Surviving Weather Men 2

Let us speak of ships and sealing wax. Or more properly weather and probability. Everyone hears the probabilities from the weather beavers but they never bother to tell you what they mean by it, so it’s almost a useless thing.

What is amazing is how dumbfounding it is for nerds who know – at least intellectually – about probability and find out what weather beavers mean.

There are basically two definitions of probability: temporal and spatial.(Time and Space) 

If you stand in one spot and observe from second to second (or minute to minute….) whether that spot is sunny or shadowed and write that down, at the end of an hour or a day the fraction of time that the spot is shaded (ratio of time shaded to total time spent observing) is the probability of being shaded. That’s temporal probability.

If you run about from spot to spot and observe whether that spot is shaded or sunny, and write it down, then after you have run to many spots, the ratio of shaded spots to the total number of spots is the probability of being shaded. That’s spatial probability.

Now what about weather? Well, it’s a combination of spatial and temporal. If a weather beaver says there is (e.g.,) a 60% probability of rain then what that means is that over a day’s time and the total area of the forecast (which is usually the “viewing area” for television weather forecasts,) there are six chances out of ten of rain falling somewhere and somewhen. 

What it doesn’t mean is that there’s a 60% chance you will get rain. It doesn’t work that way. Nor does it mean that 60% of the people in the “viewing area” are going to get rain. It just means that there is a 60% chance that somewhere in the viewing area will get rain. 

It’s maths, folks, and the weather beavers figure you are incapable of understanding maths and if they try to explain it to you in a meaningful manner you will get bored and do the channel flip thing. And then they lose money. 

Incidentally, the bored thing doesn’t depend on whether you get maths or not. Because talking about maths simply bores those who don’t get maths because it’s blah blah and bores those who do get maths because what is being said is too simple. 

Surviving Weather Men 1

When the weather beaver on the local television news talks about fog, he/she really isn’t.

Fog is an atmospheric aerosol formed of water particles, usually with a dust nucleus, for which the visibility – can you see a black telephone pole against a cloud background – is one kilometer (0.6 Imperial or American miles.) 

An atmospheric aerosol formed of water particles for which the visibility is greater than one kilometer is a Haze.

You can also tell a fog by the size of the three-dimensional halo around a street lamp although this only helps if it is dark so that (a) the street lamp is lit and (b) you can see the halo. 

An ice fog is an atmospheric aerosol formed of water particles that have frozen so that technically they are ice particles. 

For some reason, weather beavers (TV meteorologists) like to call all atmospheric aerosols fog, possibly (?) because they think the technical distinctions are too complicated for their viewers. 

Fallen Grace

Sometimes the good guys lose. Big time. Head tap and unmarked grave bad.

So I was a bit distressed when I saw a couple of articles [Link] [Link] about FireFox. One tries to soften the blow that Mozilla is ceasing to support FireFox for older CPUs, the other tries to justify why not only FireFox but all browsers but Chrome are worthy of survival. 

I can recall when FireFox, or much else, was naught. The internet was owned by MegaHard’s internet explorer with a market share of 0.98. Millions still use internet explorer and are unable to recognize that it was, and is, an odoriferous semi-solid blob of stercus deposited by a tertiary syphilitic pachyderm. In those days MegaHard had all the attitude of Der Fuehrer had the Allies failed. 

And then Mozilla laid low the maiden and rescued the dragon. 

And the world was made a better place. For one thing, its entropy was increased by the profusion of browsers that came forth in the wake of FireFox. Which is probably an irreversible thing. I doubt the internet marketplace has the directiveness to roll back that much entropy. 

If nothing else, the Yankee Government (and lots of furring governments for their citizens,) has seen to that. No, not by law, by practice. Despite much effort and incidentally, money wasted on hiring shill game IT contractors instead of educating their organic folk, many Yankee government site will not work with the modern incarnation of internet explorer or FireFox or Chrome. I know, becuase I have to use a really simple root kit browser to interface with the YG site to manage obligations. The only other sites I have to use this browser with are banking sites, which rather indicates just how customer friendly these sites are.

In fact, the YG site I visit most often says that one needs to use not only internet explorer but a version unavailable for years.

Of course, running Linux, the true Grail – at least for now – of operating systems, I can’t run internet explorer except in WINE and the YG is schizophrenic about my choice of OS. Ain’t democracy wonderful? But so long as I keep the browser simple, one step above the command line, the YG site performs as its designers intended.

And totally explodes with any of the mainstream browsers.

Hence another reason not to worry about a religious transformation to the one, true browser. Because that browser can either work with government and money sites, or it can work with all the rest. But not both so long as we maintain a free market system. (Sorta. But that ain’t my laxative target this blot.)

