Exercise Insight

Nothing exhibits the adornment of the vacuum quite like art prizes for cinemas and their components.

If nothing else, the furor of certain “racial” elements for inclusion in the congress seems to illustrate the emptiness of those elements’ existence.

It’s not as if any of the films nominated were actually worth the time of “real” people.

My Thoughts on Belli Stellorum

As expected this morning my usual sampling of the internets was replete with many bit and chunks of spacial fantasy. On one “blog” site, [Link] “io9 Round-Table: What Does Star Wars Mean to You?” greeted me early on. On [Link] it was

Let me set the tone immediately now. What does this fantasy mean to me? Lots of things but starting with the biggie, implicit support of slavery. Admittedly, it is passively positive in the sense that the primary villain and heroes are risen from slavery, at least generationally. 

It also has some amazing contradictions, like trying to negate the rule that you don’t take a knife (and only a knife) to a gun fight. Admittedly there are exceptions, in reality, much less fantasy, to the rule but this fantasy tries to make it a generality. This seems to be a purification of the equites – knight – social niche akin to that perpetrated by religionist organizations in past. It seems to fit here that the villains seem to be consistently depicted as dragons.

It’s also a genre as old as pulp science fiction: sword and spaceship. Admittedly this doesn’t seem to be in the usual post-collapse “civilization” where somehow the capability of building spaceships has been retained but not the technology of firearms. Alas, one of the most unbelievable parts of this fantasy are the density of people who can actually bash the technology and not just hack it. Which is as big a civilization hiccup as the usual one, IMHO.

I may be accused of being a Trekkie/Trekker/Trekite/… Admitted, but only in the sense that the Federation is anti-slavery. At least officially. 

I also have to admit to not seeing the folks who are consumed with this fantasy. I suspect part of this is being senior and scientist, but at least part if due to living in Greater Metropolitan Arab in Nawth Alibam in the old Confederacy. Which is currently undergoing a bit of a rebellion now with the Yankee government playing the part of Empire and the old C as the Old Republic. Complete with Southron Belles (Princesses,) Red Necks (Rebellion warriors,) and bible thumpers (Jedi?) Violence and fantasy are the clear commonalities here.

I have no objection to their affiliation, if not affliction, so long as it doesn’t intrude too harshly on my existence. This morning it did, mostly courtesy of the capitalist overlords and their media serfs. 

Venting ended for now.

Except to note that this is an improvement of the Southron religion of football. Which ended – effectively – just a week ago. Capitalist wiles?

 

Fawg Madness

Fawg season has arrived. Second day. Run off the road to Castellum SCP twice by pickup truck road hawgs wanting the whole road. Not a bad session at gym however. Listened to some blather on podcast about the psychology of Dostoevsky inferred from his novels and biographies. Rather a pile of poo with scant pony. The best offerings:

There is no such thing as a moderate addiction;

and

Adult = Child + Puberty.

The latter was a telling argument for why we should do better as parents and indeed upholds the advocacy of one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, that reproduction should only be allowed under license and licensing should be based more on how good a parent one would be than one’s genes.  There is a wrinkle on what the penalty should be for unlicensed reproduction. I think I favor the discorporation of the miscreants approach. 

Speaking of discorporation, I noted on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver (visual only) in the gym that the female lead in “Welcome Back Kotter” has discorporated from cancer. This saddens me a bit. The program was excellent, notably the last thing Travolta did that was even good, and the female lead was hideously under-appreciated. 

Chernobyl looks Green and Healthy

Not a good day so far. When I got to gym I discovered that the management – if I may use that term so inaccurately – had once more performed one of their favorite stunts of removing machines preferred by the membership. Gaping emptiness greeted us. And replacement by hated machines is the next step. One has to wonder how long this place would survive if it were not the only game in town. And how it can pretend to be part of a hospital. Except hospitals are once more factories of death and pain.

