Atonal Discorporation

Mundane day. Didn’t seem as low today as yesterday morning but then I didn’t have to spend a protracted period walking in park this morning. 

The gym was nicely sparse and the weight bouncers were quite demure and away. The educationalists were in fewness so overall the atmosphere of harassment, intimidation, and cacophony was almost absent. The listening was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” podcast from their recent series on The Great War. This one was about the music.

Sadly it was not the music I wanted to hear talked about. In fact, the episode wasn’t really about music; it was about angst.

It started out talking about the difference in classical music across the war. The theme was an increasing flavor of depression and hopelessness. What it actually was they didn’t talk about and that was that classical music died during the war. Not sure of all the details but there is a strong correlation between the demise of classical music and the demise of aristocracy. All I know is that the classical music pre-war was bearable – Elgar had his moments of brilliance – but after the war had become trash noise. Much of it is worse than automobile trash music of today. Both are horrible but the latter is less horrible than the former, like the difference between curable and incurable cancer, I suppose.

Anyway, what the war did was to knock the foundation out from under classical music. Financially and emotionally. And it stayed that way until about the time of John Williams when it was too late to restart a dead engine.

They also talked about popular music. It also suffered. Started out bearable, especially the anti-war songs, but quickly turned to rotten slime mold. Not as bad as the classical but plenty bad in itself. And it mostly sounded like it was being played on instruments made of tin. Of course my attitude towards popular music is at odds with the boggerate. Other than the folk music of the ’50’s and ’60’s, I consider almost all of Amerikan popular music to be compost bin. Maybe some of the swing of the ’40’s was catchy but its equivalent  during and after The Great war was tinny and clunky. 

But this did put me in mind of steampunk. Perhaps the period of TR was the best? We still were learning new things and had a hold-over of Whewellian science that things new and absolute were yet to be discovered. And the planet was our oyster, and the universe by extension. And the terrorism of religion was either endurable or settle-able with chemical explosives. We were much better at enduring nuisances in those days, probably due to the absence of central heating (and cooling) and indoor plumbing. If one has to trudge to the privy middle of night the annoyance of evangelism is either easy to take or easy to dispose of. 

Somehow all that ended by The Great War. The question is why and how?

Taming Savagery

A pleasant morning, thus far. Considerably cooler than we expect in Alibam in late July on the edge of high summer. And the park track was blissfully void of animals, especially humans. The podcast was a bit flat, but did provide statistical significance for dumping it for something more to my interests.

On which note I came upon a bit[Link] yesterday about some work at Washington U about music preferences. It seems that we humans are all conservative when it comes to music. That is, we want to hear music we have already heard (and enjoyed? – not treated by the reportage!) over unheard (new?) music.

This gave me occasion to reflect on my own music preferences. I was raised in a household with little music. My parents did not play the wireless, and my mother, while she did play a few records, limited herself to the Tchaikovsky piano concerto and big band music. To this day I cannot stand classical piano music but I do enjoy big band music.

Since I was unused to playing wireless, I did not do so as a teenager and hence was not exposed much to the popular music of my high schule and college years. I was exposed to some cinema music as I did attend movies as a teenager. It was about the only safe dating activity. I did play a musical instrument and take band as a subject in high schule but that doesn’t expose one to much except marching music.

So I arrived in college with only primitively formed music preferences. Having roommates and of necessity joining a band – not a musical one, more akin to a hunter-gatherer band, or, more properly, the hunter part of a band – I got exposed to the preferences of my colleagues and acquaintances. And that was passing since once I got into graduate schule I had scant time for frivolity.

Sad to say, that was the high point of my musical indoctrination. My music preferences today are essentially the same as then. I have added a few new (?) tunes but in the same original genres of interest. Most music I am exposed to on the wireless and the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver are strident and hurtful and quickly discarded.

So perhaps there is some normality (?) in the SCP after all? The World Wonders.

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Noise Pollution

Ice cream day and it is hoped to be less than yesterday. Last night was a horror, noise pollution from the nearby park, hours and hours of unwanted music of the most irritating form. Doubled my affection for folk.

On a more positive note I ran across this article [Link] yesterday. At last a W8 tablet that I would consider buying. And why would I buy a W8 tablet? Because I didn’t have to boot it. I am not a strong fan of Swiss Army knives. I own several, both branded and, perhaps, generic. The best is one issued by the German army and, I believe, made in China. Other than a hideously poorly designed spring in the scissors, it is vastly superior to any of my other multi-blade knives.