I am not too worried about FireFox going away. For one thing, there are lots of branches. I have three on this box: Ice Weasel; Cyberfox, and Pale Moon. No, they aren’t fully FireFox compatible, but for lots of things, like getting a version of FireFox that isn’t neutered by Mozilla, that’s good. 

And yes, I still use FireFox for some of my browsing. Why? Because it feels good. And it is reasonably trustworthy.

Those are two things that are wrong with Chrome and to a lesser extent, Chromium. They don’t feel quite right and they fail often and optimally inconveniently.  And I have a couple of branches, notably SlimJet, which is 10dB better in implementation than Chrome. 

And I have another half dozen or so browsers installed. Some are just for testing but most are there because the computer is a tool not an appliance and I may need to deal with some activity on the internet that needs the characteristics of a particular tool. Which is why I also have TOR. (And no, I’m not going to rant about that realty (land and building) agency that thinks that they are advertising themselves when they are really advertising TOR to ever computate person on the other side of a receiver.)

Heck, I know kids in schule who write their own browser as a coding project and keep using – and tweaking – it for years. Causes no end of migrane for information security noids. 

So no, I’m not going to worry about the code developers setting up a monopoly. For one thing, it wouldn’t be a monopoly of code developers, it would be a monopoly of free market capitalists who seem programmed to drive things to monopolies. But code developers can’t agree enough to only make the one true browser. And even if the Bogs were told there was only one, the Nerds and Geeks would know otherwise. 

But I am still saddened watching Mozilla wither away because it just can’t get things right. That’s not new. Read Greek Tragedies. The Great Hero has to die a hero’s death; he (usually) can’t change to not be a hero and survive as a not-hero. Being a Hero is a death sentence and Mozilla is a Hero. In some ways, more than Roger RamJet. 

The Angular Momentum of Peas

Seven Day. The end of week out. And it never has sufficient speed for me. There are times when I wished time had a speed of more than one second per second. Television is a wasteland, reminiscent of an abandoned coal mining town in West Virginia or a rust belt factory town in Michigan. 

During the week I listen to podcasts at gym to divert my attention from the drops forming and flowing on my forehead. They make the wasteland recede except for the overly LOUD educationalists and the screaming grunts of the weight bouncers. The former are adamantine and shrill sandpaper on a black board, which are as notably absent from the schules as is education. The latter are punctuated and bear the stench of modern body corruption.

But on week out the gym is effectively closed and I have to make do with home effort and since that means, at best, an outside constitutional when I can listen to podcasts, or in high winter and summer, both of which seem to be expanding, an inside spin on a stationary bicycle. There I mostly make do with reading. The current book is a survey of the metaphysical foundation of “modern” science. It’s a Dover book which tells us it is both good and dated which we knew since such topics are beyond the capabilities of the contemporary. 

I also read TIME magazine, mostly during meals when FD SCP reads a bosom ripper. I read TIME to balance out my RSS feeds with some exposure to the Boggerate as portrayed by slowly failing journalists of incestuous mutual admiration. No, not in the sexual sense, rather like contemporary celebrities who are great and wonderful because they are celebrities. These are journalists who are great and wonderful because they are journalists. One of the articles in the current issue – 10 April of this year – is an editorial about the robotization of jobs. Strangely, journalism is not mentioned but dentistry is. One has to wonder why?

The issue also had an article about podcasts. I fell on this like a chicken falling on a bug. But I discovered the bug was one of those that squirts hydroquinones out its fundament. Burning Horror! The article featured 36 podcasts. The number of any interest at all? ZERO. It also pointed at an article [Link] entitled “The 50 Best Podcasts Right Now.”

I have been reading TIME for years. I started back in graduate schule to get a sort of intelligence briefing about what was going on in the imaginary world beyond the walls of grad schule. AFter grad schule I kept reading for much the same reason. One useful thing was their movie reviews. If a movie got a rating of five (the maximum) or one (the minimum) I might go to see it. The rest, two through four, were discarded. The system worked because of the prejudices of the reviewers. 

The podcasts TIME recommends are worse. Of there list of fifty “BEST” podcasts, I found none that I would investigate further or even download for a test. There are a couple, from NPR, that I have listened to in past but dropped because their quality is too inconsistent. Most of what is on their list is the same sort of mind rubbish and rot that is on the television networks. 

So what’s a good podcast? I am not sure. It’s like art. If I like it, it’s good. If I don’t like it, it may be good. And I admit that much. But for TIME to offer nothing seems suspiciously like a temporal erosion (cancer?) of their movie reviews. (That I quit paying attention to when I married.)

My good podcasts start with what I listen in gym:

One Day – CBC’s “The Best of Ideas”; it’s a bit bloody liberal but that’s a refreshing counterweight in Medieval Alibam;

Two Day – The Guardian “Science Podcast” and the BBC’s “Science Hour”. I used to listen to the NPR science snippets but they disappeared over the Solstice holidays for some reason. 

