Mumbo Downo

One day, and back to gym. Still a bit below where I should like but recovery under way. Moderate density of people; the regular educationalists and a couple of weight bouncers were back, probably because spring desession is over. The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” about two men who found each other in the Iran-Iraq Wat. It was not successful on many azimuths but it helped divert attention.

Yesterday was the Christianist Easter, the organizational appropriation of vernal equinox and Passover. As such, it seems fitting to mention an article [Link] dealing with the decreased religiosity of Amerika. I should like to attribute this to rational thinking but I am too much of a cynic to do so.

The tone of the article is quite civilized and its theme captured with a quote:

“Americans today are also less likely to believe that the Bible is divinely inspired with 22% of respondents agreeing with the statement that the Bible  “is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men” compared to the 14% who agreed with this in 1984 (a 57% increase).”

although I though the percentage was unnecessary and distracting. Other numbers are similar: decrease in church attendance/membership; decrease in non doubters; …

The only thing amazing about all this is the furor raised by the churchites over how their religion is “under attack”. Since when is desertion an “attack”? Apparently these people are uncomfortable with being American; unable to accept what freedom means.  But then, the removal of freedom is what most religions are about.

Statistical Insight

I note [Link] that adolescents do not want driverless cars. Not surprising. It’s a rite-of-passage things and probably more painful than a bar/bat mitzvah or even a ritual circumcision.

But it does give me a bit of insight into the nature of all those people “driving” pickup trucks who can’t drive. They are all still adolescents – pre-puberty? – who haven’t aged mentally. Certainly explains their inadequate skills.

End of the Future

Two day. Pun-ish? Foretold to be a good weather day. But any day I have to do medicalist things is compromised from the get-go.

Sparse at gym. Podcast – Guardian Science – was a long one about the Concorde.

I have to start by registering that this podcast was mostly about engineering and social matters. Money in particular, also politics. I rather dislike this type of fraud and deception. Science podcasts are supposed to be about science, not engineering. And I should expect a rag as good as the Guardian to have staff that know the difference.

But the thoughts that followed were more constructive. It struck me about halfway through the podcast that this was really about the end of an era. The obvious bit is the end of Imperial Britain and Imperial France. The less obvious is the end of the technology-makes-it-all-better era.

Up to this point, technology was without flaw. There was no down side. Technology would make life better by peripheral improvements in idealized society. No worries of pollution or unemployment or weapons of mass destruction. The end of Victorian stolidness and Whewellian absolutism.

No stigma of nonexisting the poor and glorifying the rich. No aspect of any flaws in society. Quite ignoring that only the very rich could afford to ride on this aircraft.

The end of simplicity and etiquette and knowledge-trumps-ignorance. 

And it was a failure. Not the airplane. It was wonderful. Really, full of wonder. Something we have little of today. All we have is the staid magic of ubiquitous electronics. While we choke in pollution and poison ourselves with toxic water. And government does nothing but facade.

Dismal day, isn’t it?

The Domain of Imaginity

One Day! Air temperature almost 50 degF so balmy for March in Alibam. Gym sparse and only one weight bouncer. The podcast was a bit disconnected since it dealt with the future and zero marginal cost/ The latter caused the disconnect.

I made myself study economics and finance years ago when I had to learn to live with Yankee government accountants. And I found out zero marginal cost wasn’t even a holy grail. It was pure fiction. Why? Mostly because no one accounts for the true cost of anything.

What does a tree cost? No not what the lumber yard says, what it costs to harvest the tree, prepare it, AND grow a replacement tree. And what is the money value of that latency?

So zero marginal cost is more about fiction than fact. So the podcast failed at its introduction.

My attention wandered a bit until I saw a commercial on the monitor. I forget what the commercial was advertising; I tend to tune that out. But what gathered my attention was a subtitled claim that the people endorsing were “Real people. Not actors.”

I didn’t dwell but passingly on the crux that I have no basis to trust this assertion since I can neither test nor verify the claim. Instead I became fixated on what are “real people”? Is this a mathematical statement. Real as opposed to imaginary? And are humans actually real? Can’t the soul be thought of as mathematically imaginary, contributing to the magnitude but only creeping into reality when it interacts with another imaginary thing?

Humans are resultants of the Big Bang and Evolution. So shouldn’t “real” refer to our natural aspect? And if so, are we not immediately not-real as soon as we interact with other humans to distance ourselves from natural reality? So the only humans who are real are those who live alone, never interact with other humans, and only interact with nature. Does making a hand ax or a fire hardened stick make us unreal?

We can conceive of two realities: natural reality that we evolved in; and imaginary (?) reality that is society and civilization and such. But since we are the product of reproductive congress between two other humans, at least after we became homo sap, then we have always had an imaginary component. So how can any human be really “real”?

Then it occurred that almost all of us are inverted. We have long since gotten to the point where reality – Nature – is imaginary almost all the time and imaginity – Society – is “real” almost all the time. (It seems I have gone and invented another word.) So when the commercial says “real people” does it mean those who exist only in a social context?

And what of the statement “not actors”? Are we not all “acting” when we are interacting socially?

At least I can confirm this commercial upholds the thesis that all advertisement have a false component.

Other Thoughts

It occurred to me yesterday, and developed mentally overnight, that one of the main difficulties of communication between nerds and others – bogs and some geeks – is their view of information and knowledge.

Simply put, most of humanity expects “the right answer” to any question. Science nerds know that they can do no better than “less wrong.”

Our understanding of reality is that it is infinitely unknowable. So we will always be looking for a “less wrong” understanding of it. Bogs, and some geeks, think of reality as simple and largely unchanging.

This causes all sorts of problems: Schule teachers have an expectation of a right answer. Telling them you have a less wrong answer will result in a lowered grade and probably punishment. The legal system is worse. They have adopted the religionist idea of “truth” without its defining aspect of divine revelation. Hence any statement of “the less wrong” results in an accusation of perjury and further punishment. Elected politicians are similar but usually worse.

In the glory days of science – Whewellian era – science could be right. Reality was an absolute that only had to be mapped. Scientists became admired and respected. Some of that still carries over but the bogs now spurn science as unlearn-able by “normal” people.

And the fundamental problem is that those bogs, by demanding a simple, absolute answer are the most wrong of all. And that likely spells the doom of us all.

Things to Consider

In equitation, posting is bouncing up and down in the saddle while the horse moves.

In composition, posting is moving the cap from the front end of the pen to the back.

Both have to do with motion and balance.

So what about posting in accounting?

Failure in Automation

I receive an eAdvertisement from a retail clothing/shoe/ vendor or Amazing highlighting some goods. I have shopped with these merchants previously and they know my sizes.

But if I see something intriguing and visit their site I find it is not available in my size.

Which they know.

So much for tailored advertising.

Massive Failure.