Darkness Falls?

Well, the Huntsville Weather Beavers maintained their chain of underestimating the temperature minimum again this morning. I am sitting her typing – and retyping  – in and around the shivers and bone moans.

I did make it to gym this morning and evidently the new year has really begun and the temperature is to moderate because the gym was crowded – for 0500 – for a change. Not necessarily welcome but not too unpleasant despite the hate antics of the weight bouncers. 

FD SCP departed this morning for her employment in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, hopefully marking the end of the season of cuttings. Since July she and I have had six between us. Sometimes I am convinced being ORF is harder than working. Certainly that was why she was in a rush to depart. That and some time away from SCP.  And drips.

The inauguration looms and already the temperament of the nation has changed from comfortable grumbling to veiled violence threats. I don’t know whether I want a time machine to go back to the ’50’s or a cryogenic chamber to hide for a century or so. I suspect the former; better the information and health desert of the past to the information and health wasteland of the future.

I was once told that a particularly nasty Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times.” I now know one worse: “May you live past a golden age.”

Mind of Nerd

I might have entitled this Mind of STEM Nerd or even Physics Nerd. But yesterday I had to take FD SCP to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for some circulatory system ameliorations and by chance of vertical copulation the day actually turned out to not be crushingly painful.

Not for FD SCP. But she got the anesthesia and so was out and cared for most of the time.

Normally this is done in a facility that incorporates the world’s largest, nastiest, most nauseating waiting area ruled by medicalist Gestapo. This waiting room is so unpleasant it makes a Soviet-era Russian bus depot seem comfortable, sanitary, salubrious, and palatial. All courtesy of the Shining City’s largest hospital and their mistreatment of responsible adults.

The last time I had to occupy that waiting room, several months ago, it was for eleven hours and I came very close to having to be admitted to hospital for physical and nervous collapse. It often reminds me of the old Chicago stockyards supporting the slaughter houses. 

But while FD SCP was directed to this facility, that was erroneous – surprise! surprise! – and we actually went to a quite pleasant – relatively – day surgery facility that actually doesn’t abuse the demanded responsible adults. And we only had to stay six hours!

But in the process I got to thinking about how Nerds and Introverts look at the world and society. We think differently. In fact, it may be argued that Intros are smarter because of the way Extros try to kill us by denying there are such folks. It’s not as brazen as harvesting us for body parts like elephants or rhinos but it’s blatant and painful. So to survive, we have to out-think the Extros?

I reflected on an article [Link] I had seen in Physics Today, which is itself an EXTRO gush journal for the American Physical Society. It used to have useful articles but evidently it is now run by public affairs types and is rather a pseudo-nerdy physics equivalent of something like Time magazine.

Anyway, the title of the article is “The image of scientists in The Big Bang Theory” and it strains the trust of any physicist who actually watches the program. The article is very positive and up-beat on the whole thing, quoting,

“The Big Bang Theory is the finest and best fictional portrayal of scientists in any current media—and a series that is carving out a place for itself in the annals of television comedy.”

but it actually has some serious veracity problems.

The biggest problem is that none of the STEM principals talk like real STEMs. Yes there is a bit of techno-babble that has some roots in actual STEM, but the characters do not act like STEM Nerds. Rather, they act like Geeks who are pretending to be STEMs which is pretty close to what the situation is. Actors are often Geeks and in this case it’s painfully apparent to any actual STEM. 

The most glaring thing is that the humor is false. The number of instances of actual STEM Nerd humor is less than 0.01 of the total. The jokes told are usually of the Geek variety akin to “X walks into a bar….”. This is a blatant necessity that the producers of the program ignore out of necessity. Real NERD Stem humor would be unintelligible to 0.98 of the population. And hence unfunny. And thereby, no success as a TV program.

Ditto the discussions among the principals. They are Geek discussions, not Nerd discussions. They’re about collecting rather than doing. Yes, they have STEM stuff injected but it’s injected as Geeks would. 

Not that the program isn’t worthwhile and beneficial, but it isn’t really about STEM and STEMs. But one of its benefits is showing us how NERD STEMs don’t think.

