thinking about the world differently . . .
August 5th, 2017

I bet we know …

The Huffington Post posted that Anthony Scarramucchi will "go dark" in an article titled Why The Mooch Lost His Cool by Vicky Ward.



Contemplating what he was and what he would become, ’cause it’s a small dark place… How will the ego fit in there?

I bet we all have theories and descriptions for what he was before, and what he will probably be when he returns (God forbid!)Now, clean thoughts only 🙂



Got my ass fired. Got my bags right here, am ready to travel…


July 16th, 2017

Ironic, isn’t it?


Indeed! Democracy dies in Darkness. Oligarchs are main producers and suppliers (and beneficiaries!) of darkness.

Of course it is rather ironic for WaPo to use that in its masthead as a motto-like. Ironic, in that WaPo is a mouthpiece for oligarchs who are the main purveyors of darkness in our society.

January 26th, 2017

How to navigate the NEW truth

5The NEW truth is just my term for the phenomenon spreading worldwide, much more openly since the 2016 Election campaign in the USA. Yeah, we are the “trendsetters” here, although it is no great source of pride.

The new truth is what both campaigns were using to twist and bend whatever info was out there to suit their marketing and communications needs. In the past, this was done in a more subtle way, such as the laws passed in several US states named “right to work” laws. These laws are specifically aimed at reducing or destroying collective bargaining power workers have (union representation), by cleverly denying unions the right to collect membership fees from workers when those workers are not members of the union. The rationale behind the fee collection is that workers benefit from collective bargaining (e.g. work conditions, hours, safety standards improve for all workers.)

Denying the agency fees to the unions undercuts their ability to support workers during work actions and makes their job harder.

The laws to affect these denials are called “right to work” because they allegedly “protect” the workers who are not interested in being represented by a union. This is, of course, a complete deceit and verbal sleight-of-hand.

Such examples of subtle deceit were rampant in the past, but in the new politics, sublety is apparently not sufficient. A new mechanism appeared a few short years ago, which more openly deploys a lie.

To understand how this works have a look at today’s Dilbert cartoon.

Pointy Haired Boss (PHB) posted a racist post about the mythical Elbonians and was called out by Dibert in yesterday’s strip.

This relates to the wave of “fake news” items, which is still another step away from truth and deeper into the reaches of lies which sort-or, maybe, kinda pass like true stories.

On January 14, 2017, there was an interesting article on NPR by WNYC On The Media titled “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets“. It provides a brief structural analysis of the tweets produced by the new President of the USA. These tweets, while seemingly the rantings of an insomniac lunatic, do have structure, they have purpose, and a theme. The analysis is provided by a heavy-duty scientist, George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist of great renown.

The article is an 8 minute or so of reporter Brooke Galdstone’s interview with Lakoff, well worth your time. The transcript of the interview is here.

January 8th, 2017

Respect

Sean Spicer, the spokesperson for president-elect Trump, complained that the media does not accord DJT with the respect he deserves.

Pardon me, I always thought respect is something you work for, earn. That is is not something you get because of your genetics, good looks, or haircut… Apparently, along with other norms of this society, that respect earning bit is also flipped over on its head.

Along with this “good morning message” in the news, came the realization that indeed this reaction is just that bump in the rug that scurries around lookinh for an outlet, the problem is much deeper. Rob Goodman wrote this excellent article titled “What the King of Hawaii Can Teach Us About Trump – A political fable from 1819.

It explains the fate of norms. While it will not make you feel fuzzily relieved, you will understand where things are, where they could be, and outline a way for each of us to move forward and to imprint of ourselves anf our norms on the upcoming “new order” in the world. An important message…

December 3rd, 2016

2016 Elections

Took place Nov. 8. It was yuge… Enough said. Seems like entire swaths of the Mercan population were thrpwn into sudden anxiety (maybe?) and uncertainty (quite likely.) What will future life in the USA look and be like.

Very good question.

The analysis is on high speed. Party entities are trying to figure out what they did right, or wrong, or both.

Seems like most analysis INSIDE party entities is hammering the same the same… New answers will probably not emerge, because the premises and assumptions are the same the same, but the population experienced something new this time around; two non-the-same candidates.

One was stifled half way towards the finish line (yeah, that’s Sanders) The other went on to become President-elect of the USA.

The “differentness” in this case is that both felt, sounded, perhaps even were taking a break from the established political framework.

