Snowphobia 2

The weather beavers foretell the end of (this) snow episode today. It has been tiring. But I am ready, more for an end to this travesty of a winter than anything. I don’t really mind snow. After all, it has to be (relatively) warm to snow. Its the ten+ degF below the dihydrogen phase point that I detest. It strains my health and my marriage. Not breakingly, more like defect enhancing. Sort of a Listerine thing. So I shall be happy to put that away for a few days.

Of course in the longer term, I give up the stress of frozen plumbing for tornadoes. Poor trade? I am unsure.

On being unsure, I ran across an article [Link] that some chaps at Cornell U have discovered (?) that there is less resistance to the phrase “climate change” than to “global warming”. This was particularly the case for Repro-denialists, less so for Demo-denialists and the unpartisan majority. 

I am not sure this isn’t sugar candy. It is increasingly evident that politicians are servants of their corporate sponsors and not of their citizen constituencies. The prevarications and propaganda claim otherwise but the rational observer sees otherwise. So while I don’t really care what you call the end of humanity on Tellus, the end state will not be changed. 

In a more relevant bit, another article [Link] is about work at Brown U that indicates that there are two different types of EXTROs. This differentiation is based on observation of behavior and brain scans. The article labels the two types as “people persons” and “go-getters”. The latter use more of their brains in some sense, although it is somewhat difficult to associate brain activity with EXTROs given their vast tendency to be bogs. And given the general distastefulness of EXTROs it is also hard to describe them as “people persons” when they radiate something that drives INTROs away. Sort of the mental equivalent of odor of skunk. 

But I think I can see the distinction. The alienation of “go-getters” is subtly different. The EXTRO pp are just off-putting; somehow false, facadish, and insincere, with a large component of can’t-do. On the other hand the EXTRO gg are self-serving, egotistical, and all talk but still can’t-do. But I may be missing something.

Ah well, anything that improves out understanding of EXTROs make avoiding and overcoming their inabilities easier. I am less certain that word wrangling will preserve the species. Especially since almost all of the Politico-denialists are EXTROs.

In Praise of Incompetence

Day three of snow. The mountain folk are now ignored by the lowlanders, especially those in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill (not on the mountain!,) since their snow is well disposed. Ours is still upon us and we are reflecting poorly on a governance that spends enormous monies on holiday lights but nothing on clearing the roads. What pathology is this? 

I cannot say I am surprised at the council of real estate agents. After all, clogged roads are irrelevant to their interests – except perhaps flow of cash which is why they seek office. But I somehow expected better of the former civil servant now mayor. Is he bound and gagged in a closet in city hall to prevent him doing corps of engineers type stuff? The World Wonders.

At least the Arab Electron Uncooperative has not yet failed us. This is surprising. Usually they are utter cravens and drooling pensioners who pull the plug at the least sign of weather. Conditional kudos. 

Now, a bit of diversion. It seems fitting to start with a Register article [Link] that has the wonderful title “HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans”. I particularly like the Stupid Humans part since it fits so well. It would be criminal to inflict the details on any politico-denialists or theo-fascists who might be reading – since Arab is predominantly populated with both of these degenerate types – but leave it be said that their type has made do-do too much in the wrong way and Tellus is about kaput. Not a new song but never tiring.

And on a lighted note, an article [Link] on how much a cloud (modal?) weighs. Well, masses, which makes a lot more sense. The boffins, if they be such, say a modal cumulus cloud masses 5E5 kg. Much bigger than the average airhead in Greater Metropolitan Arab. Probably not as large as the sum total of the masses of all the ferds and their pickup trucks in Arab. And sadly, they won’t float away to somewhere else. Or dump snow on the town. Instead they keep driving about on the snow and doing great damage with their pickup trucks. Not that I blame them except for their moral deficiency in driving while incompetent.

I have been cooped up too long and need to get out to relieve my humors. Not likely today according to the weather beavers.

Selah. 

Rot, Rotter, Rottest

A most enjoyable session at gym. I managed to sneak in and out before the roads iced up, and the constabulary went all Gestapo but not before the sunshine patriots, the educationalists and almost all of the weight bouncers decided to bunker in. So the gym was quite sparsely populated.

Sadly the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s "Best of Ideas" was blah and vapid. The subject was 3-D printers and done for a boggish audience who pays scant attention to nerdery. So it presented nothing new except a bit of history of science fiction coming real. And that is questionable. I have been around 3-D printing for 20+ years now and the technology and organizational aspects of them are old underwear, the kind that can be trotted out as new to the mentally impoverished.

But this vapidity gave me occasion to expend cognitive cycles on a commercial I viewed last evening on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver. The commercial was a Tarzan piece by some corporation, whose identity is lost in irrelevance, about helping schules. Helping schules means selectively giving a few schules a token of money (compared to the cost of the commercial and air time) so the corporation can brag about giving back. Pennies on the Pound sort of thing, of course.

But what stuck with me was a throw away line:

"Fifty percent of all students are alienated to maths and science by the eighth grade"

That’s not exact but close enough.

