And the Evil

While we’re in the good-bad mode, I noticed an article in Slate. [Link] They give Alibam first place (for the week) in working to enslave women. Not surprising. Except that normally this sort of thing would be an ordered list of the states on how they uphold civil rights. The list would have Alibam and Missip battling for last place.

I suspect the state got this because of the activity of the Council of Thieves to reduce women to chattels by abolishing their right to choice. 

TheoFascism is the excuse, I suspect.


Propagation of Ignorance

Spitting again this morning. The constitutional was almost pleasant. The podcast drones on, at most moderately diverting but not really engaging. The only real attention grabber is the points of obvious ignorance. Sometimes it is amusing just to listen in on what bogs talk about. Not for long, mind, but for a while. A little while. About sixteen or so minutes usually.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

not long ago and I grabbed it because it epitomizes my experience with on-line courses. Not much better than a blank screen. I know the GEN Y like (?) them but I do not. Every one I have taken has proven to be a BAD teacher. And not in the slang way of good. I mean no learning. 

This is a problem when they are certification courses. I have told the tale of the credit card training course that was supposed to take an hour and took eight because it had irrelevant information relative the certification exam. This is one of the reasons people break rules. They aren’t taught well, if at all. And don’t get me off on politicians and constables and physical quantities. No state legislature has any idea of what speed is.

And while I’m on the azimuth, I noted yesterday [Link] that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, another one of those things politicians do NOT understand and underfund dangerously) has found an aircraft carrier – Great Patriotic War version – that was used in nuclear tests post-war in the Pacific and then sunk by the Yankee Navy because they couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

Seriously? That’s what you do? Sink glow-in-the-dark ships and wait for Godzilla to trash Tokyo? Makes me wonder why the Neandertals died out. Much have been from disgust?


Mundane day and week in. Hopefully better than last week. And the week out. It started fairly well. The gym was sparse. the weight bouncers sparser, and the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, dealt with Wikipedia. I found I already knew quite a lot but it was good to have an integrated refresher.

Evidently, most of the national versions are much less contentious than the American version. And despite the contention it is very productive and effective. So the question arises:

Why is Wikipedia so effective and the Yankee Congress NOT?

I suspect the answer is the fraction of politicians in the contributing population. Congress, obviously, is 1.0 politicians while in Wikipedia the politician fraction is < 0.01. As is, however, contributions from politicians, and their myrmidons, are generally the most contentious. And consume the most arbitration and editorial resources.

So why haven’t we done something to remedy this cancer? The World Wonders.

Perhaps if we structured the legislature as a Wiki we could get more – and Better! – done. 

One of the greatest worries of the founding fathers was that government needed inertia lest mob rule ensue and laws and such oscillate wildly and destructively. But doesn’t Wikipedia have inertia? So far as I can see it does.

Two Time

Yesterday was a bit of a rat’s maze. Had to motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for the annual (hopefully!) inquisition by the pump physician. He is not the problem. Rather a nice chap for a medical specialist. The problem is the instrumentality. The efficiency of the visit was minimal: four hours spent for seven minutes with the physician. For the maths challenged (and the actually acalculate,) that’s an efficiency of 0.03 (approximately.) If I subtract out transit time then that figure about doubles, which is still considerably less efficient than my motorcar but not my maternal parent’s nagging. 

The carrot, if I may mangle the metaphor, is not having to take a stress test. You know, the thing where you run rather briskly on an antediluvian treadmill and then after waiting interminable periods being force fed horribly salty crackers that are worst tasting than library paste (and, I Suspect, less nourishing) one lies motionless belly down on a narrow board while a rather archaic x-ray machine semi-circles your chest. The latter is the main problem. That board and I are at outs.

Invariably the imposed motionlessness results in a loss of sensation so when the test is concluded I end up being able to get off the board only by rolling off and onto the floor. I have never been harmed but too often the action freaks the junior matron in charge of watching the chap on the board. The last time resulted in some rather impressive histrionics leading me to conjecture that the poor lass would have been better off pursuing an opera career than nursing schule.

That was evaded. Evidently gym plus constitutional is adequate demonstration of moderate wellness for such matters. Thankfully I should say on my part.

Which relief did not erase the trauma of the interminable waits involved in the process. Sometimes when I am waiting in the pseudo-aseptic confines of the hospital I wonder if I will see Semmelweiss wandering about. Which leads me to wonder why I see hospitals as older than colleges?

Liberal Uselessness

Thor’s day and the end of gym for the week. And liquid is falling from the sky. Is that an event that needs be shared with chickens? Obviously I am in strange mood today and perhaps I can blame it on the expedition yesterday to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill/

I recently ran across an article [Link] of statement by four college presidents trying to justify the existence of “liberal arts”. I found it telling that one of them flatly stated that the studies (?) in secondary schule were adequate for adulthood.

It seems strange to me that high schule is adequate for anything. When I attended it was an information desert combined with a harassment Tartarus. I feel that I learned more in one semester, certainly one year, in college than I learned in four years of high schule. And it was overall useful stuff.

My strongest complaint is that in neither did I learn syntax nor composition in the classes that were supposed to teach that. The nature of the failures were surprisingly consistent: abysmal teaching; inadequate and irrelevant information; and too much distraction. I’ll take each in serial.

Let me start by saying that the teachers were not bad people, nor ill intentioned. They were overall good people with good intentions. But they were not good teachers. That is, in my taxonomy, I didn’t learn from them. That’s what makes them bad. In many cases I liked them but I didn’t learn what I needed.

Second, what they were trying to teach me on syntax and composition wasn’t what was needed. Drawing pseudo-Feynman diagrams of sentences is not useful, nor is writing essays. I have never been called on to write an essay, nor any other type of literary article. I have written novels, short stories, journal articles, books, and theses but never any literary poof. So what they were trying to teach was almost entirely orthogonal to need and want.

Lastly, what they were trying to teach was too little. Too much of it was literature, reading and discussing stories and novels that I would never have read if not compelled. Almost entirely these works were boring and unengaging, and largely irrelevant to either education or entertainment.  It is not that I dislike reading; I was going to the (public) Carnegie library thrice a week and chewing throuigh six to eight books a week but they were books I picked not forced upon me. That’s my chief indictment of the liberal arts; it’s stuff I don’t want forced upon me.

I did learn syntax and composition. Some was learned in college writing nerd stuff and afterwards writing more nerd stuff. But so far as I am concerned liberal arts is what people who can’t do study in college.

Take That Alabama

Ran across an article [Link] about how to optimally (????) visit all the states. The route, for the lower 48, at least, is

I call your attention to the amount of distance (time thereby?) spent in Alibam. About right I would say, both for the traveler and for those of us who think tourism is an acute rectal pain. 

Of course the council of thieves in Muntgum and the moneyed interests (their masters?) won’t like this since not enough portraits of dead caucasian politicians will end up in their coffers. That also is a good thing. 

Clock Revenge

Gad! I hate daylight savings time! Even worse – maybe – than winter. I feel worse than I do when I rise every two hours to inspect drips. Beathen with truncheons, I feel!

On the bright side, I want to compliment the Chief Bigot and his Repro-denialist brethren for totally compromising the state of marriage in Alibam. Only a group mystically committed to the matter could forbid it to everyone. Reminds me of Lt. Calley and "We had to destroy the village to protect it."

I suspect that’s another reason why I hurt. Too much laughing at the stupidity.

Now I suppose I can amuse myself seeing how they’re going to vertically copulate Net Neutrality. While I am wondering if any of them have any idea what the issues are? Other than mindless obedience to their corporate masters.