Discontent Looming

We sit today at the leading edge of the first major nastiness of the winter, at least here in Alibam. The nastiness has already plagued the Yankee Nawth for some days and I already ache with sympathy. Too many blood thinners, I suppose.

It being week-out, I assayed to the gym this morning at 0800. Part of the week-out discrimination that demonstrates just how ill committed to health Southron, well, Alibam, at least, hospitals are. Tomorrow will be even later because of the Christianist religious discrimination of that institution.

My work-out was abbreviated, mostly because Saturn’s day is the most hectic of the week and made more so this day by the impending colding. Sadly, the television monitors were set to Faux News, probably because the weekend staff and jocks are mostly Repulsian Evilgelicals. That’s OK. I mostly just listen to a Linux podcast and try not to laugh out loud at the Faux News promulgated by the partei maskarovkists.

This morning’s was a bit galling; evidently the administration is now playing whack-a-mole with civil servants. I suppose orphans and the poor will be next since they have already been condemned as wastrels and socially cancerous. But the bashing of civil servants reminded me that those folks have two things the political lack: integrity and competence. But they do have a tendency, albeit justified, of viewing all politicals, regardless of partei affiliation, as mindless criminal berserkers.

I left then to visit the Greater Metropolitan Arab Postal Office and then replenished the petrol in my motorcar. The former reinforced my opinion of civil servants; even with the mess that the Yankee council of thieves has made of the Postal Service, they still do better than that council. And then it occurred that perhaps we would do better to select a mail carrier at random in each district and send them to serve.

Or perhaps to force Congress Critters to carry mail one week a month?

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Memories of Schooldays Past 1

Six day. Been to gym. Listened to first half of episode of Linux Unplugged podcast. Discussion about problems with cutting edge CPUs and how to update microcode.

This is Linux. Whatever happened to extending the lifetime of “old” boxes. All I hear these days is fanbois nattering about selling off their last year CPU boxes for this year boxes. Sounds like the people who use FruitFones.

Off to Nawth Alibam’s Shinging City on the Hill for Home Coming at Huntsville (Alibam) U. AKA the Campus of the Tennessee. Gotta give a few micro-talks about how life was in the old days. Back when it was really a place of learning. Before it became another diploma factory.

Now I’m doing the Yankee Army thing – hurry up and wait – and time to reflect on an article I saw this morning at gym “‘Open the doors and let these books in’ – what would a truly diverse reading list look like?” The thesis of this article is that schule reading lists should reflect the diversity of society.

I find this intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, it comes into my attention space just after the twice elected, twice deposed, chief bigot of Alibam has been accused of pedophilia. Which two things seem to be natural. Especially since the state’s moral compass has announced that pedophilia is biblically approved. This latter from a fellow student at the Campus of the Black Warrior who spent more time at the Baptist Student Center than he ever did in class or studying.

One has to wonder if both fellows are throwbacks to Pre-Destination Baptistry of the first Great Awakening.

The intriguing part is whether the perverse side of human diversity should be included in schule reading lists? And who makes those decisions? The same politicians that I have just cited? Or their rebbes?

But the second reason has to do with my own experiences with readings lists. I have been subjected to reading lists most of my life. As an infant, my parents provided me with books they – via some salesperson or magazine article – considered appropriate. When I started schule, that instrumentality issued reading lists; initially for the summer but after primary schule for the sessioned period as well. In high schule, this propagated to individual courses and in college added seminars and testing programs such as qualifying examinations.

Everyone in authority, it seems, issues reading lists.

Now, I have to reveal the dirty little (?) secret: I pretty much ignored those reading lists. Not completely, but in the main. That is not to say I didn’t prospect the lists for good stuff, but most of it was boring and irrelevant. At least to a STEM Nerd INTRO.

The worst were literature lists, which pretty well – thankfully – died after my Sophomore year of college ended my classroom interaction with literature teachers.

This is not to say that the books on these lists weren’t great works or that they had nothing to teach. But by and large those books didn’t adhere to me and I couldn’t/didn’t learn from them.

As Chickenman sez, “good students are successful in spite of bad teachers.” If a book doesn’t communicate with you well, it’s a bad teacher. (SCP speaks.)

