Friday, December 9, 2016

Wait for it

We are sitting down.  Smack dab in the middle of wait-for-it.

I think that the best part about all of this is the fantasies that people project on the ongoing American project. These seem to fall into two camps, the beginning of a bright new future or the start of the apocalypse.

Neither of those things are currently occurring.  We are waiting around to watch the dance of a group of novice outsiders and newbies attempt to come to grips with the largest and best funded bureaucracy in the history of the planet.  It might turn out to be an epic battle.  It also might turn out to be a damp squib.

The executive branch of government is an odd thing.  Every election we put someone up to act as its titular leader, but the truth is, these "leaders" usually know jack shit about the process.   So they put up a group of cronies as "Secretaries", who then in turn put in place a bunch of their cronies.

These cronies presumably will run the departments of the government.

Lets look at my squatting ground, the good old VASpa.  The total political appointees are twelve.

The workforce of the VA is around 312K as of 2013.  The political appointees of the last administration are burrowing into the system now, trying to convert their appointed power into a permanent presence.  The 312K has a pretty darn big number of senior executives who will gleefully monkey wrench any attempt to slice away their power and privilege.

And the truth is, these high level political appointees and their minions really don't have complete control of the system, they push higher level thought and deflect damage, but they are as much a captive of the system as the system is a captive to them.

What we will see in the none-to-distant future is a subtle, congressional-mediated, bureaucracy-hindered attempt by a small handful of political players to change the course and livelihoods of an entrenched bureaucracy.

Anyone who thinks that "You're Fired" will work in these conditions might want to consider hedging your bets.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A funereal time

Locutius and Octavia surprised me last night and showed up on my doorstep.  Things are not going right for them.  Entropy confuses the crap out of them.

Folks like them are having a tough time of it right now.  They have carefully constructed a life using the rules dominant in our culture during the past forty years.

Those rules are cracking apart now, and the life thus constructed now appears fragile.  The things that are happening in the world are evidentiary​.  But the things that are happening in the world will continue to attack fragile structures like the American Dream.

But the get rich and die happy mythos of the post-Reagan years are reaching their pull date.  The almost-elite that took their cue from the advertising and acquisition industries and fooled themselves into believing that the short term goals that held sway would not self destruct at the end of the party.

Folks need to start realizing that the turgid, tortured pseudo-logic that fuelled Francis Fukayama's fever dream concerning "the end of history" was never meant to last.   It was always a ridiculous idea.  But the transient "victory" of shallow, self-serving policies benefitting the professional class was never, ever built to last.  Acting as though a set of rules that impoverishes a significant portion of a nation for the leisure of a self-centered elite is self-evidently right is a behavior that won't stand the test of time.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Refusal

Sat around a table at the Laurelwood last night, drinking dark beers and listening to friends reminisce, bitch, and whine.

2 x Ph.D., a masters, and a couple of BS.  Lotta education at the table.  What we talked about was a dying technology.  But the 100+ years of work of the participants ensured that the technology and the business practices of the management paying the bills stayed center stage.  The desire to maintain their stuff and their relative status was none too subtly ignores.

I won't even bother to tell you the tech, it in non-important.  What is important is the way that folks have approached it here in the West.  Simple tech, cheap materials, easy manufacture.  Provides for a desperate need.  But the West lards on layers of greedy management, corrupt regulatory efforts, scheming and corrupt and greedy middlemen and what was once a $0.50 product is now a $7.00 white elephant that no one wants.

So what does the brain trust at the table come up with as an idea.  Why, all you have to do to reach your dreams of continued steady and lucrative employment is to pair a simple, hand-held, computer chip reader with the already overpriced system.

Folks wonder why everything moved out of America.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Very Odd

Don't really know what to say.

I saw the full flower of "Trump won, prepare for the apocalypse" this weekend.

It is scary.

