The wrath of the weather beavers has returned. Horrible storms, which I missed or decayed faster than predicted. But no constitutional, so I am discontent even if it is not winter.
One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me link [Link] to this cartoon:
which rather illustrates a geek (nerd?) paradigm I was unsure still existed.
As I have previously described in my youth we didn’t have calculators, we had slide rules. The day of the calculator did not dawn until, I believe, 1971 when Hewlett Packard (a very nice nerd hardware company until ruined by the likes of Carly Fiorina!) introduced the worlds first nerd calculator that would fit in pocket, the HP-35.
Of course this calculator was not something that a teenage geek (nerd) would carry since its price was about two months of graduate student teaching assistant (TA) pay. So one could only buy such a thing in summer when one could live in a tent and scrounge food instead of buying food and paying rent. But cheaper calculators were to be introduced and today most geek calculators have prices o($100).
The phenomena was the same. The idea was that guys who carried maths crunchers, whether slide rules or calculators, couldn’t get dates because no self-respecting high schule/college girl (sic) would date them. This was more fable than fact. The actuality is that most geeks (nerds) were impractical in their expectations and too insecure and fearful of rejection to even ask.
What I had wondered was if girls (sic) were more assertive these days. Evidently not or this cartoon would not work. What I do know is that the wonders of the Reverse Polish Notation calculator have ebbed enormously. Part of this is due to the industry and conniving of Texas Instruments who have set themselves to be the calculator company of high schule students and Hewlett Packard has been destroyed by false managers. Yes, they still make a few calculators but they are as urine useless as their computers. This is a matter for Kaddish. The emperor is dead and all we have is chaos.
On the other hand, I had wondered if the era of the smart (sic) cellular telephone had done in the geek (nerd) calculator. I have several HP emulators on my cellular telephone and they do well enough for on-the-fly crunching. And when I need to really crunch I can haul out my HP-35. And weep at the glory that was once Hewlett Packard.
Ice Cream Day. Again the air temperature is below the solidification of dihydrogen oxide. So no constitutional in the park. But I did assay a spin (?) on the stationary recumbent while listening to much of the rest of that episode of “The Pen Addict”. Not a particularly useful episode but at least they didn’t blather on ala “fan boy” about small notebooks.
This is not to say that I do not have my preferences about notebooks but small notebooks are more for short memoranda (memory aides), rather akin to Tweets but of value and purpose, rather than real notes. To me a real notebook is basically 8.5 x 11 in^2 where I can actually develop maths and problems of interest. Alas, one cannot carry such in trouser or shirt pocket so there is a place in life for small notebooks, especially when FD SCP proclaims that I can’t drag a real notebook along since that means I will be more interested in doing work than attending to her.
Speaking of notes, it seems time to clean up a few tabs. First, I note an article [Link] entitled “Who Cares If Antivirus Works, As Long As It’s Low-Key”. Yes, this is an anti-virus article and hence one is moved to ask why a Linuxite cares about AV? Answer (simple) is that I don’t want to be a disease vector. So I have AV on my boxes. But I do have them scheduled to scan while I am somnolent. So I suppose I do care about loss of performance.
The author’s natter is this. That people seem to care more about unintrusiveness than effectiveness. I have to question this. They have AV do they not. And presumably they use it? And so what if it is only two nines effective? Arguing effectiveness on almost all AV programs is like arguing effectiveness on children’s sanitary wipes. The microbes are gonna be back in an hour or so even if the kids are shut up in a clean room, which they aren’t. What counts is getting to herd immunity. It’s the same argument that vaccines don’t have to be 1.0 but everyone needs to vaccinate to keep everyone secure. It’s a social thing and a good one, possibly unlike social media.
So why my natter? Well I admit I don’t expect journalists to comprehend basic maths – differential equations and stability theory – but I do expect them to not be too superstitious either. Which this polemic is dangerously close to. Save that stercus for whatever day your sect observes as shabbat. And spare me the nonsense.
