Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sociology and the Khmer Rouge, Guerrero from the edge, synthesizing genius, war is hell

Guess I will just go ahead and publish the rough draft below written in November 2023, since I cannot face long edit sessions at this point:

When I attended the University of Texas after graduating high school in 1971, I majored in psychology and sociology (but returned to school years later to study electrical engineering after some time playing lead guitar in rock bands). I enjoyed both fields even in these introductory contexts, coming to the attention of graduate staff in the psychology department when I handed in a well-written report on a preliminary experiment in extrasensory perception I conducted and being invited to tour the sociology department by my professor in that course after I turned in a piece of work where I outlined how I would recommend going about making a revolutionary transformation of a given society.

In the parapsychology experiement I observed greater than chance results in a test for increased accuracy on sends of Rhine cards (someone has since decided to call them Zener cards, our present age offering not much other than pointless renaming and pursuit of the trivial) between heterosexually involved pairs of subjects compared with merely acquaintances. The psychology graduate TA (teaching assistant) showed me around the psychology department, including his work with rattlesnake learning (my immediate question was, "what can they learn?" his reply was an apologetic, "Not much..."). I recall fondly my initial assessment of my experimental results, when, though I had experienced psi phenomena all of my life (infrequently I suppose else I would have been even more distracted) the couples results went off the charts on card transmission (could have been general psi also), my hair standing on end (which was significant, since my hair was shoulder-length at the time) and I breaking off to go get a pitcher of cold beer at a friendly local pub (I think it was physicist Leonard Susskind who recounted needing to drink a few beers after he found that it was more convenient to think of particles as loops of string in 1969; I suggest that you are much more likely to experience ESP than to see any actual useful physics emerge from string theory).

But back to the sociology group, in 1971 I had simply used what I had been taught (in the sociology class as well as my eclectic studies in anthropology and evolution among other areas that had interested me while I had largely ignored my high school curriculum) about how norms are transmitted to individuals in a particular society to outline a process where you might have the best chance of breaking those norms and replacing them with new, say revolutionary concepts a la Mao. I had discussed separating family members, moving people from their usual work environments in cities or universities into camps where they would have the usual feedback stripped and could be trained as it were on new concepts of what was proper behavior, proper ways of viewing the world in human social terms.

Anyway, my sociology professor had liked my paper very much and wanted to meet me, though the idea of me pursuing a career in sociology was not attractive to me (nor him after I presented with other than the desired primate attributes for such things--the outcome of such measures of man is best illustrated with the bizarre phenomenon of a parody of a man now in 2023 being poised to implement a suicide pact with the constitutional government of America). I was later shocked to discover that the Khmer Rouge implemented about what I had suggested in 1975 after capturing Phnom Penh. I hope it was a coincidence, or that will have to be added to the negative side of the scale when Anubis weighs my heart in the afterworld. As an aside, if you look at the album cover for the Out of Time album

you will see that I placed the 1955 Les Paul I played on many of the tracks on that scale (cooked up an image of the 1240 B.C. Papyrus of Ani, i.e., Book of the Dead for scribe Ani).

Father (questionably Reverend) Guerrero, a friend of mine in a manner of speaking (picture below),

emailed me recently with his usual dark impression of the state of man today:

Stupidity and the absence of Western civilization pride in work, competence, honesty, courage, sense of justice, all is disappearing from America at an accelerating rate. The politically correct multicultural "left" sees that import of incompatible cultures has weakened American resolve in the face of despicable evil like the October 7, 2023 Hamas blood-fest, though persisting in a plainly erroneous course just as the MAGA whiskey-tango crowd (the "right") welcome a parody of a man who has already defecated on the Constitution and the men who created the Republic, they continue to press their fairy-tale world-view of diversity.

Guerrero adds, with his usual view from the edge, 

That there is going to be mass death of the 8 billion bipeds infesting the planet at this point is certain: whether there will be a useful culling in the process is not at all clear, e.g., we may end up with something like the Idiocracy mashed up with bonobo society as a small remnant of homo sapiens. That kind of population probably cannot survive in the increasingly inhospitable environment of an angry hot planet polluted with the biological, chemical and radiological weapon debris of the preceding final conflict.

Well, that is not very hopeful, grin. I note that Guerrero and I are hardly alone in perceiving the reality of the Israel situation now in regard to Hamas and the Gaza. Kevin D. Williamson writes:

The great test for Israel is not restraint at all, but diligence in its national pursuit of the actual moral imperative in front of it, which is the annihilation of Hamas...offering the Palestinians land for peace was a well-intentioned folly; that there is not going to be a two-state solution, because the only state the Palestinians are interested in building is an Arab version of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the only solution they are interested in is Heinrich Himmler’s final one.

This kind of talk is anathema to the "left" I defined earlier, but those who are not shielded for the moment (in an increasingly debilitated America--I really do not know why the totalitarian nations and pseudo-religious psychopaths of Islam do not simply wait a few more years and then easily dispose of a once-great nation when its weapons and armed forces are no longer capable of actually fighting) would disappear from the field of evolution immediately were they to combat an enemy ready and willing to kill or be killed. 

I use the terms "stupid" or "idiot" frequently when reacting to the appalling state of America. I should note that I am not really addressing the capacity to reason (one's innate capacity is hardly one's own responsibility, i.e., every man has something to offer and deserves a priori dignity and respect, whatever talents and abilities he is born with), but more the inability of childish personalities to use whatever reasoning capacity they possess due to emotional motivations for particular viewpoints (you are responsible for what use you make of the tools you are given). I may be wrong in being so annoyed with these types to the extent they may have no conscious control over the phenomena (perhaps I should coin a new term for this, e.g., "constitutional stupidity" or "helplessly foolish"). However, a MAGA woman told a media person that she followed Trump "because he is one of us." It is impossible to adequately describe my revulsion for such an exclamation. I am reminded of the response of the crowd in 33 AD who ignored the Roman governor of Judaea (Pilot) attempts to persuade them to select Jesus as one of the prisoners to be released (Pilot finding no fault with Jesus), the crowd continuing to demand the release of another prisoner instead and asserting that Jesus should be crucified, adding insolently that the responsibility should be on them and their children (Matthew 27, KJV). My own interaction with such folks makes it clear that most of them are aware of their reprehensible behavior and simply have no shame. They are the evil brood that persists in all populations to this day, those that reject those sent to guide and lead them and instead worship the Father of Lies (if you look around today you should be able to see that this is not a myth or metaphor; Baudelaire commented aptly in The Generous Player that the cleverest ruse of the Devil is to persuade you he does not exist) by their choices and actions. Matthew 23:37 and thereabouts describes the reaction of Jesus to such behavior, i.e., even for the spiritually advanced there are limits to what can be tolerated. One should show mercy wherever one can, but there can be no forgiveness for those who celebrate their wrong and persist in it. 

My motive is not to make anyone feel bad about who they are, but rather to persuade them to feel shame and reform, if they have any capacity to do either. Who am I to make such observations or demands? Let me be nobody (I never really understood the idea of "wanting to be somebody"--only an idiot would accept what somebody did or said as good or commendable because of their feeling about the physical presentation of the person...oh, I forgot, that is exactly where this rotting culture is today). Let the things I say speak for themselves, to the extent the hearer is capable of desiring to find the truth and right way (that is of course what Jesus meant by frequently advising "he who has ears to hear, let him hear"). I am not a man of doctrine, i.e., I merely quote what is useful. I certainly have no appetite for crucifixion or the general "rewards" of the would-be prophet in this life, and to say I have not kept myself unspotted by the world (see book of James, one of my favorite books of the Bible) would be an understatement. 

What have I done lately, i.e., have I been at all useful? Well, paraphrasing the TA comment I related earlier about the lack of academic capability in pit vipers, "not that much." I am increasingly worn-out it appears, finding it difficult to write (if you have stamina, you could scan over the last 5 years or so of my blogging up here and see a steady decline in quality and quantity). That being said, I occasionally am able to study and contribute in some small way: In September (2023) I became interested in a promising new antimicrobial, teixobactin and researched the subject of antibiotic discovery and development, eventually publishing online a clear account of the status of teixobactin at this time. In the process of that investigation I was pleased to communicate with several researchers in the field (privately), the pleasure being both in new understanding as well as in finding there were still humans out there that I could communicate with (instead of this kind of instant recognition by one another of more advanced individuals you usually find these days suspicion the moment one's words deviate from twitter vocabulary or Family Feud string matches, otherwise known as "AI" or "artificial idiocy").