A good birthday weekend though, watched "White Christmas" for the first time ever and hooted.  I am always pleased when I watch 50's innocent, 100% hokey films.  The fifties ability with hokey is the key to the whole thing.

Hollywood created a wonderful myth.  A saccharine simulacrum of reality for all of us to believe.

And we did so want to believe.  We spent the next fifty years staring at the simulacrum and wishing ourselves into it.  Unfortunately,  the world outside the simulacrum failed us, and now the cold reality of the big world shows that the Republic is in serious trouble.

So we cast around in our different options for simulacrum selection  and voila, out pops the zombie apocalypse.  Bing and Rosemary failed us, so lets cast around for something opposite of what didn't work.  So now rides the zombies.  Coming at you, so make certain that you put aside enough guns and ammo to ride out the storm.

Whew.  It gets tiresome.

You notice that Hollywood doesn't ever have a "We gotta slog through years of shit, doing kinda unpleasant things, and making unfortunate compromises and sacrifices, just to keep things almost (but not quite) the same", myth.

Some of us are now without a myth to live by.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not Gonna be here until the sixth

Going up to see Locutius...mourning another birthday of mine passing...not going to think a bit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Post Mortem

I have been giving some thought to the vagaries of the election.  A conversation with young Horatius yesterday had me thinking a clarified my thoughts (I will withhold further elaboration at this point since you Dear Reader, in your mind will substitute a different verb than clarification in this sentence)

As you are well aware, I voted for the strangely coiffed blowhard.

It wasn't an easy choice, but there you go.  He is the best of a bad lot.

But truth be told, Trump is my best choice because of his crudeness and lack of sophistication.  He will probably attempt stupid things that will arouse the ire of all "right thinking" folk.  When that happens, all of the checks and balances of our pretty-damn-fine system will kick in and stop the stupid.  Life is good.

Hillary, on the other hand, is a smart, sneaky, two faced bitch who will like her husband before her, would play the system for everything it is worth and put together a package of "legislation" that would gut the system further for the sake of her friends.  We probably wouldn't even notice it until about 2025, after she left office.  Then we would realize, for the second time, just how badly the Clintons had fucked us.




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Luminiferous Ether and other such things

​​As always, the ex-Archdruid has caused a couple of my neurons to fire.

This time it was kicked off by his use of the quaint phrase "Luminiferous Ether".  Man, started me laughing, because along with phlogiston and phrenology, you have yourself a blast from the past that is truly hard to beat.

But then, as I continued to think about these ​​​​things, I also started thinking about the science that is going down in our time.  How much of what is passed of in the "scientific" journal industry today will be in same category as luminiferous ether fifty years from now?

I spent years in the nether regions of science.  Was I a top-flight tech?  Was I an slightly below average scientist?  Who knows?  The point here is that I was a part of that particular argumentative collective for years.  The group

​-​
think and arrogance is astonishing.  They are certain that anything done in the past has no merit whatsoever and only current methodology and theory yield "truth".

B​ut, on the other side, they hold up the "miracles" and saints bones of earlier enshrined experiments.  Michelson-Morley is one of these.  My experience with physics explanations for this experiment is "Nice".  But when you hear the experiment discussed by serious physics types, it gains the stuff of religion.  It proved the issue, discussion is done, full stop.

But the trouble is that the game of "science" is beginning to unwind.  We have established a set of theorems that give us stuff.  But how much of what we know has taken everything into consideration?


Now Ugo should know about work not being appreciated.  To be honest, people comparing Malthus to the Club of Rome is not an under-performed bit of art.  But, as Ugo says, not 
​a rigorous piece of art, but a carefully crafted partial reading of the corpus.

How much of our science is that way?  It gives us certain things, some of which we treasure greatly.  But how does the limited reading of the world around us and the subsequent enshrining the current mental model of the universe lead us to a dead end in our knowledge.

​Consider a moment this excerpt from Neal Stephenson's "Baroque Cycle" trilogy.

