Sex and Marriage

No dihydrogen oxide falling. But I did oversleep a few minutes. Still got to gym on time if a bit frantic and the place was a bit crowded for a two day. As usual the podcasts were diverting but not memorable. Although the Guardian’s primary topic of the statistics of sexual activity was moderately illuminating. But, as always, failed to get to the real nature of humans. I suspect we prevaricate more on sex than anything else, especially to ourselves. Denial or insecurity I suppose.

Along that azimuth, I noted an article [Link] that talked about marriage by starting with a startle bit about the Southron Baptists advocating early marriage. Since Southron Baptists are among the most whackadoodle of the Southron theo-fascists my attention span was focused. The article claims that the church is pushing this because more young people are having congress prior to marriage. If we are to credit the latest English sex survey (covered in the Guardian podcast) the fraction is O(1.0). 

I should comment that I was raised in a Southron Baptist family and am the black sheep in part because I am not. Southron Baptist, that is. Or any other organized religion. 

When I was a kid, the Southron Baptists had pretty much abandoned their predestination origins. In fact, I didn’t find out about that until I studied American history after college. Instead, they were pretty much anti. They were against ethanol, drugs, sex, dancing, homosexuality, …. At least officially. It was also common among the members to indulge in at least one forbidden activity. 

My problem with the Southron Baptists, and almost all organized religion, is that they don’t want to have discussion. They don’t want to discuss, they just want to pronounce. A characteristic they share with the Muslims is an emphasis on – nay, demand for – obedience. And it has to be blind obedience. No asking the good questions like why is the deity so insecure that he wants prayer? At least the laudatory stuff that comes across as the most shameless suck-up. Baptists don’t discuss that stuff, at least with the outer circle and since I have never been part of the inner I don’t know if they do or not.

I have given up on testing. At least with religionists. They can’t handle it and are in adamantine denial. For the most part. But most go to the extreme of not discussing the fundamental questions that get paved over with the macadam of ‘holy scripture’. And without the freedom to discuss anything as rational adults, they don’t qualify. At least in my taxonomy. 

I am in favor of marriage. If it’s done right it’s a very constructive symbiosis. All the data indicate that the more mature the participants the higher the probability of success. And nothing is more wasteful than failed marriage except capitalists. 

And I don’t object to religion organizations having some role in formalizing the activity. That formality provides a much needed aspect of inertia, not that any religionist would likely use that idiom. But I do object to their autarchy and rule making. Marriage is hard enough without destructive constraints. Maybe the bogs need them. But I doubt it.

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The Kitsch Convention

Another confused day portends. Each year about this time the craft crofters come out of their cabins and confound civilization. I apologize for the Agnewism but it expresses the mood current. FD SCP is off today, perhaps tomorrow, in adulation of kitsch. For those unfamiliar with the term it is defined as:

kitsch n 1: excessively garish or sentimental art; usually considered in bad taste

It is a term that is infinitely descriptive, if not definitive, of almost all of the old confederacy if not the entire hinterland of the Yankee republic. I suspect that it extends into the coastal urbanologies except there are more people there who will vehemently deny its applicability. Of course there are those who will deny it here – like FD SCP – who may not be card carrying members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy but who are psychological and temperamental paragons of that organization.

Of course we are conflicted by a love-hate relationship with these women, our mothers, wives, significant others, and daughters. They also know much of this is in bad taste but it has some deeper, more primal attraction that overwhelms that repulsion. Think Bronson Alpha. And hence the craft work becomes Bronson Beta.

Nor can we claim to know any better with our overtooled garages and male accoutraments. Even we STEMs have our own, different, kitsch. FD SCP permits me offensive buts like:

so long as they stay in the study away from the view of small children and members of the ad hoc UDC. 

The excuse of all this kraftwerk is evidently the holyday season. The feast of apathy nears the end of this month; I just received guidance last evening about the procurement of dinosaur descendant carcasses for ritual roasting and consumption, hopefully on sourdough bread and anointed with Miracle Whip. And then next month is the winter solstice attended by any number of social and religionist variants on that azimuth, a veritable vector sheaf, as it were. And no celebration of such magnitude can be complete without a bevy of kitsch klods to attract dust and interfere with modal existence. 

The bribe for male acceptance, as usual, is food. Our knowledge of the nature of marriage courtesy of Wrangham of fair Hahvahd does not soothe but does placate. Calories that we are forbidden by medicalists and the same women most of the year soothe more. 

So today FD SCP is off the the Greater Metropolitan Arab Mother’s Craft Show. There is some organization of mothers here in GMA but it is evidently a goddess society. We of the male plumbing persuasion have no need-to-know for any details of that organization including who are the members. No one admits to ever having known or met any member of the organization and evidently they only emerge from their sacred groves this once per year. And then either this afternoon or tomorrow she motors to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a solstice decoration fair at the hall of American Nazi Admiration. I am unsure of the connection as well as the symbolism but more craft is involved.

