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?


Public Perversion

Well, I survived the weekly trip to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, no thanks to all the tales of perfidy and betrayal by politicians of the area. And then I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and began to think. This led me – eventually – to consider the question of whether a perversion practiced publicly is less unhealthy than a perversion practiced privately?

The great Amerikan perversion seems to be spectator sports, although I have heard other candidates argued. Since this is a perversion I do not indulge in, it may just seem more egregious to me. So the cartoon expresses one aspect of the density of that perversion that there are people, probably not very sentient nor intelligent?, who operate under the delusion that only businesses, especially sports businesses, have logos?

And I shall refrain from nasty comments about how colleges have degenerated into businesses since the Great Patriotic War.

Although that may clearly be part of why the perversion – and the cartoon – is so pervasive.

It is impossible to go any distance or time in Alibam, unless sequestered in a controlled environment, and not encounter a person cad in (predominantly) a campus of the Black Warrior shirt or an Alibam Polytechnic shirt. Based on encounter theory, I would estimate the fraction of the population so attired – at any given time – to be about 0.1. That seems rather a lot, but what is depressing is that 0.9 of that 0.1 seems to be unconscious of the fact that these are colleges and not sports organizations. And that fraction includes quite a few matriculates of the colleges, which would seem strange except that most no longer attend college for an education but a ticket punch. And if all one is doing at college is serving time for a credential, a diploma, then diversion is a primary concern. And learning is not.

So is the perversion healthier? Normally being perverse in public is an invitation to punishment but once the perversion becomes epidemic that likely doesn’t apply, so all we can conjecture is that it makes no difference. Except for violence by perverts of the same flavor but different attachment.

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Homo Vicarious

A nasty morning after a sleepful night. It may even has been restful. At least I was less bed tired this morning than is modal. My browser tells me it is 23 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab; my aft porch wireless thermometer sez 27 degF. Both are too d*** cold for this ORF. So I did my constitution on the stationary bicycle in my study. Not as good, physically nor menally, as a stumble on the path in the park but avoiding heart attack and frostbite and whatever – especially a visit to those modern pest holes we still call hospitals – is a boon.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and was rather taken with the punch line. Is it craziness to dislike sports, at least the vicarious types like one observes on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver? I think not. If anything, it is the opposite. And a very nasty, depraved, abusive type of opposite.

In fact, I would advance that this is a chief characteristic of bogs except that there are geeks, and a few nerds, who participate in this perversion. Now be mindful that I am not talking about sports one participates in. That may be stupid and foolish and rash but it is not mentally unhealthy, except in a purely physical sense of losing one’s mind due to having one’s brain smashed. No, rather I talk about spectator sport which is even more vicarious than spectator sex.

But, no, this perversion must be a separate infestation of humanity, the primary reason why we have politicians and lawyers and all the other dire threats to the future of humanity. And because it is so widespread, it is the norm and nothing can be done about curing it and it can be survived only by bunkering in.

On a more pleasant note, we observed an article [Link] that McDougal’s signage rots our higher faculties and enjoyments. In effect horrible, unhealthful food and higher thought processes cannot coexist. Presumably this is a commonality of chain businesses and not just the world’s worst food purveyor.[1]

Happily this is an affliction that is curable. We may either force the congress of thieves to outlaw chain retail businesses – a highly unlikely event – or resort to the use of civil disobedience which at least has the virtue of being a participatory sport. Sadly that is also highly unlikely given the nature of Amerika’s food perversion. But we can be happy in the knowledge that the cancer does have a cure; we just most likely won’t avail ourselves of it. One the other hand, the food is so unhealthy that we shan’t have to live a empty, vapid life for very long.

[1]  Actually I have experience with a worse food purveyor but it was a singleton. When I was an adolescent my parents took the family on a motorcar vacation to the Floridas and we overnighted in a small chain motel in a room with broken air conditioning and a restaurant that could actually ruin hotcakes. I managed to contract both pneumonia and food poisoning which made for a truly unique vacation experience.

Outreach Goodness

My opinions on science outreach are fairly obvious to the (few) readers of this blog. I consider it a perverse frenzy of current popularity that is characterized by Sturgeon’s Rule, that 0.9 of everything is crap.

crap n 1: obscene terms for feces [syn: crap, dirt, shit, shite, poop, turd]; 2: obscene words for unacceptable behavior; “I put up with a lot of bullshit from that jerk”; “what he said was mostly bull”

Happily that also implies that 0.1 is not.

I have to advance that I do not find much of the 0.1 that is written by actual academics; they seem unable these days of composing. But I did run across an excellent bit of outreach this weekend in the form of this cartoon, [Link]

And I still contend that the best children’s science book I know of is John Lewellen’s The Boy Scientist, Simon and Schuster, 1955. That date in itself is a condemnation of the current madness.

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I have to admit to being rather a bit disturbed about the recent religionist demonstrations against the Yankee republic. That that I object to the right of the people to conduct peaceful demonstration. The problem however, is that the demonstrations are not peaceful and they are violating civil rights, especially of those killed, injured, or discommoded.

This brings to the question of religionist expression versus civil rights. Which takes precedent? Obviously the superstitious will argue that their religionist exhibitions must take precedence over civil rights because they are superstition, after all. And the advocates of civil rights will argue that civil rights must take precedence because they are not religionist.

I have considered previously that superstition is coded into humans, a part of their nature and genetic code. Independence and individual existence are similar components. As a result, both religionist expression and civil rights may be considered fundamental to humans.

The religionists will argue that their beliefs derive from deity, which is an untestable, unverifiable claim and hence void of mass. Even if there is some accuracy to their claim, the interpretation of such revelation is as mundane as are the civil rights and hence the two are indistinguishable on the basis of origin.

