Saturday Saichel

Saturday is update day at SCP seat, where among the crenelations and bastions I have to mumble about trying to get the SW on the boxes updated. After years of gentle begging, interspersed with the occasional burst of bogish groveling I have finally gotten FD SCP to do some of this on her two boxes. Admittedly much of this is automated but in recent months I have finally gotten her to not categorically eradicate any message about installing updates. This after she complained about her internet access being rather pot holed and I discovered she was two releases behind on Firefox.

This will not, I fear, fundamentally change her view that computers should be appliances, fixed and narrowly responsive to her demands, but at least it will reduce my workload on her machines to the excruciating minimum of dealing with her sewing clients that frequently demand to be the only SW on the box, including the OS. If ever I encounter one of the coders who wrote this abomination – I understand they are all cowering in Sweden, which explains the recent events there exhibiting an absence of ethics and integrity in their Justicer system – I should like to smear them with a mixture of bonding agent and bovine circulatory fluid and cast them into waters teeming with these beasts, [Link]
a meter long megapiranha paranensis, who based on scaling from the modern variety, and allowing for volumetric slowing, could dispose of a coder in significantly less than the time for the skeleton to reach the bottom of the river.

On the good side, the existence of these people does provide a least lower bound of the capabilities of coders; in effect a manifestation of how bad a coder can be, something akin to the Planck granularity of space in terms of smallness of scale.

That infliction is the summer version, made nasty by the general thermality of the environment. The winter version involves a time travel device whereby we may visit all four of the coder’s grandfathers prior to the conception of any children and subjecting them to irreversible vasectomies. They say winter revenge is stronger, but begs the question of why Hamlet wasn’t micturated at having the throne swiped by his uncle, never mind the murder of daddy and the diddling of momma – the latter raising even more questions. Those, of course, were Danes, not Swedes, so any comparisons are as appropriate as comparing Sowth Alibamians to Nawth Alibamians.

But returning to summer, I see that folks at U Kansas [Link] have figured out that Sol system moving through the Milky Way’s spiral arms is not responsible for global climate change. Despite this refreshing news that strengthens the (modern) democrat social engineering oligarch elitist argument that global climate change is caused by anti-socialist (modern) republican capitalist corporate oligarchs, and a cancerous majority in the parliament of the Yankee republic, a emergent Steve McQueen type blob of a climate bill seems fractured in dissent among the party successful. [Link] Hmmmm, wasn’t something like this what happened in 1860 with the election to select the sixteenth [1] president of the Yankee republic? And we all recall what happened because of that, at least those of us who went to shul before the mindless lemmings of political correctness eradicated history from the curriculum of the public shuls.

I am not quite sure what all this demonstrates. Part of it is the bankruptcy of American politics, especially in terms of our duopoly of party rule. Part of it is that home district pork – and votes – is more important than national – or planetary – existence. And part of it is that the most intense source of global climate change causation is gathering of politicians. Such gatherings don’t overwhelm the impact of proletarian consumerism, but they do put us in mind of Billy Rattlelance’s suggestion that perhaps it is time to put the justicers out of our misery.

On the heels of which we have a survey from the Pew folks [Link] that 0.17 of the respondents to their survey, assumed representative of the population of the Yankee republic, are Baptists.
Baptists are quite common here in the old Confederacy. I sometimes think the two go together rather like Bear Bryant’s soda pop and fried potato crisps, basically a bunch of people united in resistance to being subjugated by someone else who will tell them what they are. Doctrine in Baptist churches is more about peaceful co-existence than anything actually mystical or organizational. Of course they do get a bit riled when one uses them as a case study in a management course on organizational pathologies, and they are almost as bad as gnats, black bugs, and mosquitoes in terms of swarming and being a general nuisance in their proselyting and heavy handed conversion pestering.

And while we are on the subject of mysticism, I note that the folks at One Laptop Per Child have made their software suite – SUGAR – available to the general consumerate to use on old decrepit boxes. [Link] I’m not going to rush and dedicate a 1 Gb memory stick to this, even to resurrect an archaic paleo-laptop of SCPdatter running W98 that I have been unable to get even the most spayed version of Linux to run on (well), but this news should be cheering to all those who have computers with VISTA installed. One more indication of the eminent discorporation of MegaHard? Or just the boys at the wonk shul doing their thing?

