Stacked Deck

 Back end of Week Out. Nasty. Himicane rumbling through. High air speeds, at least for a Model T. And for trees. And dihydrogen oxide falling. So a good day to hunker down, be miserable and try to not dwell on the damage upcoming to domicile.

This has actually been a good week for some indication that Homo Sapiens may actually be smarter than he/she usually appears.

First, a couple of articles [Link][Link] indicating that by 34 KYA humans had figured out not to have bairns off their sisters.

This does raise a few questions. The obvious ones are: why so late?; and how did they come to this?

One would have thought, with humans, in various flavors, being around for about 2-3 MY, that we should have figured out early on that kinfolk kuddlin’ (as people in the old Confederacy put it,) would result in greater stupidity. But then, since it does that, the likelihood of each successive generation figuring it out would be decreased, so if you tried it for two generations it would be established. (As it sometimes appears to be in the old Confederacy just based on observing Bubbas.)

Of course, if this is the situation, the second question becomes even more relevant. Was the discovery something emergent like art or Pop Rocks, or was it an epiphany? And if the latter, from whom? Space Aliens or Neandertals?

This brings up another, related question, which is when did humans realize they were ugly? And is the ugly basic DNA or miscegenation originating? Did it take a genus level mutation for us to realize that daughter dinkin’ made kids that were not only stupid but ugly as well?

If the idea didn’t emerge until recently, a few KY in the past, then this could explain why humans have spent so much time futzin’ about and doing little more than rock knocking and drooling. Civilization makes a lot more sense if smarts started 50 KYA (approximately) than 2 MYA.

Second, another couple of articles [Link][Link] that relate a study that indicates religion is instinctual (and hence totally irrational.) This is even more uplifting. One quote is especially good:

our brains are hardwired with cognitive biases that have evolved in order to help us to survive, but which have the side-effect of making it natural to develop religious belief.”

In other words, religion is a congenital disorder like impacted third molars or failure of blood to clot. And we have the possibility of disposing of it with gene therapy.

Short of that we can be aware of it and do exercises to diminish its debilitating effects. And we can find ways to help people who are particularly afflicted with this horrible genetic disorder. Perhaps we can even form a national charity, akin to the March of Dimes, to search for a cure?

And lastly, [Link] indications that a lot of our undesirable aspects were passed on to us by Neandertals, probably in the process of explaining to us about miscegenation.

The traits they identified included those that affect hair color, skin color, skin tanning and burning, sleeping patterns, mood, and tobacco use.

So we can blame everything from skin cancer to drug addiction on those beetle-browed precursors of ours.

Probably the price of getting smart and inventing civilization and such like.


Orf Arf

Five Day. A day of falling dihydrogen oxide and briefly perhaps, a diminution of temperature of the air. FD SCP has decreed today a day of unconsciousness, for herself, at least, and so being constrained to a consistent attempt at silence, an opportunity to ‘hawg’ tabs is presented.

When I first retired from the employ of the Yankee Army of Occupation, I underwent some biological changes. These have been pretty steadily down hill, which I rationalize by living far beyond the two-score-and-five that men lived when we were hunter-gatherers. Some of these changes are easy and some are difficult. The latest two are getting used to putting eyeglasses on to read after most of a lifetime of taking eyeglasses off to read and learning to decouple defecation from micturation. And, of course, I wonder about the biological aspects of these.

Anyway, I ran across an article [Link] that claims that Old Flatulences awaking early may be a survival mechanism to counteract adolescents who stay up late and rise late. (Ain’t no retireds among Hunter-Gatherers; retired = discorporated.) I went through this change when I retired, going from having to drag myself out of bed at 0530 to rouse the bairn to schule and motor myself and FD SCP to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for employment, to where I arose just after 0300 and try as I might, couldn’t stay abed much past 0400.

The question I ask is whether the change – among hunter-gatherers – occurred for protection of the band against others or so that the population of the band could be maintained. If the Old Flatulences are awake they’ll put the dampers on the young flatulences’ reproductive amusements. 

