Albino Cetacean

So is the training to instill or remove racial discrimination?

And given the source’s ability to make decent coffee, how successful do we think the training will be?


Serfdom of the Mind

Mr. Comey (or his publisher,) has released his memory book which, according to an email from the Guardian, is rather negative about the POTUS (Yes, I have rephrased this.) This brings my cogitation to the subject of truth.

I have previously enunciated the view that there are some statements that are inherently inaccurate” any discipline that tells me it is a science, isn’t; any advertisement that tells me its product is wonderful, healthful, beneficial, …, then the product isn’t; ….

So now let’s take a look at truth.

Truth is fundamentally a religionist concept. Truth is supposed to be immutable, adamantine, eternal, and transcendent. It is thence, derivatively, neither questionable nor utterable. Truth must be provided directly by the deity to the mortal and cannot be communicated by the mortal to other mortals.

It is unclear what the purpose of Truth is or why the Deity would bother communicating it since it can only benefit the human directly communicated with by the Deity. Or whether there is an benefit to that individual. In fact, this seems rather like teasing or even torture.

Truth has, sadly, been appropriated by the legal instrumentality to lend credibility to its arbitrary, imagined laws. Much pomp and circumstance is accorded truth which is totally absent courtesy of the mental workings of humans in all aspects of the system. It does help shore up other imaginary concepts like justice and fairness, both of which are subjective and irrelevant. All that counts in the legal world is that laws be obeyed and miscreants punished. The good done is for the organization and only the organization. 

The religion aspect is similar. Most of the blathering about truth in religion is done for the benefit of the organization. The reason is somewhat more insidious. Simply put, perception of “truth” negates thought. Since truth is eternal, unquestionable, and immutable, any rational consideration of it is pointless and wasteful. IOW, truth and ignorance are complements. What is unclear is which engenders the other? Does a state of ignorance facilitate truth or does truth exalt ignorance? Or some other relationship?

This is the primary reason I seldom read outreach books and may be seen gagging when a scientist, who knows better, talks about truth to Bogs. Science, as I have said before, is about understanding, not truth. This has not changed manifestly since the days of the Restoration. 

In a way, Truth is like the Vacuum. We may define it but we cannot find it for as soon as we see it or touch it it ceases to be. 

And there is a name for people who are inaccurate in exchanging information: humans.  

Climate Change?????

Rather much has been made about the Zucker gracing the National Council of Thieves with his presence. [Link] I have to admit to having actually watched a minuscule bit of the affair on the electromagnetic receiver and I noted two things:

This affair set a record for a gawky guy’s uncomfortableness in n obviously overpriced and incompetently fitted suit; and

a record for the number of people in a room who enjoy wide public confidence and are as ignorant as slime is of itself.

Nonetheless, I have to agree with the article that two things are in the wind. What I think they miss will be the bulk of my blottage.

First, FaceScroll needs regulation. That may be but what hasn’t been addressed is who will administer the regulatory activity? Consider how poorly the Yankee Guvmint regulates (as an egregious example) the money capitalist organizations. Now part of this is political treason on the part of politicians of both partei flavor but most of the ineptitude is due to the inadequate skills in the guvmint, especially since the politicians got mean about their war on civil servants.

This vector goes very deep if we think about who in guvmint is going to regulate FaceScroll. My guess is that the best pick would be the NSA. The problem is that while NSA understands the surveillance aspects, they are probably as empty of capability as the rest of the guvmint when it comes to the psychological side of Face Scroll. 

So the question is, who does the administration of the regulation? I suspect most agencies will be savvy enough to keep low because anyone who gets the rose will end up smelling of Sty.

Second, FaceScroll is too big. This is a similar problem. How do you partition FaceScroll? Based on the geography of the members: Yankees can’t associate with Confeds? Based on Gender: boys can’t associate with girls? Maybe… Based on age: ORFs can’t associate with Millenials? 

So the second question is, how do you reduce it? Without, pissing off everyone and making this an issue for the next general election?

The fact is that FaceScroll is a manifestation of the electronic revolution that started at the beginning of the last century with radio and such. Society has lagged a bit, but not as much as government. We now have a world wide web that isn’t world wide but wherever it is, everyone with a minimal amount of coin is a member, a citizen, if you will, and they are prepared to ignore what they ain’t interested in or don’t like but will take swift revenge to anyone who degrades their access and citizenship.

The Council of Theives, of course, is very good at denying and ignoring climate change but this is a form that they may suffer from robustly.

Human versus Schule

After the previous blot, I was pleased to run across an article [Link] so stuffy and arrogant – and erroneous! – that I have bruised ribs from rolling and laughing. The article, entitled “School lunch decisions made by the child and not the parent” is based on a journal article of a study of twenty students and families in England.