On a positive side of the subject of nerd digital mysticism, I note [Link] that HP is introducing iPhone applications that emulate respectively 12C and 15C calculators. While the 15C part is positive, the 12C part is too closely associated with business bogs, I fear this is not that great a calculator. The 15C had two major positives: it was RPN, as any good calculator should be; and it would fit in a shirt pocket; but aside from that it was medicore at best in comparison to either the 35 or the 35S. Definitely not a reason to go buy an iPhone at all unless one is a really terminal geek in bog’s clothing and especially not here in Nawth Alibam (or even I suspect in Sowth Alibam) where network denisty is flat line zero. But HP does get the manna points for the idea and getting the value of an iPhone up above zero.

And to conclude on a very positive note, we have an exposition [Link] that the vacuum is only empty of regular matter but still full of virtuals and fields. So much for fear of monsters under the bed and in the closet. Silly human, those are just errant unseen bosons. So while things may seem empty there is still spin.

Now, dizzy from low sugar level as much as thinking about integer spins, I go to break my fast.

[1]  That is sixteen as counting George Washington as number one. No inclusion of the presidents before him. Upsets the establishmentarian mythology, you know to even mention that. Very unAmeriKan.

Father’s Day Drone

Yes, I know. No blot yesterday. Had too much thinking to do to mumble much. Burned out early today, so maybe I can make things worse?

Since today is sunday I suppose I should say something about organized religion, preferably christian since most of the christian sects have their services on sunday and insist that government consider this day the true and legal shabbat. Anyway, I note [Link] that the governing synod  at Wikipedia have banned (excommunicated? literally!) anyone official at the Church (?) of Scientology from editing on Wikipedia. Evidently some issue having to do with unethical self promotion and self serving oppression. At the same time the Church of England is wrestling with the problem of hiring out their steeples and spires as sites for cellular phone antennas. [Link] Evidently towers like we have uglifying the horizon are taboo in the land of occasional regicide sanity, no word on bats. Anyway, the pharisees of the church have decided the matter to be secular and foisted the question off on local free will.

I should think this an excellent opportunity for mutual cooperation? After all, the Church of England has become very adept about dealing with corporate organizations abusing sacred ground. The instance I am considering is their kerfuffle with Sony about the unauthorized use of visuals of church interiors in some noxious video game. On the other hand, the Church (?) of Scientology has become very adept at dealing with outside technological incursions, if not moralists in masks, so it may be that each may help the other with their difficulties. The intriguing question is the doctrinal and dogmatic aspects of such a cooperation.

On the matter of mystical behavior and technology, I note [Link] that the iPhone craze seems to have peaked, either temporarily or permanently. Not only are their no long lines of people queuing to purchase the latest, but some people are discovering the beast to really be a white elephant. Sad, just when FD SCP has convinced me that I can continue to live with my current cellular phone instead of something that I actually like. Although I do have to admit after perusing the local AT&T showroom that I did not find much of anything that met my requirements. Oh, for the good old days of my Motorola flip-brick!

The good news – yes, I do that occasionally as long as it’s nerdish – is that last night was the solstice. [Link] Ayeh, even though the worst of summer is yet to come, for those of us who are experiencing summer, which we here in Nawth Alibam definitely are – supposed to be 98 degrees Fahrenheit today and it’s still June, the longest day of the year is now passed. We are once more on the road to winter. And a bit of frost in the air would be welcome around here today.

Back before I was a father, but after I became a post hole digger, I used to play war games for recreation. Ayeh, it’s lame, especially for a guy even at the age I was, but what do you expect for social life of a guy who spent a lot of years commuting between library and computer center doing physics research? And going to class before that. My thing was modern miniatures – 1:285 scale armored vehicles and toy soldiers played on the floor of a large room festooned with painted Styrofoam hills and blue surveying tape – the Third Great War that didn’t happen. Anyway, the other thing that was happening, in a small adjacent room, and making a lot more noise than we were, were the really weird gamers playing Dungeons and Dragons. There were two types of folks in there: the rebel-without-a-cause wannabes who were too timid except in their artificial personas and the psychology wannabes watching the first type for thesis material. I won’t comment on the type of folks who shove toy vehicles around by the direction of metric ruled steel tapes – try to find those in Lowe’s these days – and compute probability tables to be sampled with hand thrown dice. OK, that last part is common, isn’t it? Anyway, we go on to make stuff for soldiers and write blogs.

