimed something was “powered by AI.” 

Curried my coat the wrong way.

Again.

For some reason it is fashionable these days to completely misuse the word “power”. 

Simply put, power is defined as the time derivative of energy. Ergs per second or equivalent units.

Software doesn’t power anything. The energy grid, or its stand-in, powers computers that run software.

Software can control power. Just ask the Roosians. 

Using words wrong is due to either ignorance or stupidity. The former is fixable; the latter isn’t except by nature. 

School .NE. Learning

One Day. Back to gym. Thankfully! Podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on the matter of homework. My take-away was that the program was mostly negative on the matter. 

Since I was a child of the Containment era when any effort portrayed as good for the nation was mandated, I had homework. At least they didn’t kill us like they did the suspected (on specious grounds, usually) Communists. 

I have to admit that most of the homework was crap. Double Sturgeon, in fact. The exception was math and science. Most of what I leaned about maths and science pre-college was on-my-own. Homework was the chief vehicle with library plundering a close second. While my age cohort was playing at sports and complaining about homework, and schule in general, I was reading. Three to four books a week. My parents refused to let me spend money on comic books because they were read before the ride home was accomplished. So mostly encyclopedias and tomes intended for adults. 

Since my life was about reading, and to a lesser extent, writin’, homework was only a burden when it was boring. Which pretty well fit everything except maths and science. Especially grammar. Which brings me to the benefit of homework.

Most of my teachers were ineffective. That is, they were roundly unsuccessful in imparting information. Mostly because they were boring. If I hadn’t learned to read at home by age four, I would likely be illiterate to this day.

There were exceptions. I had a competent science teacher in high schule. He taught chemistry. I took his course his first year as a teacher and he left teaching a few years later to start his own chemistry company. I had a competent maths teacher my senior year if we could keep him off the organ. The musical type, not anatomical. 

So when I got to college most of what I had learned was from homework. That would seem to explain a lot. Like why so many people are math-blind; they can’t learn on their own. And why some Millennials are empty headed; they can learn on their own.  

I should comment that I did have good teachers in college. Maybe a third in undergraduate schule and four or five in graduate schule. (Neither of my graduate advisers are in that number.) 

I should also comment that teaching is not easy. In fact, it is a very hard thing. Teaching isn’t about being nice. Teaching is about having the most difficult conversation possible. Most teachers never manage to have that conversation. It’s very hard work. After I got evicted from graduate schule, I taught a few courses. Lost weight and my blood pressure went up every time. But my students, in the main, came back and thanked me for getting them through quals and comps. But I gave it up because it was too hard for me and hard on me. Not that I would have been kept around. You can’t be a good teacher in Amerika and make the administration happy. Which is probably why we are working so hard to become a Third World Country. 

So homework? Definitely. For those few who will learn in spite of the system. 

Spider Webs

Returned from the monthly gathering of the Marshall County Linux SIG. Cleaning up stray tasks, mostly digital in scope. Which includes some early tab ‘hawg’in. Hence away.

By now, the article [Link] entitled “Politicians fume after Amazon’s face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks” is a bit dated but still worthy of consideration, mostly because we discussed AI at SIG this morning. More than one of us has written code. My reflection on the article, and the deed prompting, is that such may be accurate. I cannot speak for other states’ political but Alibam’s politicals are notoriously such. Almost all of the guvnuhs in the last two decades have been affirmed as such by the Yankee guvmint’s justicers. And, if the advertisements bought by their opponents are accurate, which we know thet are if they were shown to the public on television, then everyone running for office in Alibam is. 

What is not clear is that extension to the national level is accurate or justified. Where is Diogenes when we need him?

Next, an article [Link] entitled “The CDC Is Pleading – Stop Washing And Reusing Your Condoms!” This is actually very encouraging. I can remember not too long ago when the majority of people in this nation of ours had no idea what a condom was. This was especially true for my age cohort who were told that so long as the woman – everyone was strictly hetero in those days – was on THE PILL, nothing could go wrong. Happily that was during the glory days of the Domino Theory and when things did go wrong the erring man could volunteer for the Yankee Army and go to Asia to frustrate godless Communists.

And lastly, an article [Link] entitled “Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25.” This is another thing that is completely orthogonal to the Millennials. Winders NT was the last good OS to be excreted by MegaHard. everything else satisfies their quota of Sturgeon’s Rule. 

And, of course, no Millennial has ever used NT. Nor a slide rule. Poor deprived children. 

Apple Politics

Yesterday as I was motoring back from NAwth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, listening to their Public Wireless station – because, well, it isn’t either superstition and mysticism or junk music – and they mentioned, as a category, Republicans who use iPhones.

This provoked some cogitation. In fact, I quit listening to their blather to think. It was a mixed bag; happily the rain was a sprinkle and the density of stupitists (stupid & motorists) was quite low, being midmorning going Sowth on US231. 

I first reflected on the combination of iPhone and MAGA. This seemed so incongrous as to be orthogonal. Somehow I pictured MAGAites purchasing some no-contract unknown-brand phone at MalWart. 

So I next reflected on the Republicans that I knew who had iPhones. A pattern emerged: suit wearers; college degrees; people who dismissed Faux News as propaganda. IOW, people who knew what conservative means other than a catch phrase. People who are actually Republican not because they have any affection for the party but because it is less evil to them than the other. 

People who stay married. Or never marry. And know more than 600 words. And can, mostly, write in cursive. 

But almost all are not STEMs. And the ones who are don’t want to waste smart time on what should be an appliance.

People somewhat akin to the Founding Fathers. Except not particularly wealthy. Nor clad in clothes more appropriate to the privacy of one’s house while mucking out the potty. In public. Or on an airplane.

With tolerance and a sense of humor. And self-discipline.

IOW, not the 90% of Republicans who validate Sturgeon’s Rule.

So maybe they are the ones we should let breed?

Memories of Times Past

This morning, while belatedly perusing the FaceScroll, I ran across some pictures posted by the Yankee Army Woe College of their entering students gathering and signing for their textbooks. (It is, after all, an Army schule.)

I have to admit that this was a fond reminder of one of the most amusing situation at the Woe College, watching a plethora (class) of Field Grades having to practice their newly directed politeness skills (????) to the library clerks. Needless to say this requirement sat poorly on the shoulders of many of these officers. 

The other most amusing situation was any time one was in seminar and cited an equation to make a point. Even though almost all of the students had to pass calculus in college, almost none have used any of it since that time and so maths are as alien to Woe College students as “change is to military monks.” (They can identify the source of that quote.)

Godspeed oh Sec of State

I see and hear that the former senator (religionist fanatic branch) of Alibam has initiated a new campaign against everyone who isn’t an evilgelical.

I just hope they realize it’s the opening move in a game designed to be against everyone who isn’t him. 

Isn’t it amazing how Amerikan political parties are evolving into gangs?