Guerrero and I are not alone in our dismay over the prospect of the MAGA folks successfully returning Trump to power. The Dispatch noted in November (you have to sign up for their newsletter to read the article) that "No constitution for self-government can save a people from voluntarily ending their own reign." I read a legal paper on the application of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment (forbids holding office by former office holders who then participate in insurrection or rebellion), The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude & Michael Stokes Paulsen and am following the various preliminary decisions in state courts on the subject. For now the state judges are trying to kick the can down the road, i.e., hope that the US Supreme Court will eventually decide the issue (one might wonder whether judges appointed by Trump or otherwise aligned with his purposes could be trusted here, but I have some hope that there are limits to what a normal human being can stomach). 

A Colorado judge ruled that Trump engaged in insurrection during the January 6, 2021 attack on the capitol, but that said he could remain on the ballot because "for the purposes of the 14th Amendment because the president is not an officer of the United States." As do I, Lawrence Tribe (Professor Emeritus, Harvard University Law School) found that preposterous (the language clearly covers the presidency as an office under the Constitution). J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal appellate judge (and Republican in the sense that category implied before it became a synonym for fascist moron), spoke to Judy Woodruff (in her PBS series America at a Crossroads) in August 14, 2023, about the potential disaster brewing, opining (as have I for several years) that American democracy cannot be saved if Trump were to be acquitted for the grave offenses for which he is now scheduled for trial in several jurisdictions and that "any leader, Republican or Democrat, who has not spoken against January 6 (the January 6, 2021 insurrection) and the former president's role in it has betrayed their oath." It is an open question whether the US will collapse before my own existence...2024 should be interesting (in the sense the Chinese consider that "may you live in interesting times" is a kind of curse).

November 27, 2023 some crackpot shot three men of Palestinian descent in Vermont and was immediately arrested. There is tremendous media coverage of the incident because of the desperation of the left to find some path to a false equivalency between Israeli action to eliminate Hamas in Gaza (note that the mainstream media continues to slip in mischaracterizations of IDF actions there as "retaliation" or "removing Hamas from power" or the like). Undoubtedly the shooter simply was a lower-level human fed on a diet of Faux News and social media feeds designed to keep such folks in a state similar to that of an irritated two-year old who possessed a gun (awkward to place the qualifier phrase here, but it seems to work either way). He simply flipped out when he saw the men dressed like the people he had been trained to see as enemies. What is the point of wondering whether this was a "hate crime?" One might suspect that pulling on a target in otherwise innocuous context involved some degree of dislike, grin. It is yet another indication of the perverse rot at the heart of America (and Western civilization such as remains after our global influence acted for decades) that criminal actions have to be recast in some kind of politically correct agenda. Life on Earth, nature red in tooth and claw, the process of evolution requiring only that those who survive and leave more offspring to do the same win, demands that challenges to survival be met with all available focus. "Hate" is simply a later development (limbic system) of that natural ability of competitive biology. I don't know at this point how you repair the American educational system, which has this wierd agenda of political correctness wired in at every level. It is lamentable that there is not a choice available between moron-fascism and pervert-political-correctness (I would be available as that third choice, but I am long past my expiration date and not being seen on Entertainment Tonight as a generally appealing appearance with vacuous personality).

What hope is there for a world where statistically matched pieces of sentences is offered as evidence of artificial "intelligence" and believed, with breathless (if mindless) wonder? The subject of genius, which those of us who are still capable of thinking associate with production of new understanding or new works in a significant area (I am not overly impressed with a new basket design or a different way to stack rocks up and make a crude pyramid), is not well understood by many. An Anglo-Irish polymath, John Pentland Mahaffy (1839-1919), opined that:

...genius is original ... it strikes out new ideas, new solutions of problems, new lines of research, while the average man can only learn what others have already discovered for him. But a deeper and more careful inquiry reveals to us that absolutely new ideas are of the very rarest occurrence; almost the whole work of human genius consists in assimilating what others have thought, in combining what others have imagined separate, in recasting the form of their thought, and so producing what seems a perfectly new thing, and yet is only the old under a new aspect. No instance of this is more signal than that of a great composer in music. The gift of original melody, as it is called, is rare and precious. The possessor of it is justly considered a genius. But no melody could possibly speak to us except a combination of perfectly well known elements. The only originality is in their assimilation and reproduction.

While Mahaffy was an intellectual, i.e., he was capable of self-learning, understanding the work of others and writing intelligently about such work (as is, or was, much of my own work), he was not a genius, nor a notable composer. You can see that immediately (if you have eyes to read as it were) in the passage if you have any knowledge of the history of physics or experience composing music or appreciating it. Men who have actually created new knowledge know that it is a deep mystery how mentality comes to exist in or around the physical structures of brains and how that human mind occasionally perceives, for example, mathematical truth for which there is no obvious connection to experience (see Nobel Prize laureate Roger Penrose writings, and ignore the piss ants who desperately attempt to downplay his observations, those being in direct contradiction to the materialist agenda of those who now infest academia and the media). I would add that an original melody, phrasing in music that instantly resonates in the mind and invokes emotion, certainly relies on the scales and formats of the musical system, but the originality means precisely that the notes fall in a way not heard previously. While it is possible that a computer run long enough might occasionally toss together such a string, it would be buried among mountains of garbage and worse, there is no conscious entity there (unless a human is observing) to evaluate any of it!

That ends the November portion. I will add that in December 2023 I became interested in radio propagation in the UHF range after losing one of my local OTA (Over the Air) DTV (Digital Television) channels. I held an FCC General Radiotelephone license (originally obtained a First Class license 1978, but in the five years before I renewed it in 1983 they stopped differentiating between First and Second class licenses, presumably because few applicants could pass the more difficult First Class battery of examinations) up until 1988 but had not done any radio-related work really since experimenting with amateur radio in 1978 (required a different license and passing Morse code comprehension test, send/receive). After the broadcasters restored my local translator for the channel (I had an interesting thread of communication with their engineers, helping them by sending a telephoto shot I took with an old Canon SX400 IS camera from my window showing the their translating transmitter antenna 9.7 miles distant, which of course established that I had a line of sight path) I continued to look at the subject off and on (necessarily intermittent work since, as I continue to whine about, I am only able to work a few hours every few days at this point before sinking into CFS fog).

In December 2023 a foreign radio engineer graciously let me work with some C (a programming language developed at Bell Laboratories, C being "devised in the early 1970s as a system implementation language for the nascent Unix operating system," quoting from Dennis M. Ritchie's 1993 paper, The Development of the C Language) code for a program he had written some years ago, a program to use SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) DTED (Digital Terrain Elevation Data, a matrix of terrain elevation values, see mil spec MIL-PRF-89020B) and the ITM or irregular terrain model of radio propagation for frequencies between 20 MHz and 20 GHz. The ITM is based on the Longley-Rice model, which used electromagnetic theory and statistical analyses  of both terrain features and radio measurements to predict the median attenuation of a radio signal as a function of distance and the variability of the signal in time and in space (quoting from NTIA REPORT 82-100). I compiled that code and ran some tests.

I then compiled and worked with John A. Magliacane's SPLAT! v1.4.2 terrestrial RF (radio frequency) path and terrain analysis tool for Unix/Linux, a program written in C++ (a more complex version of the C language). I assume some readers will realize by now that I normally work in a Linux environment, rather than Microsoft Windows. SPLAT! is based on ITM also, but adds Sid Shumate's Irregular Terrain With Obstructions Model (ITWOM) work, which replaces and supplements terrain diffraction calculations in the line-of-sight range and near obstructions, with Radiative Transfer Engine (RTE) functions. 

