Human Irrelevancy

Two day and off to a bad start. Overslept. Too much stress, I suppose. And I don’t just mean heat.

Noted this morning in eMail that both the EU and the UN have upheld the nuke deal with Iran. Neat. One stroke and the Yankee Congress has become irrelevant. At least for this matter. Look for all sorts of childish nastiness from the Congress Critters at being reduced to the slime mold parasites that they have become. All, I fear, due to Partisan Overweening.

I also note a study out of U Michigan that indicates most folks don’t want driverless motorcars. At least for them. This is not surprising. It’s about the only expression of control most of them have. Amazes me we don;t have more kamikaze drivers. 

I am not sure this really matters. First of all, so far as I can tell there are only two stable solutions for intermixing of driven and driverless motorcars: the end points. All one or the other. And given that most transit companies will go to driverless lorries as a cost saving necessity, the rest will follow. After all, this is now a nation where corporations come first, second, and always. 

The coming robot masters will be motorcars.

Book Extinction

I just ran across an article [Link] bemoaning the disappearance – cost cutting – of public schule libraries. I can’t say that I am surprised.

Back when I was in public schule, every schule had a library. Never saw one used until I got to high schule. And I am not sure they were used except to lecture/demonstrate kids the basics of library.

In theory you could get permission in study hall to go to library but I only had one study hall in high schule and it was constantly interrupted by pep rallies. Attendance at such EMO time wasters was more strictly required than breathing. So even though I thought of I knew I would not get to go to library. 

I did scan the library stacks when I was there on indoctrination(?) but being used to Saturdays at RSIC and Sundae afternoons at the Carnegie library I was so underwhelmed that the only thing interesting was the sexual gymnnastics by cheer leaders and jocks in the deep (?) stacks. My hypothesis was that such behavior was not only permitted by the administration but encouraged. 

And when I walked by the library on the way to luncheon – glass walls – I always noted that the bulk of the population in the library was librarians (staff) and stident aides. 

So is there benefit to schule libraries? I suppose that some – not those in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill – might be useful. But I also recall that my age cohort were readers. Yes, we watched television but ennui set in quickly with only three or so channels. So reading was a default state. I usually read a book a day in high schule, more when they were assigned and not mind rotting boredom. 

If my daughter read a book a year in high schule it was because she needed the grade. Recreation and reading were orthogonal in her universe. And much the same for those of her age cohort I could observe.

So if no one gets to go to library and no one wants to read, why bother to have a schule library?

Food Poo

Again not pleasant. And darker, for some reason. But I walked and I suppose that is goodness in and of itself. After all, we humans have to struggle so to walk.

But I do dislike summer (and winter.) I was reminded of this anew this morning as I went to download podcast episodes for the week and half were unavailable because the production folks had gone on holiday. Mostly European but a few Canadian. And what there is, is often repeats that I have heard before and have learned not to be entrapped into listening to a second time as it is a waste.

I also ran across an article [Link] about food trucks on Redstone Arsenal. Typical contemporary newspaper article. More advertisement than reporting. Bubbly and vacuous. Overpriced grease.

But I was reminded that when I went to work on Redstone in 1972 there were food trucks. They were called Roach Coaches and they came about twice a day, offering first breakfast and then lunch foodstuffs. Also greasy and seemingly past edibility.

I tried once or twice and ceased. Got into a mode where I ate breakfast in cafeteria. Why food truck when building has cafeteria? Logic escapes. Cooked to order versus hours (days?) old? Skipped lunch. Too busy. Ate supper before or after class depending on day-of-week and term schedule. Maybe a snack after I left computer center somewhere around midnight.

So I can’t claim to be enthusiastic about Roach Coaches. But I do have an inkling. I found out years ago that the folks who most often patronized the Roach Coaches were the ones most dissatisfied with their work. So organizations with shitty work and incompetent managers mobbed the trucks.

Must still be that way. Despite its claims the Army has never been able to manage well.

Prime Flop

Think Cow Flop. Also known as Cow Pattie. A cake of cow stercus. Exceeds Sturgeon’s rule. 1.0 crap. Except for microbial and maggot impurities. Leave it alone and it’s innocuous. Touch it and get covered with flies and their offspring. Stomp on it and you get covered with a stench that makes a skunk gag.

That’s Amazing and MalWart yesterday. And I successfully did no more than poke the former. And discovered among all their marvelous (?) offerings nothing I would purchase. In the few – very few – cases when an offering was of interest, the price was too high. In the one case of an item on my wish list, the price on wish list was less than the sale price. 

So I baked off and swept the maggots off my hands. And I never even tried MalWart. Their stuff is always too expensive. Not only are they slave keepers, they’re greedy too. Very Amerikan.

And I noted that NASA made it to Pluto. I keep thinking that when the craft left Pluto was still a planet. After all, it wanders doesn’t it? So it’s a planetes. But you can’t see it without a real telescope so why bother. That which we cannot see does not exist. Except during religious services. 

