Toy Car Luggage

Five Day. It has been a difficult week. Much discomfort in the joints. And today portends to be a nasty one for weather. And then into the abyss that is week out. So my morale and mood have not been good.

Hence it was with a somewhat negative view that I noted an article [Link] this week. It is about some research (?????????) done by French “scientists” on “rolling luggage”. The thing with “rolling luggage” is that everyone’s time is golden so long as it is one’s own (?) time and not someone else’s which is stercus.  So no one wants to wait for checked luggage and insists on traveling with a miniature suitcase with a long handle and a pair of wheels either mounted on an axle or incorporated into the structure of the suitcase. And they drag, not roll, these suitcases through the aeroports and onto airliners where half of the suitcases end up checked baggage anyway because the room in the bins is quickly exhausted. 

From a physics standpoint what is important here is that the wheels are of fixed orientation and the suitcase is under continual force. If the wheels are on an axle, they are fixed but the axle can rotate. As these are pulled through the aeroport the suitcase tends to wobble, sometimes violently, and even tip over like a ship in high seas. Sadly, the suitcases that do tip do not sink, they just cause several other travelers to trip over them and cause a traffic jam and much ill will all about.

That latter is not physics, thankfully.

Back when I was a bairn, I had a couple of toy cars. These cars were made in Japan of hammered and painted tin and they had four rubber or plastic tires, in pairs mounted on metal axles. (Plastic was expensive in those days.) And when you would push these cars as hard as you could, they would run straight for a while (if they didn’t flip immediately) then veer off and even flip over. By the time my younger brother came along and played with toy cars, the body was now plastic but the behavior was the same.

This is why when I saw the article I was immediately cynical and thought this was nothing but self-promotion. After all, the French, as a people, are known for their arrogance. Most places you go, if you sincerely try to speak the language, you are warmly welcomed. In France, if you try to speak French, the French will try to kill you. 

Basically, the suitcase is an extended version of the toy car. Since the wheels are fixed in orientation, and, if mounted on an axle, constrained to rotate together. and under continual force, every little variation in the rolling surface – floor, for the bogs – causes a perturbation. In addition, and this is the real biggie, the direction of the force (pull) and the direction of the wheel’s rotation is not the same. So while the wheel is turning, it is also being dragged a bit to the side. If the wheels are mounted on an axle, this dragging causes one side of the suitcase to dig in and stall, at least momentarily. And if you pull the suitcase fast enough, the bumps and drags interfere constructively and you get a Tacoma Narrows bridge event. (Although that’s not really why the bridge collapsed, of course.)

Now why is this article self-promoting? Because every physicist who has traveled since the introduction of “rolling luggage”, has experienced this either directly or by observation and figured out what was going on. And most of us then returned to checked baggage. So this stuff isn’t new. It’s not as bad as going out to the Eiffel Tower and repeating Galileo’s Tower of Pisa experiment – and bragging about as new – but it’s close.

Incidentally, this physics is also close to the reason why Alibam Pickup Truck aimers aren’t competent drivers: the trucks themselves are impossible to steer like a motorcar and the state in its warped politics is unwilling to force pickup drivers to take training in the interest of the safety of the citizenry. Which is why Alibam is a third world state, a toy car state. Absent of understanding of basic physics and absent of any regard for the citizenry.

Much like the contemporary bog traveler. 

How Now?

I read [Link] an article entitled “The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows” that claims that 16.4 MegaAmerikans think (believe?) that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. 

I am a bit befuddled by this. If I apply logic then the usual whitish milk we buy in stores originates in whitish cows? This is amazing considering how uncommon whitish cows are. Almost all the cows I have observed in my travels have been black or brown or brindle or motley. Almost none are whitish. So do the whitish cows have an enormously increased productivity that they can produce most of the milk consumed on the planet? And if so, why are we not investigating their genetics so that we can decrease the methane pollution of cows? 

