OGG fellows

The evil of winer is descended again. A murrain upon all political denialists.

Which puts me in mind of a podcast episode of Ubuntu UK on Thursday. I have dismissed Ubuntu from all but my least used boxes, most of whom predate PAE and hence are of shaky liklihood of being updated, but I listen to this podcast because it is well done – despite the be damned absence of the Wing Commander . Which raises the question once more of why do the English do podcasts so much better than Americans?

Anyway, the episode was blathering a bit about the lack of diversity at their latest OGG camp. Too few women and people-of-colour (as they put the category.) If you don’t know what OGG is, go look it up. Not my trajectory this morning. And since the purpose of such gatherings is exchange of information (Bogs would say knowledge,) and attendance is ope to anyone including Qadgop, why are they maundering?

But after thinking on this I came to once more consider the nonsense of some of our social/governmental taxonomies. Take RACE for instance. I dug out an old American Scientist book review [Link] that made the statement:

The consensus among Western researchers today is that human races are sociocultural constructs. Still, the concept of human race as an objective biological reality persists in science and in society. It is high time that policy makers, educators and those in the medical-industrial complex rid themselves of the misconception of race as type or as genetic population.

which I translate into nerd-speak as "race is stercus tauri."

In fact, it seems, based on observation that the current taxonomy of race is an artifact of government )organization) control of citizens (members.) That is, it may be meaningless but it is going to be used to maintain the order and control government/organization wants. This is abetted by those who receive positive differential preferment courtesy of the taxonomy. But it sure ain’t nerdish nor scientifical.

It occurs that a more meaningful system would be based on substantive (and actual rather than invented) differences among people. Reproductive plumbing seems to be one such; the refereed literature has become moderately populated in recent years with articles experimentally establishing differences between men and women that are not the tales of patriarchs and toadies. It is also increasingly indicated that superficialities such as skin tint and eyelid shape are of no more than moderate relevance, if that. More useful and relevant ones may include adult secretion (or not) of lactase, early versus late rising, INTRO versus EXTRO, ….

The further we go with this, the closer we draw to questions dealing with societies and their differences. Fundamental questions still remain here. Admittedly a cannibal has a different view of reality than a vegetarian but should diversity encompass the right of the former to consume the latter. Or of the latter to starve the former? If we are going to take a scientifical approach to this should not the metric of diversity be functional? How effective are particular diversities? Of course this defers how we assure ourselves the metrics are objective and objectively measured, but there seems little merit to a diversity for its own sake, especially if it is ineffective or even destructive.

And I don’t care who comes to OGG camp so long as I get to make my own decision to attend or not. Losing sight of that side of the matter is a short path to Tartarus.

Preachy Science 1

More direness this week. Down hill in temperature according to the prophecies of the weather beavers. Why don’t they wear regalia? You know, miters and such? I won’t even breach the idea of cardioectomies.

The gym was dense this morning and the grunting weight bouncers were in a fully bullying mood. Happily I could exit expeditiously.

I was in mind of a cartoon:[Link]

I saw some time ago. I was rather taken by the idea of "preachy science junk". Rather definitive of a bog, eh, what? This cartoon lass should make an excellent (in context) politician when she reaches majority – chronological, that is.

Sadly, this seems to be the mode these days as society, especially Amerikan, is in a lemming rush to collapse and extinction.

Have a nice mundane day,

Birthdays and Friends

Winter is held at bay a bit although my constitutional was compromised by having to wear plastic pants and a slicker. And the podcast file was badly corrupted probably due to the prevarications of the Oneonta Telephone Company. But the walk itself was bracing. Not so the soaking that crept past the polymeric barrier.

So firmly in the outer side of week out and incoming to the second week of the stress season, I am not greatly moved to make soaring pronouncements that will be studiedly unattended by the boggerate.

One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me a link to the nonsense about the Chickem Man, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s, tweets about the birthday of Isaac Newton, Knight. [Link] Seems my colleague made similar statements on the Facescrill and received zero negative comments and several positive ones, even from religionists. Scant wonder. Religionisists, especially the organized and insecure leadership ones, want publicity. And are insecure. I suspect they fear that if they don’t respond they will be seen as weak and unworthy. Which is, as I recall, what Christians are supposed to be?

So those who protest supposed attacks on religion are themselves displaying their own failings? Seems quite human to me.

I did take some amusement that the day is the actual birthday anniversary of neither. Sir Isaac’s birthday was 25/12 but in Julian calendar so it is now somewhere in January? And Joshua ben Joseph was born in March? Maybe. If actual. Since I never met either it is largely a matter of what trust I place in others and from experience I can advance that, modally, science nerds are more trustworthy than religionist bogs. On the other hand the latter are much more likely to steal and use violence. So I will stick to accepting the day as Newtonmas because it is patently the lesser error.

This does bring us close to the question of how many friends a human can have? [Link] There’s a lot wrong with this article. It should en entitled something like how many friends can the human mind support? Also, what is a friend? Can we define the parameters concisely and precisely? The article doesn’t.

Depending on source, some of which actually have some research backing them up, the answer is somewhere between a band and a Band, in anthropological terms. That is, 25 – 150. I suspect the range is a matter of how the individual defines friend and not just how the researcher tries to. Or doesn’t.