The great paradox of this activity is that the purpose is not so much to acquire gear but information. Undoubtedly the aftermath of this safari will be a firestorm of crafting here at home that will be infinitely more distressing than actual purchase.

But it’s all part of continuation of the species. 

I think.

Anyway, it will give me a bit of respite from the usual week out supervision to actually think, in and around the creaks of ORF corpus.

Irrelevance of Food?

Ice cream day. Back edge of Week Out. Not started wonderfully. Walk in park middling. Podcast poor to dismal. And my morale is still low to absent. So that makes things perfect to comment on an article [Link] I saw earlier about work at Johns Hopkins U that looks at how GEN Ys lacking college “education” view reproduction. The quote

“Clearly, the role of marriage in fertility and family formation is now modest in early adulthood and the lofty place that marriage once held among the markers of adulthood is in serious question. It is now unusual for non-college graduates who have children in their teens and 20s to have all of them within marriage.”

This seems to be congruent with the theory of that anthropologist wonk at fair Hahvahd that marriage is all about cooking.

I can’t give you any more citation than that today because I have loaned out my copy of his book to some of my colleagues. But suffice it that the basics of his theory is that because we are intelligent – whether we use our brains or not – we have rather inadequate digestive machinery and our offspring are relatively underdeveloped at birth because of the size of our heads. Big heads and small guts. Or something of the sort.

Anyway, this fellow’s idea is that because the bairns are helpless for so long the mothers need some help in caring for the bairns until they can be self-sufficient. And they get this help by exploiting the sparseness of the human digestive track. Hence fatherhood is all about getting your food cooked by someone else.

Which is quite a far distance from the mambo-jumbo of the religionists.

But with all the technology poured into food these days and the availability of precooked packaged food and fast food “restaurants”, it is unsurprising that marriage holds faint appeal. The situation may be furthered by the insistence of women that husbands assist in household chores?

What the study doesn’t address is the interesting question of Why? Or more specifically, why are college graduates still getting married? Perhaps it’s social in some sense. Perhaps marriage has some other social value?

I would also have liked to see some geographic differentiation. Here in Greater Metropolitan Arab, in the midst of the religionist loony patch, I see very few who have children and have not been married. Lots of divorced folks, but few unweds.

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Meaningful Criteria

This has already been a bit of a strange day. Today is again near phase change, but offering greater end temperature. What makes it strange is that today’s podcast, an episode of “The Techie Geek” ran out after a bit more than a half hour. This is way short and I had to cast about for something else to listen to for the last third of my session. So I ended up listening to an episode the the Guardian’s science podcast and about all I can recall of that was an interview with the authors of a book on Newton and chronology bashing.

Which got me off to thinking about all this grrr brrr about the nine justicers of the Yankee republic and the matter of same gender marriage. This was primed not just by all the rot uttered on national news programs this week but also by two articles, one [Link] decrying the absence of scientific study of homosexual family life, mostly by the age old gem of denouncing sociology, psychology, and political science as stamp collecting with prejudice. How political science got into that list eludes me. Not only does it fall into the category of any-discipline-that-sez-it’s-a-science,-isn’t, but I am not at all sure what the relationship is between homosexuality and political academia, except individual inclination?

The second article [Link] about how any decision by the nine justicers will impact Alibam where the general attitude towards the homosexual is filtered through rabid religiousness and often with a rope over a tree limb. This fails to display anything except the journalistic dark side of Alibam.

What gets left out of all this discussion is any rationality. The black robed nine are not supposed to be rational, although they will claim it, just legal. But the fact remains that almost all of this is boggish stercus tauri. Simply put, mating (reproduction) is a biological interaction/relationship; marriage is a social interaction/relationship. The first fellow barely got it right that one of the primary purposes of marriage is to provide material support for the raising of children. Everything else is primarily social prevarication and overcomplication.

One other factoid: marriage is not, per se, about generating children, but raising them. That’s post birth. By such qualification, any marriage absent children isn’t really a marriage. Anything differing from that observation is social and/or religionist poo. So all this stuff about elaborate cereminies and elaborate clothes and elaborate rituals is just that, extraneous, unnecessary, superfluous elaboration.

It also needs be noted we can have these elaborations so long as we do not lose sight of their ornamental, afunctional nature. And any discussion we have about marriage and sexual orientation needs to get rapidly beyond, and dismissive of, these geegaws and to the meat of the matter, which is the raising of children. In that regard, SCP’s opinion is that it does not matter what the composition of the household is, so long as it includes children being raised by the other members of the household.

