Tab Roulette

Seven Day. Ice Cream Day. And two days past the holy day of serpent suppression in Eire. 

This fits moderately well with the first tab of ‘Hawgin’ day. Some time ago I ran across and article [Link] in the Daily Mail entitled “Going to church can make you more popular and appear trustworthy, study finds.”

Now the Daily Mail is a bit of a rag as in both the tattered and bloody senses, somewhat akin to the expose conspiracy tabloids of supermarket necessity. But it set me to cogitation on an aspect of a subject I have wrestled with for years, namely the nature of organized religion and its relationship to actual religion.

I have numerous colleagues and acquaintances who attend services at churches on differing temporal spectra. Several cite the role in the lives of themselves and others in the association with other humans. Most are intelligent enough to refrain from rabid evangelism; that seems left to innocent (?) bairns dropped in the neighborhood by adults with some form of insecurity driving their irresponsibility. The worst they demonstrate is a smug arrogance that their life style is perfect. And strangely, for them, it may be because the only meaningful measure of perfection is functional. If these people are joltless in their lives then that may indeed be a form of perfection.

But these organized religions have ulterior purposes other than actual religion. Most evident is the survival of the organization itself. But this study from the Santa Fe Institut, noted for its work on complexity and emergence, indicates why organized religion is so successful in Amerika. Simply put the organized religion place offers a means for the insecure – which ultimately is a synonym for human – to alleviate their insecurity. And that is a powerful attractant given that something like 0.9 of all human behavior, at least in Amerika, is driven by insecurity. 

It may also offer some insight into why the “Nones” are increasing in number. From my observations of Millennials/GEN Ys, I have noted that their insecurities are somewhat different from Boomers and GEN Xs’. The working hypothesis is that (possibly) because of social media, the GEN Ys are much less concerned with the approval of the wider community and much more concerned with the approval of first and second friends. The population numbers seem to support this. The expected numbers of first and second friends is approximately band-sized while the expected number of FaceScroll “friends” is approximately community sized. 

What follows from this is rather strange. It seems that organized religion has almost nothing to do with personal religion for a surprising fraction of people. This is not easily confirmed. The metrics are unclear, but this would explain quite a bit about how our society behaves as an organism.

Next, an article [Link] entitled “Six charts that illustrate the divide between rural and urban America.” It’s one of those academic, semi-(pseudo-?) scientific things that presents some statistics but never quite gets around to looking at motion. This is a popular subject area right now because of the ‘revolution of the red necks’ in the last POTUS election. So both political sides are busy justifying their positions and banking their insecurities. 

What I found amusing about this article was what wasn’t said. For example the authors claim that most of the new job creation is occurring in cities (high population density) but that jobs in the boonies (low population density) are more enduring. This presumably means longer half-life or some such. 

But what was glaring obvious was that these two have to be related. As a bit of background, we live in an age of “apathetic feudalism”. I won’t go too deeply into this but it basically says that of all the candidates for a job, the one who is minimally qualified will get it because that minimizes salary cost. It also means that job holders are very mobile to try to move to better paying jobs and any commitment to staying is counter-survival. It also tends to explain automation.

So in a high population density area, there are more jobs and hence more movement. And hence more vacancies. And perhaps more truly “new” job creation. And the opposite in low population density areas. So the mean occupation time of any job is longer in low population density areas than in high. Which rather makes the authors’ presentation lacking a bit.

Tish. I could drone on but enuff fer neuw.

In Vacuum and in Tearfoam

Five Day and rid of gym – maybe – for the week out. Sparse this morning. Perhaps anticipation of the delayed spring desessioning of schule in Marshall County?

I have to wonder if this is some slip of the local schule management or if there is some coordination to stagger the loosening of delinquents and pre-delinquents? I know the Huntsville schules were desessioned this week, an absence I was quite thankful of braving the streets of Nawth Alibam’s diggingest city. When my parents moved to the metropolis from the discorporating city of Gadsden in 1952 I was introduced to a situation where several key intersections/stretches of road – always VERY heavily used – were blocked or just torn up by the city street bashers. But what was most notable were the access denial signs that were enhanced (?) by the phrase “Digging for a Better Huntsville.”

