Preachy Science 1

More direness this week. Down hill in temperature according to the prophecies of the weather beavers. Why don’t they wear regalia? You know, miters and such? I won’t even breach the idea of cardioectomies.

The gym was dense this morning and the grunting weight bouncers were in a fully bullying mood. Happily I could exit expeditiously.

I was in mind of a cartoon:[Link]

I saw some time ago. I was rather taken by the idea of "preachy science junk". Rather definitive of a bog, eh, what? This cartoon lass should make an excellent (in context) politician when she reaches majority – chronological, that is.

Sadly, this seems to be the mode these days as society, especially Amerikan, is in a lemming rush to collapse and extinction.

Have a nice mundane day,

Absent Script

Once more to ice cream day, the back edge of week out. And the weather beavers are foretelling lots of sky drooling. At least it will help us in our deficit of dihydrogen oxide.

Despite the adequate air temperature this morning I did the stationary bicycle thing, more as continuity as wet avoidance. The podcast was again an episode of "The Pen Addict" and some better despite a few grating grammar glitches. The discussion was – pleasantly – not centered upon those field notebooks that they tend to get so manic about. Of course the whole podcast is rather a bit manic but in lots of dimensions, rather like a cocklebur.

I did somewhat appreciate a segment about "persona; font", the font one has when one writes. This rather immediately put me in mind of this cartoon: [Link]

which rather captures some of the problem with folks today. When I was a young man, everyone could write (as in cursive,) except the trash people. Even those who had dropped out of schule because their families were poor and they had to work as children worked very hard to at least learn how to write their signature in cursive and even studied writing on their own. Many of these folks became quite successful which rather proves Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s claim that really good students learn despite the bad teachers.

I have already discussed this intriguing variant on the Ideal of the Good previously and will not revisit now.

Except to comment that what society thinks is almost never the Good.

Anyway, nowadays, I find too few can write. In both senses of the word. Most people have a personal font that is somewhere between COMIC SANS (R) and RUFSCRIPT (R). Which reminds me of professors in college, mostly Type 1 courses, who required that all exam essays be written in cursive and that points would be deducted for grammar and spelling errors as well as illegibility and poor composition. People today have neither legibility nor composition skills.

I personally have rather strange writing. That comes of being a nerd STEM. My handwriting is molded by my work. When you have to operate in Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets plus maths, how you write stuff is different from other nerds, much less bogs. I am forever being asked what different things I have written are and upon conscious examination discovering I have used a furrin character or a maths symbol in my general writing.

It is worse with many bogs, especially the young ones. They can’t read cursive at all, at least in some – too many – instances. I have scant sympathy. They have no excuse of poverty, only an inept educational instrumentality and their own absence of will and mind and cognition. Which is a deep and vapid absence. Not the pleasant kind of silence, but the awful kind of teeth broken.

So once again I have good reason to be happy I am ORF.

Linux and Stupidity

Back to week in. Air temperature not too low but the air motion is brutal. Not as bad as the coastal yankees are going to have to endure but that’s what they get for being yankees and living up Nawth.

The gym was passable and the podcast moderately diverting if a bit too correct and indecisive. At least the weight bouncers were a bit subdued this morning and not quite menacing. So I had a bit of opportunity for reflection, which was interrupted by a statement by the state attorney general, which prompted the previous blot. Sometimes I think the state would be better off if still occupied by the Yankee Army. Of course, that wouldn’t eliminate the religionist nonsense and bigotry and harassment.

On which azimuth, I ran across two articles of interest yesterday. The first, [Link] argues that Winders X is the death knell of the Linux desktop, and the second, [Link] identifies the "ideal" Linux user. Both are annoying and laughable but thought provoking.

The argument for Winders X is that MegaHard is giving it away. And it’s supposed to be an all device OS. Gee, wonder where they got that idea? Sounds like blatant imitation of Canonical. And, of by the way, how popular is Canonical? Way down the last couple of years, just like MegaHard.

Let me break at this juncture to make a statement. I have ceased to care about the "year of the Linux desktop". Not that I ever cared much. But I have come to the realization that Linux is a lot better than Winders and FruitOS and part of that is because of the current community. I will not forbid any users of other OS from changing to Linux but I am not going to evangelize them either. Call it intellectual elitism if you want but I like a community of technically competent folks. I think of it as a form of Bose condensation.

If someone asks me about Linux I will be happy to answer questions, and if they want to try it I will help them get started but I ain’t gonna be a Winders level IT support guy. If you can’t do for yourself – most of the time – then I don’t want to waste lifespan on you. Others can be evangelists if they like but for me the Linux desktop is here and good and better than Winders or FruitOS and those who can’t recognize this are not worth the trouble. You can’t make an Alpha out of a Gamma.