My first thought at this was that money will have scant effect on this since it depends on adequate funding (obviously not met) to all schules (also obviously not met) with questing maths and science teachers ( patently not met but independent) who will use the money creatively to engage the students (almost an impossibility.) So the whole commercial was a grand prevarication. Goebbels would be proud!

The more I reflected on this, the more I recalled my own days in primary and secondary schule. Basically the same thing occurred, if not more so. In those days the teachers were willing – unlike today? – but woefully ignorant and hence ineffective bordering on incompetent, and the textbooks were horrible, insipid and inadequate, instilled with too little science and too much social nonsense. And the maths books were horribly simplistic and repetitive. Boringly, grindingly repetitive. So yes, by eighth grade most of use were completely alienated to public school maths and science.

That doesn’t mean we were alienated to maths and science in general. We grew up in a nerd town. Many of us had nerds for parents, and both human and textual sources of real information on science and maths. My parents were bogs with sparks of geekness but they provided me with lots of reading material (most not very good except my father’s navy correspondence courses’ textbooks.)

I am reminded again of that tweet of Neil DeGrasse Tyson,

Students who earn straight A’s in school do so not because of good Teachers but in spite of bad Teachers.

We probably have to add bad texts and bad parents to that list. Bad in this case means ineffective or weak or ignorant but not necessarily evil. Some teachers are evil these days since their pay is glued to not teaching well. But I think these are still the exception. The problem is that (1) teachers don’t know enough science and maths; (2) parents don’t know enough science and maths and they aren’t supportive meaningfully; and (3) the textbooks are terrible in so many dimensions. The worst of the latter is religionist politics and social moralizing, neither of which belong in science and/or maths texts.

So no wonder the kids are turned off. The problem is that this time it’s also at home. And from that there is no recovery except another dark age of misery and violence.

Buck up kids, you probably won’t have to endure being ignorant long.

Math Lemmings

Liquid phase! I woke up this morning and for the first – FIRST! – time in TOO copulating long the air temperature was in the liquid phase of dihydrogen oxide range. Of course the weather beavers still blew this one. They proclaimed this region would be entered at 2200 yesterday and as of 2400 we were still outside. But I am still going to trust them about the next couple of days being fluid, mostly because FD SCP and I need the relief. 

Since we have this state, and the Arab Electron Uncooperative didn’t bollox the potential difference during this nastiness, I am going to shift gears a bit on blogging.

Last week seems to have been a week of nattering about what’s wrong with maths education (?) in the Yankee republic. First,[Link] an indictment by a “math professor” that

“We are pretty much the only country on the planet that teaches math this way, where students are forced to memorize formulas and procedures. And so kids miss the more organic experience of playing with mathematical puzzles, experimenting and searching for patterns, finding delight in their own discoveries. Most students learn to detest — or at best, endure — math, and this is why our students are falling behind their international peers.”

Sadly, it appears that maths professors cannot do analysis and write opinion articles at the same time. Despite the accolade,

“What I’ve found instead is that a student who has developed the ability to turn a real-world scenario into a mathematical problem, who is alert to false reasoning, and who can manipulate numbers and equations is likely far better prepared for college math than a student who has experienced a year of rote calculus.”

the author evidently didn’t (or couldn’t) come to the observation that (a) procedures and formulae can be tested in a multiple guess, standardized instrument but turning real-world situations into maths can’t, and education degree (certificate) holders with a maths proficiency (? – I hesitate to call it a ‘major’) can instruct procedures and formulae but not turning real-world situations into maths. So the problem at root is that the educationalist system can’t and won’t teach maths in any meaningful manner.

And it doesn’t help that the parents are maths blind as well.

This is not new. Yes, it may have been a bit better in my day, just because we didn’t have as many (!) standardized tests whose format is orthogonal to learning, but even then the kids who learned maths did so in spite of the teachers and the curriculum. And yes, I borrowed that from Neil DeGrasse Tyson but I’ve thought and said it (not as well) on my own. 

Second, [Link] is an article with a similar trajectory that says timed testing is crippling the ability of students to do maths. My immediate wonder is how is this different in college? When I was in college all – ALL – tests were timed, even the take home ones. Even research presentations and thesis defense is timed, if loosely. 

Not that I am unsympathetic. It usually takes me years to solve “real” problems, if ever. And much of what I did at work wasn’t solutions, just insights passed off as success. And why?, because those were timed too. 

But this is a timed world. More today than in my youth. Completion dates are entries in calendars – before they occur. Solutions are scheduled. Failure is persistent and prevarication is ubiquitous. But if we can find a way to fix this for maths we can fix it for everything. Except maybe bogs, since they are maths blind in the main.

And we can still blame this on the educationalists and their instrumentality because of the RIGID scheduling.

I still think we learn in spite of the teachers and the system. And maybe, just maybe, almost all teachers are BAD almost ALL of the time?

