Waiting for Pony 1

Every so often I get moved to try something new. This is one such, yet another blog editor. This one is built by the WordPress folks so I probably need to be pseudo-polite about what I say about.

Thus far, three sentences in, it’s almost passible.

Blog editors have rotted in recent years. Seems like once the golden (?) day of blogging passed, support for decent blog editors did too. So I have been stuck for several years with ScribeFire as the best among mediocre.

Rather like Amerikan candidates for public office?

ANyway, I decided at luncheon to turn the model around a bit and start a new series of blots about things I am waiting on. To use or adopt or whatnot.

I used to have a good book on adoption of technology. But I’ve misplaced it so no citation. Let me just say that I am a mixed adopter. For some things I am an early adopter; for others a late. And what the spectrums of those two things are has changed over the years. Especially now that I am ORF.

Not more or less conservative. Both. The spectrums have changed, but not really shifted.

The subject today is EMOJI. And that is reflected in the title. I am waiting for some evidence of the presence of pony so the pony:poo ratio is significantly bigger than zero.

I have to admit to still being in the befuddlement stage. Every time I get exposed to EMOJI, my thoughts go immediately to Suggs and what he had to say about Pictography.

I have been waiting for someone to show be how the picts should be used and what meaning they have. What’s their syntax?


So when will I adopt the things? Null question. At this point they are not only orthogonal to my thought processes, they are in another universe.

So someone who can actually communicate get their derrierre in motion and produce the necessary foundational material for learning.

And I won’t blame it on being INTRO.


Racewalking the Tabs

Seven Day. Brief constitutional and then a motor to the Postal Orifice to retrieve mailings. Now engaged in the weekly chore of clippin’ and hawgin’ tabs. So I will kibbitz and goof a bit on a few.

First, an article [Link] entitled “You can’t buy kids’ books in some neighborhoods”. Not surprising. Reading is not on anyone official’s list of desired skills for churls and plebs. What they are interested in is slavery, it seems. Wage and mind, if not actually chattel since the latter would bear some burden of actual support. Like food and medical care and such. And it’s not just Repulsians. The Democruds are also that way in their own denial and evil.

You can’t buy children’s books in Greater Metropolitan Arab. The conscript parents are too busy trying to get chain fast food restaurants into town that they have no interest in the mental health of any of the citizens. 

Actually, you can buy children’s books at the library salvage store but only for short hours on Wednesday and Saturday. But no real book stores. Nor much of anything except corporate crud.

The Face of Amerika.

Next, an article [Link] entitled “Don’t run (and don’t laugh): The little-known history of racewalking “.  I had never heard the term until this article hit my accumulator. And it stuck out. Because when I was an undergrad, I racewalked. (The spell checker doesn’t know the word so my ignorance may be valid.) One of the reasons I did this was because I have “chicken knees” and racewalking style is natural to me. More natural than the assumption of modality that I adopt to avoid the social criticism. 

It wasn’t an actually sanctioned sport. After all, it didn’t bring in big money like (American) football. So we never got much above a club. And we could only compete OFF CAMPUS. So we wouldn’t embarrass the “good” people. You know, the Administration and the Greeks and the Donors.

But I’m still proud of it. Just wish I still could. It’s crap to be old sometimes.

Third, an article [Link] entitled “Algorithms can be more fair than humans”. To this I ask one question “Can algorithms extrapolate?” The point is that fairness isn’t always a relevant concept when we are in uncharted territory. The idea that this will never occur – social correctness – is a fallacy of modern society and our social hubris.

Enjoy services. If you go. Most don’t which is a sign for hope.

Futile Openness?

Another milder morning. Once more to the park for constitutional, but I had to share the path and that rather upset my concentration. Not completely, but more than I should like.

We sit on the edge of summer solstice and it seems a strange time to be thinking about schule, but I ran across an article [Link] entitled “College courses without textbooks? These schools are giving it a shot.” I should comment that the title is rather a bit of the contemporarily usual journalistic stercus tauri. One of the things that was learned in the early days of universities was that the students learn better if there is a textbook for every one and not just a “lecturer” reading out of his copy while the students take down his reading. Of course, that was before Gutenberg did the technology and manufacturing development of printing.

We have deviated from this model and in recent years are reaping the punishment of it with a generation of students who were issued schule owned book that were recovered and reused at end of term. So these students have no appreciation of the inertia of textbooks and display it in their lack of knowledge in later time. Another incidence of politicians economizing to destroy civilization.