Three Day – The CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks”; this used to be number one in science podcasts but has lost ground to the Guardian “Science Weekly”

Four Day – The UK Ubuntu Podcast and the start of an episode of “Late Nite Linux” or “The Linux Action Show”

Five Day – The rest of that latter episode

In addition, we have the best American podcast, Garrison Keeler’s “The News from Lake WoeBeGone”, and the BBC’s “In Our Time”, arguably the best podcast period. The WIlliamsburg people used to have a good podcast but it became a long commercial for them and rotted. 

Two other comments: one thing the TIME people aren’t going to mention is that, in the main, Amerikans are stercus at podcasts. The Candanians and the Albions are much better. I can’t speak to anywhere else because I stick to podcasts in good English. In particular, the American news and entertainment media is abysmal when it comes to podcasts. Too many are built on personality first, last, and throughout and are treated as commercials for the media. Their learning value is negative, in the main. I haven’t sampled them all, obviously, but I have a confident standard deviation of zero.

The other thing is that the TIME people don’t know anything about podcasts either and they don’t care. Demonstration: in that article I mentioned? ZERO RSS links. People who like podcasts use podcast accumulators (TIME: whats that?) and that means RSS links. One more sign Amerikans don’t get podcasts very well.

Exceptions to the above: NPR and those podcast producers who do specialty podcasts like Jupiter Broadcasting. 

Other side of the EQUALS sign: don’t pay any attention to national branded media when you go looking for podcasts. 


Alabamians’ Excellence

Three day. Supposed to be the day to foray into Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill but FD SCP laid down a command decision this morning and I am sitting at Castellum SCP waiting for the weather to destroy the place.

Although that’s supposed to be better than me being flipped by the winds while motoring.

So I am contemplating some rather amusing articles.

First, an article [Link] entitled “Stressed Out? You Probably Don’t Have it as Bad as People in Alabama, the Most Stressed State.” This is one of those firsts that is actually last, since it is a backwards insult. Simply put the denizens of Alibam are least able, of all those of the states of the Yankee republic, to cope with stress.

Why is this?

Perhaps the answer is another article [Link] entitled “Climate Change Is Stressing Us Out” that I saw almost immediately after the first.

How do Alibamians – in the mode – feel about climate change? Simple answer: deep denial. 

Why do people deny something? Reason 1: they have some scientific evidence that the something is fictional. Reason 2: they are insecure and can’t deal with the something rationally or emotionally.

Which do you think characterizes the majority, the mode as it were, of Alibamians?

Answer: Reason 2.

The problem is that when you deny something it doesn’t really go away and when it does raise its ugly, slobbering head you have to confront your insecurity.

Which stresses you out.

So we may hypothesize that Alibamians are better at insecurity and thereby denial, than the people of any other state in the Yankee republic.

This conjecture certainly seems to explain a LOT. A lot about the behavior of Alibamians. How they drive. How they behave towards other people. How they pick their politics and politicians. How they pretend to be something they aren’t. 

Which is sane.

Much less rational.

But to perhaps be fair, as a result of their choices, the general social environment in Alibam heightens the stress. How other people act. How they drive. How they pretend to be religionists. How they support an oppressive political regime in the state. How they support environmental gutting. 

And, of course, because all that stress and denial has a health unbenefit, people in Alibam die at a lesser age and thus stress out their offspring who know they will too.

Nurture wins again.

But this does at least give Alibamians something to brag about in the macho olympics: the can clearly withstand stress better than effete Yankees and all them oleaginous furriners.

The Motley that be Human

Six Day. All Fool’s Day. So we should all feel rather comfortable and welcomed. After all, we are all fools, each in his own way.

To attempt to demonstrate this, I went to my trusty digital dictionary – not a fool when it comes to OS! but I am widely thought so by those who are MegaHard serfs and Fruit chattels. Anyway, the definition snatched from the jaws (bowels?) of the internet, the actual contemporary seat of fools:

Fool Fool, n. [OE. fol, n. & adj., F. fol, fou, foolish, mad; a fool, prob. fr. L. follis a bellows, wind bag, an inflated ball; perh. akin to E. bellows. Cf. Folly, Follicle.]

   1. One destitute of reason, or of the common powers of understanding; an idiot; a natural.      [1913 Webster]

   2. A person deficient in intellect; one who acts absurdly, or pursues a course contrary to the dictates of wisdom; one without judgment; a simpleton; a dolt. [1913 Webster]

   3. (Script.) One who acts contrary to moral and religious wisdom; a wicked person.      [1913 Webster]

   4. One who counterfeits folly; a professional jester or buffoon; a retainer formerly kept to make sport, dressed fantastically in motley, with ridiculous accouterments.      [1913 Webster]

Note that all of these are drawn from the same source the hernia producing 1913 Webster Unabridged. The dictionary not to be used around even medium sized dawgs.