In the  LOS (line of sight) path you run into problems using two-ray ground reflection models because the radio reflecting characteristic of the intervening Earth surface is not accurately given using only elevation data (e.g., maybe bushes, houses, etc. are present and scatter the electromagnetic radiation rather than reflect it as a specular or mirror surface would). ITWOM seeks to mitigate this somewhat, though comparisons against actual field measurements don't really provide a clear winner among the various programs and models available. Radio engineering is a black art really and the most you can hope for is to obtain approximate propagation results from which to begin if planning a broadcast installation or trying to determine where an observed problem lies. Anyway, here is an example plot from SPLAT! showing the path profile between one of my local broadcast transmitters and my receiver:

The SPLAT! report on the RF between my broadcast transmitter and my receiver:

ITWOM Version 3.0 Parameters Used In This Analysis:

Earth's Dielectric Constant: 15.000

Earth's Conductivity: 0.005 Siemens/meter

Atmospheric Bending Constant (N-units): 301.000 ppm

Frequency: 473.000 MHz

Radio Climate: 5 (Continental Temperate)

Polarization: 1 (Vertical)

Fraction of Situations: 70.0%

Fraction of Time: 50.0%

Transmitter ERP: 1000 Watts (+60.00 dBm)

Transmitter EIRP: 1637 Watts (+62.14 dBm)


Summary For The Link Between KCWFLDtx and GDBorganRX:

Free space path loss: 109.83 dB

ITWOM Version 3.0 path loss: 138.39 dB

Attenuation due to terrain shielding: 28.56 dB

Field strength at GDBorganRX: 54.51 dBuV/meter

Signal power level at GDBorganRX: -76.25 dBm

Signal power density at GDBorganRX: -91.28 dBW per square meter

Voltage across a 50 ohm dipole at GDBorganRX: 44.06 uV (32.88 dBuV)

Voltage across a 75 ohm dipole at GDBorganRX: 53.97 uV (34.64 dBuV)

Mode of propagation: Line of Sight

ITWOM error number: 0 (No error)

That SPLAT! output above compares well with my earlier C code result of 139.33 dB total path loss (to obtain that result I switched off that program's use of a two-ray reflection model). Both programs agree on the FSL (free space loss, i.e., amount of radio signal strength decay calculated in line of sight by purely deterministic electromagnetic equations without considering multipath ray reflections, over the horizon diffraction etc.) of 109.77 dB. They differ on the additional attenuation due to ground effects and the like, but not by a lot. 

Before I stop here (the CFS fog is increasing near the level where I begin staring dumbly at the screen with the same comprehension I imagine Trump might exhibit if shown the text of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount...I better stop making these kinds of comments and instead become a supporter, given that Trump may become dictator soon and I don't want fascist goon squads at my door, if I have the misfortune to live long enough to see that), I should note that after writing about the 1899 Sewanee Tigers football team up here in September 2023, I read a book about Merrill’s Marauders (Gary Bjorge's Merrill's Marauders: Combined Operations In Northern Burma In 1944). The Marauders were a US Army long range penetration special operations jungle warfare unit (Merrill’s Marauders is the popular name given to the 5307th Composite Unit also known by its code name Galahad) fighting in the Southeast Asian theater of World War II. The unit became famous for its deep-penetration missions behind Japanese lines, often engaging Japanese forces superior in number, quoting Wikipedia. The reason I mention this unit was that their story was another appraisal of the capacity for some humans to persist in the context of unrelenting physical exhaustion and injury. Fatigue, disease, malnourishment and unrelenting battle reduced the original unit's 2nd Battalion, with 27 officers and 537 men, to about 12 men still in action, with the situation for the 3d Battalion similar. The 1st Battalion still had a handful of officers and 200 men, but on 10 August 1944 the unit was disbanded, because as campaign commander, Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell, put it "[the unit] is just shot." If you are confused by the organizational references, here is an organization chart of the unit:

Bjorge concluded that as the only American combat unit within the combined force in the northern Burma campaign, the Marauders could not avoid being given special burdens that came from being Americans. Their presence was required to form viable multinational task forces when the units of other countries could not or would not work together alone. The guys on the ground paid the price, as usual.

Monday, September 18, 2023

On Sewanee Tigers, shoving camels through needle-eyes, morbidity

I drift through the days now pursued by morbidity and the sense the deterioration of civilization, the world of the human species (plural), is accelerating to a denouement which will be apocalyptic, literally.  Occasionally I encounter a story that gladdens my heart, at least for a moment. The account of the 1899 Sewanee Tigers football team (of University of the South, an Episcopal liberal arts college in Sewanee, Tennessee, their school motto Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity) was given in a documentary I watched the other day:

With just 18 players, the team known as the "Iron Men" embarked on a ten-day, 2,500 mile train trip, where they played five games in six days. Sewanee had five shutout wins over Texas (in Austin), Texas A&M (in Houston), Tulane (in New Orleans), LSU (in Baton Rouge), and Ole Miss (in Memphis). (from Wikipedia)

Most people nowadays may not grasp what that brief quote above means in terms of sheer indomitable human will forcing performance in the context of un-relenting physical exhaustion and injury. The game as played in these early years was pretty brutal: In 1905 there were 19 fatalities nationwide (Wikipedia article early history football), and I am certain that no games called while players and fans sobbed (while the destruction of previous manly virtues in America is a concern to me, I wouldn't go so far as to recommend tourists visit Afghanistan "...the real land of the free and home of the brave...a rugged country inhabited by muscular men and traditional women.. Afghan tourism story at Air Force Times"). Ormond Simkins (a fullback of the 1899 Sewanee Tigers, and acknowledged by team captain Henry Seibels to be the best player of that 1899 group) played continuously on badly injured legs and in later years ended up having amputations of portions of both legs, dying following the second surgery). To play 5 games at the required level of physical performance, without rest and in fact traveling by train between battles, is astounding. I know a little about chronic overtraining, having maintained a very high level of martial arts capability for years while preparing for the occasional no-holds-barred fight (having the hand of God upon me was helpful also, grin), while accomodating various orthopedic injuries and exhaustion, so can appreciate the accomplishment of the Tigers in 1899. Picture of the 1899 Tigers:

The rare display of spirituality also uplifts me. In a speech last week (aroun September 18, 2023), UAW President Shawn Fain discussed the obscene money (tens of millions of dollars) given the CEOs of the automobile making companies as those same CEOs asserted that the people who actually did the work to produce those cars were asking too much. It was amazing to me that Shawn quoted Mathew 19:23–24, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, explaining that in the kingdom of God, no one hoards all the wealth while others suffer or starve. If you don't understand context of the UAW strike, Shawn put it concisely:

In just four years, Big Three profits have shot up 65 percent. Business is booming. Over that same period, CEO pay has skyrocketed by 40 percent. They’re absolutely rolling in money. Big Three spending on stock buybacks — money they lavish on Wall Street — is up a staggering 1,500 percent. It is literally off the charts. Average new car prices are up 34 percent. They’re price gouging the hell out of the American consumer. Inflation is up 20 percent. You better believe Big Three price gouging has a lot to do with that too. And autoworkers’ wages are up a mere 6 percent. We’ve fallen so far behind. Finally, and this is key: the cost of labor for the Big Three is around 4–5 percent of total operations. Think about that. They could double our wages, not raise car prices, and still make billions of dollars.

That is a pretty good assessment of the situation in America generally these days. Automobile production is one of the few remaining areas where Americans actually produce anything of value. Inventing things, building things, has been replaced by parasitic capitalism embodied by financialization. Kevin Phillips (see for example his 2006 book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century) describes financialization as a process whereby financial services, broadly construed, take over the dominant economic, cultural, and political role in a national economy.  Phillips also warns us that the US economy is following the same pattern that marked the beginning of the decline of Habsburg Spain in the 16th century, the Dutch trading empire in the 18th century, and the British Empire in the 19th century. Basically, America has been reduced to a nation of service providers (e.g., serve hamburgers) and a few fat-cat money shufflers. This scheme is only viable as long as the rest of the world considers it safe to let us handle their money. That confidence is being destroyed daily as we shock the world by making it clear there is no longer any American population with the values (sense of true justice and fair play, integrity, honesty, courage) that the Founders harnessed to create the Republic. 

