Phones and Cos-play

Ice Cream day. End of week. Dihydrogen oxide falleth. Walked in park anyway. Refreshing. Gave me the oomph to return home and do stuff. 

Noted this cartoon: [Link]

which struck me first with the misuse of the word “dumb” which means “Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes.” [1913 Webster] A common misuse is to equate silent with stupid. So why do I tend to associate talkative with stupid? Possibly because that is more accurate?

Which brings us to “smart phones”, which most assuredly are not. They are neither intelligent nor sentient, at least in the consciousness aspect. Yes they do sense an environment but they do not have anything but programmed ability to respond to that environment. But I have noticed that the most persistent users of such phones are people who appear to lack intelligence. Neuronegs, as some refer, which is a term I dislike but have to grudgingly admit has considerable validity. Not quite a synonym for bogs; bogs don’t use their intelligence, if they have such, which most do but appear not to. 

Anyway, I am of the conjecture that I should like a not-smart phone, clearly not a dumb one or I should be unable to hold converse with people I call, or who call me, but one that does not waste my time doing things I do not want it to do. I suspect my desire is irrelevant and orthogonal to social reality.

The second cartoon: [Link]

which struck me as a further dichotomy of geeks/nerds – those who hide behind (e.g.,) bike racks and those who do not. I suspect we all want to dress up in costume – without ridicule, of course. I am unsure of bogs in this matter but I suspect it is not so much a lack of desire as an aversion to social critique. Bogs tend to be unable to handle being laughed at. They tend to get violent or psychotic under such attention. But are those two the same?

Geeks, and to a lesser extent, nerds, are more open about such amusement. They raise costuming to a high level. Notice the increase in “cos-play” in recent decades. Of course, since they do such, they are expected to do so and the quantity of derision and laughter is much abated. Or is that the Bogs being envious of the greater honesty and chutzpah of geeks and nerds. Sadly such envy will probably result in more bog violence. 

 

Ode to Mediocrity and Failure

Freya’s day. Moderately not-unpleasant in the park. A bit humid. Wind low. Had to shuck top layer. But not quite conducive to contemplation while walking.

I ran across an article [Link] purporting to define the “perfect” hamburger.

And I began to roll on the floor laughing. And gasping for breath.

The hamburger is an abomination of foodstuffs. It is on the level of paleolithic (pre-pottery) soups. 

You start with ground beef. That’s second rate meat that has been pre-masticated to remove all of the texture and much of the flavor. Actually the flavor is still there but it has been so thoroughly mixed that there are no colors of flavor, only gray. And not fifty shades.

Then you heat the meat in a sanitary fashion. That means some specified temperature for some amount of time. This is the same process that a blacksmith uses when he wants to temper iron. Make it tougher and homogeneous, that is. So now the flavor is destroyed by thermal decomposition of its molecules.

Next you put the flavorless meat on a lifeless bun, probably baked in a steam oven, add vegetable and fruit bits made tasteless (even negatively tasting) by chemical preservation and coloration. And you add compotes of various vegetables and spices that have been produced in great factories to a standardized formula using low bidder ingredients.

Rather reminiscent of the Challenger experience, isn’t it. Except for the freezing of various key components. Oh, if you buy the burger at a fast food restaurant, the meat was also frozen, wasn’t it? So it is like the Challenger experience. Except the explosion is disappointment. 

Modern Amerikan Capitalism has reduced the hamburger, never a great thing to begin with, to just another salt-sugar-fat processed food. No different from breakfast cereal or cookies or tv dinners. 

Yes, if the burger is warm and fresh and you are hungry there is a mild pleasurable sensation. But for a real meal you have to have stuff with flavor and texture and more than a bit of risk.

Yes, the hamburger is a fitting symbol of the contemporary mediocrity of Amerikan society.

Hat Day

Thor’s day. Survived the gallop to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Sat with colleagues and discussed matters mundane and real. Procured foodstuffs. Then off to gym this morning. Passable but partly because last gym day of the week.

Ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and was rather taken with it. I particularly liked the “distancing” declaration. As I get older I have more desire to distance myself from the bogs and schmucks but less inclination to incur their mumblage over my appearance. I know I should not care but the mumblage is a form of friction and sometimes stealth is safest. Especially among religionists (like christianists) who will happily discorporate someone to avoid having to think about their beliefs. (Their in this instance refers to the religionists, not the discorporated one. Point of Clarification.)

I suspect all kids have a superhero cape. When I was a bairn I used an old, ragged towel. Never the same one twice. And since my idea of superhero was first the batman and then Adam Strange, the whole cape thing was soon discarded. I never had a Viking helmet. The closest I have is a tam in sorta my tartan knitted by my physical chemistry laboratory partner Displacement Current Mass. As with every kid who grew up in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, I had a space helmet but it was so hot, damp, and vision blocking that I seldom wore it for any period of time. 

