Sludge Musings

Follow-on to the preceding. Ran across article [Link] entitled “The fridge that sends you shelfies… so you’ll never need a shopping list again” while doing the morning tab exploring.

Usually, I have the considerable respect for British journalists; they seem to have more intelligence and integrity than Amerikan journalists. But in this instance, I am forced to offer a question:

Then how does one know what to replenish in one’s pantry?

Or do Brits store foodstuffs (and kitchen gear) in their refrigerator? Seriously, zip bags in the fridge? Waxed paper? Flour and sugar? Bread?

The World Wonders.


Alchemical Musings

Seven Day. Time to clear out tabs. Rather a weird bunch this week, at least the ones that inspire some discussion.

First, an article [Link] about how the Schule of Alchemical Studies at the Campus of the Boneyard is celebrating a century and a half of existence. I was not invited. That probably indicates some wisdom on the part of the organizers. At least I shall give them credit as such.

Chemists, at least based on my observations, are the best balanced of the STEM Nerds. Physicists tend to be rather intense and oblivious to any social interaction outside of physics. That’s probably why their marriages seem taken out of soap operas. Mathematicians are the Timothy Learys of STEM Nerds. They are almost continually in a drug modified state that is questionably consciousness. The drug, of course, is maths, which mathematicians correctly view as proofs – all else is mummery and illusion. That mummery and illusion is, of course, all that other STEMs care about with regard to maths. So mathematicians are rather like holy hermits sitting for years on the tops of columns.

Biologists and Geologists tend to be outdoors people. They seem ill at ease inside a building, as if the critters are too mundane and the matter is too newly stuck – even in buildings that were laid down just after the rebellion. They also tend to be acalculate – maths blind – and hence left without roads to think along. The idea of testability is alien to these STEMs, hence they argue and pout about accuracy.

Chemists sit in the middle ground of all this. Also, they have the means and desire to make physiologically active potions. They control the ethanol and use it liberally internally. 

So it is probably best I didn’t get invited to the bash. 

Next, a rather overblown article [Link] entitled “This Is How Online Dating Has Changed The Very Fabric of Society.” I include this because not only is the title contemporary journalistic rubbish, it is amusing. 

Humans have known about incest penalties – the biological kind, not the organizational artificial kind – for lots of years. We evidently learned about genetic stupidity back when we were still Hunter-Gatherers. What the article is really about is social networking as facilitated by the internet. Humans have always had social networking; the drive to geographic dispersion was driven by mating (safe fornication?) and greed; deterred by Us-Them and greed. 

The only thing intriguing about “online dating”, which the journalist does poorly at, is its dynamic, not its medium of propagation. Most social networking proceeds from physical world interaction to internet world interaction. “Friendships” that originate in most social networking are relatively rare. Yes, there are the occasional friend-of-friend associations but these tend to be politeness driven.

But “online dating” is the reverse. Here the “friending” is initiated in the internet world and may propagate into the physical world. But this is the only substantial uniqueness.

Social networks are as geographically diverse as the network substrate which we erroneously call the internet. If we examine the geographical extent of individual’s “friends” then we find it to be large, often multi-national. So such geographical diversity is the norm rather than the exception. What makes “online dating” different is the flow of the “friending”. 

Which seems too alien to journalists these days to explain. 

Or else they think their readers are too cognitively deprived to comprehend.

Lastly, another article [Link] entitled “Wikipedia’s Science Articles Are Elitist.” This one is bemusing and if not for the nausea it engenders, perhaps amusing.

The journalist argues that most STEM NERD articles in Wikipedia are written for STEM NERDs. And this is elitist because Bog journalists have problems reading (and understanding?) them. (The latter question arises from the uncertainty that contemporary journalists are capable of understanding anything STEM.) 