I don't know how the world is going to avoid mass death and collapse of civilization. The warming of the planet is accelerating and we are already in uncharted waters (literally). A recent scientific paper (Richardson et al., Sci. Adv. 9, eadh2458 (2023)) states that Earth is now well outside of the safe operating space for humanity. The sea-ice surrounding Antarctica is well below any previous recorded winter level, which is alarming, as that ice regulates the planet's temperature, the white surface reflecting the Sun's energy back into the atmosphere and also cools the water beneath and near it, paraphrasing the recent BBC article.

Meanwhile, authoritarian states like North Korea, China and Russia (yes, Iran should be in there, but I think Israel may take care of that problem at some point, to the benefit of the Iranian people) are busily preparing their militaries for combined action to destroy the increasingly decadent West. China's top diplomat ,Wang Yi, is visiting Russia for "security" talks. He appears to be a pleasant fellow:

Vladimir Putin has just finished meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, presumably for more "security" talks:

It seems to me that we are going to have to fight these folks at some point. I say again that we should help South Korea, Japan and Taiwan obtain nuclear weapons. For that matter, we should return the nuclear weapons to Ukraine that they relinquished with assurance of their national sovereignty.

Some might argue that I am old and my own mortality perhaps clouds my judgment as to the possibility for evolution of the present state of affairs to a pleasant world-culture where happy billions live in blissful general stupidity and banality somehow. What about Gorbachev and the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union? Couldn't that happen again (in multiple totalitarian countries)? Looking at the difference in the context of the countries I have mentioned as threats and the old Soviet Union, I find that unlikely.

That is quite apart from the rendering of much of the Earth uninhabitable from global warming and its consequences (sea level rise, droughts, heat waves, intense and frequent storms, wildfires, etc.).

To tell the truth, I will be surprised if the United States has not collapsed into a whiskey-tango authoritarian regime in the next few years. I wish I could say I was enjoying this ride to hell in a bucket (alluding to the Grateful Dead song).

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Not the crunchiest cookie in the bag, but still crazy after all these years

Cognitively impaired today, more so than usual (which is depressingly usual these days). Was unwell for a few days, then poor sleep last night, surprisingly (the poor sleep) since take suvorexant, a dual orexin receptor  (OX 1 and OX 2) antagonist, i.e., it inhibits the actions of the wake-promoting orexin (also called hypocretin) neuropeptides in the brain. In any case, I am about as dumb as an OX (the ruminant) today, but mood somewhat better along with physical improvement. Will just copy notes of my recent thoughts here, lacking the stamina or capability to edit and develop them:

Still remember Paul Simon's 1975 album, Still Crazy After All These Years, in particular the song of the same name. I was annoyed that my first wife was fascinated by one of the other songs on the album, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, but we remained a couple until 1981 (guess there were less available ways than Simon suggested). We had gone steady in high school through 1971 then gotten back together. 

7/3/23 1052 MDT (z-6) Monday KRWG 90.7 FM Performance Today, played Sergei Prokofiev first string quartet (performed by Quartetto di Cremona (English: Cremona Quartet), an Italian string quartet founded in Cremona. Couldn't find the Quartetto di Cremona performance but here is another quartet playing it on YouTube. Unmistakable Soviet era feel, mood. Desperation intermingled with terror (first section played). 2nd section played agonizing pathos, desperation seeming to overwhelm hope that nevertheless refused to die. AI-like non-human nonsense atonal sequences of notes (refuse to call them melodies), the normal human tendency to melody (as humanity roasts on an angry heated Earth, I thought with a pang of sorrow, "it will be a sad day when the music of man no longer sounds") suppressed by the death-dealing totalitarian reality of Soviet era. Library of Congress commissioned the piece in the 1930s while Prokofiev was in the US for a time. Compare Copeland's Appalachian Spring, commissioned by LoC 1946, for an emotional description of life in the free and healthy America before the deterioration 1960's on.

Re Hemingway suicide: Watched old 1995 approx. documentary on Story Channel local 6/23/23 Sunday. He had been badly depressed. He had suffered severe head injuries in recent years in plane crash(s) in Africa and likely had traumatic brain injury sequelae (my comment). Mayo Clinic repeatedly gave him ECT, which did not improve his mood (unclear if he obtained a temporary improvement like I have observed in a subject I knew) and caused apparently persistent loss of memory which crippled his ability to write (took a week to write one paragraph for JFK). He finally could not stand to continue with his core ability gone, so blew the top of his head off with double-barrel shotgun in mouth 1961. Hemingway had apparently suffered from increasing paranoia that the FBI was after him (probably true after he expressed some sympathy for the anti-Batista groups which eventually became communist regime) and that was difficult to bear as well. I know how he felt regarding the desolation and despair over losing the ability to work at a high level (I chew my cud in discontent, dumb as an OX much of the time now).

Re unauthorized constant coming and going from one's pc, phone etc. to "update" software: What happened to the days of engineers producing a program which consumers purchased and used, like a car, a radio, etc.? Why do we accept a model where, analogously, a car (though that is a bad model now since the fools are trying to make automobiles in large part dependent on software also) is purchased and is known not to be working properly, so expect unauthorized repair crews to be found in and around your vehicle working on it at any hour or day?

Re: PBS constant advertisement of their programming and news as desirable in that "the viewer can trust them," i.e., that they present only "facts." Most of the public is aware that in fact they are conforming to an agenda and the "facts" are always secondary to that agenda. This is a general tendency in our rotting civilization, e.g., the would-be fascists congregate at their Faux News or Facebook baboon-hall-of-mirrors venues so as to feed their infantile world-view only "facts" consistent with that view. You have the appalling spectacle of people who have no business publicly expressing an opinion on anything more complex than their desire for feeding or sex or the like commenting on the suggested equivalence of Biden discovering and returing a couple of classified documents and the parody of a man Trump selecting the most sensitive trove of national security documents to take with him, actively refusing to return them when requested then ordered by the federal government. Everyone is "equal" so any moron believes his/her opinion equally valid. If fools be led by fools, shall they not all be destroyed? Bah.

Writers allowed to submit scripts for television and movies (thought the latter are increasingly simply primitive-appearing computer generated cartoons) have been trained to believe "creativity" means emitting any gibberish that occurs to them, a flow of garbage consisting of mashups of pc revisionist history and personalities. There are no real humans of stature and character as protagonists anymore, anymore than there are such individuals in the host sick culture, and why not, considering that the pc/multicultural agenda demands that there is no consciousness, no actual core constituting of an individual human living life as a soul navigating the adventure of existence, but instead just a proposed mashup of brain modules careening this way and that. The result is bizarre plots (see perversion of A. C. Doyle's Sherlock Holmes with  Benedict Cumberbatch in recent years) that drift this way and that in human history (again, not real history, but one with the facts of the historical record recast to conform to pc/multic/atheist/antiwestern civ agenda), the characters without an identifiable human individual core of capacity (again, the agenda is to demand that all humans are considered equal in capacity, resulting in the end of true science but a pervasive diversity in its pseudo-practitioners). 

There should be an immediate world-wide regulation/rule/law prohibiting the use of the term "AI" (or explicitly "artificial intelligence") except in academic publications: the term "computer program" is the only honest term applicable here. Imagine wide-eyed hucksters on the side of a road in the late 15th century Europe. They wave their hands wildly in spastic motions and warn passersby of the danger of the "Demon" emerging from the new printing presses. They pull handfulls of cut printed pages from a basket and read carefully if surreptitiously selected groups of them, creating ominous apparent "Intelligent Exclamations of the Demon." They demand attention of the local townspeople and their officials, funds to study and guard against the threat of these "Demons extinguishing Humanity." A highly-respected question and website is now on strike, fighting management's refusal to allow the moderators (experts in the subject matter of each site) to strike AI-generated junk submitted as "answers."

