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.

Two Food

Two day and not too bad so far. The gym was moderate and the podcasts, science in subject, were varied an not at all bad. In fact, quite good in the sense that there was no mention of basketball insanity nor of Frau Clinton and her criminal disregard for the nation’s laws safeguarding classified information. There was some sidebar mention of another Texican asshat wanting to be POTUS but that didn’t intrude very far. 

But it did raise an instance of the modern paradigm of minority governance. Consider a presidential ballot with the two “legal” candidates being our sado-fascist from Texas and the unpunishable criminal former FLOTUS. What better illustrates the failure of modern Amerikan government than governance by two political parties that together represent a minority of the electroate and whose members are the only ones allowed to hold office. So much for democracy in Amerika!

The podcasts, on the other hand, were actually entertaining, if not edifying. I learned that breast feeding, at least in Brazil where the study was conducted, results in a more intelligent, as measure by IQ, and economically productive child. I contrast this with an article [Link] I recently read that asserts that intelligence is a melange that comes and goes over time. Of course neither study measured anything important like literacy or calculacy. But let us face it, public breast nursing is rather more titillating than public feeding with a bottle. Or am I being prurient? At my age? 

The other thing I recall is that it has been found that, among other things, watching food programs on television contributes to obesity. Seems that there is no audience attraction for fruit and nuts – talking about maybe but not actually preparing – but there is for foods that make one feel good and eat too much. And contain the wrong things. 

These folks must have sampled different food programs than the ones I watch when I can’t find anything worthwhile. I admit I don’t watch many such but when I do it is for entertainment, not recipes. Because almost all of the food they show is off-putting. Now I admit that fried SPAM (the “meat” product, not eMail) takes me back to my college days but now all it invokes is fears of grease nausea. And the other foods are worse. 

I suspect the problem is that I spent a lot of my career for the Yankee Army of Occupation traveling around and thereby eating in a lot of places. The lesson I learned from this is that home cooking is almost always mediocre but it it almost always better than restaurant food. Chain restaurant food, in particular, is propaganda. Fancy restaurant food is Potemkin-esque, all facade and little substance. In general, any place that worries about “presentation” isn’t worth eating at. And the best places are non-chain holes-in-the-wall that barely pass the sanitation inspection. And they run to an 0.5 (or so) probability of diarrhea.

Not that there are not good restaurants. Sadly, they have a short life expectancy. For example, we have a good restaurant here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. It’s up for sale. 

Barbed Wire Baby Doll

Yesterday was a wasteland. I spent the day downloading my Uberbote data and trying to find a program that would import the data file. Three gags later I am only highly frustrated. 

“Whom the Gods would kill…

While I’m in such a mood it seem appropriate for today to be Mundane day. I shall not catalog the negatives and the positives are either nonexistent or so microscopic as to be lost in the noise but let me say that at the moment, dementia looks rather attractive.

On which azimuth, I noted an article [Link] that asserted that Mattel is going to produce a “talking” Barbie. And no, this is not one of those pre-recorded things. This Barbie will supposedly “converse” via some AI-in-the-Cloud connection. Needless to say the article was more than a little negative, mostly about privacy. My concern is do we really want our daughters to have “real” “Imaginary friends”? Norby stories aside, I am unconvinced that robots are good for children. No, not the Nipponese robots that destroy Tokyo ones. Those are OK. Not that girls seem to really like them. 

SCPdatter had all sorts of Barbies. Most of them are still here and still in their boxes. SCPdatter wasn’t too big on plating with Barbie. She preferred something more warm and fuzzy. Which Barbie isn’t. 

Several years ago Detroit experimented with a motorcar that talked to you. It told you when to shift gears and use the blinker and change the lubricant and refill the petrol tank. It was an abysmal flop. Never got past first stage customer testing. 

Maybe that’s why I don’t think much of Puppet Master Barbie? With apologies to RAH.


