162 posts • joined Wednesday 29th November 2006 21:15 GMT
Direction if possible, please
Could some kind person give me direction as to..."the Teutonic cultural sweet tooth". Being, for the most part, of Norwegian and German extraction I'm curious about a meme dealing with a Teutonic sweet tooth. I ran a quick search but only came up with... "Tannfé (tooth-gift) was the name of a gift which was given (and in Iceland is still given) to a child when it gets its first tooth." (Rydberg's Teutonic Mythology)
beer and boobies predominate my entire cultural landscape
The Trouble With Darwinianism
According to the tenants of Intelligent Design the trouble with Darwinianism is the Devil is in the details. No doubt he's cavorting with innumerable angels on the head of a pin. The trouble for Intelligent Design advocates is Science is the bastard offspring of Christianity and, as are many bastards, science may be patricidal.
"In the beginning the Word... " John 1:1. The Word is, (no, not grease), the word is Logos. Logos encapsulates an idea of God like reasoning. A transcendent reasoning that was irrefutable. From Logos Christianity came to counting the number of angels on a pin. Clarity of thought demanded rigor, elegance and robustness. So thinkers like Plato and Aristotle found a prominent place in the Church. And reasoning along the lines of a tautology like that expressed in the Elements of Euclid was bundled into the education of the top clerics. Patriarchical religions like Judaism, Islam and Christianity have always been a pissing match driven by the ravaging effects of severe testosterone poisoning. Christianity inadvertently married Greek tautological thought to my God is smarter than your God arguments and from that marriage out popped Science. While testosterone remains the most inimical pollutant threatening the biosphere, Intelligent Design advocates have Christianity itself to blame for the inception of Science in the Western World.
Religion is a balm for the mind and a way to resolve conflicts. Civilization can be marked by the first burial rite. The conflict between the idea of immortality and the reality death can't be resolved. Conflicts that can't be resolved are commonly known as neuroses. Interpersonal conflicts in a tribe are resolved by the decree of a higher authority. Religions resolve neuroses. In the west as else where Christianity failed as an intertribal conflict resolution mechanism and so we had the Reformation. We tell one another stories. When we share in the belief system of one another's stories we form bonds. When an outsider challenges our shared delusions we attack. Beneath our stories is a torn mind. Of course we have the dawn of Science as a religion to look forward to.
"Je ne cherche pas, je trouve"
"Je ne cherche. pas, je trouve" The foregoing quote by Pablo Piccaso goes a long way to measuring the underpinnings of any search. When we search we search by definition for what we can find. While searching for what we recognize might seem trivial, it's really very powerful. Very nearly every question is informed and literally begs it's answer. Students who learn to carefully read exam questions discover a Royal Road to good grades as they give the examiner what it is the examiner is looking for. Simple, n'est pas?
The first key to a successful search is to refine as much as possible what is being sought. The more knowledgeable the searcher the more rewarding the results. Even a negative search result can be more informing than a positive search result when the search parameters are well defined and the results are read by an informed reader.
The tricksy part is searching for we know not what. When a broad uninformed search is undertaken the full power of the associational cortex comes into play along with everything else including what it is our neighbours tell us worked for them. For example, if I'm searching for results in an area I'm weak in, like the one I'm commenting on, I throw in a .pdf extension parameter because I know pdf files are widely used in academia. Otherwise a weak search is a pot luck affair and as likely to snag on your wife's maiden name as anything else.
Informed searches by informed searchers make us all look like Piccassos and Picasso wouldn't need no damn search engine, or , even a computer given his thoughts that computers are much good for anything as all they can give is answers. Uninformed searches by uninformed searches can't be helped much by any software solution except where the software is "taught" the searcher's preferences. So the searcher searches the search software searching for searching solutions for .... well you know how it goes.
Most fittingly Sigmund Freud best summed up America and, unknowingly, Anna Nicole Smith. In his late years on a visit to America Freud was asked for his thoughts on the country. IIRC he replied: "A failure. A magnificent failure but a failure none the less."
How does it get ya?
As a boy I read a lot of Hemingway. I was raised by a father and family that subscribed to the idea of 'the right stuff'. Hemingway wrote a short story of hobos, one of the hobos is an ex prize fighter and punch drunk. One of the characters says the ex fighter is crazy and asks another hobo if he knows what it means to be crazy. The hobo answers no, he doesn't know what it's like to be crazy and asks: "How does it get ya?"