I burn what remains of my functional time working on advance web-programming problems, trying to set up a contact form at my websites that would be resistant to the constant probes by bad actors. That being said, I still communicate time to time with scholars in various fields, most recently with a medieval philosophy expert. I will just paste some of my text from a recent email to him:

Words are powerful, our link to our inner world of thought and the connection to the cultural world we create. I allude to Uexkull's umwelt concept, Cassirer's "Essay on Man" (which I am gradually reading, with great pleasure, as usual discovering more what I believe than the author's position, paraphrasing Santayana's comment about Emerson in 1911), and Pauli's ideas:

"When the layman says ‘reality’, he usually thinks that he is talking about something evident and well-known; by contrast it seems to me that it is the most important and exceedingly difficult task of our time to work out a new idea of reality. . . . What I have in mind concerning such a new idea of reality, is – in provisional terms – the idea of the reality of the symbol. On the one hand, a symbol is a product of human effort, on the other hand it indicates an objective order in the cosmos of which humans are only a part.” [from Letter by Pauli to Fierz of August 12, 1948, quoted in "Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science" by Atmanspacher and Primas]

Pardon my usual slipping into abstraction. I suppose that has always been my habit, perhaps more so now with less and less connection to the world around me (the state of which dismays me).

Freedom...ah what a noble idea! More license now than lack of restraint/constraint in seeking happiness and knowledge, perversely accompanied by ... a single-minded objective of cancelling alternate viewpoints (any mention of actual history or actual characteristics of man unfortunately falling into that realm of repression). Nature has a way of working these things out, but I fear the noble will be erased along with the base (so like Abraham in defense of Sodom in Genesis 8:20-27 KJV, I remind the Lord of the few who should be spared even at the expense of righteous annihilation generally). You really need a population of advanced inhabitants to make freedom and democracy work, to make it survive (less and less likely now, considering the demand for diversity for its own sake, apart from other factors).

[End quote of my email text]

Well, "that's all folks!"...for now anyway.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Iron poor blood, geritol, snake oil, AI, and a thousand things not dreamed of

 I occasionally hear Springsteen's Dancin' in the Dark in my head:

Message keeps getting clearer radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place I check my look in the mirror I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face Man I ain't getting nowhere I'm just living in a dump like this There's something happening somewhere baby I just know that there is...

In 1984 the song was on the radio all the time, somewhat of a backdrop to my chaotic life. I was working at a high level, making the transition to software engineer with a startup company (AMBI voice-data terminal, I talk about my work there at my old IT business site). My personal life was foolish, I still having the artist's love of love, allowing that drive, not simply for the natural physical drive of a man, but the need for the love of a good woman, one pleasing in spirit and form. It is always a mistake to desire anything to the point that you behave imprudently, dancing closer and closer to the edge of the cliff as it were. A woman I cared for used to joke that Dancin' in the Dark was my song...You can't start a fire without a spark...but people get burned by that fire more often than not (gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity, but some damage to the soul remains for a lifetime and beyond).

My own existence is further complicated by the cur factor, alluding to the inexplicable hate and fear of a certain class of mongrel for man. My own heels were constantly nipped at by bipeds of that ilk throughout my life, making it difficult for those who loved me to stay. As I have made clear to them, I have contempt for those who call themselves men but make their way with liberal use of their primary weapon, their slanderous tongue. David Buss, evolutionary psychologist, commented on the role of slander in “human” life in The Evolution of Happines: person's gain is often another person's loss...the most fundamental, most universal double standard is not male versus female but each individual human versus everyone else [Buss quoting Symons]. The profound implication of this analysis is that humans have evolved psychological mechanisms designed to inflict costs on others, to gain advantage at the expense of others, to delight in the downfall of others, and to envy those who are more successful at achieving the goals toward which they aspire....Men are no less vicious [than women] in their derogation tactics. The content of gossip, in short, is adaptively targeted and undoubtedly affects success in the mating market. It can simultaneously create psychological anguish and ruin the reputation of victims....As Gore Vidal noted, "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.."

St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622) rightly observed that slander is a kind of murder... causing civil death to the object of his slander (cf also the Book of James 3:8). Well, I apparently had/have an indomitable will to prevail, though I am a bit tired at this late date, grin. 

That segues nicely to my recall of Geritol ads on black and white television of the 1950's. Ironically, you have to be very careful with iron intake as you age, particularly if you have liver damage. The liver manufactures hepcidin, a protein that basically provides the only way for the body to limit accumulation of iron, which is a dangerously toxic element, despite being necessary for manufacture of hemoglobin, the oxygen transfer mettaloprotein present in red blood cells. Love is Like Oxygen, you get too much, you get too high...not enough and you're gonna die (1978 recording by Brit band Sweet). Seems there is always this dynamic between the pairs of opposites which characterize existence for conscious beings. 

Speaking of conscious beings, I am appalled (being a conscious being, for the most part, though perhaps the eternal flame burns less intensely with each passing day now) at the increasing focus on the "dangers of AI or artificial intelligence." As a mystic and engineer/citizen scientist, I can tell you that there is no artificial intelligence, only simple-minded computer programs that match strings of characters with other strings of characters in huge databases and AI hucksters who exhibit the Pygmalion myth gone wild. This would be a ludicrous fraud were it not that an increasingly stupid general population believes these claims. As I have said elsewhere on numerous occasions, you would indeed have to be an idiot to believe that a glorified search engine could safely operate an automobile in traffic. That the intent seems to be to give lethal drones at least partial operational control by such applications is legitimately a concern though, not because there is actually any artificial intelligence, but exactly because there is not. Someone at PBS (think it might have been Judy Woodruff) interviewed a Microsoft (I think) manager in their AI community a few months ago. He inadvertently let it slip that it was absurd to be so worried about evil AI coming after humanity because there is in fact only primitive computer programs trying to retrieve data in a useful way. I would post a link to the interview, but it was immediately cancelled from the internet memory, being insconsistent with the current dogma (the agenda of loosely coordinated academia/education and media to confuse and mislead the population into believing a man-as-animal world view) and I now cannot find it (and I am an experienced researcher, though I grant that the internet has deteriorated steadily over the last ten to fifteen years, becoming now less a means of retrieving documents relating to search query terms than a Family Feud match on the lowest common denominator, i.e., most popular current grunting among the masses--an example of "artificial intellgence" at work, grin).

I recall, wistfully, my memories of the High Flight Chapel c. 1965 at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (or maybe it was Ft. Rucker, Alabama, now Ft. Novosel, history being rewritten to cancel out references to Confederate the way, I am really fed up with the portrayal of slavery as something done by white people to black people, my own people in Britain having been enslaved by the Romans in the early centuries of the first millenium anno Domini, fie on the "common era," and that was hardly a novel occurrence). The Magee poem of the same name was posted on the wall in the chapel as I recall:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of..

I similarly found a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as Joni Mitchell sang Summertime at the end of the Gershwin Prize show March 31 (Chris Richards at the Washington Post wrote about that performance). For me it was not only the experience of transcendent talent persisting into the last years of an artist, but a feeling of bittersweet sorrow and gratitude for this thing we call a human life, which for me and other baby boomers, is fast coming to an end. RIP (requiescat in pace) David Crosby, Gordon Lightfoot. As I said recently to my old rock colleague, Chas Thomas, it seems that every day another person, another treasured feature of my life, is buried one way or another...reminding me that this will soon be my own fate.

I was forced to move my websites to new hosting earlier this year (2023), not liking the attitude of my provider after their purchase by SquareSpace. Despite my frequent incapacitation from fatigue, I somehow retrieved my former web design expertise and learned a new framework (Bootstrap), while implementing the redesign (at my old IT business site and my music career site). I have little memory of the weeks that this required, but am grateful that someone, apparently me, accomplished this feat. As a bonus, the websites are now mobile-friendly, adapting for any screen size from phone to desktop pc.

