Sweet Death

More sky falleth. And again no constitutional. And it is fake Independence Day, the anniversary of when the Congress actually got up the gumption to tell the mob that the Declaration was signed and we were all officially traitors. 

And it actually worked. The tyrant was evicted. And new tyrants grew. Which leads us to the question if we are any better off that we would have been absent the rebellion? Somehow I doubt that will get debated today.

Another thing not to be debated is the evil of “sugar drinks”. I have railed against Fructose previously, but now I see a new study [Link] that is more general and actually goes far enough to enumerate discorporations.

Death by Sugar. 

Ayeh.

Fit thing to consider today when we should be contemplating what tyranny to abolish next, hopefully with few firing parties. 

Nothing claims to be more Southron than soda pop. The Southron way of death.

Well, one among many. 

I need a cup of coffee.

La Brea Computer Pit

DIhydrogen oxide falleth. No constitutional. But I did remain abed for a extra bit of time and that was moderately enjoyable. Still I eventually had to rise and perform ablutions. Which are increasingly unpleasant and even painful as my existence stretches on.

I had been muddling what to write about this morning when I decided to check email a bit before commencing with the morning blot. The first epistle I opened was from Coursera and that was as far as I got. 

I have commented previously of my aversion for on-line courses. I am simply not a read or view videos on a small screen (lots of hyphens shoulda been there) type of guy. I have commented previously of an online credit card course I had to complete several years ago that was supposed to take two hours and took me two days and a bottle of acetaminophen. I have come to the conclusion that I am a lecture-blackboard-book type of learner.

But I do note, bemusedly, the rise of these massive (?) online courses and so I subscribe to email from Coursera and edX to survey the offerings. I have to admit that I find the completion rate as less than a third and usually less than a tenth to fulfill my own bias of dislike and distaste. I also used to hate video-conferences although I never quite succumbed to nasal mucus removal as a diversion during such.

But what centered my cognition this morning was the relatively large number of ‘computer’ courses that were offered. Evidently this is some sort of Ouroborus situation. But what occurred to me was the wisdom of actually studying computer stuff. 

I have used computers since 1967 when I first learned FORTRAN and have made digital messes ever since, culminating with a tenure as CIO of a Yankee Army lab, inflicting my antiquity and nerdiness on manifold geeks and a few other nerds. And a fair number of bogs. So I am well disqualified to argue that one needs be careful in spending too much effort studying computers.

First consider that computers are turning into appliances (e.g., slabs) and that IT folk are becoming over-supervised Maytag men (idiom, not sexism.) Yes the job still pays pretty well – not as well as real engineers who can weld and lay asphalt and design moon rockets – but pretty good and steadily declining. Most computer work is the new blue collar for the new majority with college degrees but no education, just training.

I have learned that there is a rule of economics that if something pays well and lots of people take it up as a career, the pay goes down and the working conditions turn to slime. I am assured by my economist colleagues – none are actually friends for obvious reasons – that this is nothing but simple supply and demand although they cannot elaborate convincingly. 

I have colleagues of the Pure X variety who declaim that we need more Pure X in IT. I counter, unappreciated, that we need fewer people blindly selecting IT as a career. I am almost NEVER appreciated. Evidently reality and racial/gender/ethnic goals are immiscible or explosive. 

I should like to tell what folks need to study. The best I can come up with is business or real STEM. Making stuff up, whether computers or literature, doesn’t pay well in the long term although it is fun to study. Some of the nicest, poor, bogs I know were college literature geeks/nerds. Yes, Virginia, some of us cannot sustain nerdery and the marketplace is the primary reason.

So study computers at your own risk. And don’t pay a lot of attention to college advisers. For obvious reasons. 

Tunnel Light?

Two day and a bit less hot than yesterday. Maybe. Gym still sparse but that just means the “therapists” pile their junk in the way of the exercisers and arguments erupt over moving it. Since I am there before the therapists arrive I can put their junk in the rubbish tubs and let them be.

On which azimuth I note that the council of thieves of the state of golden earthquakes (and fruitcakes?) has enacted legislation prohibiting any exceptions to child vaccination except as dictated by medicalist considerations. I expect an increase in physician shopping and home schuling to evade the rationality. In fact, I was rather surprised by the rationality. I can only presume that there was some large looming cost that forced the politicians to act in such a rational fashion.