Sen. Sanders broke early and although ran as a democrat, broke with the traditional lines of communication with voters, broke the norms in terms of messages, and did phenomenally well, till he foiled and declined to run on his own merits. Was he a real anti-establishment candidate? I am thinking yes, but I also think Sanders scared himself when he realized that he had a REAL shot. What a pity.

Trump kicked the GOP in the shins, maybe even higher, and managed to subvert the GOP to become his carriers of water and all other things he may need.

Whether he will be the anti-establishment president he seemed to promise is unclear. Let’s come back to that in a few weeks.

So we’ll see if the voters will be getting the change they really wanted in the political make up of the USA.

I am skeptical Trump is the harbinger of change.

March 9th, 2016

Pun gallery: Don’t Ignore Teleportation, It Can Get Us Somewhere

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

February 25th, 2016

Pun gallery: The Aussie local area network – the LAN down under

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

February 11th, 2016

Pun semi-groaner: A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner” (I added “semin-groaner” class for this one!) Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

January 28th, 2016

Pun groaner: to make holy water just boil the hell out of it

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

January 20th, 2016

Technology moves fast, even faster than the Pony Express

 

modern mailboxes

what kind of mailbox is this anyway???

Hmmm… Hard to believe, but there you have it. We are in danger of leaving the younger generation behind – they have a hard time using basic things like rotary phones, mailboxes… sheesh 🙂


[Wikipedia]

January 15th, 2016

On Quantum Computing

Many of us find computing a bit intriguing, perhaps intimidating, if it ventures into anything beyond pencil and paper or 4-function calculator. There is this mystique involved in computing because of the abstraction of numbers to something that is represented by zeros and ones, then calculating huge and complicated things at that level in tiny fractions of a second.

This mystique is augmented and magnified when the word “programming” enters the horizon. Now many of us get that queasy feeling of being overwhelmed by some geek, nerd, or worse – a 6-year old kid! 🙂

But really numbers are just abstractions of say cows you can see (and count) in the field, or piles of tomatoes in baskets. Sure you can tell someone else “I have 50 baskets of tomatoes, but you already abstract a picture of 50 baskets to a number “50”…

There are some people living in jungles who have had no need to abstract quantities in their lives beyond “one”, “two”, “three”, “many”. It is a simple culture that has no need for more detailed abstraction than that! Sure, they cannot easily calculate 20% of 40 had they lived in our culture, but we will be unable to survive more than 4 minutes after being bitten by some unusual beetle on the jungle floor if we visit their world – but they would simple reach to the nearest remedy, apply it to the bite, and we’ll be as good as new!

So much for the competitive edge of 20% of 40!

Back to the intimidation of programming: We cook things. Say an egg: Take a vessel, fill it with water. Gather some firewood and make fire – or just light up your stove. Take an egg and carefully place it in the water in the pan. Put the pan on the fire, and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, remove from the fire, add cold water – voila! A boiled egg!

You have done this many-many times. You already know several tricks to make things faster, better boiled eggs etc.

Congratulation! You have just finished a “programming job”. It consists of steps doing something in each step. Testing of certain results (say, the egg is too cold to put on a raging fire in boiling water, so you reduce the heat and wait, test again, and proceed) and taking alternative paths of action depending on the tests.

Then you process certain inputs in some steps, and eventually produce some specific, desired results – a perfectly boiled egg.

There. This really is a great model for a program running in a computer.

Let me take you to the start of this blog: The fearsome abstraction of numbers into zeros and ones.

Nearly no programmer calculates numbers in their heads using ones and zeros – except some fringe characters, which you should definitely stay away from.

But it happens to be a simple thing for a computer circuit to represent a state with these two values – “0” or “1”, “no voltage”, “voltage” – that’s it. We do not work in voltages and currents, but computer circuits do, so it is their language.

Traditional computing since Boole and Babbage – and Countess Ada! – have worked numbers in this fashion. Since the 1940s, the current/no current in a circuit became the implementation medium for computing, inside computer circuits.

We have heard so much about it the binary states in computing that we mostly have some rudimentary understanding of the two states.

Quantum computer artist renditionEnter quantums. Physics has been nice a fun for centuries, being described by rules (“Laws of Physics”) by many folks who experimented and derived the rules – Newton to Einstein to Hawking. Some experimented in their heads using mathematical tools, others used their heads to intercept falling apples (Newton!) And so our physical world was pretty well described by various laws, gravity, speed, momentum, optics, electricity-oriented laws and so on.

But this all held well with the physical world of non-atomic dimensions – big stuff, especially big as compared to atomic particles. When it comes to these little entities that are smaller than small, the laws of physics simply do not quite work the way we are used to from High School Physics classes.