Scraps of thought:

  • 1940 Hemmingway novel (and 1943 movie starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman) For whom the bell tolls: Roberto soliloquy at end. Has anyone noticed this is a parallel construction to Jesus' address to his disciples at the Last Supper?
  • Medicare and SSA pending insolvency: Why never a mention of the fact that for years congress has been raiding the funds payed in by the American citizens (and that, ahem, not-so-legitimate "citizens" have been draining the funds as well after illegally coming here)?
  • The clown caucus of Republicans demand control of spending, as well as cuts in existing programs, after they have increaed the national debt orders of magnitude in every administration with a Republican president by reducing the amount of taxes the superwealthy pay. The moron news media report only that Biden wants to raise taxes on the rich, with no mention of the fact that Republican president and WWII command Eisenhower warned that it was dangerous to reduce taxes on the wealthy, i.e., Biden increases do not come close to restoring the Eisenhower years proper tax brackets for high income. The media also rarely emphasizes that the pending (as of this writing May 6, 2023) debt default is about paying bills already incurred by the country over numerous previous administrations, Republican and Democratic, not about new spending.
  • In February 2023 DOE labs commented that COVID originated from lab leak in Wuhang province (China) with "evidence low grade." Many of us had noticed several years ago that the Wuhan CDC laboratory moved on 2nd December 2019 to a new location near the Huanan market where the first COVID cases appeared:

  • Ukraine must take the fight to Russia. You cannot survive a purely defensive total war in the long term, much less win it. Also, it must be obvious that the US will indeed fall away eventually in its support. Ukraine must make this a global conflict prior to that so as to prevent that from occuring. Won't that cause WWIII? WWIII has already begun, my friends.

Good night, and good luck.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Hearts against the wind, dust in the wind, blah blah blah

 Well, I will try to write something quickly. A man can have no purpose except in the effect he has on others (unless you subscribe to the anthem of the young, i.e., the purpose of life is to live), but I have less and less capability to research and write and am loathe to spend any of my limited time up here. For one thing this blog is not publicized to the extent my websites are (publicized in the sense of being immediately located by a suitable keyword search) so it is unclear anyone reads it, though I do make the link available at my sites, directly or through intermediate links for those who want to learn more about me (that would be a selection filter beyond the general public). In any case, I am like the little Dutch boy trying to stop the collapse of the dyke, finger stuck in the hole and an immense ocean of evil distortion gathered inexorably on the other side.

As I write it is still dark out (0647 MT zulu - 7) and the wind blowing, gusts expected in 40-50 mph range. It will probably blow off and on for the next 4 months (hard to say anymore with global warming modifying all patterns). I recall the Eddy Duchin Story 1956  movie that had an unusual potency for me considering I was an infant at the time. As I recall when Duchin realized he was dying there was a storm and the wind was raging, while Chopin Nocturne in E flat major played in the background, that being a theme in the movie (perhaps because Duchin was a pianist). The Chopin was oddly familiar and remained permanently in my mind (I often played it during my rock guitar career in the 70's, off stage on a 6-string acoustic or working it into my lead solos when the band would leave the stage and break while I improvised for 10-15 minutes). Anyway, I put on a recording of Linda Ronstadt and J.D Souther singing  Hearts Against the Wind when I pulled my battered, worn body out of my rack this morning (no reason to put on Chopin, since he is part of my background classical selections that routinely accompany my work daily). Ruefully I grant that Kansas Dust in the Wind is probably more appropriate at this point. As Dillbert of Doyle's Dharma Deli fame used to yell in defiance, "Blow me!" (wonder if that fellow ever found a decent life, a story that won't be told here). As I increasingly confront the reality of death as my years increase I, despite a life's experience with paranormal occurrences and thinking about consciousness, usually view that death as simply going to sleep as usual (a long dreamless sleep, as my late father-in-law heart surgeon used to tell me), but not waking up. It is a sign of my ego defects that I view this as a terrible thing (I smile thinking of Nero's reported words as he committed suicide rather than be hacked to death by the Praetorian Guard, "what an artist the world has lost in me," reported by Suetonius in Lives of the Caesars), absent some continued existence more objectionable than the end of being.

With my central vision going and various pathologies eating my neural nets as fast as I can train new ones, it is extremely annoying to read text I have typed later and discover dyslexic-like transpositions of letters. I dislike running into typos in formal text I read and I assume most with a mind do also. I guess I could blame it on defective spell-checks, but I don't normally use them.

Speaking of defective software, it is increasingly impossible to accomplish search online, with stochastic parrots blasting proposed text like an idiot-child at every letter trying to predict at a Family Feud level what I am seeking As I have written previously, it is appalling that the general public is increasingly devoid of conscious or intelligent capability such that the primitive "artificial intelligence" garbage can be placed in their path at every juncture without complaint. I must admit that humans are so tribal and clique-motivated that I found a ChatGPT answer recently more rational than the defensive hostile covers by the bipeds at a forum (I was irritably complaining about the lack of a simple mechanism to request email notification on new activity of interest; I realized later they were using Microsoft software so probably had no way to add a feature not contemplated by the OCD-autocratic corporation).  Emily Bender's complains only that these "AI"s should be programmed to control language and history in the service of the Orwellian politically correct multicultural agenda. I would exclaim, "just shoot me," but that is probably a bad idea both in a personal context as well as the context of a secular society (no soul, no God, no foul) of decreasing intelligence (what? me worry?) and increasing armament (no talk of controlling access to military-grade weapons when white people see the country deteriorating into the usual third-world nightmare, and ironically being inclined to elect fascist clowns who will complete the process, albeit with a different skin complexion).

It has been embarrassing to witness the American government reaction to the Chinese spy balloon. Word of advice: stop talking so much and just shoot down anything that doesn't belong in our airspace. Anything more is simply evidence of weakness (of character if not military capability).

I planned to find someold Jerry Lewis movie footage illustrating spastic hand activity to accompany my continuing protest at the insistence by the media that such hand talking by people without any natural inclination for coordination somehow makes them interting and portrays personality. However, I find that I am too tired (and again the little Dutch boy with finger in the dyke, i.e., futility though the hero of Haarlem, no not that Harlem, was more successful).

You protest that I never have anything positive to say? I do commend Brandon Tsay for disarming the Monterey Park shooter at a dance hall in Alhambra, California in January (though I had to put up with the perverse American media instead trying to cast the shootings, which were by an Asian on Asians, as somehow related to purported racism by the hated Christian Anglo-Saxon culture against Asians). I say again that perhaps these mass shootings would decrease in frequency if the target crowd instantly cast all fear aside and attacked the assassin and tore him apart on the spot. 

In a less real setting, I admire Patrick Mahomes for his skill as a quarterback and his courage and motivation to take his team to a Super Bowl victory despite playing on an injured ankle for weeks. Admittedly football is an anachronism designed specifically to showcase capabilities that are now mostly irrelevant to the progress of civilization or the human species (to the extent such a species exists at this point). True physical strife between men has little to do with size or appearance in most cases. In war men do not strut this way and that on the front line and attempt to intimidate their foe flexing their biceps (not for very long anyway). Humans developed efficient killing tools thousands of years ago and excel at their use. What humans have not developed is a rational approach to society and reproduction. Behave like animals and expect to die like animals, whether the immediate vector of death is disease, starvation or direct in war.

When in Rome I guess...I enjoyed the Eblen vs Tokov mixed martial arts bout at Bellator 290 Feb. 4 right up to the point that Tokov abruptly put Eblen in a choke hold then inexplicably released him in the final seconds of the last round. I posted a question about it in a martial arts forum but could get no one interested in why that particular segment of the fight has been carefully screened online, i.e., can be found nowhere now (was still interesting to get some detail on proper grappling technique, I being more a standup fighter trained in kyokushin, though at my age and disability a fight might be more mutual assured destruction).

Tyre Nichols death at hands of Memphis police last month: Police reform? Really? Is America really ready to examine the culture that encourages police to believe they are demonstrating their masculinity rather than peforming a dangerous service for the community? When you create groups like the Scorpion squad you are creating a recipe for disaster. Police of any sex and physical capability, but with acceptable character, should be given weapons that can be progressively applied to gain control over an unruly suspect (think sedative darts or immobilizing sprays first) like Nichols (I can tell you that whatever your color, it you continue to refuse to comply with the instructions of an officer, it doesn't help you to continue to announce loudly that you are complying). The other necessary reform is to start educating all school children (particularly black) that an encounter with police is not man-to-man, but rather a transaction with a representative of the entire power of the state authorized in the pursuit of common order and law, i.e., you must comply with the instructions of a police officer (you can file a complaint later if that seems appropriate) and you must never attempt to evade arrest (unless you are ready to accept the adverse possible consequence which will include charges and possible physical injury up to and including death). I find it despicable to beat a man when he is down whatever the circumstances, but that entire episode (like most of these) was avoidable.