Anyway it’s a goodly accomplishment for an engineering project. But it doesn’t impress me as much as the LHC coming up with a pentaquark. Horrible name. How about if a hadron is a triquark than a haveron is a pentaquark? Or is that too Friday? 

Anyway, an F– to the media for coverage. I had to go through a half-dozen press articles to find out which quarks were involved. And none of them got around to actually telling me whether it’s a Fermion or not. So another flop.

And the weather. And climate denial. Air is too hot for me. And it’s all because of humans. Mostly politicians. What we need is a president who doesn’t make more than a hundred K a year. None of these millionaires and billionaires. The idea that a 1% rick guy can run the country better is somewhere between delusion and insanity. 

And the podcast was urine ugly. 


Not a Heat Flop

Two day and once more into the oven. Gym happily scantly populated. But the podcast episodes were disappointing.

First, since the Guardian’s Science podcast is evidently on that months long disappearance the English seem to call “holiday”, the Amerikan vacation writ enormous, I had to find something else to listen to. I ran across the Big Think folks a while ago and despite mixed signalling I decided to give their podcast a trial in the European gap.[Link]

This episode was about a half hour so not a bad length until I listened to it. A horrible disaster. Something like Sturgeon to at least the fourth power. 0.9999+ crap.

This was a discussion, moderator plus Bill Nye the “Science Guy”. Not any science I could hear today. Two bits. One about fashion in the lab. Not only was it a cow flop but they wallowed in it. And all us Southrons know what happens when you churn a cow flop. Not even the skunks will get with smell range.

Second, there was a bit about search engines. Nye tried to say a few things but they got flopped by the moderator who was trying to be a talking head. Why they couldn’t have discussed nerd search engines instead of Bang! and Gooey is beyond me. 

There may have been some bit about interplanetary currency exchange but I pretty well went tortoise after the search engine flop.

If the guardian is out again this week, and I can’t find an alternative, they may get another try. But I hope not.

Frankly, Arthur Jeffries could have done 100 dB better.

There was also a bit from NPR about the figurehead (minority political) head of OPM getting put down. Point they missed – or evaded – probably the latter since it is horribly damaging, is that it’s not just an IT security job that got ignored, it’s a rupture of civil servant trust in their employer. Watch for another big age chasm in the government in years to come as young people figure out the Yankee government can’t be trusted, especially as an employer.

When the World Rots

The air moveth not. So the constitutional was less than enjoyable. Natta, natta, natta. Even being low is getting unsatisfactory. 

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday. Now I never drew cartoons, except in my schule notebooks to while away the time while I was information deprived. And the cartoons were typical boy stuff of the Containment ’50’s, and the teachers didn’t like but they learned that ignoring them was better than handling the questions the information deprived kids asked that they couldn’t answer, didn’t want to answer, and the bog kids didn’t want asked. In later years I felt sorry for them – a bit – and hated the schule authorities who catered the curriculum to the bogs majority. Of course if they had catered to the geeks and nerds the bogs would have been rioting in orthogonality. You can lead bogs to books but you can’t make them learn.

Sometimes Brave New World sounds good.

Anyway, this cartoon captures a situation that in my family. My younger brother is EXTRO. 

Enough said.

I also noted [Link] that there is a new BBC computer.

which is a far cry from the BBC computer I had (well, actually a clone but close enough) 


The original BBC computer was all about programming in BASIC. And the bits and pieces of storing and retrieving programs. On/off tape cassettes. I don’t quite fathom what the new one is for. Evidently it’s about registers and machine instructions and such? Seems a strange thing to have to distribute to kids en mass

As far as I can figure this is an artifact of the consumerist/appliance aspect of computing that has become such a pervasive cancer. Back when I was a kid we got the basics of computer functionality thrown at us. Not in schule mind you. Definitely not in schule. Maybe a couple of the STEM teachers had some idea but usually less than we so trying to teach would have been a debacle and a humiliation. For the schule system.

But we got it from SF magazines and Popular * magazines and the like. I read YA books on the subject when I was in the equivalent of junior high schule. But what was missing was the using the computer. It was a holy relic in those days. Adore but don’t touch. Programming was in assembly language or machine code. Programming transcended even nerdery.

By the time I was in college we could program using COBOL (yuck) or FORTRAN (yea!) And I did for years. My first STEM job was more about writing FORTRAN code than doing real STEM. And there were still real programmers around in those days but it was quicker to write your own rather than try to explain the algorithms. Real programmers didn’t do differential equations – then or now. The only difference is that then the STEMS had to write out the algorithms in FORTRAN; now the programmers grab a library routine. Unless there is no library routine. Then they have to go back to the STEMs.

So it appears that the knowledge level today is less than it was in the fifties. Not really surprising. Have you tried to have a discussion with a GEN Y lately? Not easy. Or enjoyable. In the main.

Horrible when the world rotted while you were working.