Unfun in the Sun

Four Day. Nasty yesterday. Had to visit cataractist while in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. not an experience that instills confidence in the system. Feel like a Model T.

Also motoring after was not enjoyable. Which also did not instill confidence since I hadn’t been forewarned. This inability of medicalists to communicate and adapt is NOT good. Along several azimuths.

The rest of the trip was abbreviated. Limited to provisioning.  And today will be catch-up. 

And when I got to gym this morning I found out the regular staffer is on vacation next week and the replacement is the borderline sociopath. 

Maybe it is time to move to Canadia?

More About

Mumble. Storing copies of selected articles from the week. Have to do this locally now that Ubernote has just become a half-derriere taxi service.

Noted a slightly distressing – minor hemorrhoid pain – article [Link] entitled “13 incredible science facts you probably didn’t learn at high school.” Must be one of those outreach-to-Bog articles that Chad was talking about. I actually learned a couple of these in high schule. Not, I should admit as part of the curriculum. But I was in high schule when I read a book/article that contained the information. 

So while this was a failed sample I suspect such is the norm for not-Bogs. They read. And learn. And do other things Bogs don’t. Or can’t?

And this one [Link] explains rather a lot about religionist conspiracy theories. But it is nice to think of works as fiction as being equally predictive as the bible. Wait? What? Fiction? Bible?

Aren’t Week Out fun?

Mirror Image?

Two Day. Last day of schule? Density actually up a bit at gym. Unusual for a two day. Otherwise, not bad. The podcasts were passable albeit a bit tedious and unmemorable. 

But I did note an article [Link] yesterday entitled “Selfie fans regularly overestimate how attractive they are, scientists find” that gathered my attention span. I am a bit bemused by this selfie thing. It is not, to my domain, the land of speedbumpia portrayed by the media of selfie addicts obstructing passage and causing collisions. I also have to admit to having tried it on myself for both investigation and obtaining photographs for icons on various web sites. There is considerably more art and skill to this than portrayed by the media, which is consonant with my experience with photography.

There is also the matter that while the camera sensor in cellular telephones is quite good, the optics are RUBBISH bordering on STERCUS. 

This article, from U Toronto, asserts that there is a component of egotism. That is unsurprising. Nor is the academic sense of priestliness, that information is gossip until sanctified by a gowned scholar. The form of the egotism is. The intro claims that selfie takers consider themselves more attractive than those who view their work, which raises anew the question of art.

But what was telling was deeper in the article:

When all was said and done, both groups – the selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers – reported themselves more attractive than they were rated by the outside group, though the selfie-takers were off by a greater degree

Seems to control for this the wonks did two sets of photos – selfies and otheries – and submitted them to an independent (?) group to review. And they found everyone had a better view of themselves than others do.

And here I thought that was a well established character of human nature. If we all didn’t think we look better than we do the suicide rate would be close to 1.0.

So I am mulling whether this nulls the whole exercise. Is there any science here? Maybe. But probably not new.

Marketplace Evils

Four day. Last of gym. Sparse and the podcast, an episode of “Linux Luddites” was passable if not sparkling. The most engaging part was a discussion of the apparent heat death of the computer marketplace. Evidently sales of all computer devices – desk and lap boxes, slablets, phones, … – are stagnant. 

What was not discussed is whether this is one more incidence of a logistic curve situation being confused with its early, positive exponential behavior? 

This is not new. It has happened many times that I have observed. Motorcars, houses, clothes, foodstuffs. What is uncertain is what form the attempts to keep the marketplace percolating will take. 

Which leads me to an article [Link] I ran across yesterday when I was in Huntsville and purchased a newspaper to obtain my weekly supply of crossword puzzles. A minor thing, those puzzles, but they make what is depressingly labeled as national network news programming less painful when I share time with FD SCP.

The title of this article is “Abortions down in Alabama: Tough laws close clinics, cut numbers” and it purports to report on how abortions are decreased in density in Alibam.

What it actually is, is an exaltation of domestic and governmental/religious terrorism. One of the primary reasons that abortions are down in Alibam is because the politico/religious bigoted office holders have done everything to prevent abortions short of standing up pregnant women in front of firing parties.

And I suspect they would like to but vaguely realize that would lose them their successes.

What is not said is that for many years it is much easier for pregnant women to go elsewhere for abortions and they do so. But not measuring such permits the office holders to ignore how evil and failing they are.

Sadly this reduces to another instance of the economic discrimination that has always been characteristic of the old Confederacy and is still rampant in Alibam today.

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not themselves.”

Sadly a lot of political/religious terrorists are empowered in Alibam and there is no indication they will be deprived of their freedom to hurt and harm.

Failure of Terms

Two Day. The sky is trying to drool. Moderate air temperature and the gym was sparse. The podcast episodes, one of the Guardian’s Science podcast on a history of science in France during the Revolution, and a scattering from NPR sources, were more than acceptable. I doubt I shall rush off and purchase the book but the interview was both engaging and moderately informative.

Although I do disagree with the author on the boundary between science and engineering. And for once I seem to be more exacting and divisive than the academic.

Point in case. Determining that “Irish” potatoes are a good food source for humans is largely science; proliferating the agriculture of those potatoes is engineering. 

Another point: Determining that a lightning rod diverts lightning and protects houses and people is science; proliferating lightning rods on buildings is engineering.

I have also been considering an article [Link] entitled ” Why is simpler better? ” and marveling at its failure. Smply put, nowhere in the article – that I can find – is simple defined or explained. What is simple? Low entropy? Or few states? The two are not quite the same.

