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.

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