On a related azimuth, I also noted an article [Link] for a surficant that reduces adhesion. It’s billed as a way to coat the inside of squeeze bottles so you can get all the contents out. Nice try. May work ok for Newtonian liquids but how about non-Newtonians and semi-liquids? Also no mention of health effects? But it did occur that one could use this to make fleece linings of jackets more friendly. I have a raincoat I purchased from the Maine Guide Store. Impossible to easily and conveniently get one’s arms in or out of the fleece lines sleeves. In fact, this coat is an archetype of poor design. Which may be indicative of dementia among the management of the corporation. No wrinkle pants is another. Perhaps if they ingested this surficant it would improve the blood flow to their brains and reverse some of their madness?
It is hard to write that gym week is over, since I only made it to gym twice this week. Temperature deficit syndrome, I fear. And the weather beavers are already crowing about the depredations we shall experience next week. Perhaps it is time to invest in a cave?
Of course on the bright side I did miss all the nastiness of the educationalists and weight bouncers at the gym.
Speaking of nastiness, Marshall county’s champion of tent erection, Mr. Ain’t Worthy, wrote a positively evil letter to the probate judge denouncing him for following the law. And the editor of the local rag saw fit to publish this piece of filth. On the positive side, I now have a greater understanding of the saying:
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not themselves.”
Mr. Ain’t Worthy certainly seems to be a paragon of the idea that the primary threat to the nation is Christian Terrorism and political parties.
On the other positive side, at least young impressionable people don’t read newspapers any more.
On the azimuth of evil, I noted an article [Link] about work at Johns Hopkins U that indicates that sodas with cola in them are linked to cancer. We have to wonder given, obesity, stupidity, and now cancer why the soda industry is allowed to poison the electorate. The answer is probably politicians and religionists?
I have to admit that while I did not drink much soda in my youth, I now enjoy it in my seniority. Maybe one bottle of artisanal soda every month or so. And no Fructose. It goes immediately to fat. And I only drink it late in the day when my mental capacity has been about used up. And since cancer is also caused by defects, it seems a reasonable risk.
On the other hand, we have no good data that indicates that politicians or religionists cause cancer. But we can suspect it.
Lots of grrr brrr over the Sony hack and the movie theater chains punching out.
First, the hack may be news but it’s more-of-the-same. Computer security in the Yankee republic is a joke. If we’re going to get upset about a hack, get upset about Target, not Sony.
Second, I hear that we have lost this cyberwar. Good! We lost a war over a movie? And not a very good one from what I have seen. So don’t cry over bombs in the sand. But do learn and improve so we can win the next. Russel Weigley told us all about it. It’s an American thing. Let’s make sure we keep it.
Survived two successive days of dental attention. Maybe. It never ceases to astonish me how after thousands of years we humans still communicate so poorly. And with such effort. But somehow our social programming seems to get in the way.
I was thinking this morning about the merchant suggestion conspiracy. Back when on-line merchants, like Amazing, started keeping detailed records of our purchases and used that to make suggestions of other stuff to buy, a lot of folks freaked out. My reflection was that yes, all those folks do it, but they do it SO poorly. Even worse than our communication.
I have been keeping score. I get several emails each day from Amazon suggesting stuff to me. It is at least three nines (0.999) inaccurate. If I factor in things I had already thought of before they suggested them, it comes closer to four! So from my perspective Big Brother is failing seriously in this regard. Not that such isn’t also dangerous but that’s another azimuth.
Once more into the breach – of week in, that is. And it portends to be a particularly nasty and trying week. The great American holy day is this week with all the falseness and pretense that has been attached to it, especially by the religionist-corporatist cancer. But this morning has not been bad. The air temperature is not at all bad and the rain seems to have abated for now. Lower temperatures are foretold for the end of the week which should improve the holy day enormously by offering up all sorts of excuses for ‘why bother?’
The podcast, an episode of the CBC’s "Best of Ideas" was about the social impact of drones in Pakistan. It was singularly unconvincing. Even the natives supposed to be man-in-the-street discriminated came across as theological fascists and distilled evil. It occurs that with all the intensification of religionist fervor, that religion is becoming the hardest aspect of diversity to advocate. Even christianists seem fascist these days with gleams of death camps in their eyes?