If I consider FaceScroll, the number of FS "friends" I have is closer to the upper bound. But I don’t consider a lot of these folks to actually be friends. More like acquaintances, former co-workers, former fellow students, and past friends that are more distant now. Even a couple of former lovers. But not what I really consider a friend, in the main. Not that I can do a good job of quantitatively defining friend. My rule of thumb is how much money will I loan them. Acquaintances get a soda pop; peripheral friends get lunch; real friends get a co-signer. Not that real friends actually ask. That’s part of the definition. It’s a Heller thing.

That money thing is another characteristic of friends. The arguments over money are not about who has to pay, but about who doesn’t have to pay. If you have lunch with a friend you don’t talk about who pays how much of the tab but whose turn it is to pay the whole thing. And the rules aren’t turn about. It’s sort of the opposite of war. You don’t argue whose ground it is, but whose it should be.

Fuzzy Set Theory anyone?

God and Nader

Running behind this morning. Adopt-A-Physicist is almost over and there are always a few students who don’y get their courage screwed up till near ending. I am still trying to get comfortable. Brrrrrrrrrr this morning and the weather beavers are foretelling solid phase dihydrogen oxide by Ice Cream day and I didn’t get waarmed up until motoring back from errands and got overhot.

On which thermodynamic nonsense, I note that the Bishop of Rome has announced to his religionists that physics is real, Big Band and Evolution are “true”, and the deity is not a magician.[Link] Not as neat as Albert but exceptional for a Bishop of Rome. May put him up with the guy who stared down Atilla?

I am not sure on the true part. I have always viewed truth as being a religionist thing, something beyond the capabilities and capacities of humans. Which sorta supports the idea but I still get uncomfortable when science is downgraded to true instead of accurate.

On an even happier note, Ralph Nader has announced that

“Well, Hillary is a corporatist and a militarist So she’s a menace to the United States of America.”

Nice that he either finally figured that out or screwed up his courage.

I am not a big fan of Mr. Nader. Mixed feelings. Comes from having three Corvairs and thoroughly enjoying all of then. Best cars I ever had. Even better than my TR-6 with seven forward gears. Yes, they were dangerous but all motorcars are. Not as dangerous as the drivers but put them together and they are weapons of mediocre destruction. But he has done good sense. And now this. First rate.


Superstition and Slide Rules

Sparse. That’s the best thing about gym, when it occurs. Not many people. For some reason the bullies seem to go away and the good folk remain. Even the weight bouncers about today were good folk. And the cable feed went sowth about halfway through my session so the absence of distraction of the vapid sort was appreciated.

The Guardian science podcast was a set of interviews/discussions with psychologists who specialize in humans who suffer from delusions of alien abductions, vampires, ghosts, and such. There were even a few slights about religionist superstition. Well placed. Sadly there was no real discussion of how to rid society of these nut cases.

But the high point was a National Public Radio podcast about the slide rule.[Link] Sadly, the pony to poo ratio was very LOW. There was some museum curator from the wonk schule on the Charles who was prattling about the slide rule angst among engineer students taking exams. And the whole attitude was rather poor and frivolous.

I have discussed slide rule previously but it is worth visiting again. I got my first slide rule about seven or eight, as I recall. I make this point because by the time I got to college my slide rule, which I could not use openly without derision from the cool kids – the jocks and cheerleaders, was a comfort, not a source of stress. Rather the opposite. It was a familiar tool that I could trust without cognition.

I suppose if I had been handed one as a freshman, never having seen before, and told to learn immediately to crunch numbers there might be some stress. I do not take direction easily. It is evil. But none of the people I knew were uneasy about slide rules. Many of us had brown up with them. In fact, they didn’t bother to teach slide rule in high schule because so many already knew and the ones who didn’t were destined for bogdom anyway.

And I rather take exception to the implication that the slide rule disappeared overnight once the nerd calculator was introduced. Technocratic prevarication! Electronic calculators had been around for years but weighed and bulked their own table. The first portable calculators were strictly add/subtract/multiply/divide so they could not replace the slide rule. The first nerd calculator, the HP-35, introduced in 1972, was a replacement but was so expensive that no student, nor professor, could afford without a gifting. Only corporate nerds could afford them. I was working for the Yankee army before I got a nerd calculator issued me, and HP-55, and it was late in my graduate schule attendance before I could afford a personal machine, a TI that felt like a cheap occupied Japan imitation of an HP. My first personal HP was an HP-25 and it was a marvel and a delight. But I still had a slide rule in my center desk drawer when I retired. For some things it was faster than a calculator. Even an RPN. 

So as usual, NPR vertically copulated.

In the Storm

Kudos to the Greater Metropolitan Arab Electron Uncooperative for doing what they traditionally do when it rains – bug out. At least twice last night.

But since the electrons were unflowing I had opportunity to do some cogitation and I have thunk on a few things:

This year’s Nobel Prizes – perhaps we should call this the year of the “Glowy Gadget” since both the physics and chemistry prizes were awarded to people who built gadgets that involved glowing. I know they gave Bardeen and company a Nobel for the transistor but I am less sure of these;

People in Motorcars Aren’t – it occurred while driving back from gym this morning in the rain that one of the reasons people drive so abominably towards each other is because they don’t consider people in motorcars to be people. Instead these are motorcars with people in them. So what they are interacting with is a box on wheels, and not a people. This will require more thinkum.

Since the potential failures played merry ned with the computers, that’s it for now.