I admit that I know people who can read those books and have profited and learned from them. And I envy many of them. But it balances out. I can read and learn from STEM Nerd books and the majority can’t. And the story of reality is, in some ways, a lot better than the story of human society at some spatio-temporal coordinate set.

Those lists failed me, mostly because of a lack of diversity. I never got a high schule or college reading list with any science fiction books included. None. And SF was my staple escapism/mind clearing reading then. And I even learned stuff about science and society thereby.

Which I didn’t get from the reading lists.

Now, I am told that there are lots of reasons why reading lists are biased. One reason I enjoy is that of Literature teachers (sic.) They claim that inclusions have to be “great literature.” My question – unasked or ignored if asked – is ‘who decides these books are great literature?’ I suspect the answer is ‘Literature teachers.’

I also suspect the Literature teachers get away with this because the politicians who approve the textbooks don’t care. They want to make sure the children are not subjected to evolution or climate science but they don’t care if they are subjected to regicide or adultery.

When I went to work for the Yankee army, they gave me reading lists as well. And again, I picked what I could learn and found others not on the list. Some of which were written by once and future enemies.

I do have another thought on this. If the lists were truly diverse, then wouldn’t all the lists coalesce into a union of Book In Print and the catalog of the Library of Congress? And then how would we assure that all of our children are properly roboticized? (As in the Czech word for worker.)

Happily, this ignoring or selected sampling of reading is fairly common except in the most authoritarian of schules. I know several people who got through high schule on Classic Comic Books and college on Cliff Notes. Which is probably more compliant than I ever was.

I had occasion a few weeks ago to miss a luncheon of my graduating class of high schule. I had a conflict and found out after the fact that my senior year “English” teacher had attended. I was glad I was absent; I may not have learned much from her but she was honest and sincere and I would not like to have been honest in answering her questions. Especially about how and where I really learned sybtax and composition and “literature.”

And Heinlein trumps Dickens every day. For me. Understanding their commonalities is left as an exercise for the student.

The Insecure American

Sometimes a bunch of things fall at the same time and form a pattern. One is tempted to call it emergence, but is it a physical emergence, a mental emergence, or both? Or neither?

The recent church massacre was – perhaps – the seed crystal for all this. It caught my notice not for its uncommonality, which it most assuredly is not, but by the unusual – uncommon – effectiveness of the berserker. Usually the ratio of discorporated to wounded is 1: n where n is usually on (2,10). In this instance the ratio was essentially 3:1. 

Shooting incidents at schules and churches have become regular; news only of the sob sister genre. The clear indication is that there is something about these organizations that incites violence in them. The simplest answer – Occam’s Razor – is that something to do with the organization has injured the berserker.

Years ago, when I first became a supervisor, I formulated a theory that most instances of human behavior can be attributed to insecurity. Since then I have observed little conflicting evidence – and always from a rational individual – and much confirming evidence. 

Asimov famously has noted that Amerika is a nation that prizes ignorance over knowledge.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”― Isaac Asimov

The ending, the use of the words “just as good”, shout insecurity. Amerikans, the ones who treasure ignorance, apparently do so from insecurity. Ignorance is comfortable; you don’t have to try to accomplish anything and you don’t have any fear of failure.

Hunter-Gatherer bands were characterized by egalitarianism. This doesn’t mean that no one was a leader; the band sorted itself out socially. The lesson from this is that humans are programmed to not want equality: extroverts want to be exalted; introverts want to be left alone. Both groups consider equality to be a punishment – extroverts for being snubbed and disrespected, introverts for being bullied and abused. Both are examples of insecurity.

Organizations don’t care about humans, at least once they get to the size of a band – or larger. Whatever damage they do to their members is irrelevant. And eventually, that damage results in some retribution. 

The church massacre in Texas is as yet unresolved but it seems at this writing to be a transfer retribution. Evidently the berserker’s family was the organization that damaged him and the family attended the church. It was little more than a concentration of convenience.

Schools are similar. Their damage is a mixture of over-regulation of the membership and apathy towards it. This is not new. Clausewitz bemoaned such in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. What characterizes these two types of organizations that they are selected? Clearly it is a mixture of their apathy for the individual and the individual’s insecurity. 

