Darkness Falls

One Day. Back to gym. Very sparse. The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” about T. E. Lawrence.  The theme of the ‘cast was that Lawrence was doomed to failure by the Old Guard. And having success evaporated retreated into denial and dejection.

Can’t blame him for that. My efforts have often been spoilt by overbearing organizational superiors.

One of my favorite books  is a novel by Lester Sprague DeCamp entitled “Lest Darkness Fall”. The protagonist is an 1930’s archaeologist transported in time – no rational presented – to early christianist Rome where he struggles to survive and prevent the Dark Ages – the Fall of Darkness.

In the end he is only semi-successful, whelmed by the forces of society that undercut individuality. 

So I turned my cognition to the present day. And I realized that the Darkness has already begun to descend. The current POTUS campaign is symptomatic. Civility and manners are antiquated and deprecated. Rudeness and Anger and Arrogance are the new morality.

We have, in essence, grown our own Barbarians.They didn’t creep in from the hinterland, in the global society that we Amerikans deny – our new National characteristic – Barbarians have to be homegrown and we have been remarkably successful. Almost every pickup truck has one for a driver. 

One of the causes of Roman collapse was the Latifunda, the factory farms, staffed by slaves instead of tenants or small holders. One of the causes of modern Amerikan Darkness is Capitalism and its Corporate manifestation – unbridled economy of scale driven by the unimetric of cash. Gone is any consideration of workers or customers. When you control the jobs and the products you have a tighter rein on society than any Commissar in the Soviet Bloc. And once implemented the only hard stop is when the workers have all starved to death. 

Capitalism had been killing the Golden Goose. 

And the fall is nigh, I fear. There are too many indications, behaviors, conditions, sicknesses. This is not just a reversion to Third World state but a collapse into darkness.

So I’m glad I’m ORF. 

The Making of Evil

A strange week out. Yesterday was absent of the foretold snow (semi-solid dihydrogen oxide variety) but essentially continuously with liquid dihydrogen oxide drooling from the sky. That seems to have ceased. Also rather miserable feeling air temperatures all day – above the dihydrogen oxide freezing point but still bitter in the bones. Ah! the joys of seniorness.

It occurs that saying dihydrogen oxide is a bit cumbersome so I shall try to change to an acronym DHO. I have no doubt that the nerds and geeks among the readery can master this and any bogs who cannot should consider doing something useful with their lives like donating their organs to medicine.

I had the bemusement this morning of bing unable to find the podcast I had been listening to the last two days. The problem was that I had a dozen episodes of that particular podcast on my MP3 player, and I could not find the episode I had been listening to the last two days. And since I did not want to start a new episode I just gave up on a bad deal. The episode never rose above the level of not-quite-diverting, much less entertaining, so I was not out much. Instead I read bits from Westfall’s biography of Sir Isaac.

I say bits because what was written was quite provocative of cogitation. And I was reminded that

it is in the nature of humans, homo sapiens, at least, that we invent/discover new and wonderful things and within a generation (sorta mean) we have corrupted them into something evil and organized.

Take the public schule system. It has suffered many such organizations and evilifyings As Neil DeGrasse Tyson has noted, students have to be successful in spite of the teachers. What Westfall reminds is that progress is only made by those who learn how to teach themselves and not only do so but are not hammered into submission by the system.

Our schools are not places of education, but training of the middle of the distribution. The Deltas are consigned to the mental equivalent of ball pits and the Alphas either manage to transcend being harassed and degraded or succumb to life as pond scum.

I am glad that my days of schule are past. I am too old to transcend their evil once again.


A bonny day so fr, even if Sol is not yet visible from ground level here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. My browser tells me it is 54 degF and my aft porch wireless thermometer is in close agreement. I was thus able to venture forth to the park for my morning constitutional. And a nice thing it was despite the moral loading of disturbing the resident felines, a thing totally alien to the personality of capitalist/fascist Alibam. This bothers me, more now than in my youth, but I do have to excuse myself in that it is a bit more survivable in Nawth Alibam where the iron glove is cloaked in Army green and hidden by NASA propaganda.

Also, having observed the iron hand in other states, some supposedly more human and supporting, I find that sometimes studied indifference is better than intrusive nit picking. It seems that it is in the nature of government, being an organization, to put its own well being ahead of its members’. And as atomic theory tells us, the proof is in the raisins.

I was amused yesterday to run across this cartoon: [Link]

and appreciate the anthropology humor. No doubt comes of dragging battery water about through caves while an undergraduate. I muttered over the memory this morning while egging on the yelps of pain in my periodically capsulated shoulder.

This led me to consider the various periods of humans. The connection, for me at least, is to the stone ages: neolithic; mesolithic; and paleolithic;followed by the metallic ages, and what is now the mesotechnic, I should imagine. Although from observation, it is perhaps the postphyte? Or is that humor too much for a punday?

And I have to make note of an article [Link] inquiring about the death of MegaHard. One of the noteworthy things here is that this is not the usual run of contemporary journalism and definitely not a MegaHard puppetry. This gave me occasion to reflect on the nature of computing. Yes, the desktop/laptop has been overblown. The PDA craze was premature, lacking adequate wireless and network – the two are different and we forget at our risk! – connectivity. But we have to keep in mind that entertainment, to use an energy analogy, is control rods not fuel rods. Yes, there are lots of things that can be done, and more easily, on a slab, whether telephonic or lithic. But there are other things, some of which have actual instead of just social necessity, that are better done at a desk or lab bench. That’s why tables still exist all this time after Plato (and the tiring academic example of table as a Platonic form.) I may want to monitor the instrumentation of my experiment via a tablet, but I certainly don’t want to be storing the data on a hard drive slaved to that tablet. Oh, my aching shoulder.

