Ex Orbis

Still recovering from eye cutting. As seems usual now, the problem of recovery is less about the cutting itself and more about the drugs. The good thing is I evaded the bullet of bladder shutdown but am straining with eye strain and fluid overload. One day last week I counted 26 eyedrops infused. Yuck.

through the ice window of gel eyedrops this morning trying to watch the morning news (such as it is presented) on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver. The patter was about the Kellog’s people opening a cafe on Times Square to serve their stercus. I wondered if this was better or worse than MacDougals Sodium Merde but am undecided. 

Anyway, the noise from the news readers and the weather beaver turned to preferences in boxed cereal. I wandered off on the question “what is your favorite cereal?” and considered how to phrase “None. I am a modal human so, as an adult, I do not secrete lactase and hence do not eat milk or milk enabled foods. Like box cereal.”

Then being despirited with their waste of my time I retreated to here.

Computer efforts low because of avoiding eye strain. Selah.

Natural Opacity

Too much fun. Off yesterday to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for another inspection by the eye cutter. Better than previous but at least one more to go through.

FD SCP made me sit through episodes of BONES last evening and for once I was engaged by something other than resonance with the Hogins character (well, that too.) The Bones character made the statement that there was no closure in life and we sometimes had to just proceed on emotional inertia (faith was the term used.) That provoked some thought about and may give rise in future to some blot.

Anyway, for now, I will continue to abide what passes for living.

On which azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “The World Depends on Technology No One Understands.” The article pretty well – meanderingly as bog journalists seem unable not to do – follow the title. This is not new. I see an article on this subject every few years going back to when I was a teenager and some guy propounded the idea in a SF pulp periodical. I forget who it was, maybe Campbell but more famously, Sir Arthur Clarke stated that

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

The implication is that magic may be learnt but not understood, at least by humans. I haven’t read anything on that by Rowling but then I don’t read much Rowling and only watch the movies on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver and then when that’s the least bad.

Anyway, that captures part of the recurring theme of these articles. First, that ordinary people don’t understand technology, and second, that even the nerds who do understand one or more of the technologies don’t anticipate the interactions of those technologies completely. The latter is sometimes excused as unintended consequences.

The first lack of understanding isn’t new. It dates back to about the time that humans adopted an organization more complicated than the Hunter-Gatherer band. That’s band with a lower case “b”. And yes, that “B” or “b” makes a BIG difference organizationally. A big “B” Band is sufficiently large that some of its members (almost all?) don’t understand some of the technologies that members of the Band use. 

Almost immediately, we got to the point where specialization being efficient and survivable, there were technologies that no one in the organization understood except the users (or makers) thereof. And as human social organizations (society) became larger and more complicated, the number/fraction of people that understood any particular technology  became less and less.

The use of the word “complicated” is not only deliberate but essential. It involves technologies that most people, especially Bogs, who may also be characterized as people who don’t have to actually understand any technology, don’t know or understand, namely Maths and Complexity Theory.

I will NOT remedy that lack, mostly because my understanding of both is too small to teach and I am too old to put up with the frustration. 

Anyway, the idea is that as we develop more and more technologies, and fewer and fewer understand any but their own technologies (if they aren’t Bogs.) So we get surprised by unanticipated consequences, which are actually quite natural since they are the result of what is known as Emergence. And we probably can’t anticipate them because the humans who understand Emergence probably don’t understand all the technologies involved in the Emergence. 

So not only is not understanding Natural but doing anything about it is unNatural.

Maybe. Unless we develop (and control) AI?

So maybe we will make our own robot overlords?

Contemporary Disappointment

Two Day. Back to gym. Sparse. Lost day. At least the good clerk is returned, complaining greatly about having to return from holiday. Sadly, this is the contemporary state. No one seems happy nor content with their work.

On the opposite tack, I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Scientists suggest a PC to solve complex problems tens of times faster than with massive supercomputers.” The title is a bit whacked. What these wonks in Russia found was that running their code on a GPU on their PC was orders of magnitude faster than running them on a supercompiter. 

Not surprising. Some of the game graphics rendering is a lot nastier than most simulations. And than well posed physics codes.

Nonetheless, such posing is an art form and I have known very few Amerikan STEMs – especially Computer Science types – who were very good at it. They kept wanting to either use library routines or what was in the rather inadequate textbooks on the subject. SO much of their ineptitude is not their fault, but that of their education. 

I should like to say that this is what comes of the overemphasis/dependence on GUI, but that is only part of it. Ultimately the key component missing is the time and effort to find (or develop) the best algorithms and write all the code for efficiency. 

One doesn’t do well trying to kill flies with ten pound sledges.

Electronic Derrography?

Seven Day. A bit of wind, less stuffy than it has been in park. But not cooling. Very much.

The difference between winter and summer is which set of plumbing I have to worry about. In winter it’s the house’s, in summer it’s the motorcar’s. That’s because the anti-freezing component is easier – colligatively – than the anti-boiling component. 

Sp being the least day of week, I police up tabs.

First, an article [Link] that Apple has patented a technology to let organizations disconnect cellular telephone cameras. Seems there is some fascist notion about photons at entertainment events being copyright-able. Copyright a photon? Depth of stupidity. On both parts.

But I am happy with this because it seems to be a foot shoot on Apple’s part. They are already going out to Gooey and its Android cellular OS and this will drive even more people, those who waste effort on this sort of thing, to adopt Android cellular telephones.