That’s why I am not worried about MegaHard giving away WX. It’s only for a year. And they are clearly trying to kill off WXP and W8 so they don’t have to support them any more and can close down their litigation fears. I doubt that many of the folks who download a free copy will install anyway.

Because they can’t. They’re the folks who need IT support. They don’t install OS. They buy computers with the OS already installed. New OS version?, New computer. Partly because they are technically incapable of installing and partly because their hardware won’t work right with the new version. And MegaHard engineered both of those situations.

So anyone who abandons Linux for WX is welcome to leave the building. We probably didn’t want you anyway and assuredly will be better off without.

The second article is just as bad. It says,

"The average user is ideal for Linux, because this user:

Doesn’t want to upgrade to the latest-greatest

Doesn’t game

Spends the majority of their time within a browser

Is prone to installing toolbars, screensavers, and apps to "speed up their PCs"

Complains every time they have to "spend money to remove junk"

which is, that the ideal Linux user is a Bog.

If anything, Linux is a lot safer to leave unupdated than Winders or FruitOS. And if Bogs want to install Linux, fine. Go ahead. Don’t ask me to do it. I only do things like that for my mother.

You may have noticed, but there is no community of Winders users. No little groups that meet. There may be for FruitOS, but I know there are for Linux OS. And the standards are pretty high. No bogs present for long, like maybe one meeting. No sympathy if you can’t do command line.

So if browser bogs and other Winders serfs want to migrate to Linux there’s plenty of how-to information on the web and in the book stores. Go and learn and do. Or not. As you choose. But my ‘tear of the Linux desktop’ was several years ago.

Democracy in America

I have seen several polls in recent months that indicate that the more people support some action by the Congress, the less likely the Congress will take action and if they do opposite to the desires of the electorate.

I am put in mind of an analogy: In the Soviet Union there was one political party; only members of that party could stand for election and hold political office; political office holders represented their party, not their electorates.

In the Yankee republic, there are two political parties; only members of those parties can stand for election and hold political office; political office holders represented their party, not their electorates. And their corporate sponsors.

This is democracy in contemporary Amerika.

Food for Thought

Into Freya’s day, the boundary between gym and week out. And the sky droolith dihydrogen oxide. I assayed it moments ago to trundle the recyclage bin from garage to verge, meeting the apparently arbitrary cutoff time by 420 seconds. I say arbitrary since the actual time the recyclage gets collected by the teleoperated arm lorry is somewhere between two hours from now and two days based on actual observation.

The good news is that since there is liquid precipitation – the weather beavers foretell (soft) solid precipitation on the morrow – and hence the air temperature is above the phase shift. The sky must be overcast because the light pollution is less than usual, limited to the verge lamps which is one of the few useful (?) services provided by the city governance of real estate agents. Evidently well (??????????) lit neighborhoods helps sell houses. Otherwise the government would spend the money on something else of likely no benefit to the tax payers.

I have noted this trend of late. The nature of government is that we pay taxes and the government provides collective services less a bit of overhead. The services are supposed to benefit the taxpayers, with those who do not pay taxes getting a bit of free ride. But these days it seems the free riders get rather more than the tax payers. Ah well, the Reprodenialists must be in the legislative majority.

On the goo azimuth, I noted an article [Link} about how European archaeologists had dug a cave in Spain (no mention of rain) and discovered (?) that ancients ate dogs, cats, foxes and badgers (among other, usual (?) animals) during a period between 3 and 7 KYA observed. This is only semi-news. It has long been known that humans tend to widen their dietary choices when the density gets low. And we have societies, both here in the Americas and in Asia, where dog is still meat. But I am intrigued by the idea that dogs have been domesticated longer than this but not cats. Is this because cats resisted domestication until we got more disciplined (?) in our culinary choices? And is eating dog a betrayal of trust?

I should comment that I have never eaten either, but I am not indisposed to sample cat. I do feel it would be treachery to eat dog. Dogs are valued companions. Cats on the other hand are parasites and they hunt tree mammals who are also a bit nasty but not in the mid to far field. Just keep them away from rising dough. I once put some yeast roll dough out on aft porch to rise and the squirrels were all over the wire wall. I must remember to ask my biologist colleagues what it is about the aroma that draws them.

Anyway, I should imagine that cat would be quite good if roasted in mud under embers. Not that I am about to try it. Easier foodstuffs to obtain. And if I ate the cats who would I get to practice my language skills on?

Two much

Survived the yesterday. Avoided any of the demonstrations/festivities. Not that I think there were any in Greater Metropolitan Arab. Neither birthday boy is considered publicly positive by the city government of real estate agents. It does bring up the consideration of the idea of race, which is a specious one perpetrated by a grasping government and those who would profit from the false differentiation.