I feel sorry for President Biden, a man come to represent what has become mostly unruly children rather than the gentile America of history (history, not pc/multicultural revisionist garbage). If this population had hear Kennedy's 1962 "we choose to go to the moon" speech they would have been bitterly complaining within weeks that they still didn't see any people on the moon. There is apparently no place these days for a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and tries to do the right thing for God and country. America, perhaps you deserve Trump or some clown of similar nature. I do admit it is quite impossible to improve the lives of the general populace when you are afraid to disturb the perverted capitalism of this country (it is more similar to the economic structure of the National Socialism of Germany pre-WWII) that permits the entire wealth of the country to accumulate in the hands of a few (and the even more sensitive question of how to stop the lopsided reproduction of the less capable, i.e., you cannot have a true democracy unless it is populated by generally high intelligence folk of good character, and even then it is fragile), since any transfer of funds to the poor will be instantly harvested by the raising of prices on the things required for survival (think inflation).

Let me return to my work on the group theory of symmetric groups in the context of sampling strategies in randomization testing. At least I can find some peace and rationality there for a time.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Whiskey for my men, drawing swords without cause, and other matters

Heard a country western song I hadn't encountered previously (at least I don't think I recent screen for Alzheimer's seems to indicate I was more or less ok...I forget, grin). Toby Keith was singing an apparent anthem in favor of vigilante justice, "Beer for My Horses." I agree there are "too many gangsters doing dirty deeds," but not being one to join a crowd (except in the unlikely event that it was enthusiastically pursuing some noble end) I am a little suspicious of a posse of buddies acting as judge, jury and executioner. Lord knows the Innocence Project (and other related work) have uncovered too many innocent men convicted and sentenced to death, and that was done by multiple levels of government rather than a hyped-up band of would-be Guardians (it is particularly heinous for the State to take life wrongly, for we of the governing society all share in the responsibility, the land as it were crying out for justice for the blood of the innocent). 

In any case, I am favorably disposed to whiskey for one's friends and I suppose beer for the horses. Reportedly my late uncle, who I note died at an age 15 years younger than my present age, once got a horse drunk and walked it upstairs to his apartment. I became instant friends with him in 1963 (my uncle, not the horse) much to my father's disgust.

I was surprised to find that some (Setterfield) have argued that the speed of light (a universal constant) has decreased over time, something convenient apparently if you are trying to patch up the inconsistency between literal Biblical chronology of the Earth and reality (whatever that is). I have personally observed some variation in the flow of time, having been involved around 1969 in an experiment with STP (a psychedelic much more potent than LSD). We had wondered if the chemical might increase remote viewing capability (clairvoyance really), something the government was interested in for obvious reasons (intelligence from any channel is useful; the early Christian church relied on paranormal warnings of pending arrest by the Romans provided in precognitive dreams by church members). 

As the mind-altering agent took effect I noticed billowing red and blue clouds of audio gas (this would be termed a form of synesthesia) from the stereo speakers in the observation room in the lab. The 60's band Steppenwolf  LP album"Monster" was playing. I then perceived a 3-dimensional vignette occupying maybe 8 cubic feet materialize above the audio system, containing a sinister-appearing choir of perhaps twenty dark-robed persons holding songbooks and singing the lyrics. Soon the vignette  faded into a purplish aura which in turn dissolved into the remains of the reality of the room. 

I hadn't realized I was standing until I fell backwards into a wall and slumped to the floor, surprised somewhat that I encountered resistance since the walls appeared to be breathing like bellows at times and looked like wet plaster covered with hieroglyphs on closer inspection. I tried to write notes using a pencil and notebook provided, but the characters and lines immediately levitated off the notebook pages and filled the surrounding air with geometric curves, making it impossible to write. I glanced at my left wrist to check my old Benrus analog watch (no digital watches a half century ago) and saw the minute hand revolving quickly around the face, the hour hand slowly advancing behind. I become a core of being which was experiencing the flood of altered perceptions, but was standing apart from them analogously as a large boulder around which white water races in rapids. I recall thinking that I was in a time-warp, i.e., that my consciousness had become disconnected from the normal space-time events as usually measured, as well as separating from the components of ego-in-the-world. 

I realized years later when studying the Upanishads that I had become the Witness, the Perceiver (Śvet. 6. 11 (line 11 of the Sixth Adhyāya, Śvetāśvatara Upanishad, [Brahma is] The one God, hidden in all beings . . .the witness, the perceiver ). I shut my eyes and began to fall though the darkness of interstellar space, Moiré patterns of cosmic phosphorescent webbing unfolding and spiraling about me (perhaps this NASA link is still good, appears similar if less spectacular Cosmic Web NASA). Although I responded appropriately to questions from observers without their having opened their mouths to speak (which did not seem unusual at the time), I did not find any improvement in remote viewing capability. That phenomenon usually occurred in the hypnagogic state between sleep and awake, but in later years I took medications to block it along with precognitive visions during sleep, as too disturbing. I had discovered that I was powerless to change a pending disastrous future (see Cassandra myth) and so preferred not to know. 

I recently heard a young woman on a public radio segment describing the prolonged death of another woman from cancer (I think), unclear the relationship. She said that the woman had towards the end found religion and that she supposed that was a delusion. I was immediately reminded of watching over a period of months while one of the New York city atheist/pc police whittled down the short story of an acquaintance of mine (a dilettante idle-rich writer wife of a former major ceo who had narrowly escaped the savings and loan collapse with a roof over his head, he having invested in a private bank at the time that went belly up). Her original original story was interesting and alive with a real human protagonist who ends up facing a near death experience while having lost everything else of her former life. 

By the time the New York editor got through with the tale, there was only a bumbling zombie-like character displaying little more than brief internal animal-like reactions. This intentional censoring of the true depth of human experience is, as I have written many times before, the agenda of something so evil that it raises my hackles and chills my bones to realize it now roams the world mostly unfettered and free, directing the hordes of confused bipeds to their fate. 

I have accepted that it is as impossible to implant truth in the soul of a man as it is give the power of seeing to a man born blind (Ernst Cassirer in his 1944 "An Essay On Man" paraphrasing Plato's Republic Book VII, "certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes," Jowett 1871 translation), but continue to the extent I am able. 

The Vedanta tradition tell us that every soul makes its own way and seeks out new paths and knowledge on its own schedule. It is unclear to what degree a person may depart from the path of a particular life, much less to what degree in response to mere observations of an outsider. We nevertheless must not forsake right action, i.e., dharma, Sanskrit root dhr, “to hold,” as one may be constrained by truth, hence here to offer words believed to be true and beneficial is an act of devotion. It is clear though that there must be a conscious choice by a soul to advance (hence the title of the great spiritual anthology classic, "The Choice is Always Ours," by Phillips, Howes and Nixon).

This 2022 year coming to a close was the first year in a while that I didn't publish (make publicly available via various online venues) any academic-level papers. I am afraid I am winding down (time modifications notwithstanding). That being said, I am still working sporadically at a high level though and was pleased to communicate briefly with a quantum chemistry professor (in another country) who had developed a closed form significance level equation for a permutation analysis (writing it as an infinite series whose terms can be computed rapidly). I had been wondering why he quoted the 1935 result of the great R.A. Fisher (the zea Mays plant height analysis in which Fisher introduced the idea of randomization testing) differently. 