It seems the Dungeons   and Dragons organization is now mainstream. They are whacking on some folks for posting manuals online and abusing intellectual property rights and, oh yes!, cash flow. [Link] Somehow this is thunderingly hilarious. That the epitome of depraved adolescent rebellion has now become so establishmentarian as to litigate over sharing manuals? Not as if it is making any substantive difference in revenue.

OK. One of the differences between miniatures gaming and D&D is manuals. Miniatures gamers buy one manual per game type – my bunch used a variant on WRG Modern Combat, the variant was for the new weapons we snuck in – and a gazillion miniature fighting things, vehicles primarily for moderns, and paint and all that stuff. The D&D players had to buy a zillion manuals and only a little bit of stuff, like all sorts of strange dice.
Anyway, the band (or whatever the social organization of a set of D&D players is called) of players would take turns buying one manual and running it several times (n-1) through a Xerox machine. Always and forever. And the folks who wrote the manuals knew this because they knew how many manuals they shipped to how many players in an area. And besides, wannabe sociology types wrote theses about this.

So now the sue? That is depraved.

And then the next article [Link] says that 0.08 of all the computer users in the land of occasionally sane regicides download illegally. Hmmm. Maybe there are more D&D players than I thought. Not too many modern miniatures players any more. But I’m too old and infirm to crawl around on floors for sixteen hours at a stretch. Any more.

And then I see that the folks out in New Mexico have broken ground on the planet’s (?) first spaceport. [Link] Maybe I need to count the folks who play the space equivalent of D&D? Strange. I always found the folks I worked with out at White Sands and in Los Cruces to be so sane. Even Robert of Childishness.

Anyway, back to father’s day. I have to make pizza after while.

Monday Thankfulness

Monday is a relief in the sense that the gym is open again. One of the penalties of living in the hinterland is that the superstitious mystic fanatics coerce the politicians into making it illegal for all sorts of services and conveniences to be available on the christian sabbath. It’s that sort of chauvinistic majority (sorta) discrimination that is permitted by both law and tradition, the one of whoever is in charge gets to beat up on whoever isn’t and get away with claiming it is fair and legal.

I say sorta because even the majority fanatics are turning against themselves. Seems that Greater Metropolitan Arab, abetted by the guvment of Alibam considers any religious organization that has service other than on Sunday morning and evening to not be christian. This includes not only seventh day observers and Friends, but also the church of Rome, which celebrates mass on Saturday evening, which should technically be on sabbath but apparently isn’t from a legal standpoint.

So I can’t get much exercise on Sunday, even if shabat ended on Saturday evening, because the gym is closed, the roads are clogged with mystic fanatics doing work and pretending to be holy, and expressing such by trying to run down joggers and walkers for evidently not sitting through one hour of service, with a jingoistic sermon, followed by an overcaloric, unhealthy midday meal and an afternoon of sitting somnolent while watching mindless competitions on the audio-imag0 receiver. Yes, there is definitely something sacred about NASCAR.

I don’t miss the opportunity to purchase beer and poison disguised as snack foods on sunday, but I do miss the opportunity to work on the sound body thing. It is hard to do the sound mind thing when that body complains and all the aintellegent folderol is going on. And, of course, the gym is depleted of the teacher taliban with shul being out of session; the only members of the AEA present are those who are administrators and have year-round employment.

Mondays are normally occupied with listening to episodes of the podcast of the CBCs “Best of Ideas” but my attention was a bit unengaged this morning. The episode was the first in a series on how poor health at birth leads to all sorts of problems through life. While the numbers were dire and enthralling, the whimpers of blathering social engineers and moralists was wearying. I am quite capable of arriving at my own conclusions of what matters should be remedied and how and I resent your sanctified pronouncements as if I were h. erectus rather than h. sapiens.

But I did note one thing as my attention divided between new programs and the podcast. This gives rise to a question:

Do they perform the brainectomy on news commentators and readers before, after, or during the cosmetic surgery?