England has the same kind of schule lunch restrictions that many states in the Yankee republic have that are examples of how the intention of good is bollixed by introducing organizational (in both cases, governmental) rules.

I am not going to comment on the speciousness of the small sample size. But it is amusing when one considers why the sample may be so small.

The study was primarily concerned about the difference between students eating cafeteria meals and eating packed – brought from home – meals, presumably at luncheon. The basic data was collected by group discussion/interview. An illuminating summary was given:

“After analysis of the data, four keys themes emerged: children as a decision maker; priorities when preparing a packed lunch; parents’ anxieties and reassurances; and school factors. Even though parents preferred taking advantage of school lunches that are provided at no cost to some families, they were unwilling to force this decision when the child disagreed. The child’s food preferences also took precedence when the packed lunch was prepared. Children themselves made specific requests when shopping or the parent packed what they knew would be enjoyed and eaten. The ability to monitor that a lunch had been eaten was cited as a benefit of a packed lunch over a school lunch and providing a treat in the packed lunch was also important to parents. The inclusion of treats and other items such as chips, chocolate, and soda is often prohibited by packed lunch guidelines, but parents questioned whether enforcement is possible. They also reported children trying to persuade parents to ignore the policy by reporting on what other children had brought to school.”

A conclusion from the study director:

“Children’s growing authority over food choice has implications for staff involved in providing school food and presents an opportunity to develop initiatives to promote better food choices and subsequent nutrition,”

was also illuminating.

Based on my own experiences, both as a student and as a parent, inclines me to consider this to be primarily academic stercus tauri. I can’t speak to England, but I know in Amerika that “children’s’ growing authority” is erroneous and void. I have related previously how students negotiated their lunch contents when I was a bairn. And based on comments by my parents, such were not new then. So the actuality is a negotiation and not an authority. Although I do suspect keeping peace does instill considerable authority over the contents.

I find it amusing that the matter of parents’ distrust of the schule instrumentality to provide lunch is unmentioned. The partei line is that schule lunches are nutritious; the actuality is that the schule lunches be cheap and easy to produce. Even if the lunches are nutritious, such is irrelevant if the children do not eat them. Also unsaid is that the schule is largely indifferent to whether the lunches are consumed since making and forcing them on students is sufficient to satisfy their obligation under law. They may occasionally be pinged for food wastage but such are transient and ignored. 

Once again we come down to human questions: which is better, nutritious lunches uneaten or semi-nutritious lunches eaten? The answer is self-evident to everyone but an educationalist or a bureaucrat. 

Overall, this seems a matter of educationalists (and bureaucrats) ignoring child psychology. Children are, as a rule, picky eaters. They dislike change unless it is self-initiated, and there is woefully little of this in schule. So institutional recipes for unengaging food basically create an environment of rejection that grows over time. Variation of the recipes intensifies the trend.

Sadly, there is a strong correlation between sugar level and learning capacity. The sadness is how this relationship is abused with conditions such as these. It seems we need to amend Chicken Man’s saying to “Good Students succeed in spite of bad teachers and bad schules.”  

STEM Stupidity

Seven Day. Week Out. And frost once more upon the ground. Oh!, the joys of Climate Change and Global Warming. One of which is the ignorant shoutings of Repulsian stalwarts that such incidents definitively prove the absence of their effector. Never mind that these people are math blind and have no capacity to comprehend that the standard deviation of the temperature distribution is proportional to the mean temperature, they have to be right because they “feel” it to be right. Deity bless Amerika where Ignorance is king and knowledge is sinful.

On which note I feel the need to let loose some blot on a spate of STEM articles I have accumulated this week. First, an article [Link] entitled “Are Men Smarter at Science Than Women? Men Certainly Think So, Study Shows.” This article from the New Yawk Times proclaims that 

“Men were more than three times as likely as women to say they were smarter than the classmate with whom they worked most closely.”

The problem with the article, for once, isn’t the journalists. It’s the researchers.

Simply put, in the last twenty years I have read twenty studies that report the same results as here. Admittedly these results didn’t come out of a physiology department and that’s the damnation. They all came out of Management “Science” departments (or similar, including psychology) and they all informed us that men have bigger egos and more arrogance than women. That part was consistent, the primary variable was the nature of the workplace ranging from service jobs through executive suites.

So the problem here is one of lack of integrity and honesty on the part of the researchers. What isn’t clear is whether they failed to tell the journalists that their study was derivative and confirmatory or they failed to do an adequate literature search. Either way, they’re damned. 