In the intervening 60+ years of my personal observation and experience, they have yet to find this better – much less the “good”, if I may misquote Sokrates – and the hypothesis that nowhere in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill is better is more than moderately tenable. The kindest thing I can say about road maintenance in Huntsville is that the city efforts make the Yankee Army’s on the Arsenal look good. Even with the repeated discussion of why good resources are being wasted on civilians?

On which azimuth, I noted this morning some grr brr in some of the science outreach journalism that the tardigrade possesses some protein that serves it in “the office of a moat” to protect it from drying out in arid and vacuum (ish) conditions.

I qualify that because IMHO the vacuum is an unreachable ideal. And I have to wonder if Boyle would be in agreement? I have two primary reasons for thinking this. One is that for a container to contain a vacuum – nothing – it must contain no matter. But what keeps the inner surface from eroding? And two, which I consider the more telling, how does one keep vacuum particles – those quantum mechanical ghosts advanced by Dirac – from popping up right in the middle of an experiment and rendering the vacuum null?

For that matter, is there some impossibility of nullifying a vacuum? Or is it just a natural thing that totally destroys our Babel tower of language?

Anyway, getting back to our azimuth, there is also a beastie, the Demodex, which is a parasite that lives on human eyelids, and also has an intriguing appearance:

The resemblance is apparent if one ignores the teddy bearness of the tardigrade and the fecal sac of the demodex. Whereas the tardigrade keeps itself from drying up via its protein barrier, the demodex is notable for discorporating when its fecal sac gets overfull and explodes (well, fails, by rupturing, I imagine, since I have not observed such.)

So is it not plausible that the combination of the two could provide the most entertaining cartoon programming since Moose and Squirrel?

On which note, I note that a real devotee of Science Fiction knows that the Original Spiderman was Robinson. 

Have a good Pun Day.

In Search of Desert

Today is rather a bit of a special day, a day when we may marvel at the stupidity of humans and be stupefied by the marvels of reality.

To start, let us say a bit about the stupidity of humans. Our planet, Terra or Tellus or, most commonly, Earth (which is another bit of stupidity?) orbits its star, Sol, once a year. Our planet also rotates on its axis. As a result of this rotation a simple observer will note periods when Sol is visible and periods when Sol is not visible. Ignoring atmospheric manifestations, the former periods are called day and the latter night. The combination of the two is also called day which is confusing and more indication of the stupidity of humans. The time it takes for our planet to rotate about Sol is called a year.

Some humans are numerate. I am told by psychologists that half of our species are math blind. They struggle to do simple arithmetic which any mathematician will tell you is not maths; it might more properly be called survival finger counting, perhaps? Because some are numerate and because of being numerate more survivable – marginally, probably because the anumerates hate the numerates and tend to persecute and kill them – we tend to number things. Like years. And days.

And if we stopped there, we wouldn’t be quite as stupid as we are. We decide, for some reason I have never encountered a reasonable explanation of, to divide the year into irregular periods that we call months and give names instead of numbers. Perhaps indicatively, we tend to use the names of imaginary superior beings for the months.

And because we are anumerate in such great numbers, because, after all, one thing we humans do well is breed, even if we do a horrible job of raising our offspring, we have a social reality that we ignore – almost – how long a year is, some 365.25…… days, and demand that a social year always have an integer number of days. So we end up with social years with varying numbers of days.

Now we come to the real stupidity. Given that the temporal position (approximately) is given by the combination of year number, month name (number?) and day number, there are three ways of arranging this position:

  • D/M/Y
  • Y/M/D
  • M/D/Y

where the capital letters stand for day number, month name/number, and year number.

Now guess which one the Bogs like best? Yes, the worst one, that is, the last above. Note that the first one leads with the fastest changing number, followed by the next fastest, and then the slowest changing. The Second arrangement is the inverse of this which makes it more like a real number. But the one the Bogs like is a hodgepodge of change.

Sic, Stupiditas.

Now let’s move towards the stupefaction. In the Bog notation, using month number instead of name, today is 3/14/2017 which is a rather bad approximation to the number we call Pi, which is the Americanization of the name of a Greek letter. 

Pi is a rather special number. Physically or mathematically, it is the ratio of the circumference of a (perfect) circle to its diameter. As a number it is indeterminate because it neither ends nor repeats its sequence of numbers. To a horribly short approximation is Pi is about 3.1415927….. Even this inaccurately we may see that 3.14 is rather unimpressive as a nickname.

