Cow Flops are Apathetic

Woden’s day. Calm. Maybe. Not having to motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Too many medicalist engagements. Gym crowded but not harassing. Subdued. Podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” was a review of three books on nerdery and was not a total waste of time. Not that I plan to read any of them. Convinced of that. Bog books about science are nasty. They have no learning substance and they propagate “wrong” things. 

On which azimuth, one of my clipping services sent me a link [Link] to an article entitled “Social studies education facing ‘crisis’ as class time is slashed, departments closed”. Before we get too worried I should comment that this is about public secondary schules. It seems that social studies and science and such aren’t being taught in secondary schules because, surprise! surprise!, they aren’t covered on the standardized tests. And the world is coming to an end because of this.

What isn’t discussed is that this is fiscally motivated. The money the schule gets is directly proportional to the student scores on the tests so why teach something that isn’t going to pay? Good business thinking, isn’t it. Which indicates that the world isn’t coming to an end. It has already ended and the schules are zombies.

The implication is that the kids aren’t getting good education. IMHO this is a specious implication. When have the public schules ever provided good education. I refer again to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s quote about good student learning in spite of bad teachers. An appendix to that is bad information. 

I have to ask myself what I learned in public schule:

  • Composition D-
  • Maths C– (exception rule applies)
  • Syntax D-
  • Spelling C-
  • Science C– (exception rule applies)
  • Social Studies F

so I am not all that upset at this teapot tempest. Now I did learn composition but not until I got to college and in practice, not until after. Maths and science I largely learned on my own. The only positive thing I can attribute to public schule is arithmetic drills – multiplication and addition memorization – that are anathema these days and indicative of how we have set ourselves up for failure as individuals and a nation. Spelling is called out because it is like arithmetic; it has to be memorized and at an early age. The mis-spellings I learnt then are still with me and I will carry unto death. It’s wired in us. 

I give social studies a failing grade because all it bothered to teach – in the main – was names (which I am terrible at,) dates (which are unanchored and thereby irrelevant,) and the propaganda ideas pushed by politics. What social studies I learned of value was either acquired in college or on my own. 

So if I got it in spite of the schule system, why should I worry? (Thank you Alfred!) Because those who are successful and learn in spite of the incompetency of the system are the minority. Sturgeon’s rule at least approximately applies, so 0.9 of all student cannot learn in spite of bad teachers and inaccurate, inadequate information. That’s why as a nation we are ignorant and deluded about birth control, evolution, climate, and almost any other aspect of reality. So we are doing ourselves in as individuals and a nation by feeding our kids mind stercus.

The only good thing is that it’s sparse. Which is the other damnation. So education is a farce and a prevarication. So it doesn’t matter what we do until we get fed up with failure and ignorance and stupidity and start all over. Which we won’t do.


For now.

Old Biology

This is going to be one of those extended weeks of rather intense medicalist entanglement so blogging will be a bit off. How much I say will depend on factors including exhaustion and discomfort (e,g,. PAIN!) 

Along that azimuth, I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

this weekend and immediately thought about how accurate the first part was – the avoidance of steps and such; going up is easier (!) than going down and it isn’t just seeing one’s feet in the bifocals – and clueless in the second part. Not about the young woman whose breeding fitness is demonstrated by ignoring old men – they seem to instinctively know the DNA rots after 40 – but the difference between geek and nerd. I am bemused by the religion aspect but that may be nothing more than common usage and/or audience demographics – lots of bogs. 

But there is a perception among many young women that geeks can be reformed but nerds cannot. Reformation in this case means reducing to bogdom and doing all of the husband things ala Wrangham. 

I decline to get into the arguments over sociability versus intellect as heritable characteristics.

Freya’s day. And I snuck one past the weather beavers. They foretold that the air temperature in Greater Metropolitan Arab would be 38 degF, which it may be but at 0500 this morning my heat pump external sensor said 41 degF and so I assayed a constitutional. This was a mixed bag. The parka I had to bundle in was heavy and so my back hurts a bit. But the snow – unforetold, mind you! – was very pretty and entertaining. The podcast was the first few minutes of an episode of “The Pen Addict” that mainly talked about how vertically copulated the Yankee republic is. 

