Other Kind of Hack

One Day. Back to gym. Dragging a bit. And the podcast didn’t help, an episode of CBC’s “Best of Ideas” rehashing their fifty years of existence.

Horribly boring, nauseating in places. Excruciatingly maudlin. Too much Ideas-cleaned-up-my-life sort of homilies. I suppose it’s very Canadian but it’s not good fare before breakfast.

On which note, I ran across an article [Link] this morning entitled “France’s Macron Hack Likely By Same Russian Group That Hit DNC, Sources Say.” I should probably mention I got the link out of a military eNewsletter.

What this brings to mind is three possibilities:

Courtesy of the electronics revolution, we have reached a point where any new tactic has a novelty period of one (observed) use and then it’s old hat. This is a far cry from the days of Napoleon Bonaparte who could usually count on a new tactic lasting for at least a couple of years. Of course this was back when hereditary tyrants ran the world.

The French are smarter (?) than Amerikans. The French may be terrible at some things, like fountain pens and (smoking) pipes and motorcars, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be smart as well as inept.

The French are so opposite to the behavior of most nations that the hack had the reverse effect intended. The French, after all, are the only people who detest anyone furrin who tries to speak French. All other nationalities take it as an indication of adaptation and cooperation but the French take it as a deadly insult.

As with most such things, there is no way of objectively determining which, if any, of these possibilities is relevant. What is sure however, is that the French will have a situation where it will be unclear how much they can distrust the pronouncements of their government.


Passion for Poverty

Getting started on tab hawgin’ early. Looking at articles that I pushed into a clipping cleint some time ago but haven’t finished digesting or gone snarky with.

This blot is about an education analysis article [Link] entitled “Why the most successful students have no passion for school.” The study was performed evidently – in New South Wales, so the nature of the schooling is likely different from that in the Yankee republic. Especially from how it is done in the Old Confederacy. And very different from Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill in the ’50’s and ’60’s when I attended public schule.

The study claims that the best students have no passion for schule. That seems evident from the title but it seems also that the title is rot. 

It seems that the determination of “best” is based on grades. That’s not a bad metric but it is low hanging and incomplete. And the determination of passion is based on the answer to a multiple guess question:

    (a) school has done little to prepare me for adult life when I leave school

    (b) school has been a waste of time

    (c) school helped give me confidence to make decisions

    (d) school has taught me things that could be useful in a job

asked to 15 year old adolescents. It’s this question that precipitated my cogitation on this article.

I have to admit that age 15 is shrouded a bit in a whole lot of years and experiences and thoughts. That age approximately corresponds to when I entered high scule as a sophomore. 

It’s also when I pretty well registered dissatisfaction and disappointment with high schule. Because of the same information rationing that I had hated in previous grades. But what is most troubling is my assessment of how I would have answered this question. 

When I was in high schule, I was there because it was necessary. Most of that necessity was the role defined by my parents and society and a little bit was an awakening anticipation of college. But none of that had anything to do with being adult. That wasn’t anything overtly talked about in those days. 

There was a thread of schule being a waste of time but that primarily came from people who did poorly on grades and learning and wanted to be on their own. And those people didn’t like Intros so their outlook was alien.

Schule wasn’t about confidence. I don’t ever recall hearing that word in schule or from my parents. And jobs weren’t mentioned. Except for the disabled kids. Who were untouchables. 

So I am unsure how I would have answered the question. I know I wouldn’t have left it unanswered because we were lectured before every multiple guess test to guess if we didn’t know. Don’t leave any blanks. That was hammered into us. 


The article reports that the passion-best correlation was “almost zero.” This is a lot worse than random choice. Why? I know from reading that kids today are indoctrinated to be job and career oriented – and not care about learning. So based on kids aping and amplifying their parents’ prejudices and gripes, I can see where (A) might get short shrift. 

I did fairly well in schule. My parents expected – demanded? – good grades and I got good grades until I got accepted into college. My last semester in high schule was a complete disregard of playing nice.

The reason for this is that if you got good grades you got more opportunities to learn than if you blew off. Not much admittedly, although my library trips were conditional on grades, but little is better than none. And the high schule textbooks did good to last me a month before they were sucked dry. Although I do have to admit that boring subjects didn’t get sucked as dry.  But once I got a motorcar the library standard retreated and once I got admitted to college, knowing I couldn’t not graduate shy of criminal activity, I quit overachieving on the tests. 

So the passion for schule was really a passion for learning and giving the facade of liking schule was a way to more learning. 

So I have to wonder just how close to reality this study ever came?

American Serfdom

One Day, and back to gym. An increase in the density of schmucks and ferds. Began to think traffic signals were needed. And they just hang in the middle of pathways obstructing. 

The podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” was an interview with some journalist whose harangue was that war is the means by which organizations strip us of our freedoms.

As with most journalists these days, this was not news and definitely not original.

But the crowning pinnacle was reached by the National Broadcasting Corporation (an organization) via its affiliate WAFF [Link] who declared in their subtexting that they do not know the difference, nor the proper context, for the words “border” and “boarder”. 

Evidently editing is either dead or disposed of as an economy measure.

It is evident that the organizations have won, proving once again that human and money are orthogonal and to maximize the latter the former must be minimized.

This is the new serfdom. The vast majority of the population are illiterate, not in the sense of being unable to read, but in only reading (and seeing and hearing) things that are inaccurate and false.

We have become a nation of gossip serfs, courtesy of greed, over organization, and social media.

One more reason I am glad to be ORF.

In Search of Thought

Seven Day. Moderate. Actually emerged from Castellum SCP to perambulate in a light jacket. If this be winter, summer will be death. 

I have been thinking lately about thinking. And yes, that does seem somewhat recursive. This emerged (?) from thinking about outreach and why some people (LOTS of people) refuse to learn. (And no, I will not go down the trail of mumbling about how universal college makes the entire population stupid and vapid and boggish. Even if it does.)

Anyway, the question arose from my personal distaste for most outreach efforts. I deplore the need to dilute and wrangle science to present it to disinterested, unlearning bogs. But I had to confront that perhaps the obstruction is that different people think different ways?

So I did a bit of a literature search – as much as I can do absent any library but my own – RSIC is too far away and slowly discorporation and the Greater Metropolitan Arab library is largely inferior to my own. (Actually, I suspect it is entirely inferior except for its rather quaint War of Southron Independence collection.)

I started with the dictionary – the on-line one built into Linux, of course – and borrowed a couple of (fairly) contemporary definitions:

profession n 2: an occupation requiring special education (especially in the liberal arts or sciences)

discipline n 1: a branch of knowledge; “in what discipline is his doctorate?”; “teachers should be well trained in their subject”; “anthropology is the study of human beings

Both of these are taken from something named “WordNet” and dated 2006.

Profession is rather a misused word these days. It seems to have been appropriated by everyone who has a job and wishes to establish that they have some merit thereby or therein. Any argument or discussion of this outlook is clearly on a kneeless slope. What constitutes special education and how much. Is on-the-job training adequate? (In past days of this so-called republic, physicians and justicers obtained that education on-the-job.)

Similarly for discipline. Is what a bog has learned just by existing (I hesitate to evoke the “living” discussion.) a “branch of knowledge”? And does someone who obtains a degree in some academic discipline but never uses that knowledge have a discipline?

Are craftspeople and manual laborers professionals? Clearly plumbers and carpenters are paid for their specialized knowledge. But is knowledge education?

None of this maundering gets at our basic question. I know from experience that I think differently than the majority of humanity. But do I have a discipline; am I a professional? 

Since I do think differently from almost everyone else there seems little chance that I can persuade them to my point of view. So I must be satisfied with whatever I think and try to avoid their wrath for my being different. In that context, I can associate profession with education in one or more disciplines. And having obtained that education it seems congruent that the difference in thinking is implicit. 

That rather sounds like “Bippity Boppity Boo”, doesn’t it? Perhaps it is. Or perhaps it is actuality. Perhaps the actual test of education is whether one thinks differently from the mode? If one thinks thusly then one is educated; otherwise one is not educated.

This still does not quite address what is a professional. This seems equally subjective. Perhaps it is a matter of education? If one has an education, is one paid for using that education? And if so, is one then a professional. And what of those who have a diploma but neither special education not apply it to their work? 


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 Horror 3

The node nears. Today is the eve of the Mass of Joshua ben Joseph bar David. Or so I am told. Not that very many of the folks in Greater Metropolitan Arab will attend or even approve of mass. The religious kind, not the real kind. But the tantrum throwers will be pushing their own variety of the myth.

And family will gather. And therein lies the actual horror. People you only see twice a year who pretend to be close to you and impose their EXTRO behavior on you because they refuse to admit any inkling of the EXTRO/INTRO divide intrude on their underused neurons.

In some cases, unused except the autonomous ones. Certainly not the thinking ones.

So we must prepare elaborate foodstuffs that poison us and taste bad in the bargain. Because it is expected and anyone who fails to comply is inhuman and evil. Not the ones who impose the tyranny, only those who try to rise above it.

And array ourselves in noxious garments that we would not wear by choice and must keep to only wear in this season. Veblen would laugh!

And go off to someone else’s domicile to gather and be uncomfortable and in pain.

Overall, the reason the season is wished to be joyous is evidently a bit of galgenhumor? Or denial?