It may seem strange to think of members of a church as insecure but a bit of analysis of the atmosphere of totalitarian rules and Weltanschauung – no questions answered, no answers questioned – indicates that churches are havens for the insecure who fear to try as much as they fear failure. Their evangelistic bravado is merely an expression of their comfort in denial, both their’s and the church’s. 

 

Bubba Bawb 2

Ran across this cartoon [Link]

and realized it projected a new dimension to yesterday’s consideration blot – when we don’t know something we ask someone who knows other things than what we are asking. 

Franklin: “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

This also reminds me – inversely – of the idea that an ideal committee consists of one person. This way there is the absence of accountability with maximum efficiency of operation.

Alchemical Musings

Seven Day. Time to clear out tabs. Rather a weird bunch this week, at least the ones that inspire some discussion.

First, an article [Link] about how the Schule of Alchemical Studies at the Campus of the Boneyard is celebrating a century and a half of existence. I was not invited. That probably indicates some wisdom on the part of the organizers. At least I shall give them credit as such.

Chemists, at least based on my observations, are the best balanced of the STEM Nerds. Physicists tend to be rather intense and oblivious to any social interaction outside of physics. That’s probably why their marriages seem taken out of soap operas. Mathematicians are the Timothy Learys of STEM Nerds. They are almost continually in a drug modified state that is questionably consciousness. The drug, of course, is maths, which mathematicians correctly view as proofs – all else is mummery and illusion. That mummery and illusion is, of course, all that other STEMs care about with regard to maths. So mathematicians are rather like holy hermits sitting for years on the tops of columns.

Biologists and Geologists tend to be outdoors people. They seem ill at ease inside a building, as if the critters are too mundane and the matter is too newly stuck – even in buildings that were laid down just after the rebellion. They also tend to be acalculate – maths blind – and hence left without roads to think along. The idea of testability is alien to these STEMs, hence they argue and pout about accuracy.

Chemists sit in the middle ground of all this. Also, they have the means and desire to make physiologically active potions. They control the ethanol and use it liberally internally. 

So it is probably best I didn’t get invited to the bash. 

Next, a rather overblown article [Link] entitled “This Is How Online Dating Has Changed The Very Fabric of Society.” I include this because not only is the title contemporary journalistic rubbish, it is amusing. 

Humans have known about incest penalties – the biological kind, not the organizational artificial kind – for lots of years. We evidently learned about genetic stupidity back when we were still Hunter-Gatherers. What the article is really about is social networking as facilitated by the internet. Humans have always had social networking; the drive to geographic dispersion was driven by mating (safe fornication?) and greed; deterred by Us-Them and greed. 

The only thing intriguing about “online dating”, which the journalist does poorly at, is its dynamic, not its medium of propagation. Most social networking proceeds from physical world interaction to internet world interaction. “Friendships” that originate in most social networking are relatively rare. Yes, there are the occasional friend-of-friend associations but these tend to be politeness driven.

But “online dating” is the reverse. Here the “friending” is initiated in the internet world and may propagate into the physical world. But this is the only substantial uniqueness.

Social networks are as geographically diverse as the network substrate which we erroneously call the internet. If we examine the geographical extent of individual’s “friends” then we find it to be large, often multi-national. So such geographical diversity is the norm rather than the exception. What makes “online dating” different is the flow of the “friending”. 

Which seems too alien to journalists these days to explain. 

Or else they think their readers are too cognitively deprived to comprehend.

Lastly, another article [Link] entitled “Wikipedia’s Science Articles Are Elitist.” This one is bemusing and if not for the nausea it engenders, perhaps amusing.

The journalist argues that most STEM NERD articles in Wikipedia are written for STEM NERDs. And this is elitist because Bog journalists have problems reading (and understanding?) them. (The latter question arises from the uncertainty that contemporary journalists are capable of understanding anything STEM.) 

Wikipedia is supposed to be the crowd-sourced encyclopedia of today. When I was a kid growing up I had five sets of encyclopedias. The simplest was the “Golden Book” encyclopedia and the most accurate “The Library of Science.” Over a period of several years I worked my way from one end to the other. And when I went to college I found encyclopedias of even higher accuracy and specialization. I recall one in particular, which was an encyclopedia of chemical syntheses. I recall the section on LSD was well thumbed. I also have a copy of Besancon’s “Encyclopedia of Physics” on a nearby bookshelf.