So in considering this, I have to iterate around meanings that are implied and assumed but unsupported,

Popular Technology

OK. Back to ScribeFire. Which I still don;t much care for but then, the marketplace of blog editors is not only odoriferous, it’s abysmal.

I ran across this cartoon:[Link]

and I was struck by its accuracy and the wisdom of the artist.

I have to admit to subscribing to Popular Science. I also subscribe to Scientific American, which is part of the story.

Back when I was a bairn, reading Popular Mechanics and Popular Science each month was an important activity. It was as close as we came to getting technical literature in the house.

Of course I got to read Science News at school. When there was time or I could grab a copy, but the two populars were as close as I could get at home.

And I thought I lived in an information desert then. Now it’s worse since there are lots of magazine that pretend to be technical and aren’t.

I didn’t enjoy Popular Mechanics that much. IT had better articles than PS but most of them were mundane and involved tool bashing that my parents wouldn’t permit. Given my adventures as an experimentalist in college, that was probably one of their wiser things.

The PS articles were a lot more poof. And they were all fairy tails. All positive. No balanced coverage. The technology – not much science but that was to be expected, after all, who would buy Popular Technology? – was always wonderful,  a panacea or elixir vitae, with no negative aspects. Like Agent Orange.

And I still subscribe. Because PS hasn;t changed. It’s still all about technology and it’s all positive. Sort of the opposite of Congress.

Scientific American, on the other hand, was excellent in the ’70’s, then turned to Stercus, and is still crawling out of the hole under the out house. And I keep hoping it will and the stench will abate.

So in the meantime, I enjoy PS for the lie that it is.

Holes and Wholes

Tough week. Joys of Seniorness. Makes one understand the attraction of soma. 

Low air temperature this morning. Barely above the minimum. Off to park. Not a really vigorous constitutional. Sore and stiff. Marvels of modern medical chemistry. New podcast. So far, about 16 minutes, all a lovely rant about the perfidy and dishonesty of corporations. Just my sort of thing. A bit of profanity but not egregious. We’ll see how it develops.

On the subject of aching and sore, I recently ran across an article [Link] in the student newspaper of the campus of the Boneyard entitled “Academic Senate approves general education requirement for U.S. Minority courses.” Yep, a required course for all undergrads on minorities. 

I’m not against such in principle, especially down here in the old Confederacy where the general attitude is that slavery will return any minute and the minorities will be back to being properly behaved. But I do have strong objection to the continued propagation of the anti-science dogma of “race”. This has been bankrupted almost as often as the “pro-life” movement as bunk and filth. Mental filth, that is. So given the way these courses are done, I have no doubts that all the inaccuracies and evil will be incorporated in the course as matters of goodness and light.

I also expect that the engineering and science students will likely view this as yet another noxious ticket-punch to be obtained. Not that I don’t think the learning would hurt them if done properly. But I have scant doubts that it will not be proper and that it will only disengage the nerds and geeks, who are themselves the most critical and consistently ignored minority.

And what about women? Are they a minority? And how is that supported given that over half the population of the nation is female by birth if not choice? And what about introverts? Another ignored minority. Because this blatantly is an EXTRO course.

So pray tell me how the evil is being reduced here?

While we’re on the soapbox of self-service, I noted another article [Link] entitled “There’s a surprisingly awesome reason for the holes on the top of pen caps.” This article is about BIC Sticks, those el cheapo pens that are basically a plastic barrel around an ink cartridge with a cheaper cap to keep from wasting ink on your clothes – since very little of it gets into the notebook. 

Alright, I have to admit I used these as a freshman. Mostly because I was told to by that kind (?) upperclassman who told me about note taking. He considered the BS to be a paragon of reliability. And it is. Sorta. Not. It stutters but that’s because it’s a ballpoint. And gels and roller balls hadn’t been invented in those days. SO the choices were pencil (not very permanent,) ballpoint (not dependable,) drafting pens (also not very dependable,) and fountain pens (expensive and harder to use.)

I admit I used pencil, not for note taking, but for homework problems and tests. Except the EXTRO BOG course tests that required ink. And I eventually got around to adopting the fountain pen. It’s the best of the four. Then and probably now. But people don;t know how to take notes these days. Because they are stupid, their parents are stupid and ineffectual, and their public school teachers are largely incompetent and self-serving. (Gee, does that mean public education is a corporation?)

But the BS sorta works. It works better with Type 2 than Type 1 courses. Because there is a lot more of picking up and putting down the point. Which minimizes the stuttering.

That’s not what the article is about. It’s about how the big hole in the BS cap prevents choking when the cap is swallowed. (It also lets some ink get through which is a compromise of the cap’s function but heck, this is a marketing thing, not a safety or functionality thing.) Now we have to ask what kind of folks swallow pen caps. The only ones I have known have been slime mold level EXTRO BOGs. The kind of people that you know upon meeting that their parents are religionist fanatics who should have used Planed Parenthood but instead passed on their slime mold genes to posterity. In my day the dregs of the jocks and Greeks. The ones who have to be told when to shower and shave.

I’m not sure about these days but given the greater fraction of the population who attend college – one result of the commercialization of “education” – I suspect there are a lot more of these folks, fractionally, than in my day and hence the bigger hole in the cap of the BS is desirable to the college administration in reducing the number of caskets shipped home to parents.

It also begs the question of how hard do they have to train these students to be able to use a BS? Do they have to take a special freshman class in it? Are there PowerPoint slides? Do they get graduation credit?

The World Wonders.

Puts that minority course in a new light, doesn’t it?