The next article [Link] meshes with this. It claims that we sapiens did out the neandertals not because of our smarts or such but because we got adopted by dawgs and they didn’t. How does this fit. Well, dawgs are sunshine animals if they can be. If there’s a nice fire after mealtime then a dawg will curl up and nap, and they sorta like to do it with old flatulences who will spoil them a bit with choice bits of mastodon. During the day they want to associate with the young flatulences but once the planted has revolved out of line-of-sight to Sol, it’s old guy time. So reinforcement?


Alimentary Internet

One Day. Back to Gym. Not bad. The podcast episode was, as usual, from the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” entitled “Uncommon Knowledge” and quite good. I shan’t go into it now but may later if the muse concurs.

A new source of annoyance has emerged at gym. I have commented about the weight bouncers who delight in load shrieks of groaning and the sound of concrete flooring crunching when they drop their weights from a height, and the loud, strident voices of educationalists who seem unable to summon “indoor voices.”

A new wrinkle of the latter has emerged. It is unclear if they are educationalists but they are a group of women, all young, who shout across the gym at each other in banal conversation. They appear to be the type of people who take great umbrage that you are “eavesdropping” on them so I have not yet complained about their noise level exceeding the volume capability of my MP3 player. 

Some of this clearly is the higher frequency of women’s voices (in the mode,) but some is also a demonstration of the antipathy of GEN Ys towards courtesy to any but their immediate circle of friends. And their immediate rancor if they are treated in a reciprocal fashion. 

For some reason the combination of this and my thoughts on the “WannaCry” malware phenomena led me back to consider the nature of Sturgeon’s rule. I went and consulted the internet of the demographics of OS usage.[Link] The combination of Mac OS, Linux, and “Other” is almost exactly 0.1 of the population. That means that windows users are 0.9 of computer users. Since Sturgeon sez that 0.9 of everything is crap, I was a bit startled. Of course, there is no indication of any determinism here. The best that probability will tell us is that 81% of computer users are Winders serfs and crap.

This seems reasonable. Not all Winders users are crap. Some – many – are forced by employers to use Winders and many of these – the crap ones probably – use Winders at home because they are too busy (Bog code for too lazy or stupid) to learn another OS. Besides Mac hardware is unreasonably expensive and Linux is TOO HARD. 

This latter, incidentally, is one of the few joys one gets from those crap Winders users, at least until one considers the base line.

Along the way I got to thinking about some of the recent reports I had seen associating brain/mind whackedness with nastiness. The original information [Link] had to do with an observed connection between damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain and religionist extremism (specifically fundamentalism.) Evidently the damage to the cortex results in a diminished ability to think for oneself and thereby a greater propensity to believe unquestioningly,

Another study [Link] showed a strong connection between studying/practicing business or economics and being a psychopath, narcissist, and/or self-serving egotist. This certainly explains a great deal about the whackendess and evil of capitalists and economists. And thereby the basic dedication of elected politicians to punish the poor. 

All in all, more evidence that 0.9 of humanity is crap. 

“And I don’t like anyone very much.”

Fair is Foul

Seven Day. Air Temperature a bit higher than yesterday. No shivering during the morning constitutional.

Almost the end of Week Out. Why have week out become so miserable? Inactivity? Probably a major factor.

Which brings me to an article [Link] I ran across yesterday titled “Strong language: swearing makes you stronger, psychologists confirm.” I have to admit that this article brought a lot of baggage with it.

My first concern was having psychologists measuring physical and physiological things. My experience with most psychologists, Total Angular Momentum Magnetic Inductance being the primary exception that proves the rule – and he started as an engineer, are a bit whackadoodle. Their experiments seldom make a meaningful and clear connection between methods and conclusions. I suppose part of this is the whackedness of humans in general but when someone tells me they are going to measure X and then announce this confirms Y with no demonstrated connection between X and Y except in the mind of the psychologist I get a bit skeptical.