Cannot argue with this. If anything, the states of the old Confederacy are a prime causation. As one of my colleagues, who asked to be unattributed, said

“Alabama and Mississippi are in a struggle to the death to be last.”

I can’t argue with this although I am envious of the statement. It’s one of those that’s obvious once it’s pronounced. I will probably be asked what last means so I will elaborate. In any of those lists of good/bad things about the states of the Yankee republic, they always list the fifty states in descending order. If it is a good metric (sorta?) then the first state listed is the most good and the fiftieth state listed is the least good; if it is a bad metric (again, sorta?) then the first state listed is the least bad and the fiftieth state listed is the most bad. And Alabama, along with Mississippi is trying to always be number fifty.

Why? I am not sure. Evidently it is something that the council of thieves and the guvmint think is necessary and desirable, like not having adequate medical care or schules. Those who subscribe to the Yankee guvmint’s race taxonomy claim it’s a racism thing. I personally think it’s more about greed and stupidity, but since I don’t pretend to understand I can’t claim my theory to be any better, But it ain’t fiftieth.

I also get asked why I continue to live here. That’s an easy one. Because I don’t have to work very hard to avoid things. I like to do things most of the population doesn’t, like think. So I don’t have to waste a lot of time dealing with thinking people. Of course, a lot – most – of the people aren’t very rational but that’s not all bad. Sort of like being stuck in permanent cosplay. And it’s relatively cheap to live here because there isn’t much to spend money on. Not that the guvmint and its masters aren’t trying to get your money but they do it in such putzish ways. 

Which is not to say it’s a bad place to live. There are still a few trees that haven’t been chopped down for export. And if Harry Harrison tried to write a DeathWorld novel about Alabama no one would believe it. 

So I’m going to enjoy the day. And do some experiements to help me find a working replacement for Ubernote. Film at Eleven.

Liberal Uselessness

Thor’s day and the end of gym for the week. And liquid is falling from the sky. Is that an event that needs be shared with chickens? Obviously I am in strange mood today and perhaps I can blame it on the expedition yesterday to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill/

I recently ran across an article [Link] of statement by four college presidents trying to justify the existence of “liberal arts”. I found it telling that one of them flatly stated that the studies (?) in secondary schule were adequate for adulthood.

It seems strange to me that high schule is adequate for anything. When I attended it was an information desert combined with a harassment Tartarus. I feel that I learned more in one semester, certainly one year, in college than I learned in four years of high schule. And it was overall useful stuff.

My strongest complaint is that in neither did I learn syntax nor composition in the classes that were supposed to teach that. The nature of the failures were surprisingly consistent: abysmal teaching; inadequate and irrelevant information; and too much distraction. I’ll take each in serial.

Let me start by saying that the teachers were not bad people, nor ill intentioned. They were overall good people with good intentions. But they were not good teachers. That is, in my taxonomy, I didn’t learn from them. That’s what makes them bad. In many cases I liked them but I didn’t learn what I needed.

Second, what they were trying to teach me on syntax and composition wasn’t what was needed. Drawing pseudo-Feynman diagrams of sentences is not useful, nor is writing essays. I have never been called on to write an essay, nor any other type of literary article. I have written novels, short stories, journal articles, books, and theses but never any literary poof. So what they were trying to teach was almost entirely orthogonal to need and want.

Lastly, what they were trying to teach was too little. Too much of it was literature, reading and discussing stories and novels that I would never have read if not compelled. Almost entirely these works were boring and unengaging, and largely irrelevant to either education or entertainment.  It is not that I dislike reading; I was going to the (public) Carnegie library thrice a week and chewing throuigh six to eight books a week but they were books I picked not forced upon me. That’s my chief indictment of the liberal arts; it’s stuff I don’t want forced upon me.

I did learn syntax and composition. Some was learned in college writing nerd stuff and afterwards writing more nerd stuff. But so far as I am concerned liberal arts is what people who can’t do study in college.

Orbis Diem

Today is 14 March 2015, a matter I shall return to shortly.

The fall of liquid dihydrogen oxide is less than yesterday but the air temperature is less so I got to amuse myself watching the moisture in my exhalation condense in front of me. But the puddles were smaller and my footgear less sodden than yesterday. My back, however, reminded me of my long winter’s absence. 

