Surviving Weather Men 3

A bit of nasty weather here at Castellum SCP yesterday afternoon. With all sorts of horns resounding from the weather wireless and dire pronouncements by the weather beavers on local television.

And a news reader bemoaning the discorporation of someone sitting in their motorcar when a tree fell atop it during the storms. Met with all sorts of trite condolences and told-ya-so from the Weather Beavers.

So how dire are all these weather warnings? Let’s make a bit of comparison.

In 2014 – the latest year I could get “blessed” statistics, 36K people were discorporated in traffic incidents as compared to 0.38K people discorporated by weather incidents. that’s a ratio of 94.74 Why is this ratio important? I will show you.

Off the top, we can say the motorcars (and lorries) are about 100 times (20 dB or two orders of magnitude) more lethal than weather. 

But that’s not quite a valid comparison. We drive our motorcars most days but dire weather is much sparser. We only get it occasionally. So how occasionally? Let’s say one day in ten on the average. That reduces motorcar incidents to being ten times more lethal than average. 

Now how many bad weather days one has depends on where one lives but since this is a national average what we’ve done above is fairly good. So even if weather is more lethal, it isn’t as lethal as motorcars.

That doesn’t mean that we should ignore weather. But when the weather wireless comes on to tell you of a tornado in a town 20 miles east of you and going north-east, you can safely ignore that as a potential danger. 

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. 

Vipers in Voice

One Day. Back to gym. And the educationalists were relatively demure in their decibelage this morning.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” (surprise! surprise!) entitled “Simile and Science Part 1”. It was a turn off almost immediately because of noxious simile.

They started off interviewing a cosmologist at the Perimeter Institute. And in the first minute of talking he used the word “truth” and I went into irretrievable doubt and disgust. I hate to admit that, but even when I know they are doing outreach I really get brain torqued when I hear a scientist use the word “truth” in relation to science.

That needs a bit of clarification. It has to do with all the baggage – nasty and reeking – that the word has attached to it. Especially here in Alibam.

First of all, truth has almost nothing to do with accuracy; it is primarily about loyalty, as in being “true” (loyal) to something. And that is diametrically opposite to science. Science is fickle, it is loyal to accuracy and only for so long as the accuracy holds. A theory is abandoned almost immediately another of greater accuracy emerges. That’s the way it is supposed to be – true to accuracy, not to a dogma or doctrine or model. 

So one can talk about being true to science but not to any manifestation of it. 

Now let’s talk about the connotation. Truth is revealed. It transcends science. And is much less. Science is tested; truth is untestable and the idea of that is anathema. Truth cannot stand being tested. Or at least the human aspect of truth cannot. And therein lies the rot and stench.

Truth is fundamentally, in this aspect, which is the most common in Alibam, religious. It is revealed to humans by the deity. Or so other humans claim. But it is supposed to be divine. And that’s where it begins to rot. Because it can only exist in the mind of the human it is revealed to. It cannot be communicated. So the only humans who know truth are the ones the deity has revealed it to. And they cannot pass it on. So it’s an exceeding rare thing. Makes gold seem common.

The word has been taken over by the justicers. They want people to tell the truth. Which humans are incapable of. Because humans rewrite their memories every time they visit them. So there is no truth in the Law or legal activities. Although it is the primary aspect of their theater. Which exists primarily to convey the prevarication that the law is about justice.

Wrong. It’s about punishment and obedience. Crowd control. Subjugation. Control. Which have nothing to do with truth.

But scientists are supposed to be dedicated to understanding and accuracy. They admit to inaccuracy in every aspect of science and work very hard to minimize it. And when they use the “T” word, they corrupt it. Just to speak in outreach. 


Five Day. End of Gym Week. Mixed Feelings. Glad to be rid of the drive, both motorcar and psychological. Finished listening to an episode of “Destination Linux,” a new (to me) podcast I have been sampling. Sadly, may be the last. Definitely an inferior product. Content C; Presentation F. If this is a destination, how do I change direction?

Not that it didn’t give me some thoughts and that’s why it’s in the “maybe” bin. But I had to sort them out from a rather Red Neck level of presentation, very shave-once-a-week gimmie cap Bog EXTRO type of thing. But I need to clarify a bit.