Negativity Discounted

Better this morning. Lower temperature but fewer aerosol particles + wind, and I wore an ear covering. So constitutional went fairly well. I enjoy the solitude, only intruded by the podcast, an episode of “The Pen Addict”.[Link] This was rewarding, not in the blather – agrammatical – about pens and paper and pencils, but on the role of negativity. The protagonist of the podcast was off on a rant about pen shysters, an evidently modern manifestation whereby a kickstarter project is used to relieve gullible pen folk of portraits of discorporated EuropeanAmerican politicians.

I personally consider that some protection from gullibility is beneficial but I have less patience with this particular manifestation. These are mostly young people (plus points for naivete!) who are adept at all means of social media (minus points for communication and networking!) so surely when someone analyzes the situation and propagates a warning message they should have the rationality to be warned? Evidently not and the rule of killing asshats prior to reproduction comes into play. 

On which note, I saw an article [Link] about that societal messiah Musk who predicts that the introduction of robotic motorcars may result in the banning of human driving. And how horrible that is. Gad! How abysmally disingenuous can anyone be. It is well know to anyone who is even moderate calculate that the human versus robot driven motorcar mixing problem has only two stable solutions. All human driven and all robot driven motorcars. Anything else results in a nightmare of death and destruction.

So pray don’t go maundering on about how horrible it will be if human driving is banned. If robot motorcars are adopted, and they will be, at least among rationals. then human driving must be forbidden and punished sharply. I fully expect that my grandchildren will never learn how to drive, and their children will think those of us who did one with the dinosaurs and passenger pigeons.


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.

Green Beer and Antipathy

Today is supposed to be the name day of Saint Patrick. I have to admit to being unable to comprehend this occasion. I can comprehend that the person did all sorts of wonderful things in Ireland for the sake of the Church of Rome, but I fail to see how that translates into non-religious parades, river dyeing, and green beer consumption. Happily since I have little Irish DNA, I have a convenient reason to rebuff the orgy. But I am still not grokking.

On which azimuth I ran across an article [Link] about how African-American graduates of high quality (?) colleges receive fewer and lower paid job offers than European-American graduates of the same colleges. This appears to be one of those academic befuddlement things or, possibly, academic legitimization. 

It seems that part, at least, of what we have here is a failure of tolerance. The nation seems to have grown tired of tolerating “minorities” without reciprocal tolerance. This seems to be the social theme of the times. European-Americans are supposed to be tolerant of African-Americans who by maintaining a separate social construct decline to reciprocate that tolerance. The same seems to exist for numerous religionist communities but especially the Muslim. Anyway, what I observe is an increasing reticence to tolerate others (who are different) if they do not reciprocate that tolerance.

This seems strangely Christianist. An application of “do unto others”. I fear this is how feuds fester. Friendship rebuffed or ill returned often leads to animosity and violence. It signals a failure of social cohesion and the ascendancy of a collection of inimical communities. If so, then we have to ask how this is related to a governance by two imiscible political parties? Symptom or cause?

The world wonders. 

Bonsai Gardening

Once more into week in. Gym was survivable, the population was sparse and the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealt with (human) parasites. There is a certain thrill to knowledge of yucky things that are maybe good for one. Rather like obligatory reproductive activity?

I ran across an article [Link] this weekend out of Michigan State U that debunks the idea that one can devote 10 K man-hours (MH) to learning something and become a master at that thing. This work establishes that one has to have talent for this thing or those 5 MY are wasted. I now feel much better that I abandoned juvenile athletics as quickly as possible, much to the disappointment of my parents. I have always contrasted the original assertion, now proven conditional, with the idea that one needs to change “jobs” every five years.

I was fortunate in that my parents did not “force” me to do many learned activities. My father wanted me to do sports but I was so abysmal that he quickly subsided. My mother was more determined with ballroom dancing. I still cannot dance to this day despite three summers of lessons as an adolescent. Nonetheless, I have always viewed this as a form of child abuse and was always careful with SCPdatter to help her do things she wanted to do, that I considered worthwhile, and not force her to do things I thought she should do. Other than schule work, of course. Now that I am a grandparent I fear she is morphing into a helicopter. With bumpers. Revenge of the species?

I am not sure it matters much. Children must find their own paths in life. They will be alienated from parents regardless of our acts. But I still fell more comfortable letting children make up their own way. And that’s probably as best as it can be?