Wikipedia is supposed to be the crowd-sourced encyclopedia of today. When I was a kid growing up I had five sets of encyclopedias. The simplest was the “Golden Book” encyclopedia and the most accurate “The Library of Science.” Over a period of several years I worked my way from one end to the other. And when I went to college I found encyclopedias of even higher accuracy and specialization. I recall one in particular, which was an encyclopedia of chemical syntheses. I recall the section on LSD was well thumbed. I also have a copy of Besancon’s “Encyclopedia of Physics” on a nearby bookshelf.

The point here is that writings – including encyclopedias – are written for an audience. The author has to pick what that audience is and be capable of communicating with that audience, at least if the writing is to be useful and successful.

The problem here is that the journalist seems to think he/she must be the audience. The obvious question is “Why?” I am not sure that question can be answered. Having dealt with journalists over the years, I have found them to be somewhat black boxish.

An easier – maybe – question is whether Wikipedia should be written for journalists. Given their rush to extinction, such a strategy seems ill advised. So we are left with asking who is most likely to read a Wikipedia article? If it’s an article on a celebrity, then clearly it should be written for Bogs, but if it’s an article on STEM NERD stuff? 

And there is the matter of Elitism. How do we measure this? If one is illiterate then all writing is elitist? If one is an omnipotent deity the no writings are elitist? Is any measurement possible in between?

It strikes me that fear of “Elitism” is inherent in Amerikans. If the modal Bog cherishes ignorance, and anything written that that Bog cannot comprehend is Elitist, then Elitism is nothing more than the opposite of ignorance?



Congratulations to Amerika’s GREAT Fast Food Factory, aka McDougal’s. [Link]

Shows how you can vertically copulate even the simplest of things. Not just burgers and pom frits, but the sauce that on goes.

I suddenly sorrow for those minuscule towns where you are the only (so-called) restaurant. 

Are you the second of the contemporary plagues – after MalWart – on the Amerikans? And who are the captive people? 

Road to Chaos?

One of the joys (?) of being ORF is that (relatively) old television programming is preferable to new. In fact, the new stuff is a mixture of boring, unintelligible, and stercus. This tends to make week out diversion non-existent, or, at best, rare and fleeting.

Yesterday was largely a matter of frenetic medicalist soap opera, alternating between “ER” (which I think of as a syllable rather than an acronym) and “MASH” (which I think of as a non-Newtonial pseudo-liquid.) But the latter had the virtue of reminding me that my age cohort (generation?) is a bit out of ordinary, or at least evolutionarily different from its predecessor and postcessor.

In one vignette/segment, reference was made by one character of “stealing” his wife away from a porn (American football) star who later became rich selling sub-grade concrete. This seems to exemplify a period during or just after the Great Patriotic War. Prior to this, the outcome would likely have been opposite.

It also somewhat foretells the fate of my age cohort where the jocks and the cheerleaders settled into mediocrity (often, not completely,) and the geeks and nerds became great successes. Guys (and gals) who were good at learning and thinking became, in the mode, much more successful than the old guard of family business, athlete, and belle. Somehow the pyramid of social status seemed ruptured and downthrown.

This, of course, created a vacuum, which did not endure long. Geeks and nerds are not concerned very much with social matters, and the current age cohort seems to have filled this vacuum by renewing social ordering along the lines of new wealth based on exploiting geeks and nerds. 

Which probably indicates why the contemporary television programming is so noxious and nauseating.

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.

Sweet Grapes

Well, once again the Nobel Committee passed me by. 

And I think Kip Thorne double dipped?

But this is good news. I really wouldn’t want to bear the discomfort of going to Stockholm and having to deal with a tyrant and give a lecture to bogs.

So he’s welcome to.

In fact, anyone is welcome to. As long as I don’t have to.

The other good news is that the committee, for once, didn’t wait ten or twenty years to recognize some work. The bad news is that they picked old farts again. 

Now I can get back to work and do that. These three guys are going to get no work done for a year or more.

EXTRO Survival

Have you ever noticed that EXTROs are herd people?

That’s because it helps them survive. If they didn’t clump together the predators could pick them off one by one and soon stupidity would be wiped out.