Flop Folk

President’s day. A bastardized holiday combining the birthday anniversaries of POTUS #1 and #16 so that a philandering religionist can be commemorated? At any rate, the weather is better than foretold by the weather beavers, the gym was blessedly sparse, especially of educationalists and weight bouncers, and the podcast was moderately diverting.

Why is it that educationalists only need exercise on days that schule is in session?

The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with “Race”. After a recent blot I was a bit intrigued. I didn’t expect much science or even nerdery and in that regard I was not disproven. But I was rather disappointed in that the discussion was almost entirely artsy-fartsy and individualistic. No mention at all of the realpolitik of race. Of how it is sustained by the government and other organizations to “maintain order” and by those sub-societies who benefit from the backwash.

But I was intrigued after a while by the individuality. I realized, in media, that all of us are failures, not per se because of race, but because of organization and its methods. Simply put, all humans have to subjugate their desires and wants and, most importantly, their abilities to the maintenance of organization. And we are all the lesser for it. 

I won’t belabor this. It doesn’t need it. It’s one of those things that once identified is self-evident. The sort of thing the founding fathers would have implied and acted on but we lack the will or the courage to do so today. Probably also the opportunity. Humanity is not the dominant species on Tellus. Organization is.

Emergency MisManagement

Hectic morning. Higher air temperature but FD SCP and I are both sinusing. So I had to take her to MalWart early this morning to procure citric acid solution and various semi-controlled chemicals. Had rather a problem impressing on her that needed to do a bit of stocking since the worst cases all involve a week of bunkering.

On which note I have a bit of a redress to some of the weather service folk. I was listening to the Marsahll COunty Emergency Management PR person last evening on the local television news and the words "and the models may change" and the whole county EM instrumentality suddenly became techno-hicks and aSTEMs. Maybe not mental slime mold but definitely bog rejects from cellular telephone competency classes.

Simply put, the models (and their simulations, a distinction I won;t belabor here) that you use to forecast weather and such are not going to change frequently. They ain’t stationary but not several times daily. What does change is you keep feeding current conditions, which may be different previously predicted, and the models (simulations) give you updated predictions. The out put changes! Not the model. And to say the model changes immediately reveals you as incompetent and nekulturny and alienates the nerds and geeks listening to you. The common reaction is that they quit listening. Which is a MASSIVE failure on your part. A total fail of your job.

I know you gotta talk kid talk for the bogs but you also gotta not alienate the betas and alphas.

OGG fellows

The evil of winer is descended again. A murrain upon all political denialists.

Which puts me in mind of a podcast episode of Ubuntu UK on Thursday. I have dismissed Ubuntu from all but my least used boxes, most of whom predate PAE and hence are of shaky liklihood of being updated, but I listen to this podcast because it is well done – despite the be damned absence of the Wing Commander . Which raises the question once more of why do the English do podcasts so much better than Americans?

Anyway, the episode was blathering a bit about the lack of diversity at their latest OGG camp. Too few women and people-of-colour (as they put the category.) If you don’t know what OGG is, go look it up. Not my trajectory this morning. And since the purpose of such gatherings is exchange of information (Bogs would say knowledge,) and attendance is ope to anyone including Qadgop, why are they maundering?

But after thinking on this I came to once more consider the nonsense of some of our social/governmental taxonomies. Take RACE for instance. I dug out an old American Scientist book review [Link] that made the statement:

The consensus among Western researchers today is that human races are sociocultural constructs. Still, the concept of human race as an objective biological reality persists in science and in society. It is high time that policy makers, educators and those in the medical-industrial complex rid themselves of the misconception of race as type or as genetic population.

which I translate into nerd-speak as "race is stercus tauri."

In fact, it seems, based on observation that the current taxonomy of race is an artifact of government )organization) control of citizens (members.) That is, it may be meaningless but it is going to be used to maintain the order and control government/organization wants. This is abetted by those who receive positive differential preferment courtesy of the taxonomy. But it sure ain’t nerdish nor scientifical.

It occurs that a more meaningful system would be based on substantive (and actual rather than invented) differences among people. Reproductive plumbing seems to be one such; the refereed literature has become moderately populated in recent years with articles experimentally establishing differences between men and women that are not the tales of patriarchs and toadies. It is also increasingly indicated that superficialities such as skin tint and eyelid shape are of no more than moderate relevance, if that. More useful and relevant ones may include adult secretion (or not) of lactase, early versus late rising, INTRO versus EXTRO, ….

The further we go with this, the closer we draw to questions dealing with societies and their differences. Fundamental questions still remain here. Admittedly a cannibal has a different view of reality than a vegetarian but should diversity encompass the right of the former to consume the latter. Or of the latter to starve the former? If we are going to take a scientifical approach to this should not the metric of diversity be functional? How effective are particular diversities? Of course this defers how we assure ourselves the metrics are objective and objectively measured, but there seems little merit to a diversity for its own sake, especially if it is ineffective or even destructive.

And I don’t care who comes to OGG camp so long as I get to make my own decision to attend or not. Losing sight of that side of the matter is a short path to Tartarus.