On which azimuth it is easy to shift over to the one of religionist fascism, of which there was much on the planet lately, mostly centering itself among Mohammedans and their hatred of free speech and other liberties. I suppose that view is natural in a religion that excuses itself by proclaiming all humans to be the slaves of the deity. I realize that is insulting. I certainly feel insulted typing it.

Back when I was a graduate student at the campus of the Boneyard, I studied the local Amish folk. Not academically but from personal interest. They are very inspirational although I have to admit I lack the strength to live as they do. They have a tenet that the worst sin is to speak for the deity. I strongly agree with that. It is also, I suspect, the worst tyranny.

It seems obvious to me that any evangelism comes under this tenet. I exclude here requested explanations of beliefs and doctrine and such. But unasked for expositions of a religionist nature definite constitute instances of the worst sin. The question I have been mulling is whether any preaching comes under it? And since this weekend, whether demonstrations conducted on religionist grounds do? My current leaning is positive. Protesting that someone else is wrong on religious grounds would seem to be speaking for deity.

Of course, I have found over the years that most religionists, especially the ones here in Greater Metropolitan Arab, reject the idea that their speaking for deity is wrong. In fact, my typing it here may be a violation of the ban.

Isn’t religion wonderful?

Teacher Taxonomy

I have been following a series of blots by Chad Orzel, “Uncertain Principles” this week. The starting point is here, [Link] where he takes exception to a tweet by Neil DeGrasse Tyson,

Students who earn straight “A”s in school do so not because of good Teachers but in spite of bad Teachers.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 10, 2015

which is the basis of his (Chad’s) discourse.

I want to commence here by noting that Tyson admits to a taxonomy of good and bad teachers. I also have to admit that I am more in agreement with Tyson’s (terse) argument than Chad’s voluminous one. Not that it’s wrong but that it’s missing some things.

Needless to say this is something that a lot of folks have weighed in on and Chad has striven mightily to maintain his position, which I will only criticize as being a bit too much EXTRO and Academic. I’m not going to reproduce Chad’s argument because I can’t do it justice and you can read it on his blog.

But I will offer my (a different) slant based on my experience. As I was listening to an episode of “Linux Luddites” [Link] this morning on stationary bicycle (Greater Metropolitan Arab air temperature 27 degF so no constitutional in the park,) they got into one of their love-hate discourses on Unity. And this gave me the insight into the nature of the teacher taxonomy, at least for me.

I should comment that Unity, the standard Ubuntu (Tile) desktop/GUI is very polarizing. Those who have been exposed to it either love or hate it. No like/dislike here. No ambiguity except among the ignorant. IMHO the evaluation is almost purely functional (with a bit of eyecandy bias?) on whether the individual finds Unity a comfortable way to use the OS. I find it resistive and impedimential and use KDE. It’s not unique. My way of using OS doesn’t fit with a Tile GUI. But the experience does give me insights into the “Death to Infidels” mentality.

In my usage, the teacher taxonomy is functional, along the lines that a “good” teacher assists me in learning and a “bad” teacher impedes or denies me learning. And yes, I was pretty close to a ‘straight-A’ student. Not all the time. Bad grades marked when both teacher and I failed. And no, that assessment isn’t just sour grapes.

Most of the bad teachers I experienced were in primary and secondary schule. Their mode was pedantic and rationing. Only learning on schedule was permitted. And things had to proceed at the boundary of the bottom 0.1. Most of the good teachers I experienced were in college. I take well to lectures and have no difficulty being challenged as long as the information is interesting. That excludes Literature and some other subjects. I find things that can’t be tested – in the TEM sense – to be undesirable and off-putting. 

As previously stated I am pretty well self-learning. That’s why I do well in a STEM environment. Lectures are like sparking plugs in a petrol motor. But self-learnrs are difficult for any teacher and impossible for overly structured ones. Simply put, self-learners in college never go to lecture (except STEM courses) but always go to office hours. Even after they complete the course. That’s because they trust the professor and the teacher help they need is with the nuggets of information they are having trouble with. They don’t need the teacher for the easy bits and that is what alienates the structured teacher. 

I have a conjecture that teachers tend to prefer non-learners over self-learners. That’s because teaching those who can’t learn on their own is a big boost to the ego and if you are insecure – and who isn’t? except the deniers? – you need some reinforcement of value. But a student who only comes around to cherry pick hard stuff is a real challenge that only another self-learner can appreciate.

That doesn’t keep those bogs who think a bad teacher (in my estimation) to be good from being right. Of that teacher helps them learn then they are right. But so am I. That’s the nature of this beast. What is good and bad depends on the individual and that is not something organization can handle with any grace at all.