Pretium Sterci

Price of S**t – that’s the title translated for those who may not have Latin as one of their languages. For those who do, my less than sincere apology for the liberties thereof.

Why do I say this? I came across an article [Link] this morning entitled “Reminder: Windows 10 Home Will Cost $119 Starting July 29th.”

I also remember an article I referred to within the last week or so about how WX had proven to be a disaster.

This latter was a validation of my own analysis, hence warming and repellent simultaneously. 

On the other hand, I consider Winders to be a BOG moderator in much the same way that firearms are. The latter, of course, kill, but not very well. What they do well is damage and maim. But they have the sterling quality of keeping Bogs from getting their hands on truly deadly weaponry. 

IOW, a diversion. And, perhaps, a amelioration of various insecurities. 

And given the population demographics, almost certainly more likely to maim and cripple other Bogs than real people.

Winders serves the same function. It keeps Bogs from getting their hands on a real OS.

Academic Alienation

I am not very amenable to guidance counselors. This morning I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it brought a review of (unrelated) memories.

When I was in high schule we had a guidance counselor. At least that was her title. I am not at all sure what she did. What she did for me was quickly apparent. I would go to her and say “I want to do” thus and such. She would say “No, you can’t do that. It isn’t a good thing to do.” The not good things included skipping senior year for early admission and such like.

When I got to college they assigned me an advisor, I met with him twice. I should mention that in those days you were not allowed to register without an advisor’s signature on your course list. The first time I met with him, before first semester, he told me what I should take that semester. The second time I met with him, start of second semester, I told him what I wanted to do and he gave me the “no, that’s not a good idea.” The third semester I forged his signature on my course list and skipped seeing him. I did go to the advisement building, which was the physics building and as a major I could enter any time and the scheduling by name ordering did not apply, and I could swipe a course list form. And figuring out the form was standard, the next time I swiped enough for twice my undergraduate semesters. So I went through the last three years of undergraduate school without seeing an advisor.

Not that he cared. I never heard a peep about advisor again until I registered for degree my senior year and the dean’s clerk asked if my triple major was approved by my advisor. By that point I lied smoothly having already been admitted to student honor organizations for all three majors and having an acceptance letter to graduate schule in my briefcase,

Not that I didn’t get advice. Mostly from upperclassmen and then from faculty. And my hearing of the advice was uniform: take everything you can; learn everything you can; and hold yourself to a high standard. And that worked. Well. Until I got a job and discovered that politics and socializing were more important in some environments than being smart and knowledgable. But that has nothing to do with guidance counselors.

So what do they really do other than vertically copulate students?

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Tornado Demogogery

I ran across an intriguing article yesterday in the RSS accumulator. It was entitled “Science can’t design away tornadoes’ deadly threat”.[Link] The question raised by the article was why hadn’t science done anything to ameliorate tornadoes? And it was a real pile of stercus tauri!

Yes, they gave credit to the Yankee government’s National Weather Service and the local television weather beavers but faulted them for inadequate precision. Merde! It is not the NWS and the local weather beavers who lack precision, it is the warning system. Here in Nawth Alibam, the resolution of the weather sirens is not a hundred meters but a fraction, if not all, of a county. Usually, if a tornado is anywhere in a county all of the sirens in the county are sounded. And a culture of apathy has been put in place because there is virtual certainty that if a siren sounds there is no tornado nearby.

So if we want to blame someone for not providing adequate warning, blame the bureaucracies of local and county government, not the scientists. Blame the local conscript fathers (and mothers) who would rather spend money on something other than a useful warning system, who make a political show of having a system that is in many ways as dangerous as none at all.

The article goes on to ignore the obvious things that science can do to ameliorate tornadoes. First, tornadoes can be dissipated, at least temporarily, by dumping a thermal explosion into the rotating storm. Yes, this requires precision but no more than we commonly use now in war, and war often produces fewer casualties than do these storms. Yes, there may be some collateral damage but it may be less than leaving the storms to wreck their way. And we shall not know until there is sponsorship of the science. No academic is going to stand up and say let us attack tornadoes with army missiles!

But there is lower hanging fruit. Buildings along the Pacific Rim have to be built to withstand a certain strength of earthquakes. Are buildings in tornado country? The answer is a resounding no! The simple fact is that science has near term answers that can ameliorate tornadoes merely by altering how we build our houses and how we string power and telephone cables. Instead of raising poles it is easy to dig cable conduits similar to those being put into commercial buildings. And houses can be designed that will withstand tornadoes of one or two sigma force. These may cost a bit more initially, and require substantial education of the building and cable trades, but if this is not worth our investment, do not blame the scientists. Blame the monied autocrats!

If we cannot mend out ways to make safer homes and safer power and telephone structures, then we need to admit that loss of property and life, especially life, is not that important to us. Cease the maudlinity and blatant emotionalism, one way of the other. But cease the misplaced sentimentality and the pillorying of science.

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