Mental illness can develop in a variety of ways, but perhaps the worst is what is loosely termed as insidious. Schizophrenics are said to suffer from insidious onset of the disease when the symptoms arise very slowly and are difficult to distinguish from evolving character traits. What is most debilitating about an insidious onset of mental illness is that the patient has difficulty red flagging the symptoms and seeking help. Peevishness can turn to paranoia and the memories of innumerable social slights can lay the foundation for an accepted rationalization of paranoid delusional actions.
Successful people in high profile positions must be able to play the game. Social skills are as necessary as the requisite knowledge base. Once a person is widely profiled as successful and stable it's difficult even for psychological evaluators to see the onset of mental problems. In Canada, all too frequently, convicted, imprisoned criminals with violent pasts convince panels of professionals that they've mended their ways and are fit for parole. Once paroled they commit another violent crime. If a convict can deceive professionals then how much more easily can a successful professional, especially when the mental illness insidiously embeds itself and the patient h/im/erself can't distinguish paranoid delusion from historical fact.
An astronaut in diapers driving across America to kidnap a love rival is ripe with humour. A mentally ill person whose life has just crashed in ruins is horrific.
Don't You eat that yellow snow
For the uninitiated in the history of the meme...
"Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow"
are Frank Zappa lyrics. I believe the title of the song is..."don't you eat that yellow snow", or some such thing. No matter your generational bias listening to the Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention albums is a good thing. Characterizing Frank Zappa as an iconoclastic rock star is as weak as saying Lenny Bruce was a stand up comedian. Both were heavy artillery barrages pounding on the American Dream.
If it's not one thing it's another
As a staunch environmentalist I welcome any work that brings us to our collective sense when dealing with the environment. The biosphere is a system of systems and our just concern with climate change is that once the parameters shift we've no way of knowing what the outcome may be. A system in a runaway state is a wild ride, as exemplified by two states of runaway we come to as individuals, sexual climax and death.
Unfortunately I can't help but see life in the biosphere as very much a loosey goosey affair that we are only now fully recognizing. The study of complex systems is a relatively new endevour. Previously studies of the environment and biology generally tended to be premised upon the principle of uniformitarianism as the underlying rule informing conjecture about the earth's past. Uniformitarianism was fundamental to Darwin's formulation of the theory of evolution and extrapolated from the idea that the earth had been as it was and is for many millions of years to allow for the evolution of the species. Counter to the theory of uniformitarianism was the idea of catastrophism. Catastrophism suggested that the data available suggested the earth to be a geologically volatile place. Uniformitarianism seems bred to mate with the 19th c. scientific methodology of unidirectional, single level, deterministic views. Catastrophism speaks more to current ideas in evolution like punctuated equilibrium and Alvarez's K-T event. In geology plate tectonics had a rough initial ride in light of the principle of uniformitarianism before being widely accepted.
We are now coming to grips with the world in post Biblical terms. No longer is the world the centre of the universe fixed in creation by God and only catastrophically altered by God's wrath in world floods. So as much as I welcome the findings on climate change and its impact on our environmental consciousness I think we are only just peeking out from behind the comfort of our collective mythologies to see the biosphere as a system of systems subject to violent change on a geologic time scale that in terms of our short lives as a new species doesn't easily permit us to accept the inevitable catastrophic changes coming our way.
The Short Memory of the Long March
I'm now an old campaigner having set out as a mere boy on the long march from DOS 3 to WinXP. While I agree with the most part of what you say, I think it fair to further your argument by mount an ad hominem attack on developers as a whole. I'm suggesting we first paint them all with the same brush then treat them as indistinguishable in their common failings. Ending by absolving MS of some guilt by pointing to innovation in Vista.
When young and impressionable I thought DOS 3.3 running on a 386 did all an operating system need do. I saw DOS 4 and the suspect introduction of DOSSHELL as an ill omen of things to come. I now suspect I was right. From DOSSHELL on the reign of GUI as King came on the horizon. With the onslaught of GUI came whispers of multitasking growing into the monstrosity that was cooperative multitasking and so to my gross generalization about the flawed character of all developers. Cooperative multitasking damned all PC users to an unending hell of an eternal hourglass marking the complete indifference one software developer holds for the works of others of h/is/er kind and the group contempt all software developers hold for end users (lusers). All developers are secretly artistes so sure in the magnitude of their work that any one lucky enough to use their software should gladly surrender all they own for the privilege of experiencing their genius. The mindset and practices of developers hasn't changed as shown most especially in game and security software. Bringing me to Vista.