On that note, another article [Link] on the whackedness of people who take photographs instead of taking experience. We humans have always distinguished – poorly and imprecisely – between leaders and followers. In Hunter-Gatherer bands this happened naturally and dynamically. By the time we artery hardened into nation-states the process had become almost completely static and formalized. Some aspects of it – entertainment evidently in particular – are a big less obvious but similar nonetheless. 

With the social clotting EXTRO behavior of GEN Ys these days, the futile attempts to become individual and leader have evidently become manic. Along with insecurity, they have come to manifest this sensory exclusionary behavior. I was rather taken by some quotes in the article that I further quote here:

“For them, taking photos and videos from Instagram and Snapchat is not a way to memorialize a night out. It’s the night’s main event.”

These folks are so interested in being leaders – largely in their own delusions only – that they have become inhuman automatons. Does this have some non-economic impact on why these young people are often incapable of commitment and marriage?;

“When we share photographs, we hope others will validate the facets of our identities that we embedded in those images. Knowing others can see the picture gives it more emotional power. Feedback from others makes it feel more real.”

This speaks directly to the degree of insecurity, much greater than has been presented in most previous generations. We have always been dependent on others to validate us and our behaviors but never before to this extent, easily an order-of-magnitude larger than my generation’s, and we were hippies and war babies.

“The mental functions that are losing the “survival of the busiest” brain cell battle are those that support calm, linear thought – the ones we use in traversing a lengthy narrative or an involved argument, the ones we draw on when we reflect on our experiences or contemplate an outward or inward phenomenon.”

This one I find engaging. The idea that this insecurity is so profound that it destroys reason. I thought it was just a particularly fascist manifestations of EXTRO Boggism. Perhaps it is truly pathological?

I remember a saying I read, I believe in a Bertram Chandler SF novel, “Alcohol (ethanol) is a good staff but a poor crutch.” Evidently technology is the same and the GEN Ys are seriously crippled and dependent?

Mind Rot

Five Day. Quite warming. Too much. Especially for Six Month. Off to park for constitutional. Had to shed clothes as soon as I started. Not all, of course. Have to observe the proprieties of an insecure humanity. Listen to more of the “Linux Luddites” episode. Still boring but I have given up on trying to cogitate originally in this warmth and instead satisfy myself with mere diversion.

That brings me to an article [Link] I saw earlier entitled “Is technology making us dumber or smarter? Yes.” The title is rather indicative of a poorer presentation that the article actually is. The sore point is the common misuse of the word “dumb” which actually mean incapable of speech and not unsmart. So the comparison is compromised and assinine from the get go except perhaps to the most bottom feeding of Bogs?

The article is about how we are misusing technology to enable the unsmart and unsmart the actually smart. If anything we are not dumb, the appearance of communication is orders of magnitude greater today than even twenty years ago, most of it false since it is the vacuous babblings of Bogs.

Sadly this is not a new thing. The unsmarting, that is. I have commented before about the generation of STEM graduates before me learned coding in the workplace, my generation learned in college, and the current generations doesn’t. They are dependent on canned software.

This mind cancer has now spread throughout the planet. Things we used to have to study to learn to do are now done by machines. Computers are not only misused, they are actively abused. The cellular telephone and the slablet are pornography, at best. Communication resources are dedicated to streaming inane gibberish passed, like diarrhea, as entertainment.

We can only hope the demise of humanity is swift and not very painful.

But I doubt it.


Caves of PC

Two Day.Pleasing breeze this morning. Gym again sparse and the podcasts acceptable if not memorable. The Guardian science podcast episode was an interview of some fellow who had written a book on radiation and based on his performance in the interview came across as rather lame and unreadable. His explanations were not inaccurate just rather Barnumish. Still he must have decent credential for the tome to be published by Princeton’s press.

So I had a bit of time to cogitate on an article [Link] that I saw yesterday entitled “All the Times Science Fiction Authors Have Shilled Random Products.” Given Lifehacker’s horrible standards of scholarship I think we can ignore the “All” as one of the egregencies of contemporary journalism. What riveted me was not the article per se, but this picture:

Somehow I managed to miss this – the holy Isaac (number 2) pandering Tandy bits. Not as bad as the holy Isaac (number 1) pandering feline sanitation products, complete with celebrity wig, but bad enough because I missed it. Or it didn’t register? Naah!

As I recall, the handheld that thI is holding was actually made by SHARP? I know I had a SHARP with exactly the same layout except the URH logoing. It was rather a disappointment. Now I had access to real (?) computers: a CDC 6600 and an HP 9830 or 9845. So I wasn’t in dire shortage of number crunching capability. So I noodled with it a bit and after a month it was back in its original box growing dust on a shelf. Couldn’t really compare to my HP calculator for utility.

I did buy a computer from Radio Shack.  It was a small thing called a Color Computer, as I recall, that programmed in BASIC. I got some limited use from but could never get the cassette deck interface to work properly. But it did get me well started on use-once-throw-away code that I somehow excelled (no pun) at. If was replaced in 1984 with an IBM PC and the parting was untearful.

Also frustrating until Phillipe Kahn, the REAL enabler of personal computing, brought out Turbo Pascal and the process of code writing ceased to be so natteringly administrative. Up to that point – this was the DOS days – you loaded a text editor, keyed some code, saved it in a file, closed the text editor, invoked the compiler (FORTRAN mostly in my case,) loaded the text editor again, looked at either the failure dump file, made notes of the relevant intelligence, closed that file, opened the code file, and modified the code,… or looked at the output file and ….

With TP all you did was load the program. Editor and compiler were built in and you stayed in the one program. Time was saved. And ulcers were minimized.

But I still don;t remember Asimov being mercantile.