I did however, run across this cartoon: [Link]

over the weekend and I was taken by its accuracy. As I have commented on previously there seems to be a conservation law of television that the total quality of what is broadcast (?) on television is a constant. It may be a slowly changing constant, but we can safely take it as close to a constant for our discussion.

This means that the product of number of programs/channels and their individual qualities is equal to a constant. Hence, the more channels/programs the lower the quality of each in the mode. 

FD SCP and I are in the midst of a transition from our old, analog, clear cable connection to a new, digital, encrypted cable connection. The number of channels will increase largely because the television provider has been steadily reducing its analog channels over the last few years. We currently have 40-50 channels, the exact number is uncounted, but only watch maybe 8 channels regularly. Vast swatches of channels – spectator sports for example – are unwatched but must be endured because there is no cafeteria option.

The new system, assuming it can be installed and works as claimed, will have many more channels but I rather suspect that the number of channels we watch will actually diminish since sometimes it is better to turn off the television than to put up with stercus.

I think I may be looking forward to the day when the number of channels is effectively infinite so that I may get rid of television entirely. 

Star Stuff

My kind of morning. Maybe. A bit of fog a couple or so meters above ground, indicating that an inversion layer is likely. Makes for all sorts of stuff being trapped, like aerosols and – yes – pollen particles. But when I performed my constitutional in the park the temperature was sufficiently low that I could see my exhalant and that made for a rather brisk walk. So now I can anticipate a day of wonder and awe. And probably boredom. The weekends are that way. When one is ORF.

One also lives in dread of minor aches and pains since there are no physicians available shy of the emergency room – a half day killed – for amelioration until Monday. My cardiologist keeps reminding me – annually – to take my cardio medications in the evening because that is when “incidents” with greater probability density. I should ask about weekends sometime.

Speaking of heart, I watched this week’s episode of COSMOS yesterday. The GnatGheo channel keeps airing it after my bedtime and somehow I lose mental contact with watching it until weekend. Another good episode. In fact, so good that it seems meaningless to do a review. Yes, there are warts. And sly digs at the mystics and superstitionists, most of which evidently get past them since no comment gets made. Perhaps they are so nerdy that only scientists can grok them? I did receive a rather antediluvian email – pure ASCII text like the Good Ole Days, no pun misintended – from Amazing that they had a date when they would ship my pre-ordered DVD of the series. Not soon enough that I can leave off the disagreements with the DVR but at least a day described.

I was also happy to see the show poke at greedy capitalist oligarchs in the last episode. Another group that needs some culling, or at least some transplant of ethics and morality, an absence that they share with the superstitionists. The good  news is that they seem to be proliferating a bit which means that a feeding frenzy may erupt and trim them back to a manageable population size.

I also have to comment that Tyson is doing this rather better than Sagan did. At least his voice and speech mannerisms don’t send one out of room screaming in mind pain or looking for something brickish to hurl at the receiver. Already there are wonderings if he will make more nerd programming.

Enough. The down side is that I watched the episode yesterday and can’t save it for today or tomorrow. And it is still too vivid to watch again. But perhaps I can follow up a bit more on his comments on Thales and Democritus. Now what did I do with my classical Greek to modern (?) English dictionary?

, , , ,

Ecce COSMOS

Nice day so far. The temperature was definitely warm enough to assay a constitutional at the park and that was followed by a lusty defecation. So I am not well placed to do a blot.

It seems de rigeur these days that I shall have to do a review of the first episode of Tyson’s revisitation of Sagan’s COSMOS. I have to admit to a bit of prompting and even spoiling by reading Chad Orzel’s “Uncertain Principles” blot-review, [Link] particularly the animated vignette on Giardano Bruno.

The vignettes are in keeping with the original series although they have swapped live for cartoon, presumably for money reasons, possibly to appeal to a younger audience. The treatment of Bruno is new and signals visually that Tyson is going to follow in Sagan’s footsteps but with improvements. Nonetheless, the initial cartoon on Bruno was a bit startling.