Even in a Repulsian administration, this seems negligent and counter-survival.

On the other hand, if these people are, in fact, either deluded or demented, then it explains many things. Like why all the politicians are anti-reality and totally antagonistic to each other. And any improvement in the condition of the nations or its citizens. 

That being the case, it seems the clear duty of every (actually) patriotic Amerikan (as opposed to the false patriotism of greed,) to go out and dispose of a brown cow.

In that way, we shall surely eliminate all the denial and delusion and evil persecution.

Callahan on Setebos

Five Day. Gym discontinuity. And, absent the Cross Time Saloon, an occasion, it seems to me, for a bit of humor because when we think things are dire we have humor. Let us Laughing to our Graves GO!

It occurred to me that number naming is call enumeration, so if one is counting the amount of Sodium one ingests daily, can we call this Masseration? After all, it is largely due to maceration.

Or if we are counting how much food we eat, may we call this Caloration? After all, it is a form of calibration.

And lastly – blessedly? – let us consider the nature of a Techno-Schmuck. This is a human who is a user of technology but oblivious to its operation. When this person purchases a new piece of technology, the first thing they do is discard the assembly instructions. Then they try and assemble it based on their mental meanderings and perspiration. And when that fails and they have to call in the social group/family nerd, they are asked where the manual is and the Techno-Schmuck is oblivious and even indignant that the nerd can’t assemble/fix their botch. 

These people go on to be highly unsuccessful managers and executives of failing technical organizations. Of course, they accelerate the failure, which may, in a morbid sense, be viewed as a mitzvah.


Weighty Thoughts While evading suicidal motorists

Three day. Off to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for staff call and provisioning. Survived but not without wonder and a touch of amazement. 

Along the way, I had two particular thoughts about all the recent grrr brrr over monuments commemorating (or reminding?) The Recent Unpleasantness:

Why is the Alibam Council of Thieves Legislature so fearful of Alibam cities that they have to pass legislation forbidding the removal of such monuments? This seems to be part of a trend and one has to question what irrational insecurity this reflects?

And if we are in such a rush, as a nation, to remove these monuments, why have we retained Memorial (Decoration) Day? After all, it is the ultimate memorial to the Old Confederacy. Or is it untouched because most of the electorate has no idea of its origin nor meaning? After all, they seem incapable, in the mode, of distinguishing Memorial Day from Veteran’s Day.

I am tempted to play a Bobby Horton CD while I consume my morning coffee distillation and reflect on the nature of policy.

Solemn Torture

I have been subjected to entirely too much graduation grrrrrr brrrrrr this week. None of this is from the graduates themselves; all of it is from their friends (so claimed) or family (also so claimed.) 

I have been subjected to several graduations in my life, about equally divided between being a participant and a spectator. One thing in particular is common to all of them: their conclusion was the only good part of the affair. All were painful, boring, and torturous.

I find it instructive that the only conversations I have ever had about graduations experienced were all horror stories. All were too long, void of any positive emotion, wracked with negative emotions such as pain, agony, suffering, fear, and boredom. 

To put this in context, the only graduation I HAD to attend was the one for a doctoral degree. In effect, no attendance, no degree. That university took the hooding ritual rather seriously. And treated my playing Paper-Scissors-Rock with the tail end guy from the medical school (seated next me) with humor. Hence I conclude that graduations are rather a Listerine affair for students and faculty.

The only good graduation I had was for a master’s degree. I had to relocate before the ceremony to a different graduate school and was excused. After all, a master’s degree is not very important. Cracker Jack prize, I suppose.

I have also had to attend numerous graduations of relatives. All of these were “mandatory social obligations”. Aside from the two for SCPdatter, which were partly pain avoidance, I was able to rechannel courtesy of a book. And she accused me of bringing such with me. 

Except for the one in August in an unconditioned gym where a relative suffered heat stroke. 