But the textbooks referred in the title are those produced by the textbook publishing corporations of Amerika. I had occasion yesterday to visit the Barnes and Ignoble site with a discount coupon and was shocked. The inflation of textbook prices since my undergraduate days is a factor of about 20! I looked at some introductory texts that I paid $10-15 for and all were north of $250! No wonder the students dispose of their texts at end of term!

A more accurate way of describing the alternative being explored is open source materials which may include texts. It is another bit of a program I have seen growing in recent years to offer alternatives to hideously expensive textbook and learning materials. I strongly support any such efforts. 

Sadly, I have been unable to find any support among my collegiate colleagues. They seem addicted to the bribes conveyed them by those publishers – outlines, syllibi, slides. They claim that the press of their duties precludes them doing a competent job of preparation. Evidently one more indication of the factoryization of college. 

I weep for the deprived students. They can no longer take notes for lack of cursive, thereby they cannot learn, the lectures are standardized and unengaging, and they discard their textbooks. No wonder they emerge from college as ignorant as they entered. We are out own enemy as Pogo sayith.

Service Feudalism

Lower air temperature today. Almost comfortable in park for constitutional. I reflected on the implications of the earlier discussed terrorism scenario and considered why we wait on constables?

This led to a consideration of our so-called “service society”. To give it a colorful (?) name, we live in what is increasingly a “Megahard IT” society.

The MegaHard IT model is used by almost all large organizations. It is based on the idea that workers should only work on their tasks. They shouldn’t waste time trying to fix their computer themselves. If their computer is futzed, they are supposed to call the IT people and wait for them to fix the computer.

This sounds nice on a superficial, Sloan schule case study basis, and it would be if we were task and machine operators on a factory assembly line. But it isn’t for knowledge workers. Or for an overworked, underfunded, understaffed IT shop.

The workers have to wait for the IT guy to arrive, wait for a diagnosis, wait for a fix. If they knew something about computers – and were listened to, the other problem of the MegaHard IT model, then less time might be spent and it’s wasted time anyway from the standpoint of the worker, who is the reason for all this.

As a manager I have a tough choice between wanting my employees to only know what I want them to know and have them tied strongly to the organization or learning as much as they can and risking departure. Burnout is a strongly possibility in both cases, incidentally. Rationality wins through for good managers who select the latter because it gives them a more capable suborganization (and organization as a whole) even if the worker moves on to a better job. That, incidentally, helps recruit good replacements.

Now let’s overlay that model on our society. It has become one where people are only supposed to know certain things and not learn anything more. This is reflected VERY strongly in our educational system: standardized testing; more and more restrictive disciplines; certification requirements. If something goes wrong, we call the right person/organization and wait for them to fix it. 

And that’s part of what makes terrorism possible.

We don;t live in a democratic society; we live in a feudal one.

Two Day. Back to gym. Sparse. And passable podcast episodes. Although forty-one minutes of Tyrannosaurus was a whole LOT TOO much. 

Ran across an article [Link] about a tweet by DeGrasse Tyson. 

of an “improved” pledge of allegiance.

At least he got rid of the superstitious mysticism. But it’s still broken. By definition, Justice for a few is Justice for none. Not that Justice is at all objective, of course. But then no government has ever been Just. It’s alien to the nature of organization.

But I appreciate the try.


The Evil that is Man

One day. Also Memorial Day. Yankee Memorial Day but that doesn’t really matter. Some taxonomies are farcical. Anyway, this should be a day for remembering and considering those who died in battle. The purists might go so far as to say only those who died in Yankee service, excluding those who fought for the old Confederacy or even those who fought in the French and Indian War. I am more eclectic. I include them all. And sorrow for them. And wonder how many died to keep some politician? Too many, I am sure. That makes the loss doubly nasty.

I am also distressed at just how nasty we are as a species. I sorrow for that silver back who was killed for no good reason over the weekend.[Link] How did we get so arrogant that an endangered primate was fluff for a child who, three-sigma confidence, will never do anything substantive? That’s cold but it fits the terror and evil of the zoo swat. And probably our species as a whole.

Maybe it’s time for us to go away? Before we ruin any more of reality? 

If we’re this stupid and venial and selfish and uncaring then what right do we have to exist? Are we all politicians?

Old, I am.

I now have a new appreciation of OLD.

Stopped by the Campus of the Tennessee this morning to check out their newest building. As I was inspecting I realized that in my second year as a grad student I had a class in the previous building on this piece of ground. 

And that building was as new then and this one is now. 

And they tore down the old one because it was too hard and costly to maintain.


And, evidently, so am I.