Shannon Wept

Six Day and DIhydrogen Oxide falleth. I started to key “from the sky” and then berated myself the concept, the illusion of Rayleigh scattering and simple gravity. But is gravity simple. We used to think so but now?

But regardless, no walking this morning. I had to content myself with a bit of grind on the stationary bicycle and thus my thoughts have scant grounding in the abused Nature. Nonetheless, some few neurons have done handshakes and now I have reason to wish the weekout out.

I ran across an article [Link] in the news rag of the campus of the Boneyard earlier this week entitled “Illini Republican bake sale has flawed reasoning.” That was not the accumulation point; the totality of politics is an epitome of flawed reasoning. In effect, it is a super renewal of such, a progression from one instance of flawed reasoning to another, in both serial and parallel, and evidently unbounded except at nil.

Rather, the gathering was a picture (photograph) that accompanied the article

The article is clearly written by someone who has scant tolerance for Republicans and is highly critical, in places insultingly so, of their efforts on campus in general and in this particular.

I find the matter intriguing. When I was a student at the campus some forty-five or so years ago, Republicans were in scant evidence. So I have to ask – unanswered – if their presence today reflects some tolerance of diversity unpresent in my day? I find this question difficult because I arrived on campus to find a student union whose walls were still smeared with human feces after a student occupation in protest of the Vietnam conflict. This protest was met with considerably different means than that a Kent State.

As a graduate student I had much more to worry about than protest and injustice. The demands on graduate students – assistantships, courses, qualifying exams, research – were unjust enough to engage almost all my capacity. I might be in agreement with some perceived (and possibly actual) wrong but I had scant attention nor time to assess their worthiness much less participate.

But this poster caught my attention because I was unsure of how to decipher it? Was this some attempt by the Party of Liberation to recover its roots and appeal to a base other than the rich and disgruntled? Or was it an act of taunting condescension? I thought not because even in college politicians are developed enough not to enrage too many minorities.

I was also confused by the script. It seems to indicate some degree of artistic capacity which seems antithetical to politician.

The bottom caveat was surprising in that it was the same as it was in my day. Evidently these student organizations are bound by the U not to exclude anyone who cannot pay and no means of determining that is provided. Hence the “suggested”. But the idea of bribing (?) women seems the most telling. Is this effort no more than the frantic efforts of unloved pseudo-conservatives to bribe women into their fold? Or is it some strange and easily misconstrued attempt at sincere recruitment.

The actual text of the article provided little insight. If anything it struck me as being a typical political rhetoric of denigrating the opposition without any inkling of any merit on either side. I have seen this before in student protests: the logic has failed and all that is left is the trajectory of poo.

But it is still a commanding bit of photography.

In Vacuum and in Tearfoam

Five Day and rid of gym – maybe – for the week out. Sparse this morning. Perhaps anticipation of the delayed spring desessioning of schule in Marshall County?

I have to wonder if this is some slip of the local schule management or if there is some coordination to stagger the loosening of delinquents and pre-delinquents? I know the Huntsville schules were desessioned this week, an absence I was quite thankful of braving the streets of Nawth Alibam’s diggingest city. When my parents moved to the metropolis from the discorporating city of Gadsden in 1952 I was introduced to a situation where several key intersections/stretches of road – always VERY heavily used – were blocked or just torn up by the city street bashers. But what was most notable were the access denial signs that were enhanced (?) by the phrase “Digging for a Better Huntsville.”

In the intervening 60+ years of my personal observation and experience, they have yet to find this better – much less the “good”, if I may misquote Sokrates – and the hypothesis that nowhere in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill is better is more than moderately tenable. The kindest thing I can say about road maintenance in Huntsville is that the city efforts make the Yankee Army’s on the Arsenal look good. Even with the repeated discussion of why good resources are being wasted on civilians?

On which azimuth, I noted this morning some grr brr in some of the science outreach journalism that the tardigrade possesses some protein that serves it in “the office of a moat” to protect it from drying out in arid and vacuum (ish) conditions.