But knowing the extent of stupidity joined with whackedness I expect all sorts of desperations to avoid this public health sensibility. I suspect it will be too little however. Somehow it always is. Whatever happened to the GEN Ys that they totally lost the good sense of their grandparents? Does too much screen time really rot intelligence? It seems so what with anti-vaxers, climate change denialists (mostly admittedly those grandparents?) and such. Perhaps humanity is due for a culling if not an extermination.

And might that not be a good thing given the idiocy?

Don’t Need any Stinking Tolerance

Ice Cream day, and back to the park. Lower air temperature than in the last couple of weeks. Almost enough to require additional clothings. 

It should be obvious by now but I read. That’s my primary mode of knowledge acquisition these days since FD SCP watches over my experiments. (Still can’t build that trebuchet!) Yesterday I finished Robin Waterfield’s “Why Socrates Died” (Not bad, I give it a solid C+ rating. Almost impossible to read in places and inflated with fluff and impedimentia by 0.5 but as books go these days, acceptable. But it does explain why I got it at a remainders store.) (And why did Sokrates die? Patriotism. Which should serve as a lesson in how even the brightest do stupid things sometimes.) and I delved into my to-read (non-fiction) pile and ran across Philip Ball’s “Critical Mass”.

I purchased this book quite a while ago. I believe from a Books-A-Zillion that has since closed from suburban ennui. It’s another turgid read, at least so far, but that’s the nature of modern authors. More about connections than talent, at least based on observation. Anyway, Ball is mumbling semi-coherently about Hobbes and comes out with a marvelous statement

“The greater the religious diversity, it seemed, the greater the intolerance.”

which, if we take out the “religious” seems to fit very well with modern (contemporary, none of this illogical, unintelligible post-modern stercus) times. 

This, obviously, refers – again – to the Charleston assassin. Reason dictates that we should view this as a case of a whacked individual who was influenced by other people’s intolerance and being whacked decided to implement a solution. The key bit, for those bogs who can’t get it, is “whacked”. And no, I am not going to go off on a gun control rant. I am going to go off on a whacked ignorance rant. 

Our society ignores mental illness. The most rational reason for this is individual insecurity. We are so fearful that we are whacked that we refuse to do anything as a society about whackedness lest it come home to visit us. And the politicians are happy to abet this studied ignoring because it means they don’t have to spend public monies on treating the whacked and instead can spend the public money on their corporate masters. 

So instead of recognizing that this is an individual human who needed (needs) medical (?) help, some of us focus on external, unsubstantiated signatures. And then we determine, again without any form of substantiation, that these signatures are causative and should be abolished. Which antagonizes others who are emotionally attached to these same signatures, again for no rational reason and often strikingly inaccurate and irrational, and the result is conflict. Over irrelevancies. Often illogical.

Take the Confederate battle flag. It’s not even official. It’s just an ad hoc symbol of dedicated soldiers, most of whom were not fighting to preserve slavery but were fighting to keep invaders off their ground. (Patriotism, what can I say?) And that fighting failed to accomplish its intent. The Union prevailed. The Confederate battle flag is a symbol of failure, a failure that resulted in the abolition of overt, ethnic slavery in the country. 

And a group of people treasure that symbol of failure because their ancestors failed. And another group detest that flag because that failure assured their ancestors’ freedom. Please tell me these two groups are rational and right-thinking. Because both seem somehow horribly twisted in their outlooks. And this makes their animosity suspect.

Reconstruction Regained

Saturn’s day and dihydrogen oxide falleth from the sky. So I made do with stationary bicycle, and a barely diverting segment of episode of podcast. But the cyclical nature of the activity brought my thoughts to the idea that “those how fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

This seems to fit with current events. It seems to me that we are experiencing Reconstruction again!

Consider the following ridiculous string: the Sesquicentennial of the Second American Revolution just concluded in April; the flags of the Confederate States of America are banned; the Yankee government is issuing several prescriptive edicts primarily against the states of the old Confederacy: upholding national medical insurance; extending the legality of marriage outside heterosexuality. Shall I keep going?