I shall not comment on the pathos of listening to sermonizing on infant health fascism and news commentation simultaneously.

This Place Is My Temporary Location

We note that the PEW people have released some survey results [Link] that indicates that the more vested with the idea of an afterlife a group is, the more likely they are to discount worldly matters, like global climate change.

This prompts a rather socially unacceptable thought. If global climate change is the result of human civilization, then one of the clearest factors here is the number of humans on the planet. If we reduce the number of humans on Tellus then we can reduce the rigors of global climate change.

Now this is one of those topics that everyone shies away from. The (modern) democrat social engineers like to perpetrate the fiction that everyone, except themselves, who are clearly superior, are equal, and the (modern) republican corporate oligarchs, while they know they are superior, are vested in the extraction of wealth from the serf-consumerate. Add on that this is one of those situations where first mud slinger cannot triumph.

But if we have a segment of the population who is more interested in their next life than this one, perhaps they can be induced to volunteer to hurry up a bit? And no, I am not implying any sort of ‘Final Solution’ sort of thing, just tongue in cheek. But if the mystical and superstitious want to get in the way of the rest of us surviving, we should politely ask them to step aside.

Which, of course, raises the question of whether one can ever be polite to such people? After all, they are the ones who are sure we are wrong and are continually trying to bend our minds to theirs.

Brain + Mind = Bad Measure?

OK, this one is a bit strange, or at least the sort of thing we know exists but the traditional media only displays it on the weekend when they are hard up for what they consider to be “real” news and have to find anything to fill print space/program time.

I read via Reuters [Link] that a German woman has been granted a divorcement on the grounds that her husband is excessively neat and tidy. Part of what makes this unusual is that it rather contradicts our stereotypes of the gender relationship of tidiness. After all, hunters are naturally messy, bringing back whatever they first find that meets nutritional needs, while gatherers have to neatly bring back what is optimal in terms for freshness and ripeness. Of course, that sort of changed with the adoption of sedentaryness and agriculture, it has only been in the last century or so that rows are not plowed in a strict rectangular raster pattern. But, that adoption has only been for a decamillenium or so which is almost lost compared to a goodly fraction of a megayear.

Still, we have this social concept that women are the ones frantic about cleaning of homeplaces and men are somehow slobs who clean only when forced to. So tthe news that a woman finds some sanitomaniac unlivable seems extreme. Having been an undergraduate in the ’60’s when men were just beginning to get peeks of women’s dorm rooms I know better. My dorm room was a mess but not the chaos that so many of the coeds’ rooms were that I saw. Not that some were not as neat as Martha Stewart’s pretensions, but the mean was decidedly less tidy than the mean of men.

On a similar note, having to do with stress, I read that poor kids have less working memory than rich (?) kids. [Link] Getting past the mediaese, it seems that working memory in children is positively correlated with family income. The hypothesis then is that being poor creates stress and that stress must be the reason for the memory reduction.

I have no problem with the correlation. After all, family income and (some estimation of) working memory are quantifiable and observable. But stress? No psychologist I ever had dealings with indicated that there was a quantitative measure of stress. So unless this is some sort of whacked, almost meaningless scale, like the one rehabilitation therapists use for pain, which is highly individual, subjective, and untestable quantitatively, the stress hypothesis is shaky to specious. And I shan’t belabor the correlation equals causality leap.

What is attractive about this theory is that it helps explain why humans have taken so long to get what little we have done today, and why we seem to be continually burdened with mental parasites like mysticism and tyranny. But to go into liberal social engineering terminal hand wringing because the recession is damning children to stupidity? Better blame poor parenting as the root cause of permitting the recession to occur in the first place.

Lastly, I see that scientists have pinpointed regions in the brain that they associate with wisdom. [Link] Aside from the obvious question of how you quantify, even qualify, wisdom, I was taken with the statement

“Modern neuroscience is shifting towards a view of voluntary action being based on specific brain processes, rather than being a transcendental feature of human nature.”

Does that mean that science is replacing mysticism and superstition in medical research? How amazing. Someone go inform all those mystic ‘research’ facilities that they have to mend their ways or go out of business, not that their business is actually understanding.