MANA 1

One Day. And already weirding. First of all, it’s the holiday of Martin Luther King 2. Also – in Alibam – the holiday of Robert Edward Lee. Both are somewhat abandoned. The Yankee Government is observing the former and all the folks who have that connection are unofficed today. But the schools are also in session and given the usual touchy-feely of schools, that seems to indicate some negation. But the silence over the state holiday is intriguing? Perhaps there is some tippy-toe among the state politicians?

It is also a day of weather weirding. For some reason, this winter seems to be a season of two stage colding aggressions. Two weeks ago, there was such and today is the interbellum between the latest. As such, I went off to gym. Air temperatures barely less than the liquid->solid phase change of dihydrogen oxide. A glorious temperature foretold not to be attainable after today until Freya’s day, at least with any persistence. So a week of shivering and discontent portends.

Two weeks ago, FD SCP and I bunkered in and we probably will again this week but we are trying to do so less. The acclimatization (or is it aweatherization?) is difficult. (I despair of using words like acclimatize and incur the wrath of climate change denialist redneck Repulsians and since Alibam is a snake pit of such…) And unpleasant. In fact, existence under these conditions is unpleasant. And stressful. So why not venture out into the lowest strata of Tartarus and end one’s existence more rapidly?

The podcast this morning a gym was a bit enlightening. It was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” interviewing the author of some philosophical novel about imbuing dogs with sentience and speech and (possibly) humanity. The narrator and author prattled on for fifty minutes in the most positive of words about the work, none of which inspired in me any positive thought about reading the work. It did, however, illuminate me on the intellectual depths of borderlike Bog-Geeks. The only good part was the occasional utterance of absolute Bog ignorance. 

This led me to contemplate what would be needed to “Make Amerika NOT AWFUL”? Since one of the activities that people will be practicing today is preparation for the possibility of snow on the morrow, I naturally hit on the matter of bread as an awfulness.

Simply put, bread in Amerika is AWFUL. It is sliced white bread that lacks both taste and texture. It is the penultimate symbol and actualization of our mediocrity and failure as a nation-state. Amerikan bread, at least the pre-sliced white species, adds nothing to either food or society. The kindest thing that I can say about it is that at least it does not breed disease carrying insects. Sadly, that is a statement of its value as a foodstuff.

Why is Amerikan bread so abysmal and AWFUL? Simply put, because it is made in factories by Capitalists and the citizens don’t care. These two conditions are self-supporting, or perhaps, self-destroying would be a better term?

And no, I do not eat such bread. If I cannot find good bread in any store, I will make my own. Or I go without. I do not frequent restaurants that serve mediocre bread.

Which Amerikan slice, white bread is far below. 

So one way that we can Make Amerika NOT AWFUL is to get rid of this cancerous excuse for bread. That would serve two purposes: it would make citizens of Amerikans again; and it would abase the false gods of Capitalism – the other form of Evilgelical.

Now I am off to make Sourdough toast that I shall smear with Maple Butter. It being winter, after all. And perhaps, maybe, reduce the general discontent.

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Empty Cave

It was called to my attention this morning at gym that the “Hef” is discorporate.

I suspect he passed because the American Dream has been destroyed.

Another reason I am glad to be ORF.

Calots! Attend!

Seven Day. Shabat ended yesterday at dusk, which is late this time of year with nasty temperature made worse by a pesky rain storm that seemed to have targeted Greater Metropolitan Arab. Probably because of the perfidy of the Arab Electron Uncooperative for their nasty switch flipping this week.

It was muggy this morning when I took my constitutional. Decidedly unrefreshing! But I did have occasion thereby to cogitate and most of that occasion was devoted to an antic of one of our elected mental defectives. Seems a congress critter asked a NASA limpet if there was a civilization on(planet) Mars millennia ago? [Link]

The NASA myrmidon answered in the negative but that could not dam the torrent. Some have decried the congress critter as whackadoodle, which he is, but not because of asking the question. Rather this is implicit to our form of governance.

I recently blotted a bit about how the more socialized an individual is, the less they know. Because those with limited intelligence are better suited to not knowing – as opposed to deliberate ignorance which is a long-time Amerikan individual goal – we may expect that those who socialize best are naturally the ones with the least intelligence which, in turn, makes them ideal for service in the congress since its members are selected solely for their socialization, prevarication, and greed skills.So far as I can tell, the only socially redeeming value of congress critters is their ability to ask questions like this.

And they do so rather too seldom. Especially when the welfare of the citizenry is the matter at hand.

It occurs that the founding fathers opted for representative democracy solely to assure that the number of damage doers would be as few as possible and as incompetent as possible. The unintended consequence was from forgetting that such people have a lot of greed. Indeed, greed has many forms which can include patriotism, religious fervor, and altruism. It’s part of being human.

So the question isn’t all that bad. We humans have a mental obsession with the possibility of some intelligent life on Mars. We like to claim this started with Lowell (sp?) and the canals, but the interest is recorded back to when Thucydides invented history (as a study, not the actual thing.) In so-called modern times – i.e., post the Battle of New Orleans as offered up in “The Birth of the Modern” – we have had numerous excursions on Martian existence, notably those of the Wells and Burroughs.

These all tend to be disappointing, having the same flaws as the congress critter’s question: Herbert George Wells’ story was an offset of human behavior, of the nature of conquest and empire, his Martians were just humans with extra technology and different physical form; Orson Wells’ martians were copies of Herbert’s but additionally flawed by the tempo dictated by modern entertainment; and lastly, Burroughs’ Martians, the most accurate as human imitations, with their rigorous denial of human rights, climate change, and even science, at least in the form of Darwinian Evolution, shoaled on the rocks of why do egg layers have mammary glands?