Cooperative multitasking came to an end with the introduction of Preemptive multitasking introduced in Win95, although by then I was happily immersed in Dave Cutler's NT stuff. While Preemptive multitasking was a step out of the hell that was Cooperative multitasking IIRC Win95 introduced the registry in a form that allowed developers to practise similar "I'm the King of the Castle" dirty tricks in a different venue. Moral suasion does nothing to these people and for years following Win95 it wasn't uncommon for programs to lack an uninstall script and leave junk cluttering the Registry for other programs to trip over. WinXP integrated NT stuff with the old DOS stuff and now Vista is the first attempted giant leap forward. While I've long since moved onto Unix variants as a work platform I still use Windows as a multimedia platform. In Vista MS has setup checkpoints and roadblocks to bring developers into line, especially the game and security software writers who believe any OS should be written to their softwares' specs. Vista has broken most legacy PC games and all (?) legacy security software and good on them for doing so.
If economics is going to dictate MS maintain its dominance then MS and the market is going to have to walk the line between MS monopoly and MS cracking the whip to bring driver writers and software developers into line with the requirements of effective multitasking and OS security.
I now bring my long winded old guy diatribe to a close.
There goes the neighbourhood
As a canajen (that's right it's canajen eh!) born in a small norther town and inculcated with the prejudices only a small town mindset can insidiously pass on to children I'd like to point out that the good citizens of Herouxville were probably quite well intentioned. The only true account of the small town mindset I've found is in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary'. It takes consummate genius to capture the narrow, shallowness that isolation breeds. A small town upbringing instills a deep, false sense of collective righteousness, especially when the Church (note the definite article) anchors the town. I'm sure the good town's people only wanted to spare their new neighbors the embarrassment of a court appearance.
Canada is two nations within one border. No, not Quebec and the rest of Canada, but rather the southern communities plugged into the transcanada highway that snakes along the U.S. border and the isolated northern population that is roundly ignored and insular. By example, I've lived in both Quebec City and Montreal and traveled in the north of Quebec. Montreal is wonderfully cosmopolitan but Quebec is insular and suspicious on a level matched only by their equally insular British decedents living in Victoria, B.C. That these two peoples equally despise and distrust one another is one of the quaint jokes of Canadian history.
As to the pilloried citizens of Herouxville they are no worse than the German pioneer side of my family that settled in Saskatchewan, built a small, out of the way farming town to keep out foreigners and were notorious for smiling wryly at strangers while simultaneously switching from English to German. All the better to discuss the obvious failings of heathen outsiders. Lastly it serves to remember that's it's just such small towns that furnish Canada with its best hockey players. Deeply instilled prejudice is just what's needed to foster violent cross-checks, slashing and high sticking.
Neoteny is a theory found in developmental biology that investigates the retention of juvenile physical characteristics in adult members of a species. Hairlessness is one such trait. . Stephen Jay Gould argued that humans are a neotenous species of chimpanzee. A question along similar lines asks why our species has underdeveloped canine teeth.
It's Perfectly Obvious
Even to a NOP like me it's perfectly obvious Mr. Riley wants his flying car, and, quite rightly, Mr. Thompson has reached out to grab the ignition keys from him. Mr. Thompson wants to know who going to pay for all the flying cars and he's damned if flying cars are going to swoop in over his garden unrestricted and uninvited.
Mr. Thompson, no doubt, thinks Mr. Riley should contemplate the error of his flying car ways. Critically important is the need for Mr. Riley to contemplate his waywardness in Milan's famous Cathedral,the Duomo, which was built especially for such occasions.
If I'm not making sense, well then, all I can say is it flowed naturally from reading the articles and quotes.
- Review Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Proof the pen is mightier?
- Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!
- Spin doctors brazenly fiddle with tiny bits in front of the neighbours
- Game Theory Out with a bang: The Last of Us lets PS3 exit with head held high
- Flash flaw potentially makes every webcam or laptop a PEEPHOLE