I note that definition number one gathers in all Bogs, even the ones who might be exempt due to mental absence. Definition two captures some of the Bogs and most of the Geeks.

The third captures all the Nerds since nerds generally have serious reservations about being controlled by morality and religiosity. But it would also seem to capture all of the Bogs and Geeks as well since the state of religions is such that their union of doctrine and dogma is so dense as to thus exclude everyone, including most of the lower animals, from any taint of goodness. The difference is that Nerds know what wickedness really is beyond the rhetoric of of government and religious justicers. 

Number four is strangely mixed. Few of us are paid for our foolishness although all of us are ridiculously accoutered. Consider cellular telephones, e.g. Definitely a ridiculous accouterment. Similarly for credit cards and paper money. And clothing, which is supposed to be orthogonal to accouterment, is singularly ridiculous these days. 

So a happy day to all of us, the sole surviving species of homo on Tellus. Even out small fractions of Chimpanzee and Neandertal DNA cannot rescue us from this condition.

Thought Provocations

Four Day. Safely (?) returned from a motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for provisions and staffage. Survival. And a bit of epiphany?

One of the biggest academic problems of our age is finding a way to effectively do science outreach to apathetic Bogs. Not that there isn’t a lot of outreach by academics and the get a lot of mana points for it, at least internally, but their effectiveless is not very good. Briefly, it’s a Double Sturgeon (as in Rule) because its 99% ineffective (crap.) 

But yesterday in transit I came up with a way to make science outreach effective in larnin’ apathetic bogs. All that is necessary is to broadcast it and tell the Bogs that it is “Reality TV.” And they will watch and gossip about it. 

And the amusing thing is that it really is reality.

On a similar azimuth, a member of the Alibam Council of Thieves from Vestavia Hills has introduced a bill in the legislature to make selling a cellular telephone or “internet reading device” without a porn blocker illegal.[Link] And any adult who wants to disable the blocker has to register and pay a fee.

I am assuming an “internet reading device” is a slablet? 

Anyway, this grabbed my attention span when I heard about this on the local “news” broadcast out of Nawth Alibam’s …

First of all, I understand one of those legal rights organizations is already talking about litigating this as unconstitutional. May be, but what it came across to me is an example of how ignorant Alibam (All?) politicians are when it comes to science and technology. And maybe business, which they pride themselves in prostituting themselves to.

So let’s explore this bill. This member of the CoT wants all cellular telephones and slablets (?) sold in Alibam to have an unremovable addition to the software that blocks “porn” sites. No indication of how they’re going to define porn sites so someone is going to have to come up with a list of such, keep it current, and distribute it. 

Let’s also mention that Alibam is less than 1% of the National cellular marketplace. Definitely not a demographic heavyweight. 

So do we expect Gooey or Fruit (or any of the other cellular OS companies) to modify their OS? Chances zero to minus one. IMHO.

So they can pay a third party to hack the OS and add the capability? Chances similar.

At this point we have to ask what are the chances the CSP will just quit selling phones and slablets in Alibam. Pretty fair. 

Chances that each CSP will have a blocking client added to their devices? Pretty fair. Chances that extra-Alibam retailers will do so. Zero.

I should comment here that this brain trust of one from Vestavia Hills seems to think that everyone in Alibam gets his/her from a CSP. So he/she hasn’t thought about those folks who buy their phones over the Internet – unlocked or otherwise.

I should also probably mention that we have lots of people who live near an edge of Alibam who go across the edge to buy lottery tickets. I hope the connection is obvious?

OK, so let’s assume that somehow the CSPs in Alibam get a blocking capability in their phones. What happens next?

  • The Bogs are going to get in their motorcars and drive across the state line. Or go on Amazon. If they have a Geek friend. Or a child above the age of ten or so.
  • The Geeks are going to install Opera (browser) and engage the VPN. Blocker shortcircuited. This solution will also be done by the kids withing a day, probably an hour.
  • The nerds are going to root their phones and disable the blocker. And maybe install a different OS that doesn’t have blocker capability.  Or cobble an app that goes around the blocker. 

This may sound bad, but let’s think about the good side of this. It’s a form of outreach. It will incentivize people in Alibam, especially the kids, to learn how to hack a cellular or slablet. So the benefit of this law will be to increase the education level of Alibam citizens. 

I might also mention that the Yankee Congress is also encouraging this behavior with their idea of letting CSPs and ISPs sell customer data to all comers.

And who says Politicians aren’t helping their constituency? Maybe backwardsly and stupidly, but definitely helping. At least here in Alibam.