Selah.

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Stomach Aches

Almost Independence Day, which means that I have to ramp up my social skills to cope with a bunch of almost orthogonal relatives. One of the displeasures of being a nerd is that quite a few, perhaps all, of your relatives are going to be bogs and there is absolutely nothing you can do to dismiss them.

Speaking of dismissing, I read [Link] that Nvidia is already losing business after being revealed by the holy Linus as the worst corporation on Tellus, at least from a Linux standpoint. Seems the Chinese government was going to build a bunch of Linux boxes for government use and had let a contract to Nvidida for GPUs but the deal was called off after Nvidia blew them off about driver support. Quick, someone give the CEO of Nvidia a M-60 machine gun so he can shoot off all ten toes quickly before the company hemorrhages any more cash flow.

Or not. Perhaps we should just watch evolution in action as Nvidia manages to mismanage itself into extinction? But, of course, all the Winders gaming addicts will keep them afloat and that’s probably all they care about. I’m not sure I would want my core competency to be dependent on a bunch of small, highly temperamental and transient companies.

Speaking of evolution in action, I note that some Neilsen shell company is pushing some claim that commercials (advertisements on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver) are still comprehensible and as/more effective is sped up to half the duration. [Link] At least I think that’s what the article indicated; it’s maths difficulty makes its reportage almost incomprehensible. I’m not sure what significance this has except to alter the economics of commercials. Networks are not going to idly surrender half their revenue when all their advertisers want half length commericals. So either rates will rise – unlikely – or the number of commercials will double which, I suspect, rehalves their effectiveness from overload. Besides, isn’t there a DVR out now that chokes off commercials like Roundup is supposed to choke weeds? Not a bad analogy that.

And lastly, we have a lovely teaser [Link] from Scientific American on why discorporation is much more likely during adultrous sexual congress. No, it isn’t that angry, righteous deity that prevents crime. Nor is it necessarily any burst of morality. Just a mixture of overexertion and guilt. My suspicion is that it’s really pain avoidance. It’s a lot less painful to die in the arms of one’s mistress than to be sent to hospital from the blows of one’s wife. Look guys, you gotta recognize that if that guy at fair Hahvahd is right and marriage exists because women bribe men with cooking then adultery amounts to criticism of the wife’s cooking. You don’t want to go there.

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TTB versus BOF

One of the wonders of human life is degeneracy. No, not in the sense of a moral or ethical degenerate or some sort of social deviant, but in the sense that there is more than one way of doing something. For some reason such things take on a new importance when living in close quarters. I am told that one of the major reasons for roomates or living togethers to ‘split’ are incompatible degeneracies.

Take the simple matter of burning the bread of fast breaking. My wife and I both enjoy, among other alternatives, a toasted Yiddisher doughnut or piece of bread. But at this point degeneracy rears its head. My wife practices TTB (also known as BOL) while I practice BOF (also known as BTT.)

At this point some definition of terms is needful. ‘Butter’ can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun it means the (usually) yellow substance, not necessarily the solidified essence of bovine lactation, that one spreads on bread to provide a bit of oily taste. Both FD SCP and I have reached an age where the physicians admonish us to not use actual solidified essence of bovine lactation but some substitute preferably made from oil extracted from olives. The verb form means the activity of spreading the noun on the bread.

Now the acronyms: TTB = Toast, Then Butter (verb); BOL = Butter (noun) On Last; BOF = Butter (noun) On First; and BTT = Butter (verb), Then Toast. The distinction is whether you want the interior of the bread hardened but coated with butter (noun), or the interior of the bread soft and infused with melted butter (noun.) I prefer the former; FD SCP prefers the latter.

From my perception TTB is a risky procedure since one is has to butter (verb) the toasted bread while it is still warm enough to melt, at least partly, the butter (noun.) The risk is either unmelted butter (noun,) or burnt hand. From FD SCP’s perception, BOF is a disaster because the butter will, in her perception, likely melt enough to drip and oil up the insides of the toasting device. This makes it difficult to clean.

The solution to this degeneracy is that we maintain two different toasting devices. FD SCP uses a classical slot toaster and a lot of aloe vera to assuage burnt fingers. I use a toaster oven and I never clean it although it does occasionally burn a bit – as in flames.

And based on my statistics the mean time to replacement for both appliances is the same to within 0.03.

Next episode: dish washing.

Taxes and Marriage

Week out is running out. Not that I am particularly concerned, time, at least from the human perspective, is rather like Canute’s tide. What does concern me is that knowing that time is fundamentally discrete, down at the level of the granularity of space-time, the so-called Planck dimensions of length, time, momentum, and energy, why and how do we humans perceive time as continuous? We also know that human perception of time is at least partly subjective and at least partly individualistic, depending on how we are using our mental faculties, which suggests some form of resource sharing. Does our sensation of time get suspended if we are thinking too hard? And if so, how does this relate to actual reality.