It turns out he had merely made an adjustment in the way the count of permuted test statistics that equaled the original test were used, something not uncommon when an analyst is looking for an exact test at the alpha level (0.05 level of significance for example). It had surprised me because I knew the Fisher study well and had in fact uncovered a small error in calculation by Fisher (he had no computer with which to process the 32768 sign alternations of the 15 plant height difference involved in creating the randomization distribution). I wrote the following R code to accomplish the Fisher analysis exactly:

one_sample_sign_alt_sum_Exact <- function(x){

n <- length(x)

tst <- sum(x)

z <- abs(x)

# borrow bincombinations() from e1071 package:

sign_alt_mtrx <- matrix(0, nrow = 2^n, ncol = n)

for (n2 in 1:n) {

    sign_alt_mtrx[, n2] <- rep(c(rep(0, (2^n/2^n2)), rep(1, (2^n/2^n2))), 

            length.out = 2^n)


sign_alt_mtrx <- 2*sign_alt_mtrx - 1

sign_alt_num_rows <- length(sign_alt_mtrx[,1])

null_dist_vec <- rep(0, sign_alt_num_rows)

for (i in 1:sign_alt_num_rows){

    null_dist_vec[i] <- sum( sign_alt_mtrx[i,]*z )


pUp <- sum( null_dist_vec >= tst) / sign_alt_num_rows

pDn <- sum( null_dist_vec <= tst) / sign_alt_num_rows

upperTailPval <- pUp

lowerTailPval <- pDn

res <- list( nulldist = null_dist_vec, teststat = tst, 

 lenx = n, lensigncombs = sign_alt_num_rows, lowTailP = lowerTailPval,  

  upTailP = upperTailPval)



(End R code)

In any case, the chemist was rather pleased that someone had finally commented on the paper, which he had written decades earlier. I was pleased to discover that he was also familiar with the writings of Augustine (Bishop of Hippo who witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire from Rome).

I turned on the FM radio again while having a coffee break last week or so and listened to some pod-caster trying to establish that the trend in fake music, i.e., recycled pieces of other's work (grooves) and white noise, electronic sounds repetitive droning, is not as stupid as it sounds. I recall (by way of contrast) the thousands of performances I gave on the guitar, all original improvisation, never the same twice. Came to my mind a time with gathered acquaintances outside for a smoke break at an electronics school in 1978, me on an old 6-string acoustic improvising around "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin for 15 minutes or so. The little crowd had shaken their heads in disbelief at what they had heard (one granting that high praise, "that was better than the album").

Once I ran into an acquaintance who still recalled my impromptu performance of "Roundabout" by Yes, again on a 6-string alone, playing all the parts and improvising, as perhaps the best guitar solo he had every heard in the intervening 40 years or so. There was a memorable performance with one of the several rock bands I played lead with a half century ago in a downtown El Paso club with multiple levels, hundreds of people at tables with pitchers of beer. The crowd had been entranced by the music we were playing (there are some brief excerpts from some of my live work in early 70s here Dalton Live excerpts 1970s). The club owner complained to us at next band break that his customers thought it was a concert, but he wanted them to get up and dance so as to become thirsty and order more beer. They appeared to be enjoying our music using other intoxicants primarily and drinking pitchers of beer largely to counter the usual cotton-mouth.

Going back to the 19th century in the classical genre, there were the performances of the virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini, who hypnotized crowds with his improvisation and brilliance (the music he charted is still played today and variations composed based on their themes, e.g., "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," Op.43 by Sergei Rachmaninoff). Quoting from "A Popular History of the Art of Music," by W. S. B. Mathews,

It is impossible after this lapse of time to realize the sensation which Paganini's appearances made. His tall, emaciated figure and haggard face, his piercing black eyes and the furor of passion which characterized his playing, made him seem like one possessed, and many hearers were prepared to assert of their own knowledge that they had seen him assisted by the Evil Spirit. His caprices remain the sheet anchor of the would-be virtuoso. The entire art of violin playing rests upon two works—the Bach sonatas for violin solo, and the great Paganini caprices. Everything of which the violin is capable, or which any virtuoso has been able to find in it, is contained in these works.

To speak of adding electronic noise tracks or repetitive portions of a single instrument performance ad infinitum is then an obscene parody of real music and artistry. What is worse, the present deteriorating culture seems not to appreciate the difference between what is basically elevator music and the performance of music by an artist.

On the other hand, there is ample enthusiasm but little talent among found in current classical music (George Santayana said it well around 1913, though perhaps more generously than I, "artists have no less talent, their taste, their vision, their sentiment are often interesting; they are mighty in their independence and feeble only in their works"). You typically encounter alternating frenzied or painfully slow random strikes on an instrument, a squeaking, groaning cello with no hint of melody emerging among the cries of pain, frantic pluckings of stringed instruments with fingers moving at random, arms flailing, as might a comedian looking at the audience most seriously while playing the result of absurd spastic motions. attempting to relay the emotions or thoughts of the composer (more composeur), but with no observable talent in music, melody, or harmony. For an example of how a true composer can relay images when bringing musical talent to bear, see for example the 1914 "Lark Ascending," by Ralph Vaughan William. 

Online you frequently encounter people trying to find a formula for, say, the work of Mozart or Beethoven based in mathematics, probably the same class of individual who believes computers can generate music. This relates to my oft-expressed outrage/despair that the fraud of artificial intelligence is becoming so widely believed now. An entire generation has been conditioned by those in academia (the perverters of intelligence) into believing they themselves are biological automatons without consciousness, much less a soul (it is easier to believe a search engine is conscious if you repress experience that testifies to your own).

I was sad to hear of Christie McVie's death (at 79) in November 2022. The Rumors album 1977 had been a part of my musical lifetrack. I had always found Christie a lovely woman both in appearance and in spirit, so loving and alive. My late wife Cheri told me she used to crank up McVie singing her "river goes on and on and the sea that divides us is a temporary one, and the bridge will bring us back together" from The Dance tracks (live Fleetwood Mac 1997) whenever she saw the Anthony, NM exit coming up on her run from Albuquerque to stay with me on weekends at La Union, NM in 2010 prior to our marriage.

Seems to be a pattern here. As I wrote the other day in a medical forum (discussing research in geroscience, I noted that I didn't believe you could circumvent entropy, the natural progression of physical systems to more probable states, i.e., increasing disorder), I am like a senescent cell at this point (what are we given as men? three score and ten), worn out but resisting apoptosis (programmed cell death) and with my angry railings against the state of things on this planet, secreting inflammatory utterings as it were. I suppose that is the way of the old much of the time. But there is the underlying tendency of humans to believe that they individually understand and know the truth of matters while their fellows are deluded and wrong-headed.  

A Frontline report December 21 (2022) on General (retired) Mike Flynn illustrated this tendency. There are the odd trappings of a religious crusade grafted onto lies and generally non-spiritual (for those with no understanding of the term "spiritual,", see the Sermon on the Mount for an example) attitude and behavior. As Toby Keith sang about in "Beer for My Horses," i.e., we see humans readily coming together to view themselves as a like-minded, cohesive group ("the good people") taking on the people who are outside the group ("the evil people"). It is bizarre, to say the least, for a former soldier to even refer to the Constitution after putting aside his oath to defend it.

Typically the greater the certitude the less the actual spiritual or intellectual capacity of the human. Contrast such posturing of folks like Flynn with the courage and integrity of the Ukrainian people and the moving address of their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to the US Congress December 21 (2022). It is agreed that Flynn "got things done" during his time directing anti terrorist activities in Iraq, but this was apparently accomplished by putting aside normal prudence, i.e., by striking non-legitimate targets about half the time (obviously this didn't help with the whole "hearts and minds" campaign).

During the increasingly frequent periods I am unable to read and write, I seek out movies featuring people that I can admire, e.g., "The Pacific" series about the WWII pacific campaign ("Without a sign his sword the brave man draws, And asks no omen but his country’s cause", from Pope's translation of the Iliad of Homer, quoted by one of the Marines when asked why they fight), based on books authored by several Marine veterans.  I consider Medal of Honor winner John Basilone, an America lost, heroism of the legitimate sort, comparing to the fascist/authoritarian posturing of today's overgrown infants. I am grateful to have lived, but not pleased with my life's performance (I realize the life we are assigned is necessary, but still the errors and regrets are painful), nor with the state of the world. One can only hope that I am as deluded (and generally wrong) in my assessments as are the numberless hordes of narcissistic hominids who are inheriting what remains of the Earth.