I rather quickly rationalized this by recalling E. A. Burtt’s  “The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science”, Dover 2003. He states, in the Preface, that

“The prevailing world-view of the period was marked by a deep and persistent assurance that man, with his hopes and ideals, was the all-important, even controlling fact in the universe.”

In other words, man was unique because of being the creation of the diety, and the planet of man was unique and central in the cosmos. And religious organizations, such as the church of Rome, were the self-appointed arbiters of that uniqueness.

And since Bruno came along and said Tellus was one planet among many, and Sol one sun/star among many, and thence that man was one intelligent species among many, the entire philosophical basis of society, and the validity of the church of Rome, was threatened. And so when he would not shut up or recant, they killed him. In the most horrendous fashion possible, by burning.

If ever there was a means of execution that justifies humane concerns it is burning. If ever there was an illustration that Greek society was superior to Italian, it is the difference in execution means between hemlock sipping and either burning (or crucifixion.) This inhumanity was deliberate and illustrates that organizations have neither morals nor ethics nor sentiment and must constantly be disciplined and restrained to their purpose of serving humans rather than the other way about.

More importantly perhaps, the vignette of Bruno demonstrates that in a society where thought and speech are not free and open, then there can be neither humanity nor science. Despite the new “freedom” of protestant religion in addition to the church of Rome, the society of Europe (and much of Tellus) was one where thought and speech were controlled by religionist organizations. Several organizations for a change, but tyrannical and totalitarian none the less. And they all executed people who thought and spoke for themselves.

Beyond that, the episode is a mixed bag. On the good side, Tyson is much less pedantic and directive than Sagan. When COSMOS first came out I gave up on watching it, so repellant was Sagan’s speech and tone. I managscience, television, entertainment, scientisted to watch a lot of it last weekend with only minor nausea and desire to rebel. But I didn’t get to view the new version until yesterday. And it was much more thought provoking and lighter handed than the original. I find it amazing that Sagan, a scientist, came across as an autarch and tyrant while Tyson, a scientist-pitchman, comes across as mentor and philosopher. The student seems to have surpassed the teacher even though the establishment of lineage is clumsy and sob sisterly.

On the bad side, too much of the program time is wasted on credits and commercials. I suppose the former is an indication of how much more insecure our society is today but the latter are just annoying. They made me glad I was watching a recording and could fast forward through the organizational stercus tauri, the modern burning at the stake of the mind. I also found the music to be entirely too star warsish but I suspect that is my nature. I always thought folk was the music genre of science, not the symphony. I suppose that is also one of the perversions of our age.

But the high point of the episode was Tyson saying,

Test ideas by experiment and observation,build on those ideas that pass the test, reject the ones that fail. Follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything.”

Proper Disrespect for False Authority

Internet Value 3

A moderate night. Below the phase change temperature but barely. And I did my tim on the stationary bicycle so I can now proceed with the day.

The road to “civilization” began with the desire for more gear (goods) and has evolved to the search for entertainment (diversion.) Somehow it seems rather a let down, but that is what the majority of humanity does, spend the bulk of its time being divorced from life.

And that, in large part is what the internet has come to be. It started with sharing “funny” things, like labeled cat photographs and has developed where there are serious political debates over whether preference should be given to the transport of entertainment files over the internet. So much for DARPA’s dream. Not that DARPA is very good at either dreaming or taking action on their dreams. They are more in the nature of the mathematician in the burning hotel room.

But the question is whether the entertainment on the internet, which apparently is at least half of it, has value? Is there value in diverting those who lack any form of creativity or will power from creating mischief? Perhaps. Is there value in preventing those who have creativity but inadequate will power from exercising their creativity? Only negative. Is it possible for entertainment to itself have value? Probably not, at least based on observation and history.

So we have a situation where entertainment on the internet has a value somewhere between zero and assuredly negative. In other words, maths words, non-positive.

This is beginning to get discouraging. Is my lantern too dim? Or are there really no honest men?