I qualify that because IMHO the vacuum is an unreachable ideal. And I have to wonder if Boyle would be in agreement? I have two primary reasons for thinking this. One is that for a container to contain a vacuum – nothing – it must contain no matter. But what keeps the inner surface from eroding? And two, which I consider the more telling, how does one keep vacuum particles – those quantum mechanical ghosts advanced by Dirac – from popping up right in the middle of an experiment and rendering the vacuum null?

For that matter, is there some impossibility of nullifying a vacuum? Or is it just a natural thing that totally destroys our Babel tower of language?

Anyway, getting back to our azimuth, there is also a beastie, the Demodex, which is a parasite that lives on human eyelids, and also has an intriguing appearance:

The resemblance is apparent if one ignores the teddy bearness of the tardigrade and the fecal sac of the demodex. Whereas the tardigrade keeps itself from drying up via its protein barrier, the demodex is notable for discorporating when its fecal sac gets overfull and explodes (well, fails, by rupturing, I imagine, since I have not observed such.)

So is it not plausible that the combination of the two could provide the most entertaining cartoon programming since Moose and Squirrel?

On which note, I note that a real devotee of Science Fiction knows that the Original Spiderman was Robinson. 

Have a good Pun Day.

Sitting with FIre

Four Day. Overslept this morning. Too much grrr brrr yesterday in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. And I tried out a new Linux podcast this morning and since only one sample, too sparse to comment.

So I fall back to stored ideas and in this instance take up a communication from a colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, who in turn passed on a request from a colleague of his, Displacement Current Magnetic Field, that I consider the matter of conversations. His postulate, which I have edited a bit for my comfort of presentation, is

“older folk’s conversations tends to lean toward the weather, ails and their medications; younger people tend to discuss girls, sex, sports and education; not necessarily in that order.  It occurred to me that when we get older our priorities drastically change in that we have already been educated enough to know all we need to know about girls, sex moves very close to the bottom of our priority lists and we realize that we can no longer be able to hit a baseball out of the park and win the World Series or catch the winning touchdown pass and win the Super Bowl.

If the Simple Country Physicist is open to suggested subject matter, I think he could expound on his and come up with an extremely interesting, if not entertaining synopsis.”

I ain’t a quantum inclined to think that I can do the word-that-may-not-be-said (at least by me,) be entertaining, nor synopsize but I am always happy to mumble. Having asked for a blot on conversation, we shall see where this lepus leads us (with apologies to that grand old mathematian Lewis Carrol.)

My first surprise in starting this blot was from the dictionary. I often consult the dictionary when I begin a blot to see what the Bogs think a word means. In this case, the Nerd got a bit of a culture shock. The first definition was:

Conversation  n. [OE. conversacio (in senses 1 & 2), OF. conversacion, F. conversation, fr. L. conversatio  frequent abode in a place, intercourse, LL. also, manner of life.]   1. General course of conduct; behavior. [Archaic]      [1913 Webster]

while the second was:

conversation  n 1: the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information etc.

which indicates that the common usage of the word has changed in the last century from behavior to information exchange. The surprise was that I was comfortable with the latter but not with the former. But I found this fit in with what I knew about people mechanics.

Humans, as in homo sapiens, have been around about 0.2 MY. There is considerable debate as to (a) whether homo neandertalensis had language, and (b) when sapiens developed language between 0.2 MYA and 50 KYA when the Great Cultural Explosion occurred.  We do have some indications from observation of recently existing Hunter-Gatherer bands that language is fundamentally human. [Link] Borrowing from moderately trustable journalism,

She (the researcher) found that the daytime conversations focused mainly on complaints and criticisms about social relationships, economic concerns, jokes, and included a small percentage of stories. Evening conversations around campfires, however, centered on storytelling. “At night, people really let go, mellow out and seek entertainment. If there have been conflicts in the day, they overcome those and bond. Night conversation has more to do with stories, talking about the characteristics of people who are not present and who are in your broader networks, and thoughts about the spirit world and how it influences the human world. You have singing and dancing, too, which bonds groups,” . Wiessner (the researcher) suggests that imaginative firelight activities spurred the cultural and social evolution of human ancestors.