Back to the now. Today is being celebrated as “Pi Day” because the date can be written in MDY format as 3/14/15 (pi ~ 3.14159). This strikes me as a rather bogs-wishing-to-be-geeks sort of thing since it displays an abysmal disuse of maths. First, the dating convention (format) is abysmally boggish. Consider that in terms of numbers changing with the parametric passage of time MDY is medium/fast/slow. This is illogical, contradictory, and to appeal to the bogs, irrational. It is traditional which seems to be its only (specious) merit.

The other conventions DMY and YMD are fast/medium/slow and slow/medium/fast. Both are rational and logical. And notably under our current calendering system, neither admits a “Pi Day” easily. The closest and easiest is DMY for 3 January 2042. Note that this rounds properly which the bogs advocating today as “Pi Day” failed to do. If they had rounded properly then next year would have been the “right” (?????!!!!!!) year.

Similarly in YMD we could have chosen 2031 April 2. Same situation. 

Of course we also understand than Sturgeon’s Rule of the Bogs will NOT comprehend this explanation. Ever. 

My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, has offered a charming alternative. Since Pi (the number) is irrational then we can celebrate Leap day, 29 February in years evenly divisible by 4 but not by 100 ….., as Pi day (or E day, for that matter, but again, the bogs won’t get it) because that day is a fudge to an irrational number, namely the number of days in a sidereal year. Which is much better maths at least when compared to today as “Pi Day” in the MDY format. 

I ran across an article, [Link] entitled “Pi Day is silly, but π itself is mysterious and universal” that is itself a silly title but the discussion is not totally worthless. I suspect a lot of this party nonsense is the result of letting EXTROs be STEMs. Not that we ever excluded them in my day but we didn’t let them babble and gambol about like they do now keeping honest INTROs from getting real work done. 

That’s what one should do on a “Pi Day”, do real work. Not the stuff bogs do but expanding out understanding of reality. Which this “Pi Day” definitely isn’t!


Ice Lessons 1

Not a bad day so far. Despite the forebodings of the weather beavers, the ice giants have not yet laid their hand on Greater Metropolitan Arab. Although I can see their approach on the radar. But I did get to go to gym and courtesy of the weather panic – they also closed the city schules and Redstone again – I had the gym almost to myself. Actually I feared the opening clerk would bail but she actually arrived a couple of minutes early.

This closing thing has become mundane. And wimpish. I can recall driving across Redstone on ice to the aerodrome and then retracing my path when the flight was canceled. But then we were rugged and nerdy in my day. Nowadays it is boggish to be dainty and delicate.

Which brings me to the guts of my visit. I listened to the podcast and marveled that the local weather broadcasting station didn’t have their closed captioning engaged. Evidently the deaf are irrelevant on icy days? Or is this some religio-political crusade to purify the species? By the time I left I dropped the gym population from five to four. And that’s when the wonder struck.

As I checked out, I overheard a conversation from an obese bogette and the clerk about the weather. Ignorance gushed out of the former’s mouth. In seconds I was whelmed with this person’s lack of knowledge of the states of dihydrogen oxide, the mechanics of phase change, and the nature of friction. as she went about her unhappy business – I carefully held my comments – I was struck by a thought:

(an act of) Stupidity is to wager one’s life on one’s ignorance not killing one.

I don’t mean that as any indictment of this individual. I am sure she knows many things I do not, and they are probably more useful to her than the things I was struck she didn’t know. Rather, what this statement is, is a fundamental of life. One cannot know everything, so one must always make this wager. All of us. Even the nerds.

The trick, of course, is to make a rational choice of what one is ignorant of. Preferably also an informed one except that rather contradicts the ignorance part. Maybe?

It is rather a safe wager, at least in Marshall County, Alibam, that the person in question is an analgebraist. That is, she is one of those people who think that anything they are taught in high schule is useless and to be forgotten immediately upon matriculation. And no further education is beneficial. This is the natural extension state of those people who tell their children they’ll never use algebra after high schule, hence the name.

I mention this because that is why I held my comment. With probability of about 0.9 (hear that Sturgeon?) any comment about the states of dihydrogen oxide, phase mechanics, and/or friction would not only be wasted but incur wrath and possibly violence. So in this case leaving ignorance lie was an exercise in pain avoidance. Which somehow seems appropriate in a gym?

Selah. Wait for the slippery.

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.