And that is what this tablet is, a three blader – Ubuntu, Android, and W8. And it comes with a keyboard. So I can probably change the Unity GUI to something utile like XFCE or LXDE – not sure I want the overhead of KDE on a small RAM, limited CPU slab – and use the Ubuntu for “work” and the Android for “play”. And the W8 is there if a bog colleague is in need of rescue, purely as a social insurance thing.

The Ubuntu (real (?) Linux) tablet has been promised often and never, that I can see, delivered. So I am not holding my breath on this one. And it is hideously expensive. I can go buy a laptop workstation (almost) for this price. Or a really good laptop from a Linux house.

On which note, I also ran across [Link] an avowedly partial list of Linux GUI. This is the Linux equivalent of the Grand Canyon, an awe (?) inspiring sight. You have the great, colorful depths, like KDE and XFCE, the shadows like LXDE, and the cess pools like Unity and Gnome 3. And unlike the tyranny that is W8, choices. That is what counts.

And lastly, from England, [Link] the un-news that PC sales are down and tablet sales are up. But the telling stat is

“In the same three-month period, 2.3 million PCs were sent into channels, possibly to moulder in unsold piles, representing a decline of 15 per cent. This included a 20 per cent fall in portables and a six per cent decline in desktops.”

Note, pray, an 0.2 decline in lap boxes and an 0.06 decline in desk boxes. The article claims this is because lap boxes are more amenable to replacement than desk boxes. I would say that what is done with lap boxes is fundamentally different from desk boxes. Simply put, desk boxes are used more for creation and work than lap boxes which are used more for consumption and entertainment.

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Me Either

I don’t own an iPud either. [Link] It’s not so much a purity of music sound thing though. I have the integrity to acknowledge that the music I like – 50’s and early 60’s folk, pipes, and military bands – are not the finest of musical purity and quality. They do however speak to me in ways that the classical performances of great symphonies didn’t in my youth. So the dubious quality of MP3 is adequate to resonate with both my corpus and my mentus.

There’s another reason. This music, if I may call it such, isn’t readily available on iTunes. I get it the old fashioned way by buying physical media and converting to MP3 myself. That is a bit of work but it makes it all the more dear to me.

Besides, iTunes works like merde on Linux. Never have understood Apple in this regard. The Apple boxes all run bastardizations of the progenitor OS so why so inimical? Could it be insecurity?

Anyway, I own three MP3 players: an old Creative that I started with and which was on almost last legs when I moved its files off and now keep as a momento of better, simpler days; a Sans Disk that houses the music collection; and a Conow that houses the podcast episodes. Both the Sans Disk and the Conow are file based devices that act like USB storage devices. That way I can do what I want with moving files and not have to wait on a  religious experience like iTunes. The Sans Disk contents are very stable, almost no deletions and only occasional additions now. I fear my taste in music is becoming antediluvian with Bobby Horton being the epitome of contemporary artists. The Conow’s collection changes weekly as old episodes are discarded and new ones added. And, of course, quality of sound in podcasts is a joke.

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Off Key and Painful

Back to gym with week in and summer seems to have set in in earnest. The only difficulty is the return of the summer seniors who switch to early visitation because of the heat quantity later in the day and generally make the gym a nuisance of social nonsense, detracting and distracting those of us who want to get done and get gone.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with the use of video teleconferencing to give violin lessons and it was horrible. This piece of stercus was more boring than preparing (cooking) grits. So my attention strayed and I noted on the audio-visual electromagnetic receiver that the Los Angeles museum of “art” has placed a rock on display. Now given the interest in cave craft or rock art the last couple of weeks I gave this some attention and my disappointment was deepened. Do not mistake me. There are lots of beautiful rocks out there, large and small. I have several. Whenever I had to go to White Sands I would stay in Los Cruces so I could drive by the Organ mountains. But this rock is not beautiful and IMHO, not art. It’s just a piece of rock and unless you’re a pantheist and have some sort of religionist mania about rocks, not particularly notable as anything more than a swindle on the part of the “artist” and the museum.

On the positive side however, this does enhance the consideration that neandertals may have done those hand outline cave craft ‘paintings’ since compared to this chunk of mass that’s a lot more lookable and enjoyable.

On which note, one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me a link to an article that reports on a survey of New England Journal of Medicine statistics on discorporation causes over time. The actual report is linked but they presented this teaser graphic

The article calls the deaths per 1E5 a “rate’ rather than a period fraction (which we may think of as a probability over a years period?) but then we can’t expect journalists to understand technical stuff, can we? Evidently they can’t be bothered to properly explain what they are talking about either. The underlying information, especially on the journal web site is sound.