The latter speculation seems trivial. From my observations, something that any good scientists is incapable of suspending, even under threat of discorporation, conversation is largely about social dynamics. Who gets to speak first indicates the nature of the group. What gets discussed and what branches spring up similarly.

In my experience, conversations mostly takes two forms

  1. What have I/You/We done/experienced/want to do; and
  2. What do I want to know that I am ignorant of.

The latter has a spectrum from gossip to actual useful information.

So, at least at this superficial level, it seems that Displacement Current Magnetic Field’s query is approximately answered that the two types of conversation are the same (within the biform taxonomy) but differ in content because the two age cohorts have done/experienced/want to do different things.

This raises a question that has dogged the study of humans since at least the invention of history circa 500 BCE, which is more important, the commonalities or the differences. This is still, and likely will remain, a significant question. When I was a student in college, back when television was monochrome and dinosaurs graced the dinner table every Ice Cream Day, anthropology (and the other “social sciences”)were coming down off a high of generalization. The taxonomy of Fried-Strange was a useful tool for characterization and analysis of social organization. Since then it has largely been abandoned and spurned because of its generality and denigration of social individuality, the victim of social constipation. 

Should we recognize and respect individual differences? Of course, otherwise we have no friends and live in a Hobbesian social environment. But, as I believe Mandelbrot said (maybe?) “Counting grains of sand does not tell you very much about the shape of coastlines.”

The counterpoint to taxonomy of conversation is that I am interested neither in matters medicalist as discoursed by Bogs since it is vacant of cause and effect beyond the anecdotal nor in the sharing of pornography, either reproductive or athletic. What counts most in conversation is that it be with people you want to associate and exchange information with. 

In Search of Desert

Today is rather a bit of a special day, a day when we may marvel at the stupidity of humans and be stupefied by the marvels of reality.

To start, let us say a bit about the stupidity of humans. Our planet, Terra or Tellus or, most commonly, Earth (which is another bit of stupidity?) orbits its star, Sol, once a year. Our planet also rotates on its axis. As a result of this rotation a simple observer will note periods when Sol is visible and periods when Sol is not visible. Ignoring atmospheric manifestations, the former periods are called day and the latter night. The combination of the two is also called day which is confusing and more indication of the stupidity of humans. The time it takes for our planet to rotate about Sol is called a year.

Some humans are numerate. I am told by psychologists that half of our species are math blind. They struggle to do simple arithmetic which any mathematician will tell you is not maths; it might more properly be called survival finger counting, perhaps? Because some are numerate and because of being numerate more survivable – marginally, probably because the anumerates hate the numerates and tend to persecute and kill them – we tend to number things. Like years. And days.

And if we stopped there, we wouldn’t be quite as stupid as we are. We decide, for some reason I have never encountered a reasonable explanation of, to divide the year into irregular periods that we call months and give names instead of numbers. Perhaps indicatively, we tend to use the names of imaginary superior beings for the months.

And because we are anumerate in such great numbers, because, after all, one thing we humans do well is breed, even if we do a horrible job of raising our offspring, we have a social reality that we ignore – almost – how long a year is, some 365.25…… days, and demand that a social year always have an integer number of days. So we end up with social years with varying numbers of days.

Now we come to the real stupidity. Given that the temporal position (approximately) is given by the combination of year number, month name (number?) and day number, there are three ways of arranging this position:

  • D/M/Y
  • Y/M/D
  • M/D/Y

where the capital letters stand for day number, month name/number, and year number.

Now guess which one the Bogs like best? Yes, the worst one, that is, the last above. Note that the first one leads with the fastest changing number, followed by the next fastest, and then the slowest changing. The Second arrangement is the inverse of this which makes it more like a real number. But the one the Bogs like is a hodgepodge of change.

Sic, Stupiditas.

Now let’s move towards the stupefaction. In the Bog notation, using month number instead of name, today is 3/14/2017 which is a rather bad approximation to the number we call Pi, which is the Americanization of the name of a Greek letter. 

