Indignant Nonsense

In the inbox this morning, a link [Link] to an article entitled “US Geological Survey Scientists Must Now Seek Government Approval to Present Their Work.” The journalist takes indignant reflux at the idea that the tyrannical administration is censoring USGS scientists.

What rock has this fellow been sleeping under.

Simply, put, USG scientists are not academics. 

I worked for the Yankee army for 32 years prior to a sorta retirement over decade ago. And every paper I wrote, every presentation I made was reviewed. If I was going to a conference to present some research findings, I had to write everything out and submit it to the “Public Affairs” people. (And no, these were not the people who got in the loop if you had “Public Affairs.” Those were the Criminal Investigation folks.) The PA folks had to make sure that you weren’t giving away national secrets or going to say anything that would embarrass the Yankee government.

This was not a big deal. It was a nuisance because it meant you had to have everything done a month or more before you left for the conference. Because these people were under-resourced and always ran behind.

And generally had no idea what they were reading. All they did was look at the words, not the maths or the graphs, and see if there were any suspicious stuff there. Which there almost never was. 

They would occasionally get upset by some technical term that had a different meaning in Bog usage. Like “Normal.” 

So, getting back to the USGS, the question is whether this review has always existed and some journalist is making much of it to make hay, or the USGS has been remiss in their stewardship. I rather suspect the former.

Incidentally. the intelligent welcome this review. It transfers responsibility from the researcher to the bureaucrat. If something went amiss in the presentation, the folks on the stove were Public Affairs. Unlikely armor.

Also, there was one guy in PA who actually had a degree in Syntax and he would correct your grammar. I appreciated that. Saved me no end of time and effort. 

Advertisements

Cinema Crapskull

The other day I ran across an article [Link] entitled “For the Love of Science, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Learn to Read the Room” that takes Chicken Man to task for tweeting about astronomical errors in a movie. The author and unidentified others (fictional?) criticized the distraction from the evils portrayed in the movie.

I am entertaining the idea that the evils are in the article.

The movie is about a wanna-be politician having an illicit sexual liaison and in the process discorporating the woman. Big Whoop! That’s what politicians do. And as such the movie fails as entertainment. Which is what movies are supposed to be. This stercus about moral messaging is just that. And diarrheatic to boot. 

Which is undoubtedly something beyond the mental abilities of this journalist. 

On a more relevant azimuth, this journalist, and the unidentified others, apparently have so little knowledge of reality that egregious inaccuracies do not disrupt their “suspension of disbelief.” I am not sure this would have disrupted mine since I am neither astrophysicist nor astronomer but I can attest that other unrealities – that’s of PHYSICAL reality, not social reality – have disrupted mine and I have exited the theater or ejected the DVD. 

At the cost of a relationship with other humans back in the days between grad schule and marriage.

Although there have been several movies that I started watching with FD SCP and she finished them alone. Because I was off regurgitating.

So just because your (mistaken) view of reality isn’t challenged by stupidity and incompetence, don’t assume everyone else’s isn’t either. 

Sometimes BOG is a synonym for Ferd.

Incidentally, I don’t need to go see a movie about stuff I experienced. Not do I take a shower wearing a SCUBA suit.

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.  

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.”  

Big Bangs

I have been mulling this week out. It was foretold to have long rain and that absence has thrown me off. And I am changing cellular telephones and the frustration of that is numbing my will power, which needs to be numbed less I get the heavy rubber mallet.

Aside from a bandersnatch of a appropriations bill, much of the grrr brrr of the nation has been the marches about gun violence and the remembrance – mostly not in the Yankee republic because of its wholesale love affair with ignorance – of Stephen Hawking. My mulling has been led into the stream of thought of the commonality of those two things.

One of the things that has popped out so far is fatalism

Stephen Hawking was a great human. Since that is a subjective determination, comparisons are largely meaningless. Under modal circumstances we would thus expect lots of such comparisons in the Yankee Republic except, of course, for the ignorance of who and what Stephen Hawking was. 

But we can hypothesize that much of that greatness had its roots in his illness. That’s where the fatalism set in. He knew he was early doomed as surely as being zapped by a neutron bomb. And that illness reduced what his options for activities were. And in the midst of that fatalism he embraced his uncertainty and turned it to his advantage.

Obviously a lot smarter and more disciplined than SCP.

But it strikes that fatalism is at the root of the problem of gun violence. When I was a bairn growing up and in early adulthood, we had fatalism. We had to live with the idea that nuclear war was a half hour away (or there about.) But we used that to make our lives more dedicated to doing things and because of the economic politics of the time, we could indeed turn dedication into quality of life success. Even the folks who flunked out of college and got a government provided vacation in Vietnam, had that outlook. 

Not any more. Kids in high school these days know that high schule is the end of the good life. Thereafter they are on the hook for getting through college, not just grades like my generation, but the cost as well. Looking back, that was fortunate for us because we were all whack-oh in high schule. And we had college to make mistakes and grow up in. Without the specter of slavery or death as a result of a failure. 

No more. Kids in high school who are dealing with brain chemistry variations and emotional maelstroms also have to deal with fiscal burdens. They are like tools. Put them under an amount of stress they can withstand and they get stronger; put them under more stress and they break.

And its no wonder that the majority of this occurs in “Red” states, because their state governments are totally disengaged from treating such problems – not that “Blue: states do very well, but at least they try. 

The rest is left as an exercise. 

District Attendance

  1. The citizens of this country elect politicians to office to run the government.
  2. The elected politicians have closed the government twice this year because they hold their loyalty to partei and corporate donors above their loyalty to country.
  3. So it would seem to be time to forbid politicians to hold elected office.