Over the years I have formed the hypothesis that graduations are “mother things”. The only people who seem to ever want to go to a graduation are mothers. 

This does not engender strong confidence in adulthood being accorded the child. 

I have never heard a graduation speech that was worth my time. Nor that said anything memorable. 

The good thing I can say about such I discovered this morning while perusing LifeHacker.[Link] A memorial concert – held separately and of voluntary attendance – would have been fine. I like John Williams’ music but not enough to endure any more graduation for it. So I have something to be thankful for about graduations. 

I shall also remember not to accept an honorary degree from Fair Hahvahd. Not that I have any expectation of such. 

Perhaps we can start a new ceremony? Perhaps one where we offer graduates mothers a spa visit if we can skip the ceremony? 

Day of the Linux Spanner

Five Day. End of gym for the week. Accompanied by the unpleasant nattering that the gym will close One Day next for a holiday. Any excuse. Everybody else will go about their business, with an interruption to observe the reason, but otherwise the holiday is not an excuse for non-service.

This is what happens when one lives in the Old Confederacy, in a small town. The people generally think themselves exceptional when they are actually mediocre to defective and use any excuse to avoid effort. 

Reminds me of the latter days of the Roman Empire when chariot races and bread donatives were more important than effort. 

We have become addicted, at least in most places and of most people, to avoiding effort and productivity. No wonder jobs are scarce and disappearing. Robots are better workers and soon to be smarter as well. Makes me glad I am ORF so I don’t have to worry about the political oligarchs implementing the Irish Solution.

On which azimuth, I noted yesterday an article [Link] entitled “Why Linux has Failed on the Desktop.” I should warn the reader that the author of this article is a journalist and not a knowledgeable human.

The thesis is that Linux has failed on the desktop. That is intriguing and so I picked up the article to see what insight might be present.

There wasn’t much.

The article starts by blasting the propaganda of the Linux capitalists that this is “The Year of the Linux Desktop” repeatedly for several years. Somehow he fails to note who is saying this: people who sell Linux services. 

Then he makes a series of arguments that basically come down to: Linux is too difficult for all those folks who wait about for chariot races and bread.

The sad part is that much of his arguments against are actually arguments for the success of the Linux desktop. Specifically elitism, given that elitism is personal standards, productivity, creativity, and learning. In this regard the standards of contemporary journalism are marvelously upheld.

Yes, Linux is elitist. If competency is elitist. Yes, it helps to think like a “developer” to use Linux. It helps to think like a surgeon to do heart transplants. Or like a mechanic to fix motorcars. When I was growing up reading Popular Mechanics and Popular Science and they were full of do-it-yourself projects one of the currents was the need (and how) to think to do the project, be it carpentry or plumbing or soldering. 

The problem is not that you have to think like a computer geek to use a computer; the problem is that you don’t. That’s the difference between a tool and an appliance. And if you can make do with an appliance, well and good; you don’t have to think computer. But if you need a tool, you need to think like a tool user or you’ll end up needing someone who thinks like a physician. (Worse Case, admittedly.)

The people who want to make lots of money selling Linux are the only ones who give any credence to the “Year of the Linux Desktop” catch phrase as anything other than that. People who believe this are the same ones who eat daily at fast food troughs and think MalWart is a benevolent employer. Television before Thought. 

The people who actually use Linux, whether as server or desktop software, are worried about the quality of their tools, not the sound of the beep on their appliances. 

But I do have to worry about the folks who drink the koolaid and criticize the sippy cup.

Oram Sans Mens

Three Day. A bit strange, even for a Wodensday. Schule is obviously counting down to desessioning for the torrid term, loosening all manner of carpet cruds to suck up my share of bandwidth from the so-called Oneonta Telephone Company, a corporation who thinks that landline voice service is their core competency even though they lose 0.1 of subscribers each year. 

The scary part after attending aboard meeting some years ago was to discover that this is indeed the core competency of their directors and management. Shade of the Containment Era!