Point being this is all a massive “victory” for the Yankee “Blue” states and a massive defeat for the old Confederacy “Red” states. Or is it?

I hate to say it but the Second American Revolution was a horrible adolescence. I can think of no other characterization to instill any rational aspect to the utter stupidity of cleaving a nation over something as evil and inhumane as slavery. It should have been abandoned or condemned when the nation was established and wasn’t, largely due to the efforts of men like Thomas Jefferson. All I can say is an outstanding example of social inertia.

And then we went and fought the most terrible war in our history. A war that is still worshiped by those of our people who suffer from irrationality and mental perversion. We cannot afford to forget it lest we repeat its mistakes and horrors but we also cannot worship its memory lest we do just that. Those who refuse to abandon its worship are broken and in need of care; those who refuse to permit its memory to be kept are deluded fools who need care and control.

I liken the matter to when one is a child and burns one’s hand on a stove. Yes, that is horrible but necessary that we learn not to do so again. So to protect ourselves we have to keep that unpleasant, painful memory.

This is a time of great peril. We must treasure the memory of the pain to prevent its recurrence. Many would enshrine its false glory. Many would abolish its memory. Both are wrong. 

Into the Abyss

Fifth day again. No gym. Off to park for constitutional. Air almost pleasant. Podcast diverting a bit from the aches and pains of walking but not really engaging nor memorable. Only staunch negative was a couple of people who drove in and left their lamps engaged so that high intensity photon streams were periodically flooding my peripheral vision. A bit of laser reply reminded them of their manners.

The calm (otherwise) and the photon streams gave me occasion to consider a topic I mentioned earlier in the week, of whether there is some competition between science and religion. I stated at that time that I didn’t see much between personal religion and science but there might be between organized religion and science. I have formulated a preliminary observational conjecture since.

Organized religion is characterized by the organization espousing a collection of doctrine and dogma that transcends the individual. Even denominations that claim to encourage individuality tend to have some organizational rules. In some cases, especially in the old Confederacy, there are denominations whose doctrine/dogma express daily life/experience in mystical terms characterized by continual interventions by the deity to take action directly beneficial to the good/worthy denomination adherents. 

I find myself exposed to this daily, usually in one of two forms. One is people who babble about this, talking about how they survived a shopping trip to the MalWart as a direct intervention of the deity. The other is television news whose coverage often takes the form of some obese, neotenous Southron, hair in foam rollers if female, unbarbered but hacked if male, who babble similarly, usually associated with some phenomenon of Nature.

In all the cases I have considered, the survival can be adequately explained by simple science, probability theory, and statistics. No physical laws are violated in the creation of this imagined (?) miracle. Of course, if the deity is devious and cany then there would not be but this still raises the question of the perception. I have learned not to discuss this with the claimant because the vast majority have closed, violent minds. 

This is where, I conjecture, there is actual competition between (organized) religion and science. It is related to religion only in its prescription (and wrangling?) by the organization. The doctrine/dogma espoused also denigrates science and establishes an inimical dichotomy. 

Further cogitation and observation is indicated.

Genetically Evil?

Two day. Another later in the summer degree of heat day, or so the weather beavers foretell and their predictions haven’t been half bad lately, probably because they are far from phase changes?

The gym was typical for the DOW and summer. I saw only one educationalist and he is a staff type so comes to gym even when schule is desessioned but lacking his entourage was less bullying than usual. The podcasts were a mixed bag although the longest, the Guardian science podcast, [Link] was a bit thought provoking when the interviewee, a theoretical physicist who evidently writes popularizations, made the assertion that there is no fundamental enmity between religion and science.

I am not certain of this and am cognitive pursuing the idea now so perhaps Film at Eleven.  

Instead, I dredge up an article [Link] from last week about some work done at U Portsmouth that claims that EXTROs are “too busy” to be green. Evidently EXTROs are too wrapped up in themselves to be concerned about their environment and the species.

I fear I don’t find this surprising although I am a bit abashed at the basic evilness implied by the findings. They imply that EXTROs are fundamentally damaging to the species. 

That’s also going to require some cogitation since they are the majority and hence rather difficult to control. 

It’s also a bit bemusing to consider the religionist aspects of this as well.