I have had lots of hats over the years, mostly tweedy things that were rather bashed in appearance from being folded and crammed into pocket whether they were supposed to or not. As with many things, hats were better in the old days. And caps were only worn when playing baseball or softball. Never in public. Even by farmers. I detect caps. They are abominations. At least the ones worn by bogs today.

Selah.

Amerikan Failure

Lower temperature of air this morning. Gym sparsely populated. Podcast, and episode of “Big Think” was mediocre, which is a substantial improvement over the past two weeks.

Not the subject but put me in mind of our education system. I am now of the hypothesis that it is a failure. At least the public schule system in Amerika. The situation is that less and less is taught to fewer and fewer.

The basic idea of public education is simple and, on the exterior, good. Provide an affordable environment where the young of the nation are taught what they need to survive and participate in society. The promise of success is intellectually and observationally fallacious. Success cannot be guaranteed. The appearance of success can be guaranteed with money, at least in a capitalist environment.

There has always been disagreement of what needs be taught in public schule. Even reading and writing and maths are debatable. And are. Sturgeon’t rule of parents are antagonistic to any literate level of maths, even algebra, which I consider preliterate. And writing is is dis-fashion these days. Which explain the ignorance and failure of students’ composition.

In fact ignorance and failure are the general characterization of the students. The only things they are required to learn is what is on the standardized tests, which determine funding of schules and faculty. Much, not all, of the faculty are careerists solely. Those who decline to learn are rewarded with promotion on social justice grounds quite ignoring its effect on mind programming of the entire student population. There is no incentive nor freedom for students to learn anything. Except the standardized tests. 

The grades on these tests are falsehoods, indicative of wrongful measure. Graduating students with high marks cannot do college work nor once out of college, do real work. 

It is not that idealism and a sense of right are absent from the educationalist system, just sorely depleted and suppressed. The apparent problem is over-regulation, the result of several centuries of natural progression. If a rule is good, a hundred are better. And an asentient population is more complaint than a rational one. Nebbishism is encouraged both actively and passively.

Can it be changed? Not without disaster, I fear. So we may as well write off the nation if not civilization and the species as a whole.

Depression

Days Past Remembered

Back to Mundane day. Passable at gym. Sparse population. Few educationalists or weight bouncers. Podcast was passable, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on the evils of the processed foods industry. Firing parties needed for the executives. 

Down side was getting tailgated by some schmuck who illuminated his long distance beams continually. Out me in mind of adolescents whose parents should have frequented Planned Parenthood. And the need for parent certification prior to insemination. As a prerequisite. 

Which put me in mind of the time of year. Schule initiation. The public baby sitting service of Greater Metropolitan Arab commenced a week or so ago and several colleges, including the Campus of the Tennessee have commenced fall term. And I made the rounds of several office and schule supply stores to stock up on paper goods only available this time of year. But the media is overwhelming with all sorts of nonsense. I noted this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday and compared it to my freshman days. For one thing, there was a lot more variation in noses.

As I recall I had to go to campus (Black Warrior) for a 2.5 day “orientation” during the summer. Of this I recall almost nothing except being overwhelmed. And then about this time of year down to move into the actual dorm I would reside in. Registration was a bit painful, mostly because of having to deal with an adviser who kept telling me what not to do but was unforthcoming of what to do. The actual exercise of jostling in a gymnasium for IBM 5081 cards for each course was novel and easy if one divorced oneself from any social entanglement. See! Physics even then.

I was fortunate to have a junior (class) roommate who was arrogant, pseudo-sophisticated (wanna-be Greek,) and eager to impress his knowledge as a cadge to his insecurity who told me how to buy books and more importantly, how to take notes. This latter, I understand, is now a lost art, one with the classical Egyptians’ gold alloys. So I knew to trot off to the “Alabama” book store (not affiliated with the university – its book store was the “Supe” store) to purchase books and at least one notebook per course (extra for lab courses,) and plenty of pens and pencil leads and erasers (Pink Pearls.) Highlighters were just coming in then and I never cultivated the obsessive underlining that is too many people’s substitute for learning. In those days we got actual lectures and learning those was the key to grades. Not the textbook. Except for problems. And I found out about Schaum’s Outlines. 

And I di lots of things wrong. One was to not discipline myself with outside activities. Like guest lecturers and such. No problem with social activities. Didn’t have many of those. Saturday morning walk (no car permits for freshmen) to downtown Tuscaloosa to purchase necessities (and a non-cafeteria meal.) And mandatory (?) attendance at home football games. 

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me this link. [Link] to an excellent essay/monologue on being a freshman. I rather wish I had something akin in my day. But I also acknowledge that I probably wouldn’t have hearkened to it. Mental overload. Until at least Thanksgiving. Maybe Solstice.

Wish I could go back and do it again.