Bog Light Nonsense

Well, swapped fog for rain this morning. And a still wind. So quite chilling. And worse foretold.

In the darkness I mused on another misuse of words by Bogs. Why do they pervert the word “light”? They use it to mean a lamp. And that rather bothers me since light is a wondrous thing and a lamp is merely a machine to generate it. And poorly at that. Which is what the Bogs evidently speak?

This perversion is almost universal and a sorry bit at that. It proclaims our absence of smarts. Which is accurate.

First Sundae

The new year is dawned. And it’s ice cream day and dihydrogen oxide falleth from the skies. Not clear which of those are good and which bad, but it definitely is a mixture.

A lot of people bemoaned how bad last year was but then I can’t recall a good year in many years. Maybe this will be the year we destroy ourselves and we no longer have to worry about such things?

In celebration of not engaging in the festivities (???????????) of last evening, I have a few articles to inflict. First, [Link] I see that the Icelanders have opened a temple (?) to the Norse gods and it has a membership that is a significant fraction of the national population. Not sure if this is attractive but it definitely is a welcome alternative to the sad state of christianism that I see here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. 

In a similar channel, I have an older article [Link] about how rabbis in Israel have denounced christistmas trees. I was particularly taken by a couple of semi-quotes

“He called the tree “idolatry”, warning that it was a “pagan” symbol that violated the kosher status of the building, including its food hall.”

and

“This is not about freedom of worship,” Dokow told the Technion’s students. “This is the world’s only Jewish state. And it has a role to be a ‘light unto the nations’ and not to uncritically embrace every idea.”

It’s somehow refreshing for a rebbe to denounce a christianist practice as idolatry, pagan, and refer to the denouncement as bringing light. 

Of course, the tree is originally a northern European practice adopted by the church of Rome to assist in coercing natives to accept christianism. What is intriguing is the implication that it drags that paganism along with it? Of course, I suspect the good rebbe considers all of christianism to be the worst form of paganism. 

The light bringing however, is common to most religions and denomination. For some reason the whole illumination of the shadows is associated with superstition and mysticism rather than reality. Seems rather a paradigm of religion, doesn’t it?

Gad, the new year has already started out on a good footing, hasn’t it?

Holiday Hope

Almost over. All that is left is the New Year’s holiday which will sadly rot another week out. Not that I stay awake for the eve and I find the whole thing somewhere between bemusing and delusional. In effect, what we celebrate on the last day of December is almost meaningless. 

A year can be defined several ways but the most meaningful to me is to designate one of the turning points of Tellus’ orbit, either a solstice or an equinox, as the renewal date of the “year”. So if we cling to our primitive roots and end the year on the day of renewal, we should have used the Twenty-First of December as the New Year’s Eve. So in my visualization, we are a week+ of the actual, meaningful New Year’s Eve.

Besides, I see no reason to mess up my slumber. Even for whisky. 

Yesterday was about as difficult as I expected. Enough said. It’s past. And we are as far from the next Mass of Joshua as we can get. And I can always hope that children will get less obnoxious and provocative of raising the question of how the human species continues. Especially after the first child.

Sadly we are also now coming back to the usual horrors of daily existence in the Yankee Republic. And perhaps envying those who have discorporated. Of which we have had too many this season. But not yet our surfeit of horribly colding weather. And the denials of the ravages of climate change. 

I also miss things that went away this year. Like IceDove. And the Linux version of Scientific Word. And my hopes of actually doing something worthwhile, at least in my own estimation.

Sometimes being ORF is hard. 

Holiday Horror 5

Yesterday was the pause for terror day expected. FD SCP and I had things pretty much to ourselves. Aside from a few moments exchanging gifts that we largely knew in advance, the day was one of greatly appreciated peace and calm.

We shall pay for that today.

Yesterday was the (mistaken) birthday anniversary of Isaac Newton. I forget which calendar was in place in England when he was birthed but it ain’t the current one. But it still gets observed as such by folks too acalculate to understand the error or by folks who want a meaningful counterpoint to Joshua ben Joseph. 