Anyway, the podcast, an episode of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” was entitled (What Scientists did on their Summer Vacation.” The title is the humorous part. First of all, all the scientists interviewed were women. Not that I have anything against women; my life depends on them, but they are hideously underrepresented in the sciences and to have only women on a podcast like this smacks a bit of genderism?

I also have to wonder if geographers are actually scientists? Even scuba diving geographers. 

Anyway, I motored to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill in search of provisions and wisdom, obtaining both, the former from various stores and the latter from a colleague, Mass Magnetic Field. 

While I motored I listened to a CD I had recently purchased of pipe musics and highland throat mumbling. A good collection and I found myself cursing traffic idiots in a brogue. And reflecting that the greatness of the Scots is amply demonstrated by the bagpipes, a musical instrument that is easier played while walking than standing still. 

Then I reflected in whether that thought was racist of not? 

I shall not belabor my thoughts on “race” as a matter of rubbish, but the stereotyping denigration (which is NOT a racist word) is rubbish only in the sense of not having any merit or benefit. I realize that humans are programmed to delineate “Us” versus “Them”, but not outside our skulls and definitely not in action. 

For some reason, I was reminded of a family July 4th reunion the summer after I had finished being a Freshman. Flip flops were enjoying (?) their first (?) popularity and all of my girl (is that genderist?) cousins were wearing such. My grandmother commented something along the lines of “nothing says trailer trash like flip flops.” I recall their parents, at least half of which were the children of the woman speaking, looked horribly uncomfortable, apparently unsure of whether they should defend their offspring or defer to their parent. I was bemused, looking at my own feet, shod in Hush Puppy loafers horribly pitted over the toes almost to a hole on both shoes where acid had dropped in lab that year. The air tingled with that horrible agony just before super-cooled steam turns to crystaline ice with a wild crash as everyone froze and pretended to be deaf. Then the moment passed and a frustrated lemming urge to flee was suppressed until food was consumed. 

That was the last time I went to a summer reunion. 

And when I got back to Castellum SCP, I came into contact with an article [Link] entitled “RIP MP3 – the sound file that changed the world is declared dead.” Somehow this abomination of techno-journalistic babble put the whole matter into perspective. 

The thesis is that the organization who owns the patents on MP3 encoding announced that they would no longer license the use of the encoding. Lots of journalist who know how to write but not what to write have been announcing the demise of the MP3 file. 

(Sniggering laughter from the Nerd and Geek contingent. Blank ignorance from the Bog majority.)

What the Fraunhofer Institute meant was that they could no longer license MP3 encoding because their authority to do so had expired. Patents have a lifetime, unlike – apparently – copyright which seems to have been conscripted by greedy people wearing flip flops. 

In words of a different flavor, licensing of MP3 encoding is no longer necessary. It is now a resource of the species.

I suspect that part of this Bronson Beta grrrr brrrr was pandering to the people who make high end music players (those that do OGG or AAC but not MP3) and the makers of RAM. After all, journalists have to make money to survive because no one will willingly pay to read what they have written these days. (So they have difficulty purchasing new flip flops.)

The MP3 is not dead. It still has utility. For one thing something like five thousand new podcasts are generated every day on Tellus and almost all of them are available as MP3s. And a lot of music is still available as MP3s and will. Because there are lots of audio files – podcasts and not-classical music – that people don’t want the enormous, audio accurate files. If I’m listening to a podcast at the gym, surrounded by weight bouncers shouting visceral groans and crunching cement when they drop their weights and educationalists whose indoor voices are more suitable for a football game in a hurricane, I want enough quality to understand (maybe) what is said but not pay the RAM price I would pay for Beethoven from the Berliner. 

And it will likely stay that way. Despite what some knowledgeable journalists ominously foretell. 

But the intriguing question is what kind of Themism is discrimination against a file format? Fileism. Formism. Digitism? Noiseism?