Category Archives: Society

Wouldn’t it be fun – to believe

In anything.

Everything.

It doesn’t matter what. Believe in fairies, pink elephants, ET, fusion, equality or Gods (take your pick). Believing is what matters. It’s the charm that tingles your bones. It’s the glitter in your eyes, the spur that kicks you out of bed in the morning. Believing—in anything—would be a relief, a welcome relief, to this vacuous hole that sucks continuously at my spirit.

Well, not so continuously. Sporadically, now, I’d say. From time to time. Why this inconsistency? It’s a cycle. Times are better for me right now. I’m afforded a respectable distance from the Absurdly Universal Void that beckons all matter and energy. I’ve got other things to occupy my mind, like Stewie the Stoic and Seneca’s bloviating blathering about death and age and Epicurus. (Seriously, Seneca wants to “do” Epicurus, if you know what I mean.)

And, not that I *believe* in anything at the moment (otherwise, you know…), but I can *imagine* believing, slipping a ladder rung or two down the “I’ve discovered Oblivion and it is me” climb I’ve taken up to the elevated view of The Nothing.

Down here, where the believers live, I’d imagine that they are happier than I am (generally). They have purpose, regardless of how futile it undoubtedly is, (they don’t care—or know—how futile). A Purpose is what they live for. Why they wake up. Why they brush their teeth and put on shoes and kiss their children. They Believe.

I think that would be fun. Sometimes, I even think I’d like to abandon this Nietzschean view of existence and join them. But…

Once you’ve seen The Nothing, you can’t unsee it.

But, you can ignore it. Find alternate diversions to take up your time. Archery, cats, archery & cats, knitting, knitting cats. You get the picture.

There are thousands of diversions one can adopt. And, for a time, believe in them, their purpose, their reason for existence… shhh, don’t say it, The Nothing is listening.


Who am I-I am who

I used to bound joyously over the pages of the ancient 1990’s internet, discovering this and that, delighting in what I found, where I meandered.

That ability, that nostalgic stumbling is long gone—swallowed by the ugly corporate-ness that the internet has become. But there are times when serendipity prevails and the blog-o-sphere renders a hitherto unknown flashback to a better, more innocent time.

This is one of those times.

http://www.aiportraits.com is a clever, engaging trip into self-indulgent evocative portraiture. Below you’ll find me, portrayed as only a computer can see me. Can you dwell into my soul? Can you sense my stoic crawling along philosophy’s garden walk?

Give it a try. It’s a fascinating way to re-imagine oneself in another age, another life, pursued by unknown lovers or enemies.


WordPress: What’s up with India?

Anybody else notice this?

I don’t pay much (any?) attention to these wordpress stats, but recently I happened to take a peek and behold, India is leading the hits. All last month and the months previous, too.

How many of you are from India? Do chime in. Let us know what’s up with you and your lives.

[This last week…]

WhatsUpWithIndia


Stewie the Stoic: Squandering time

StewieTheStoic002

[Quotes courtesy of Seneca]


Stewie the Stoic: Possessions

StewieTheStoic003

[Quotes provide by Seneca]


Science writing: To the point

If you’re going to write about science — get to the damn point. All I need is the highlights, the topics, the bullet points. And if there are pertinent details, make them brief and absent of flourish.

So many of the literary news outlets publish narrative science articles that I’m afraid it’s become an art. A pointless and irritating art.

Take this one for instance (don’t go here, don’t give them the courtesy):

7,800 words in that frickin’ thing. I don’t have the time or patience to burn thirty minutes slogging through some “writer’s” portrayal of science dudes’ childhoods: “When he was 11, his mother bought him a subscription to a medical encyclopedia series.” Fuck-me-Alex.

Get to the point and get out. It’s science — just the pertinent facts, ma’am. All the actual data required to deliver the concepts of brain tissue reanimation could have been provided in a tenth the words. But no, the writer had to turn it into a biography.

And this happens time and time again. 10,000 word diatribes about artificial intelligence and machine learning, or meandering missives on Neanderthal DNA in modern Homo Sapiens. It seems that every sexy scientific topic begs a “story.” Sorry, I don’t want window dressing on my low earth orbit launch technologies, or thermal depolymerization of ocean plastic…

I just want the concise, to-the-point facts about the advances or failures of the science and technology. Spare me backstories, please. If you have to, write a sweeping expose’ on some social or historical topic or event — leave the science for the fact writers.

 


BodyScale: 0 to 100

Celsius is great for science. 0 freezing, 100 boiling – perfectly logical.

Fahrenheit is just bonkers. Totally screwball with no logic behind it whatsoever.

But the problem with Celsius (we’ll disregard Fahrenheit due to irrelevance) is that Celsius has only one immediately human identifiable anchoring: 0 degrees freezing. At 100°, the boiling point of pure water at sea level—yeah, great. Not exactly relatable (not really). How warm is the human body? 37 degrees. Hmm, 37, not a number that sits well in our minds. Instead…

How about a human relatable scale:

  • 0 = freezing point of water.
  • 100 = human body temperature.

Here’s how such a scale would compare to Celsius…

CelsiusvsBodyScale

0 is 0. That’s easy. We are frozen solid at 0 Centigrade as well as 0 BodyScale.

But at 100° BodyScale, we’re exactly where we need to be (37°C).

Now, based on 0-100° degrees BS we have a natural range we can understand.

At 50° BS, we’re pretty comfortable — half way from body temp to freezing.

At -50° BS, that’s damn cold (-19°C), and that’s about our limit.

At 150° BS, that’s about our top limit, frickin’ hot. Hot to the touch; sauna hot. But still, if you were outside, walkin’ around, drinking lots of fluids, 150° BS is tolerable. See how this is working?

Zero BS to 100° BS is our natural range. It makes sense to us in our ten-fingered numerical system within our human condition. Additionally, -50° BS to 150° BS would be our natural  range extent. Again, logical extensions of our 0-100 range.

Celsius has two numbers which make human sense, 0 & 100. One is relatable, the other is “touch and suffer.”

We humans like relatable numbers. That’s why the metric system is so hard to take. (See: https://anonymole.com/2015/08/18/the-problem-with-the-metric-system/ )

A weatherman, lying about tomorrow’s sunny day, who used BodyScale as their temperature gauge would make perfect sense.

“Tonight’s overnight temperature will be 60° BS and 85° BS by tomorrow afternoon—a nice day, so go have fun!”

And medically, using such a scale would also make sense.

  • 104° BodyScale, a bit of a fever.
  • At 95° BS, you’re suffering from hypothermia!
  • 100° – spot on, mate.

Even that 100° C seems misleading, “100°C? Yeah, OK”.
But at 270° BS. 270°! Shit, that sounds hot! And it is. Hot enough to boil water…

(Oh, and the “BS” initialism is an ironic coincidence…)

Celsius BodyScale
-40 -108
-30 -81
-19 -50
-10 -27
0 0
10 27
20 54
30 81
37 100
40 108
50 135
55 150
70 189
80 216
90 243
100 270
110 297
120 324
130 351
140 378
150 405
160 432
170 459
180 486
190 514
200 541