But upon the basis, today is celebrated as Pi Day, supposedly to try to inculcate some appreciation into the minds of people who choose the absolute worst way to express a date?

Incidentally, a better day would be the 22nd of July since 22/7 is a much better approximation of Pi. And it actually makes sense in a dating notation.


ORF Outburst

One Day. And back to gym. Air temperature well below comfortable. And lower foretold by the weather beavers. 

As is my usual on One Day I listened to an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas.” This episode was an interview with some comedian about the expression of humor. It wasn’t.

And as I left the gym, some schmuck win a pickup truck swerved into the inner lane right in front of me, braked HARD, and turned into a petrol station. All with no blinking!

This put me to mind on what I dislike enough to rant about:

Schmucks who change lane or turn without the courtesy of blinking. I include in this those asses who only blink once. Then I consign to the hot regions of Tartarus without benefit of any rash analgesic.

I also dislike organizations who either discontinue products because they can’t make enough money on them and either cease to carry in their stores or cease to manufacture. These I consign to the level of Tartarus where Helium is liquid. 

I even more dislike organizations who deliberately lie. Organizations are not humans; they do not have to lie; they can only do so deliberately. These I consign to the level of Tartarus where Helium is solid. And their organizational executives are embedded up to their necks in the Helium.

I also dislike the Yankee Congress. Yes, this is the obligatory biannual natter about Daylight Savings Time. This also for their apparent desire to deny medical treatment to most of the population. I can think of no punishment sufficiently severe so I will settle for persistent nattering. 

And lastly, I am unhappy with comedians. The schmuck – the one in the podcast – this morning said that jokes thought unfunny weren’t. I beg to differ. If I don;t comprehend the joke then it cannot be funny. Comedy is like teaching: if it doesn’t work for me, it’s a failure. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the comedian or the teacher. Only what I think.

But I do like Mondays. FIrst fay of the week. A whole seven days to try to accomplish something.

The Actual Beast

Last evening I heard on the evening “news” that a drive-in cinema in Henagar wasn’t going to project a Disney re-do because one of the characters in the cinema is homosexual.

At the time this was another bit of Alibam not-news.

But then this morning I read an article [Link] in LifeHacker about this. And I was vaguely amused.

Let me start by mentioning that Henagar is one of the great cities of Alibam. It is almost in either Jawjah or Tennesse in the upper nawth-east corner of Alibam. It has a population of about 2.5K people. This part of the state is mountains so no industry or large organizations and the people who live there are rather like mountain people have been depicted in videos since the movie about Alvin York.

That would seem to explain what the owner of the motorcar cinema meant by her statement that 

“If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”

since mountain people have all sorts of unusual religionist ideas. In this case thinking that the deity or his supposed offspring are pookas (to stay with the cinema metaphor.)

I should mention that many people in Alibam avoid saying what they really think or feel because they fear starting a feud or being beaten horribly by anyone who thinks or feels otherwise. In a place where one could speak one’s mind, the proper statement would have been something of the order of

“A lot of people hereabout are insecure and dislike homosexuals and just about anyone who isn’t like them and genetically similar (kinfolk) so if we show this movie no one will come and we will loose a whole bunch of money for no good reason.”

I won’t dwell on the nature of why this message wasn’t used since further discussion isn’t going to dissipate the reader’s already substantial disbelief.

Now let me address a couple of other points. First, a motorcar cinema today? Yes, exactly. Bear in mind that this is a small, impoverished mountain community. Land is cheap but buildings are dear. And the population is low so there isn’t much in the way of cable or internet. On in-door cinema. 

Not so say that there aren’t lots of places like Henagar in Alibam that aren’t in the mountains. There are people not more than five miles (yes, we still use Imperial units in Alibam) from Greater Metropolitan Arab, an Alibam metropolis of about 9K peoples who have neither indoor plumbing nor a heating system that doesn’t burn wood. And Greater Metropolitan Arab doesn’t have a motorcar cinema, nor an in-door cinema. But we do have Digital Switched Line. And cable television.

Second, let me take up the matter of movies. Disney movies are a good model of movies in general. Cartoon characters. Magic. Everyday people singing in public. Totally unrealistic stories. 