This leaves us with a situation where one of two situations, neither likely stable or stationary, offer. That one or the other of these two, the superstition of religion or the superstition of civil rights, must be implicitly be ascendant, or that some tolerance will exist that permits the two to be selectively observed.

The latter is apparently unacceptable to the religionists involved. This is hardly surprising. Perversion tends to be absent of limit. Especially when it is rationalized as an absolute good, itself a perversion. So it is unclear what can be done about the nonsense and perversion other than we need be careful not to degrade ourselves to similar depths.

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I am often surprised by the apparent perversity of humans. No, I am not just speaking of sexual antics here but perversion in a broader sense of destructive behavior. One of my colleagues, Velocity Spin, has been regaling me with the praise of a journalist and in a spirit of testing whether she is not quite as whacked as she often seems, I have added her podcast to my accumulator as replacement for the MakeUseOf Technophilia podcast whose merits I descried in an earlier blot.

The journalist is in  the employ of MSNBC, so I had to go to an MSNBC web site to obtain the podcast URL for its RSS feed. I do not frequent such sites often, having a low level of tolerance for stupidity and vapid coding, so I was a bit bemused by how the links for the podcast feed were handled. There were three hot spots for subscribing for different devices:

  • iTunes;
  • Zune: and
  • everything not an iPod or a Zune.

Of course the Zune thing is there because it is an MSNBC web site. Is Zune even made any more?

Anyway, in my mind, once I subtracted out the MS foible, this reduced to Apple iPod, and everything else. And I proceeded to contemplate this. I should comment that this is not the only place I have seen this sort of differentiation but for some reason this morning, this one stuck.

Back in the bad old days of the Containment Conflict, aka The Cold War, we used to bemoan the fate of the poor Yugoslavians who being under the Communist tyranny instead of our benevolent Capitalist tyranny were cursed with having only one offering of any commodity. And in many case zero offerings of indispensable things like nose wiping papers impregnated with “lotion” or toothpaste with two colors of stripes built in. We bemoaned this as a tyranny of absence of choice. And, of course, it even extended, begrudgingly, to the Russians whose GUM department store (and bakeries) seldom had anything and what they had was one of a kind. This absence of choice was proclaimed as an absence of freedom. And we used to extend our sympathy to the poor deprived wights suffering under the yoke of Communism and renew our commitment to Amerika, Capitalism, the Nice Jewish Carpenter, and the goal of freeing those “poor people”.

And now I am exposed to evidence that we do this to ourselves. At one time MegaHard had a Lanchestrian monopoly on browsers with Internet (User) Exploiter. Now we are doing it with Apple poo. Tablet is a synonym for iPud, at least when it comes to advertising. The iPod is a synonym for MP3 player, at least for bog music and podcasts. Which raises the intriguing question of how do bog podcasts come about? More to the point, what makes us lemmings rushing to generate thing monopolies like this?

I should clarify, at least for any straying bogs who happen on here, that since I am a user of FOSS – Free and Open Software Systems – hence Linux, I do not use iTunes. Simply put it is too slow and too clutzy. So I use an MP3 player that acts like a USB stick rather than a microwave oven of noise. And I have to have a URL to download podcasts, or music, should I ever be inclined that way – different perversion – to go into my accumulator. Such, in my warped Containment Era programmed mind, is the nature of Freedom. Or perhaps, just choice and self-determination. But then I don’t hang around bogs enough to listen to them brag about what they can do with an iPod.

Not that I brag about what I can do with my MP3 player, since any of my nerd/geek colleagues can do the same. It’s a matter of our shared delusion of competency. Competency that bogs don’t have but think they do until they talk to us and run away like they have seen the Atomic Hand Grenade. Screaming. In fear!

But that doesn’t answer the question of why people do this sort of thing. Why do some products become choices – like automobile brands and models – and others become monopolies – like iPods? I don’t understand how we inflict this on ourselves.

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Dislike Denied

This morning started with a teaser. The weather beavers had predicted rain so when I stepped out of Castellum SCP, I heard running water and returned to secure and don my rain coat. But after exiting to sky, I discovered all I was hearing was the roof catch flowing down the drains. 

This put me in mind of yesterday’s  comments about social networking web sites (SNWS?) Then when I got to gym and listened to science podcasts, hearing about a tribe in the Amazonian rain forest that seems to violate the ‘natural language’ postulate, two million year old human tended (if not kindled) fire – which I have blogged upon previously, and Chippilo’s “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”, that thought azimuth was intensified.

It occurs that all SNWS are unbalanced and for that reason, aconstructionist. The unbalance is that it is almost impossible to say anything negative on one of these sites. FaceScroll is the epitome. Despite efforts to ‘dislike’ something, one can either ignore something, ‘like’ it, or make a comment. And based on experience, if the comment is the least bit constructionist, a wrath of irateness descends upon one. In effect, one if left with the alternatives of lurking or being Pollyanna. 

Frankly, this is blatantly and implicitly extrovertish. It follows from the extrovert addiction to attention and the natural attempt to maximize attention by attracting and pleasing as many people as possible. And the best way to please the majority, the bogs, is by doing nothing worthwhile or constructive. So in a constructive sense, we may associate SNWS with Extrovertism and all of its ills in our contemporary society with a high level of confidence.

In turn this utter vapidity of artificially enhanced positivism can be seen as a sort of mini-whimper that signals the degeneration of society into slime mold, and stinky slime mold at that.

It also indicates why branding is so successful on SNWS. By its nature it is ubiquitously positive and allergic to any form of constructive assessment, analysis, or criticism. One might even invent conspiracy that branding is what drives SNWS, rather than any actual give and take.