Sadly, it’s also a symptom of our failure as a society. Because some components of society have decided they are underrepresented in an activity, the cure is to mandate leveling. The problem with this is it destroys creativity and internal self-respect. Yes, non-pink and non-male representation in many “professions” is different from the population as a whole. But no validated evidence has been presented to indicate that is detrimental. And organizational mandate to level has divided the workplace socially to the point of severe decrepitude. 

As a manager I recognize that diversity is good and increases the strength of the organization, but when I am making a personnel choice and I am told that I have to select X characteristics specifically, I am unable to acquire that strength. 

Are there managers who don’t do things honestly? Yes. Most of them. But they also cheat on the mandates as well. WHich makes the problem worse. 

This is a rotten tooth. The more it is prodded, the worse it gets.

Next, an article [Link] entitled “Lesson learned? Massive study finds lectures still dominate STEM ed.” This article claims that lectures are the dominant vector of STEM coursework and that they don’t engage students.

Again, not a new thing. I have read about as many papers on this in the last twenty years as I have the previous. And they all decry the ineffectiveness of lectures.

The question however, is what is the measure of effectiveness? Over the years I have spent some time in the classroom and I have discovered several things that aren’t talked about in these studies.

Most of the data is collected from “service courses”. Those are courses like the widely dis-loved “freshman physics” courses. They are taught in large auditoriums with hundreds and thousands of students and one lecturer/teacher and a few TAs. Maybe. These courses are a love-hate albatross for their departments. First of all, they are the primary source of existence and educational funding for the department because the (vast) majority of the students in the courses are there to satisfy a general degree requirements. Students who will major or minor in the discipline are a vanishing minority.

But these latter students are the ones who are really important to the department. For what should be obvious reasons. They are the students who, in the main, will be the STEMs of that discipline. 

The other students are transients. Many of them – more than in my day – are there only for ticket punch. They cannot be engaged. No matter what. 

We also have to consider the demographics of STEMs. STEMs are more likely to be INTRO than EXTRO. INTROs and EXTROs engage radically differently. So which way do we structure the course to engage? I won;t even belabor the other problems, like lecturers who are overworked and under-timed. The point remains that studies like these are almost always EXTRO Supremist, which is recognized by the actual practitioners as extinctionist. 

The lecture format isn’t perfect but it represents a compromise, perhaps the best one, between resources and student needs. 

Third, an article [Link] entitled “The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete.” The author argues that the scientific paper is obsolete because of computer software. And, no, this isn’t one of those let’s publish results on social media things. The argument is that the software is compromising the transmission of the information.

Not surprising.

In Galileo’s day, the same problem existed except that the maths of the day – infinitesimals – were contrary to the delusions of the religion organization. In Newton’s day the Royal Society attacked the problem by making people read their papers aloud to the meetings of the society. 

IOW, not a new problem. 

When I was a grad student, computers were not the desktop fixture of today. In those days we had to go to temples and present offerings to the computer-deity. And only the folks who knew coding AND computer maths could do so well. 

At one time I was writing code for most of the faculty in the physics department. And having to write the computer section of their papers. 

Research is supposed to be new. It isn’t scholarship. And yes, there were problems with repeatibility in those days. That’s why we published the code, so people could run two pieces of code in parallel and see how they crunched differently.

One of the problems is that of Babel. Too many languages. I write code in FORTRAN or BASIC, depending on the level of detail to the calculations. If I can do it in a spreadsheet, BASIC, housemother FORTRAN. Other folk write in other languages. And usually we can’t talk to each other.

What gets missed here is that as bad as NERD papers are, they do work. And no other method has.

When societies fail it is usually because “make it better” overwhelms “get it done.”

Wages of Greed

I have been reflecting on the matter of Nasim Najafi Aghdam this morning.

I applaud her courage and I identify with her frustration. 

I dislike how she applied her courage to express her frustration. Sadly, her response is about all that is possible for citizens to express their dislike of capitalist, corporate Amerika.

It is unfortunate that she had to express herself against salary serfs. Somehow it might have felt better, more moral, if she had inflicted the pain and suffering on the executives of the organization.

But that isn’t going to happen in Capitalist Amerika. 

I regret she couldn’t express herself in more constructive ways.

The association with Martin Luther King seems appropriate, somehow.

Rubber Duckie

It is with great disappointment that I note that the deteriorating Hanish satellite station has deteriorated into bits and splashes. And here I was rooting for it to hit here in Alibam and give us the second fatality due to falling in mass from space. Then we would really have a tourism feature: “We send ’em up and when they come down someone gets buried.”

Of course that’s the NASA side. From the Army standpoint everything they used to send up was supposed to send someone to the grave yard. And then the powers that be sent the beat-the-stercus-out-of-the-air mafia here and now everything has turned to Pollyanna and Little Pony.