(Actually, I am told, humans, as we know them but never speak of in public schules, are neotenous egg layers. Our reproduction is identical to egg layers save the last step of neatly packaging the embryo in a box. This absence of containerization and externalization may be blamed as the root of the great human denial that is the vilification of abortion.)

This does not answer the question of why we are so broken and inept; so lacking in ability as to make incompetent an inadequate term. Perhaps the reason is that we did have alien help in assuming our self-proclaimed role as masters of Tellus. Another article [Link] advances that the only reason we beat the Neandertals into extinction was our alliance with dogs. This explains much, especially our darker side, given millennia of symbiosis that has strengthened our practices of cruelty, torture, denial, and irrationality. And probably hedonism?

It does occur, however, that there may be a positive side to this. Perhaps if we required every elected politician to have a service dog by their side at all times their greed and derivative evil would be buffered it not alleviated? Seems worth a try. 

Cleaning out tabs. Ran across one [Link] entitled “Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex” and was a bit offput by it. I noticed the author is located in Italy so this may be an Italian/European thing.

The guy is railing against the fun/easy thing being propagandized by a lot of Geek Leaders. Notably Fruit Folk. The article states that

“Unfortunately, this rosy portrait bears no relation to reality. For starters, the profile of a programmer’s mind is pretty uncommon. As well as being highly analytical and creative, software developers need almost superhuman focus to manage the complexity of their tasks. Manic attention to detail is a must; slovenliness is verboten. Attaining this level of concentration requires a state of mind called being ‘in the flow’, a quasi-symbiotic relationship between human and machine that improves performance and motivation.”

which is largely Stercus Tauri. (To use an Italian language.)

Yes, programming is rather strictly grammatical. In fact it is the strictest in a grammar sense but there is still plenty of wiggle room to abuse the grammar. The reason for this is fairly simple. Compilers aren’t very smart. The strictness has to do with the conversion of conversation – code – into executable.

Second, the mind set isn’t that uncommon. When I was an undergrad, almost all STEMs learned how to code. (The notable exceptions were biologists and boundary people like anthropologists and psychologists.) So unless the author thinks STEM skills ate rare, coding mindset isn’t uncommon. Disciplined, maybe, but not uncommon.

Is it fun? It is for me. Yes, it is frustrating but when the code runs there is an adrenalin rush that is indistinguishable from fun. It’s also soothing and enveloping. A sort of womb thing.

Ethically challenging? Is this one of those science fiction “Is there a God?” things? If you’re a back-to-nature kill off the human rave to hunter-gatherer levels arealist than maybe, but not otherwise. At least based on the author’s arguments. Which are sparse and vapid.

 

Maker Mumble

One day. Back to gym. Sparse but with a couple of educationalists. The stalwarts. So school is resessioned. 

I find the behavior of educationalists a bit confusing, at least as much as engaging. Some years ago there were a half-dozen who came regularly at opening but now that number is halved and two, at least, of them are administrators.

One always wonders if educationalists are promoted administrator because of how good they are or how bad?

The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on creativity. The primary thing I gained from listening was that the academics trying to differentiate and measure creativity were severely limited in what they could observe and measure. The examples given were all word games played quickly. 

I have to admit that I found the basic ideas of these games unengaging and even repellant. Language is less than fully consistent, much less than maths, so these games fail to pass my so-what testing for creativity. Maybe like artists, but not like STEM nerds. Not that artists aren’t creative, but I don’t value their creativity very much. Mostly because it is so different from mine.

And yes, I am terrible at drawing, much worse at paining or sculpting. About all I can relate to artists’ creativity is when we share emotional experiences. The creativity and its experiences are VERY different, but there are some commonalities among the emotions. And some of the thinking. Not the subjects, of course, but some of the processes.

I tend to be slow. Some of my creative cycles have run more than forty years. Not constant, mind you, But the thread or theme or whatever has been that long. 

My first independent creation after I got kicked out of grad school took three years. 

So I am not a fast creator. Which probably has something to do with my disinterest in the games.

And why I mistrust the investigators.

Tunnel Light?

Seven day. The weather beavers foretell it to be less miserable than the last two but this morning’s constitutional was less than satisfying.

It did however, give me some mind space to reflect on the human propensity for applying Ising models based on irrational grounds. That is, our great addiction to characterizing some aspect of life/society/… in terms of a two-state model. I suspect this is a manifestation of constantly seeking nonexistent simplicity.

The intermediary step leading to this cogitation was a reflection on how “life” is seen as either an “adventure” or a “burden”. Both seem strongly to reflect deep delusion on the parts of those who embrace either fantasy. Contrary to religionists and epicureans, life does have meaning and it is horribly degrading to a supposedly intelligent species, namely, that our purpose is propagation. Anything else is entrained debris. 

The initial phase was reading an article [Link] entitled “Do students lose depth in digital reading?” There have been a lot of articles dealing with this and related subjects but this one has the merit of actually coming close to saying something of value. I offer a few quotes from the article:

“One study let students choose how much time to spend when reading on each platform. The researchers found that participants devoted less time to reading the passage onscreen – and performed less well on the subsequent comprehension test.”

and

“Print stood out as the medium for doing serious work.”

This is as close as we seem to have gotten to something actually useful in these media studies. The practical formula offered is that for time wasting reading – what I have labeled as airplane trash intended to consume the time spent traveling in an intellectually vacuous environment punctuated at each end by significant probability of death or dismemberment – electronics are better, but for real effort, paper is better.

I still suspect there is a wonderful middle ground for things like integral tables and handbooks where we are serious but impulsive. These should, I think, still be better served by electronics where we are freed from the burden of toting massive tomes that are > 0.9999 irrelevant to our immediate needs.

Now if someone could do something equivalent for note taking.