While I listen to podcasts at gym to divert my attention from the fundamentally abysmal boredom of exercise, I expect the podcast to be educational and (hopefully) a bit amusing. This one failed on the latter. In fact it was painful and grating. Sort of like those Jock harassment monologues Nerds had to endure in High School before they went on to college and the Jocks went to the trade schule. 

What is uncertain is the educational aspect. I can’t say I learned any facts but since the presentation engendered (how’s that for a nice Chaucerian word?) some cogitation the decision is in abeyance. Definitely, “Waiting Is.”

This is closest to the question of gaming on Linux. Not of much interest. I am quite content for my modest gaming requirements, mostly as head clearing breaks of the sort that used to distance me from other supervisors and managers who thought employee breaks were evil and cancerous. So I am ambivalent to the whole thing of pornographic gaming. 

That comment needs of explanation since all sorts of alarums just sounded in the cranium. Consulting the dictionary,

Pornography Por*nog”ra*phy, n. [Gr. ? a harlot + -graphy.]      3. obscene pictures, writings, drawings, motion pictures, videos, or the like intended primarily to cause sexual arousal and having little or no artistic merit; also, the content of such materials.

makes things clear(?) These games are a form of arousal. Heavy duty chemicals that politicians want to ban and usually fail only because someone points out doing so will kill them. (And other people, but that’s irrelevant to politicians.)

In a similar aspect, I am negatively ambivalent about “Convergence,” the Linux equivalent of Kurzweil’s Singularity which is itself a sort of techno-geek Rapture. The argument is simple. I like chicklet keys on my RPN calculator (and RPN over Algebraic is part of the argument,) and not on my keyboard where I prefer Cherry Blue switches. And I detest touch screens. 

This brings me to the pinnacle of all this Linux stuff. Simply put I don’t much care about The-Year-Of-The-Linux-Desktop. It’s rot and nonsense. Back when I was a neub (and still am skills-wise,) I thought I should advocate for it. But then I realized it was nothing but a mixture of insecurity (did I really make the right decision to switch to Linux?) and greed (keep the neubs’ boxes humming – for a large fee.) 

But after observing and noting that almost all Bogs want to submit to being mind dominated by large corporations so they only have to consume and feel – but not, never, ever, if possible, think – I realized that Great-Uncle George’s advice held true.

“If you lead a horse to water, you have two choices: leave him alone or drown the SOB. And if you drown him you have to do something with the body otherwise the Revenooers come after you for littering or pollution or animal cruelty or some such Yankee legal stercus.”

Despite being a JP, GU George was rather untrusting of the constabulary.

Anyway, I have had my year of the Linux desktop for several years now, and if someone asks I will share with them, but I ain’t into racial cleansing or chattel slavery. Mostly because it’s too much trouble. 

Now I gotta go do something constructive.

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.

Not My Read

Five Day. Last of Gym for the week. Probably. Listened to a Linux Link podcast episode. Discovered no notes so this may be a limited repetition. Maybe.

Needed new SSD for a lapbox. Tried two different on-line sources. Too much bureaucracy. Waiting is for more patience or a better environment.

Ran across an article [Link] entitled “The 8 Books Neil deGrasse Tyson Thinks Every Person Should Read” which is sorta self-explanatory. I looked at the list:

  • “The Bible”: “To learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”
  • “The System of the World” by Isaac Newton: “To learn that the universe is a knowable place.”
  • “On the Origins of Species” by Charles Darwin: “To learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”
  • “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift: “To learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”
  • “The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine: “To learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”
  • “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith: “To learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”
  • “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu: “To learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”
  • “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli: “To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

and was rather amazed at how few I had read. So naturally, I have to make mumble-comment.

And yes, I have read The Bible. At least some of. It’s so full of inconsistencies and things that seem unrelated to religion that I have to wonder about the authors. But I suppose it is a good indoctrination to the nature of organized biblical religion.

I haven’t read the Newton. I did read Principia though.

Read some of the Darwin. Not my sort of thing. No equations. Similar for some of the others. Either not my thing or never tried. Have read Sun Tzu. Several times. Need to vigorously add the caveats that one should read the Griffith translation and NOT the Clavell. The latter is tripe and garbage and is a disservice to Sun Tzu.

Not sure if I am disappointed or not. Probably not. This list likely explains why Chicken Man is so good at outreach. And so many other academics aren’t. And he definitely has a stronger toleration for garbage than I do.