The point here is that writings – including encyclopedias – are written for an audience. The author has to pick what that audience is and be capable of communicating with that audience, at least if the writing is to be useful and successful.

The problem here is that the journalist seems to think he/she must be the audience. The obvious question is “Why?” I am not sure that question can be answered. Having dealt with journalists over the years, I have found them to be somewhat black boxish.

An easier – maybe – question is whether Wikipedia should be written for journalists. Given their rush to extinction, such a strategy seems ill advised. So we are left with asking who is most likely to read a Wikipedia article? If it’s an article on a celebrity, then clearly it should be written for Bogs, but if it’s an article on STEM NERD stuff? 

And there is the matter of Elitism. How do we measure this? If one is illiterate then all writing is elitist? If one is an omnipotent deity the no writings are elitist? Is any measurement possible in between?

It strikes me that fear of “Elitism” is inherent in Amerikans. If the modal Bog cherishes ignorance, and anything written that that Bog cannot comprehend is Elitist, then Elitism is nothing more than the opposite of ignorance?

 

Broken Ratings

Ran across an article [Link] entitled “What are the best Sci-fi Movies?” The article lists twelve movies as the best.

Wrong.

None are better than mediocre and most are rubbish.

Odoriferous rubbish.

The real list of best SF movies is:

  1. Forbidden Planet;
  2. Them!; and
  3. Earth versus the Flying Saucers.

Star Wars and Star trek don’t make the list. The Black Hole makes a list for the funniest SF movie but nowhere near a best.

I won’t comment on what’s listed. It would horrify too many Bogs.

Who can’t tell SF from S.

Porn Polity

Ice Cream Day. Just returned from morning constitutional. Late, at least for me. Slept in – not as much as I should have liked, but more than usual.

Being ORF means being disappointed. Society and civilization is decaying around one. And being ORF one cannot do anything to prevent or deter. 

So I was considering how we have become a nation and society of pornography. The idea for this came from my undergraduate Alma Mater, the campus of the Black Warrior. Their instrumentality repeatedly barrages me with appeals for money either as direct gifts or by participating in some organizational EXTRO orgy of some sort. The last one was pandering a combination football viewing and food consumption. That was the straw that tipped the catastrophe (the maths kind) that what they were pushing was pornography. Obviously, viewing an athletic competition in which one has no children or family involved is pornographic. But the exaltation of food consumption, it occurs, is also pornographic.

From this, I hypothesized that our entire society has become, at root, pornographic. With overtones of hedonism and I am not sure what else. 

Consider selfies. I have commented previously how symptomatic they are of a society where individuals lack friends. But they also glorify oneself in the vacuum of that friendship. And friendship itself is exalted because what we have is so unfriendly.

I was reading an article on Lifehacker yesterday about ‘the four types of Rebeccas’. I have to admit that I read it because I understood neither content nor context of the title. I found the article to be a polemic about how everyone is evil. Nothing surprising there – everyone does have a bit of evil and it’s unavoidable because of the substantial subjective aspect of evil. IOW, doing good for some one means doing bad for another. The Greek heroes are archetypes of this: they usually obtain the admiration and celebration of the downtrodden by disposing of the downtrodder. 

In a way this is a snapshot of our society. The recent melee in Charlottesville, and the mumblage of government, are a microcosm. Both sides have aspects of good, at least as seen from within, and bad, at least as seen from within the opposing group. Neither is interested in the other except as epitomes of what they wish to eliminate. No coexistence, no meeting of ideas and means, just polar animosity. 

Anthropologists have a term for this: groups within societies who detest each other and will only cease fighting among themselves to protect the society as a whole. Basically, Us-Them carried to the deepest depths of depravity. 

Which is what we are buying, or at least being sold these days. Most of the advertisements are pushing things that would be considered bad a generation previously. 

Case in point: the recent flooding in Texas. Almost all of the media coverage was directed at Houston, none at any of the small towns that actually make up Texas. Further, there has been no coverage of flooding outside the Yankee republic.[Link] Even our management style has become pornographic.

Once again, glad to be ORF. But wondering how to continue in what has become a traitor trash country.