I was taken, first, by the decrease of almost 0.5 in only 110 years. The differences are pretty clearly a list of what can now be cured or postponed. Because of that, and the reduced probability of discoporation over a years time, which translates into a greater time to discorporation (RV), indicates the increase in the instances of cardiac, chaos (cancer), and senility (Alzheimer’s). I was also pleased to see suicide on the list. Given the backsliding of medical treatment with mutation and climate change, voluntary discorporation has to become socially acceptable.

Next, I ran across an article [Link] about MegaHard’s imperial conspiracy to lock out Linux from future computers by exchanging the BIOS for a complicated lock that they will sell keys to. And likely none to Apple or Linux competitors. The article dealt with the Canonical and Fedora responses to this which struck me as even worse kludges intended to make life easy for the bogs they keep hoping to attract away from Winders. Let’s see now the idea is that Winders 8’s tile GUI system “METRO” will be so alien that the Winders mindserfs will rush out to embrace the tile GUI “UNITY” of Ubuntu? And MegaHard will prevent this by locking out all other OS but MegaHard’s? Except the lock can be hacked. So why aren’t the distro developers developing hacks instead of caving to MegaHard’s lead? Something smells like rodent.

Lots of off key today. Violins really aren’t very pleasing musical instruments and medical capabilities are going to pot and now we’re going to have to buy computers designed to run Linux? Must be Monday.

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Opposite Saturday

Saturday arrived and the weekend, as we think of it at this snapshot instant, is truly begun. As is usual at these times I find myself with a backlog of tabs and so in the interest of cleaning them out a bit of a melange is likely to emerge. Who knows, it may even be emergent. (Didn’t get to use that pun yesterday when I should have punned.)

First, I see [Link]that the fraction of Amerikans who are using P2P is at 0.09 and declining. And the music corporate oligarchs, who consider anyone using P2P to be engaged in criminal activity, are still foretelling the eminent demise of their industry. The question that floats up is does anyone, other than them and their untalented employees who cannot get work elsewhere, care. If the present music industry, which is highly centralized and managed for the benefit of the central corporation, went away, would things be worse off? I contend that they would not, at least after a brief period of turbulence. The highly centralized music industry is one that hass emerged in the last century and has not the persistence an tradition of other businesses. Examples of original activity using the ‘net abound and are not only successful but considerably less antagonistic than the current instrumentality.

I do not disapprove of copyright, but I do disapprove of the legal fantasy that corporations are people and have civil rights. They may have legal rights but fundamentally they are not human, except in the most pathological ways, and deserve not the rights they manipulate and abuse. And government is corrupt and disserving to accord them these rights. Fundamentally, copyright should benefit the people who produce a creative work. That means the author primarily and the folks who actually produce the physical instantiations for sale. Those who run the stores can make their money by adjusting the difference between wholesale and retail price.

But those who manage large corporations who steal copyright and squeal when their tactics are turned upon them deserve nothing other than a realistic salary.

Next, there is research from Northwestern U [Link] that identifies a strong positive correlation between obesity and attendance at religious services. The rather inflammatory title of the article hints that religion causes obesity but I rather suspect this is more about organization than religion. As I have muttered previously, organizations will go to any end to survive, lacking both ethics and morals in the pursuit, so it makes sense that religious organizations, which are in retreat over much of the Yankee epublic, will use enticements and bribes to maintain or increase the number of members. This is not surprising but it is intriguing. Is it all right for those who practice a religion to be part of such an organization? After all, it is a demonstration of absence of ethics and morals of an egregious sort, and most religions prescribe a code of morals for their members, so is it meet that the members have to be bound by a moral code but their organization not?

Next, researchers in India have pushed the date for hand ax knapping technology (craft?) in Asia back to possibly as far as 1.5 MYA (1.25 MYA with a range of +/- 0.25MY). [Link] Sadly there are still folks there who have not advanced much beyond this point even today.

And lastly, the wonks at Brookhaven have managed to make and observe an anti-Helium nucleus in one of their colliders. [Link] This strikes me as rather neat but I would have preferred that they portrayed it is an anti-alpha particle. Calling it an anyi-Helium mucleus is misleading. If they had pair it up with two positrons (anti-electrons) to make an atom of anti-Helium I would have applauded their choices but as is, is a bit disingenuous.

Of course we have to consider if we can call an anti-electron a positron, can we call an anti-alpha particle an omega particle? And is anti-Helium a common gas or an anarchist gas?

Such is the tenor of Saturday.

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