Of course, since we have no means of measuring time directly, or even an understanding of what underlies space-time, concern and speculation are specious at best.

So since we can’t do fundamental things about understanding the nature of actual reality, and we most certainly won;t learn about such attending services here in the old Confederacy, we may as well turn our attention to lesser realities. One such, possibly the most popular, is the internet since it seems to be dragging us pouting and breath holding into the underlying reality (?) of information. Topologically, the internet is a rather strange beast being more like those old text cave adventure games with monsters, treasures, and the occasional trap of twisty passages that one only escaped from by either good fortune or punching the eject button.

One of the key aspects of such is internet commerce. Internet shopping comes very close to fulfilling the promise made by MalWart and gratingly failed at. If anything, MalWart is the modern Albania where you can have anything you want so long as it is made by them and in their store. But beyond this the market model fails because MalWart is uninterested in any quid pro quo with the folks who shop there. I deliberatecall then not customers since that is not what they are inasmuch as MalWart has no desire to provide value for money, only their store stockage for money.

But one of the reasons that MalWart is successful is that they bribe the local conscript parents by collecting taxes, an occupation that in our beginnings was often adorned with feathers adhered with tar. Nowadays, in many small communities, both tar and feathers would have to be purchased at MalWart and then only if stocked by the store, which is unlikely. Beer and pork rinds yes, healthy or useful stuff no.

This is not the case for internet merchants unless they have brick and mortar in the locality, and many execute sweetheart deals with the locality that they will locate, and hire people and buy services if they are exempted from taxes. This seems criminal somehow, both on the part of the merchants and on the part of the politicals, until one considers that religionist organizations are also exempt, thus collapsing the criminality to those politicals who abrogate their responsibilities to the deme in favor of portraying themselves as serving that entity.

This negation of tax gathering from non-local merchants is still a matter of some rancor o these politicals. After all, they cannot gather the tax money and claim that they have done good by their constituents, and in fact, they fear that their constituents will view them ill for doing nothing about the situation, so they attempt the usual politician’s strategy of divide-and-conquer: they blame the citizenry who shop non-local merchants of being bad. At least that is what the state dermatologist and his chamber of thieves do in Muntgum and, I presume, in other seats of mis-governance as well? Somehow the idea that if the same goods were available locally, instead of the merde purveyed at MalWart, e.g., and at a reasonable price and tax dunnage, we would purchase locally. is a idea state unsupported by their brains.

California, aka the Land of Golden Earthquakes and Fruitcakes, has a new wrinkle. They have decided that if an internet merchant has any business ties with local merchants, such as carrying their advertising, then they are local and have to collect taxes.[Link] The connection seems so tenuous that one either needs a member of the bar or a rather complicated Feynman diagram to comprehend.

The response is however, not only obvious, but damning, that the internet merchant will sever his connection with the local merchants. This seems a lose^n situation for the local conscript parents and one has to ask what whacked Dr. Spock book were they drinking from to come up with this drastic form of self-mutilation? The revenue for the internet merchant is peripheral and replaceable, the attention space for the local merchants is likely neither. So why assault the tax base you have for the hope of what you don’t? This seems a classic instance of how to destroy your business although in this case that seems unlikely since the business is a government.

One more piece of data that indicates that the greatest threat to the Yankee republic is politicals. Instead of a global war on terror (GWOT) perhaps we need a global war on politicals (GWOP?)

Meanwhile, on a more productive and useful azimuth, researchers at U Colorado have determines that what we used to call Australopithecines (when I was an undergraduate) and now distinguish as Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus exhibited some rather interesting mating behavior.[Link] Now bear in mind these are hominids, not humans, but our predecessors dating back, according to the reportage 2.2 +/- 0.5 MYA. And what the researchers found, based on the mineral composition of the teeth of these folks, is that the boys stayed home and the girls moved out.

Put in less old Confederacy colloquial terms, mating was characterized by male stationarity and female mobility. In the terms of the christianist bible (whichever flavor and version you may prefer, or not,) and now demonstrably rather nouveau plagiaristic, wives adhered to their husbands.

This is one of the most striking things to come out of paleontology/anthropology in years. First, it indicates that the so-called incest taboo is likely a matter of genetics if it has been around for over two megayears. And second, the originality of religionist admonitions about the nature of marriage, at least in this case, is nothing more than opportunistic self-service.

And I am sure it has all sorts of meanings beyond this for feminists but I am not going to assay that domain. I will stick to simple stuff like physics. Why we wasted the state designation of ‘strange’ on quarks when we could have reserved it for humans I will never fathom.

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