Quantum computing is one such “critter” that behaves differently in the small-scale subatomic world. While computer circuits determine states by zero or one, quantum computing has these states as well, but also adds another state – the in between state, neither on, nor off.

Yes, it sounds weird to say – or read – that something can be neither on nor off, neither zero, nor one. But there you have it – while the bits that we use use to represent states in a computing device can have only these two states, qubits, the representations of state in quantum computing, can have the on state, the off state, and the in-between state.

The only way to grasp this is to accept it as an “IT IS SO!”

Imagine the total befuddlement of people in Newton’s age when he suggested gravity as a law of nature – “whoa!!! Wait a moment here, what do you mean Earth pulls stuff without even touching it?” But we we do not find gravity to be a strange notion, we know it, and have discussed it, performed experiments to measure it and so on.

Qubits are to us like gravity was to Newton’s contemporaries. The third state is also called by the lovely technical term “coherent superposition.”

But don’t get too happy yet! It gets better! So what is the point here, you may ask. Qubits when joined in large numbers, can perform mathematical computations that are quite complex. The complexity leads to new possibilities to compute things that used to take loooong time on traditional computers in mere fractions of seconds.

Here is a practical example: You were told that a good password is a long one which utilizes many all numerics, all letters – upper and lower case – and as many symbols as you can. Such passwords you were told CAN BE CRACKED by computer using trial and error, but the number of trials will be so large that it is not practical to crack passwords that way, it might take the fastest computers 15,000 years or something like that.

But what about quantum computers? Yeah, exactly! They might take a few seconds to crack a password that a traditional computer would need 15,000 years to crack.

Weird stuff.

Now, don’t panic, don’t run out to change your passwords – this is not quite ready for prime time, although who knows what the NSA is using ALREADY – maybe they have a fully functional quantum computer of significant power.

But realistically, it’ll be many many years before quantum computers are ready to crack your passwords and lay bare to the world the cat pictures you have been sending in your emails…

There is more strangeness in quanta! One interesting – and widely popularized – aspect is the introduction of the uncertainty principle into their world (and ours!) If you measure an aspect of a quantum, their other measurable aspects are no longer static and may change. You can search for a term “Schrödinger’s cat” (here on Wikipedia) and it may melt your brain, but it is a fun piece of reading. Great gymnastics for the brain…

Another interesting effect of the quantum-sized world is the remote effect – a change in a quantum in one location can convey a change in another quantum even while the distance between the quanta may be millions of miles. And the change happens instantaneously! So much for speed of light!

So you can change a qubit of info in Chicago, and that change is conveyed to some spaceship 3 billion miles away from Chicago instantly! Huh? Yep, these are the implications of the science.

Enjoy that brain melt!

January 14th, 2016

Pun gallery: I didn’t like my beard but it grew on me

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

January 1st, 2016

Scary future – Climate Change

Happy New Year 2016!!

Just when the world relaxed into the post-Paris Climate Summit sleepiness, the evidence and research begins to come out.

This one is titled “Sorry, You Can’t Have Fries With That: 10 Foods That May Disappear Thanks to Climate Change" [click] is about some foods that will begin to disappear as the climate changes and growing conditions for crops begin to shift to the detriment of these crops.

What can you do? Educate yourself in the ways that small actions can help delay the changes, in perhaps reverse (nah, probably too optimistic! Just go for delay…) climate changes.

You can shift your food habits from meat at most meals to focusing on vegetables, and use meat only as flavoring. It works, it is fun, and it is healthy to boot, not just for you, but the planet!

Michael Pollan coined a great phrase, his three rules for eating: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” [click] He has great books you can get at the library, read, study, and live by.

Did you notice the word “mostly” in his rules for food? It means that you don’t have to panic about becoming a vegetarian or vegan!

Just start shifting slowly. Instead of 3 bacon strips with breakfast, have just 2 for the next 2 weeks. Then cut another one. Etc… Instead of finishing the whole 8 oz. of burger, leave a forkful on the plate for the next 2 weeks. Then another forkful. Etc…

You won’t feel hungry doing those minor changes, but if you do, get a carrot, maybe a small tomato.

Your body (and the planet!) will thank you. Before too long, you will be following Michael Pollan’s advice – no pain, no weight gain.

But Pollan is just one of many many resources. Start reading.

December 31st, 2015

Pun gallery: Broken pencils are pointless

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

December 17th, 2015

Pun gallery: I am reading a book about gravity and can’t put it down…

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

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