While we’re on the morbid side of maudlin, I ran across an article [Link] yesterday about a research out of U Leeds that those air blowers for drying one’s hands in institutional toilets spread a multiplier of 27 more microbes than paper towels. Even the new burst blowers have a multiplier of five! I realize this sounds like a throwaway Sheldon line on "Big Bang Theory" but since this has an academic source it has at least been refereed somewhat, so probably not too far off.
This might be ok if towels were a ready alternative and folks could vote with their selection but my experience is that most of these places only have the blowers and frankly don’t care if they kill you. So the only way to vote is by absence. Which is hard if it’s a public school or governmental building.
On a more positive side, I see the campus of the Boneyard is having a Winter Holiday Chemistry Magic Show. [Link]
I have rather fond memories of such despite the rather distasteful association of science with magic. I find that chemists are more prone to do this than most science nerds, mostly because of their historical roots – supposedly! – as alchemists. Of course alchemy was marginally legal in most places and could get one an involuntary roasting or worse. But that’s all part of the bad boy of science image that a lot of chemists try to project. I suspect it’s the intimacy with ethanol and self-constructed controlled substances. Still the activity is both entertaining and educational; I know that one of the reasons I studied science, which includes chemistry, was due to George Toffel and his chemical demonstrations. Closer to the campus, I seem to recall Gil Haight doing some such although he wasn’t quite the showman George was. But the idea of the show does dispell some of the horror of the season.
And lastly, one of my colleagues sent me this cartoon:[Link]
yesterday during the interminable rain. I found that my weather app, from Weather Underground, performed admirably, provided data by the Yankee government’s National Weather Service, which has proven itself the last winter or so to be more accurate with its predictions than the local television weather beavers. And I don’t have to abide the grating idiocy of the news readers. It is a sad indictment of Amerikan television that the weather beavers are the (relatively) erudite ones.
Also, we should never forget that Mother Nature is a feminist.
Gad! A foul night. And I sorrowed for the fowl. Watched a crowd of wee birds engulf the watering bowl I service in warm times for them and the tree mammals. But the outdoor taps are now shielded up for the season and the horrible temperatures last night precluded any refilling.
On which matter it is 20 degF as I write this which is a good 4 degF lower than predicted by the weather beavers. They did this last winter, overestimating the minimum temperature, and it made for some stressful and frightening times. When one lives in PTSD of ruptured water pipes, such errors are dangerous. But my tap dripping seems to have prevailed last night with the only penalty being an absence of REM sleep after midnight. And a lot of achy this morning. But a stout shower bath has helped and almost steeled me to assay forth into the exterior world on a variety of errands.
But given that stress some good news needs be recognized. First, that the Repodenialist Tsar of the Yankee government lower house of thieves legislature has rejected draft legislation that would impose sales tax collection on the internet.[Link] I suspect that the real reason for this is unmentioned, that collecting sales tax on the internet will damage it irreparably. I have this vision of the lord high mayor of Greater Metropolitan Arab dispatching an Arab police constable to Maine to extradite some Maine entrepreneur who makes some craft stuff that he/she sells on the internet and can’t afford the overhead of capturing taxes for all the petty villages and shires of the Yankee republic. I am not sure who I feel more sorry for, the constable or the crafts-person?
In a sense this is rather analogous to Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. If enough people commit a crime then none are punished. If commerce is too dispersed then tax collection fails. This is why taxes and cities go together. Or as my Great Uncle George would say “doesn’t matter how hot the knife eventually you can’t spread the oleo any further.” uttered – he claimed – during the days of rationing during the Great Patriotic War.
The second is that the powers of FOSS have defeated the corporate barbarian Groupon who brazenly tried to steal a long standing FOSS trademark.[Link] I personally was quite in favor of the use of tactical fusion devices on the headquarters of the vile capitalist pirates. One of my other colleagues was in favor of enforced sterilization of the staff and their offspring so that such evil can be rooted from the gene pool. This colleague also has conventional religionist leanings.
The combination of the two indicate one troubling thing: capitalism and democracy have become incomparable and one must cease. I fear war is inevitable.
But then my brain is addled from too little sleep and too much temperature deprivation.