"What weapon could Leibniz possibly have that would do injury to Sir Isaac?"
"To begin with, a refusal to be over-awed, and a willingness, not shared at this time by any Englishman, to ask awkward questions."
"What sort of awkward questions?"
"Such as I've already asked: how does the water know where the moon is? How can it perceive the Moon through the entire thickness of the Earth?"
"Gravity goes through the earth, like light through a pane of glass."
"And what form does Gravity take, that gives it this astonishing power of streaming through the solid earth?"
"I've no idea."
"Neither does Sir Isaac." Barnes was stopped in his tracks for a few moments.
"Does Leibniz?"
"Leibniz has a completely different way of thinking about it, so different as to seem perverse to some. It has the great advantage that it avoids having to talk rubbish about Gravity streaming through Earth like light through glass."
"Then it must have as great disadvantages, or else he, and not Sir Isaac, would be the world's foremost Natural Philosopher."
"Perhaps he is, and no one knows it," Daniel said. "But you are right. Leibniz's philosophy has the disadvantage that no one knows, yet, how to express it mathematically. And so he cannot predict tides and eclipses, as Sir Isaac can."
"Then what good is Leibniz's philosophy?"
"It might be the truth," Daniel answered.


.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bitching About Blogger

I do it, everyone that uses it does it.

I am just not at all for certain that it is justified.

I have been writing on this medium for over eleven years now.  100K plus visitors.  That is a fair sized soap box for any purpose.

But yet I bitch about Blogger.

I haven't set up a single server, I didn't have to write any code.  Most important, I didn't have to lay out a dime of my own money.  But I still bitch because an entity like Google chooses to modify the interface to fit their needs.  

Kinda shows a little bit about me and others.  They use things and consider it to be their right, when it is in fact a freebie that they ought to have a little gratitude for the convenience and value provided for nothing.

But I will still bitch about the changes whenever they make them.  I will grumble about the changes for the amount of time that it takes me to figure out the change and adapt to it.

In a perfect world, I would thank Google for the free service that they provide.  But since they show every indication of becoming a nasty cross between predatory business practices and politically correct douchebaggery, I don't think that is going to happen.

So instead, you get to hear me confess to the sin of ingratitude.

Fair Enough? 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I'm Kinda Sad

So, the Washington Post and Propornot.com have published a lengthy list of websites that are apparently outlets for "Russian Propaganda" or "Useful Idiots" for publishing thoughts and proposed courses of action that benefits the Russians.

Wow.

So:  After checking out the website, I decided to go and take a look at some of the sites so impugned. Fortified by a hot toddy, I plowed headlong into my research.  I chose sites which I am not an infrequent visitor.
  • Zerohedge; actually a pretty classy response, just reported on the story and kept on keepin' on. They did lead me over to; 
  • Charles Hugh Smith:  He started out with being "amused" but then he went kinda shrill.  His amusement seems to be tempered with a bit of anger.  I'm OK with that, seems kinda that would be the way that anyone would take the same news about them.
  • Washington's Blog:  This one welcomed the story with open arms.  Went right out there and addressed the "Washington Post Readers" and went into detail about what their blog is all about.  Nice...I will make a bet that they will have a pretty big boost in their readership for a while.....Lets us hope that some of it sticks around.
  • Not Much on Paul Craig Roberts...He seems to be ignoring it with dignity.
  • Yves over at Naked Capitalism, I am truly sorry that the story ruined your Thanksgiving.
  • The fact that the Ron Paul Institute was included on the list is truly astonishing.
Nope this is the most interesting thing I have seen for a while.  Where will this one go?  Who is behind it, what is happening here?


Friday, November 25, 2016

Read this and think back to your days in Physics for Scientists and Engineers (Phys 171)



http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/pdf/10.2514/1.B36120

Wouldn't it be great if these folks actually proved that there might in fact be a "Luminiferous Aether Wind" that could be manipulated.

Michelson and Morley might be just a touch miffed.  Newton would just sit back contentedly