Today is the legal observation of Joshua’s mass so lots of folks are off from work. When I first started work sundae Christmas was a suck-it-up-and-go-to-work-on-Monday holiday. I liked it better. Mostly because I didn’t like the whole Christmas season. For one thing, you have to work a lot harder during periods when classes are out than when they are in. So instead of putting in four or five hours of research on top of eight-plus of paid work, I got to do a bit more. And I still had to attend all sorts of mandatory social obligations of the season. Also go to my parents’ house and eat my mother’s cooking and suffer for days after with all sort of digestive unhappiness. 

That latter part hasn’t changed, nor I fear, my dislike of the holidays. I liked it better when I was at schule in Illinois and had a meaningful excuse not to come back for the holidays. Despite the work and the social nonsense life was a LOT better in those days. And hasn’t been the same since. 

So today off to SCPdatter’s for gifting and terror. The day has already started poorly. 

I went to gym this morning. That was good. Especially since it was VERY sparse there. But strangely quiet. And I came home and got a splurge of disappointment.

First, I got on the FaceScroll. And was amazed at the extravaganza of compositional illiteracy. Nauseating. And many silly superstitious sentiments that make even less sense than observing yesterday as Sir Isaac birthday anniversary. 

Then I learned that the podcast “Linux Luddites”, one of my mainstays, had shut down. I suppose I shall have to wait to hear the episode to learn why. But this will leave a day and a half gap in my podcast week. They offered a new podcast that I will have to try but given the excellence ratings on podcasts, even Linux ones, I am sanguine.

Then I ran across a Lifehacker article [Link] entitled “How to Set Up and Get to Know Your New PC, Mac, Android, or iPhone.” My immediate reaction was the absence of Linux. (I don’t count Android since it is too commercial codey these days. Oh, I still use an Android cellular telephone but that’s because it is the least evil when I can’t buy a real Linux phone. Or slablet.) After all Linux is not used by 0.02. But then I entertained the thought that this was not just a statement of arrogance from Bogs masquerading as Geeks, but a matter of pride and counter-arrogance. Linux users, after all, don’t need to be told how to buff their boxes like MegaHard serfs and Apple slaves do. Besides, the Linux community pioneered the “what to do after you install distribution X” articles. Articles that Apple and Winders people (?) don’t seem able to write. So this one is sorta evened out.

But the day is still not yet at middle age – four hours in – and bad things have plenty of time to occur.

Holiday Horrors 4

The Mass of Joshua. The day that is supposed to be the node, the turning point of the season of stress portends to be only a hiatus. 

Yesterday I endured the extended family gathering, the collection of my nuclear, birth family and the descendants. At least the ones surviving. Who, at times, I envied. Too much EXTRO, as expected. No refuge from the incessant intrusion of drivia (drivel + trivia) whether in the form of alien relatives or just the physical and sonic engulfment by bairns. None of whom come close to speaking the language.

I once rode in a New York City taxi driven by a recent emigrant from the subcontinent. He had no command of any form of English. When I got in the cab he handed me the radio microphone and pantomimed speaking my destination. The radio then warbled a translation to him. When we arrived, after several course conversations over the radio, he spoke into the microphone and the radio told me the dunnage. 

Yesterday was like that except without the radio.

I was reminded of why friends are so important: one cannot pick one’s family nor neighbors but can pick friends. And walk away from them. So there was a positive aspect to yesterday. 

Today is a – hopefully – slow and silent day. FD SCP and I are essentially on our own. Tomorrow, the legal observation by the Yankee government of the religionist day – so much for freedom of religion – we have to motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill to family gather with our nuclear family. And at least one of the self-same rug rodents. 

I understand why people abuse themselves, even discorporate, this season of year. For many it is the only channel of relief. 

And we have yet to face the insanity associated with the arbitrary imcrementing of year number and the actuality of winter which promises to be one tartarus of a doozie. 

One of the times I am not happy to be ORF. If I were younger I could take employment far away, perhaps in a country that is too remote to permit holiday travel?