The second thought was the strangeness of language. Take the words “swear”, “curse”, and “profanity”. All are synonyms for foul and offensive language. But one also swears an oath and cursing is a form of magic, or, at least, witchery. So the degeneracy is confusing in the least.

There is also the matter that the “English” spoken in England is different from the “English” spoken in the Yankee republic. 

And the last was that this seems not to be news. I can recall that Edward Elmer Smith in one of his Lensmen series wrote “Men curse to keep from crying, women cry to keep from cursing.” This may be a different form of strength but the implication is at least as clear as one of those psychology experiments. 

Also, in dealing with the military for many years, the use of profanity to summon some form of strength, physical among the ranks, mental and ethical among officers, is common and often inappropriate. 

So is this a case of academic approval where some well-known effect must be validated by academics to actually exist? Or is there something really new here? The difference cannot be resolved given the state of the journalism. 

In the meantime I reflect on whether I had to make use of profanity to read the article. I don’t recall it, but that is part of profanity: we become addicted to it and don’t realize we are using it until we are punished for doing so.

Which is a matter that the psychologists should have studied but apparently didn’t.

Maybe I will shiver now.

Pee AND Pool = 1

Since a couple of channels on the cable have started having MASH – the TV program, not the movie or even the actual book – marathons, the subjects of cockroach pornography (sports type) and micturation have been more frequently considered.

Hence, when I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Here’s How Much Pee There Is in a Swimming Pool” I moved into the micturation channel. This is one of those typically (predominantly? ENTIRELY!) Millenial articles that falls somewhere on the spectrum between “Gross” and “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” And the MASH bit gave me the insight necessary to cement the bottom line.

An old summer camp (showing my youth from the ’50’s) trick was to take someone’s arm – while they were asleep – and immerse it in a basin of warm water (liquid dihydrogen oxide.) After a few moments that someone would void their bladder, mush to their embarrassment and the glee of their evil EXTRO camp mates.

Note this is a natural physiological reaction. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be used as a prank.

But what gets missed by all the BOG EXTROs is that it doesn’t just work with an arm; it works with any other part of the body. (Almost.)

So when you take someone and put them in a swimming pool on a day when the water is warm, guess what you get?

Voided Bladders.

Get the idea? Urine in swiming pools is a NATURAL occurrence. The only way to avoid it is to catheterize everyone before they go in the pool.

Shhh. Don’t spread that around. There may be politicians listening.

Warped Sustainability

One of the great deceptions of modern times is that humans have only recently become consumerists. This myth/prevarication is propagated by the fanatic environmentalist faction.

Which is not to say they don’t have a good point but they rather ignore why there is a problem and that is overpopulation. It isn’t completely clear how many people we need for humans to continue but it’s between a million and a billion so there’s lots of room for downsizing.

But the string I want to oscillate here is about humans as consumers.

Humans have always been consumers. Back when we (our predecessors) were still in the trees, we consumed fruit of the trees and probably an occasional tree rat or dinosaur descendant. Once we climbed down and embraced the risk of bipedalism, we got busy consuming. Albeit mostly “road kill.”

Once we invented technology we got into big time because we had to be Hunter-Gatherers. Because we were consumers. We’d eat an area of a couple of hours walk radius around our temporary camp down and have to march on to a new area. After the population grew enough we had to develop circuits and territories so we didn’t have to kill (and eat) other bands’ members.

Those movements were the type of consumerism we have now. When we stopped we could make shelters, sleeping and cooking rigs, and tools. But when we moved to the next stop we had to leave behind every thing we couldn’t carry and keep up. And that burden had to include toting children too small to walk themselves. This is part of why we have “marriage.” It’s so the men can carry the women’s stuff while they carry bairns.

Just like consumerism today. 

Of course, at some point sedentaryism set in followed quickly by either starvation or the development of agriculture with all its evils. And that may have been the only time – and it’s a big MAY – we’ve worried about sustainment and conservation seriously.

And I sorta doubt that based on some of the evidence.

So sustainability is a valid concern but horribly mangled in presentation.