We also tend to forget that all this infosplosion, whether real data or just selfies in one form or another, increases the demands on servers. And the best user OS have always been based on server OS, at least to my experience. Or is it just that the tool kit is that much better. Certainly it is in the MegaHard environment.

On which note, is MegaHard going to die? Yes, but not for the usual list of suspects. It will likely die from heat death. Its products will cease to be new tools and just be old tools and the brightest and best won’t want (a poor Agnewism but it is punday) to work there any more and the organizational intelligence gestalt will pass through a cusp and suddenly the organization will be stupid and dull and slime moldish.

What we can learn from this is that the electronics revolution has pretty well run its course. Yes, it has been the darling of civilization since the early part of century 20 when we first got radio and flash lights and such but the days of being the darling are about over. Computers are fast becoming what cars were in the sixties. They may all get electric windows but we’ll never quite get to the flying car. That won;t mean there won’t be a big industry and a big piece of defining civilization but it won’t be the thing of glitter and lights and nocturnal emissions.

In closing, I offer one last bit of challenge: consider why the pickup truck is so popular and so little used for its intended function?

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Pedaling, not Driving

Two day and the gym still moderately sparse. And while the podcast episodes today – Science – were not particularly sticky – except Smolin’s discourse on time – I did come to a couple of pre-Wednesday realizations:

  • Corporations are Predators;
  • Adverticement is Falsehood; and most significantly,
  • Consensus is NOT Causality.

That’s all, folks!

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Chaotic Stupidity

Mundane day is back. And joyously! No noise pollution courtesy of the city parents, and the gym was delightfully sparse. The podcast was another episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” series on secularity and it was quite good, finally getting around to the advancements in society being directly the result of increasing secularity and the inherent controlling nature of organized religion. And the evil (?) of fundamentalism. There was even a bit of humor about the latter which is rather refreshing for one who lives in the religionist pig pen of the old Confederacy. They even talked about how the obsession with end times is a direct fallout of reconstruction.

On a more intriguing azimuth I ran across an article [Link] about the half-century anniversary of the beginnings of the study of chaotic behavior. Unlike James Glick and others I am not quite comfortable with calling it Chaos since the origin of the term is non-STEM. I also had to reflect that much of the original maths development, especially with the classic logistic differential equation, was simply bad maths. That was always a problem for me, on the one hand the finite difference maths types talking about error propagation and instabilities of too large a step size and the chaotic behavior folks talking about BOOM! behavior at step sizes far beyond the stable. Why, I wondered, couldn’t they get their stories straight?

Also intriguing is an article [Link] about an academic study that indicates human intelligence has decreased since the reign of Victoria. This is another brick in the wall that suggests that technology makes us stupid. Not that we didn’t know that, but it is nice to have it made sorta official.

Now we just have to wait for the politician to pass legislation that makes it illegal for us to not be stupid.

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Cold and Drool

We come to ice cream day, the christianist pseudo-shabat, which is appropriate since it portends to be a cold day. My Firefox weather add-in indicates that it is 28 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab right now and the temperature will rise to all of 45 degF. This is a mixed bag, if accurate. We are starting off at lower temperature than yesterday but we have the carrot of higher maximum than yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, FD SCP drug me out to go shopping for a new motorcar for her. This was not a pleasant experience. I was repeatedly whelmed by blatantly incompetent salesmen (no women?) who project greed and fraud, when they are not mentally drooling. I suppose I am spolied by having bought my last few motorcars in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill where the salesmen are used to dealing with techies and knowing that appearing stupid and boggish will cost them a sale. But FD SCP wants to obtain service for her motorcar here in Greater Metropolitan Arab and the dealer we finally settled on is the least worst of a horrible lot. At least statistically.

It may be asked why I would choose to live in a town of such blatant and bottomless incompetence, what with salesmen who mentally drool and city governance by real estate agents. The reason is simple; the distractions may be safely ignored leaving one to concentrate on important stuff, like physics. Knowing that the salesmen are incompetent and venial and cheats means that one can safely ignore their noise and decide whether the inflated price and inferior good are good enough to not waste more time over. And knowing that the city government values only people who do not live in the city means that one is free of concern over city politics and machinations. Sometimes, if the evil is small enough and inept enough, it is better to ignore it into a corner than consume one’s substance eradicating it.

This is the rule in small town Amerika, especially here in the hinterland. In fact, compared to Atlanta, Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill is similarly corrupt and competence-shy. I have long hypothesized that this differential of competence, if not greed and fraud, is why the young get attracted in such numbers to the cities, and why so many of them die young – in the cities. Cities have always been death mills of the young, going back to their beginnings. The competence draws them in and the greed takes them apart.

The other nasty piece of this, of which I have been reminded several times this week, is the idea of ‘cold’. Cold is nonsense, like the multipliers of less that have become fashionable in advertisements. There is no such thing as cold except in the minds of humans who should know better but apparently naturally drool between the ears. But since it seems fitting both in terms of our theme and in keeping with the weather, we shall discuss cold.

The human body is a heat engine. The heat is essentially a waste product like feces and urine. Since it is produced (approximately) continuously, it must be disposed of in the same fashion. The rate of heat transfer from the body to the environment depends on several factors including both the body and environment temperature. If the temperature difference is too low, our body retains heat and be become ‘hot’. This piece makes a bit of sense. But if the temperature difference is too great, then heat is pulled out faster than efficiency permits and we experience some metabolic stuttering that we interpret as ‘cold’. The most obvious of this is shivering which is as attempt by muscles to increase the body’s generation of heat.

So ‘cold’ is not only a purely human, unphysical thing, but manifest evidence of the prevalence of boggishness among humans.

Which brings us to the key question: is the mental drool of salesmen also manifest evidence of boggishness?

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