Pi is a rather special number. Physically or mathematically, it is the ratio of the circumference of a (perfect) circle to its diameter. As a number it is indeterminate because it neither ends nor repeats its sequence of numbers. To a horribly short approximation is Pi is about 3.1415927….. Even this inaccurately we may see that 3.14 is rather unimpressive as a nickname.

But upon the basis, today is celebrated as Pi Day, supposedly to try to inculcate some appreciation into the minds of people who choose the absolute worst way to express a date?

Incidentally, a better day would be the 22nd of July since 22/7 is a much better approximation of Pi. And it actually makes sense in a dating notation.


ORF Outburst

One Day. And back to gym. Air temperature well below comfortable. And lower foretold by the weather beavers. 

As is my usual on One Day I listened to an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas.” This episode was an interview with some comedian about the expression of humor. It wasn’t.

And as I left the gym, some schmuck win a pickup truck swerved into the inner lane right in front of me, braked HARD, and turned into a petrol station. All with no blinking!

This put me to mind on what I dislike enough to rant about:

Schmucks who change lane or turn without the courtesy of blinking. I include in this those asses who only blink once. Then I consign to the hot regions of Tartarus without benefit of any rash analgesic.

I also dislike organizations who either discontinue products because they can’t make enough money on them and either cease to carry in their stores or cease to manufacture. These I consign to the level of Tartarus where Helium is liquid. 

I even more dislike organizations who deliberately lie. Organizations are not humans; they do not have to lie; they can only do so deliberately. These I consign to the level of Tartarus where Helium is solid. And their organizational executives are embedded up to their necks in the Helium.

I also dislike the Yankee Congress. Yes, this is the obligatory biannual natter about Daylight Savings Time. This also for their apparent desire to deny medical treatment to most of the population. I can think of no punishment sufficiently severe so I will settle for persistent nattering. 

And lastly, I am unhappy with comedians. The schmuck – the one in the podcast – this morning said that jokes thought unfunny weren’t. I beg to differ. If I don;t comprehend the joke then it cannot be funny. Comedy is like teaching: if it doesn’t work for me, it’s a failure. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the comedian or the teacher. Only what I think.

But I do like Mondays. FIrst fay of the week. A whole seven days to try to accomplish something.

Science from Tech?

Further consideration of the goodness of older, 32 bit lapboxes versus contemporary 64 bit lapboxes, plus a bit of wider viewing, lets up conjecture a rule of modern marketplace mechanics:

When niche pricing develops, quality deteriorates.

That is, competition between manufacturers to capture a niche market, or as large a share as possible, is balanced by making the product as cheaply as possible. This is usually only possible in an effectively horizontal marketplace if crap diffuses into the product.

Hence, the old stuff is better, at least absent some actual advance in technology. In this case, the 64 bit CPU does not offset the rest of the hardware’s rot.

Pee AND Pool = 1

Since a couple of channels on the cable have started having MASH – the TV program, not the movie or even the actual book – marathons, the subjects of cockroach pornography (sports type) and micturation have been more frequently considered.

Hence, when I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Here’s How Much Pee There Is in a Swimming Pool” I moved into the micturation channel. This is one of those typically (predominantly? ENTIRELY!) Millenial articles that falls somewhere on the spectrum between “Gross” and “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” And the MASH bit gave me the insight necessary to cement the bottom line.

An old summer camp (showing my youth from the ’50’s) trick was to take someone’s arm – while they were asleep – and immerse it in a basin of warm water (liquid dihydrogen oxide.) After a few moments that someone would void their bladder, mush to their embarrassment and the glee of their evil EXTRO camp mates.

Note this is a natural physiological reaction. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be used as a prank.

But what gets missed by all the BOG EXTROs is that it doesn’t just work with an arm; it works with any other part of the body. (Almost.)

So when you take someone and put them in a swimming pool on a day when the water is warm, guess what you get?

Voided Bladders.

Get the idea? Urine in swiming pools is a NATURAL occurrence. The only way to avoid it is to catheterize everyone before they go in the pool.

Shhh. Don’t spread that around. There may be politicians listening.