And that’s why I don’t go to see Disney (or much of any) movies. I have seen an earlier version of the movie in question. This alteration does not make the story any better or worse. It wasn’t real then and it wasn’t real now. 

But happily a lot of people in Alibam don’t and can’t understand that. Much less act rationally about it.

I can say that I have enjoyed two Disney Movies. One as Davy Crockett. It wasn’t a cartoon. And even as a child I realized it was a crock of inaccurate stercus and reveled in my rationality.

I also enjoyed The Black Hole. Not for the title; for the odoriferous inaccuracies. At least the part I got to see. I saw this at a now non-existent theater in Huntsville when I has in grad schule and was asked (demanded indignantly) by management to leave because my laughter and floor rolling was disturbing the other customers and the grease on the floor. I doubt that I was really disturbing anyone else, more likely the opposite but I can see how sopping up the sticky yuck on the floor would require them to spend money on cleaning the floor. And this was one of the nicer in-door cinemas in town. It even had a separate smoking section. The smoking section was in the middle of the rest of the seating but a waist high fence kept the smoke in (and the non-smokers out.)

I am asked why I live in Alibam. Several reasons. First of all, I grew up here. And although it is impossible to be believed by anyone who hasn’t, it’s better now than when I was a child. Second of all, it’s green. I have been lots of other places, mostly courtesy of the Yankee Army of Occupation sending me places I didn’t need to go to but they required me to go there. And after a week or so coming back to the green was a fulfillment.

The third reason is “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” To translate that, anyone in Alibam who is rational and/or educated in something useful – that is, a nerd – is one-eyed. And you don’t get to be king, mostly because no one who is rational and/or educated would want to be king in this place, but you do get a whole lot better job than those who aren’t rational or educated.

What I understand is that when most of the people have a (useful) education, that education is NOT an advantage. By useful, I am not talking about quoting Descartes or Proust; I’m talking about doing instead of talking. (Incidentally, those folks who can quote Descartes or Proust, or even Patrick Henry, are more likely to get beaten horribly. If you know – really know – the calculus then the folks who do the beating run from you in terror as if you were the Attack Rabbit (more cinema vein.) And you get paid pretty good and can enjoy the good parts of Alibam.

Enough. If you ever get to Henagar take your kids to the motorcar cinema. It doesn’t matter what movie is being projected. What counts is that they experience a motorcar cinema for much the same reason the service station fellow in the Nevada desert wished for rain.



Glory Road Glory Hole

I have heard much about some trash-up error at the “Oscar” telecast and thought the situation might benefit from a bit of leveling:

  • Was anyone worthwhile there?
  • Was anyone worthwhile viewing?

The answer is, of course, NO since this is all Bog Stercus nonsense. It does have a positive side in that it diverts Bogs from other activities, like being political or bullying real people. Otherwise it is just more of their cancer.

Rust Box

Seven Day. Solid Dihydrogen Oxide outside. So no constitutional. But the morning groats were welcome. 

Part of this week has been spent arguing with Winders. And I feel a bit soiled after doing so. Rather like when one changes the lubricant in one’s motorcar and feels rather slimy/slippery for a couple of days after despite several applications of detergent to oneself. In this instance sort of like falling into the LaBrea tar pits, extricating oneself, only to encounter a Mephitis Mephitis on the bank and fall backwards into the pits again choking and gagging on the noxiousness.

Hence my positive mood this morning when I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Get Yourself a Chromebook For Under $150, Today Only.” I have to admit that I bought a ChromeBook, a refurbed one for a bit less than this price.

And I also have to admit that I feel like I was cheated.

The hardware is abysmal but even so it is sterling compared to the OS. It’s worse than the OS on the IBM 360 I had to use in undergraduate days. 

All you can do with a ChromeBook – effectively – is browse. Almost nothing constructive. 

After a bit of research I discovered that the implementation – hardware – is virtually the same as a Stercus lapbox I have wrangled with because of the way Horrible Packaging implemented secure boot UEFI. But even less useful.

So I have to conclude that the combination of HP and Chrome is Sturgeon’s Rule to the nth root. That is 0.91/n. Where n is large; bigger than 1E2. 

Oh! And I can’t even run FORTRAN code on it!

But what scares me is that there are actual people who define their lives via this. 

Three Cheers for the Extinction Meteorite! May it arrive soon!