Oct 15

Assaulty

So is there a woman whom Trump has not sexually assaulted? If so, I think I see him outside.

We knew Trump was horrible. But the Bill Cosby-esque extent of it. Damn.

Oct 14

Spametry

Got this string of relatively-interesting doggerel in a spam mail:

depressible ri schemata bulldoze hemp cryogenic babble dartmouth squat continuant indiscoverable geochemical mynheer acquiesce steelmake playhouse octahedra vade convect bennington connubial servomechanism bass

It’s like poetry by computer (which is what probably generated this string of words). It’s like a Donald Trump speech, but more literate.

Oct 14

Grabbing

Note on language and usage upcoming.

Though Trump is a vile misogynist and has committed most likely many sexual assaults, the phrase “grab ’em by the pussy” doesn’t mean what many people think it means.

It is not referring to physically grabbing a woman by her genitals. It is sales speak and it is used in the same context as “That ad campaign really grabbed them!” What Trump was ineptly referring to is that in his view to get a woman to do what you want, you have to stimulate her prurient urges and not her intellect.

I am not defending Trump. He admitted to sexual assault of another type in the same damn statement. I just like understanding things fully. It pisses people off, I know, but I just can’t seem to stop.

And this is your friendly neighborhood language maven, signing off.

Oct 14

Bobbing for prizes

Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in literature. I have so many thoughts about this. No, well, actually they are all the same thought: What. The. Fuck.

In a way, it’s perfect because Dylan is the archetypal American: half-talented, fairly boring, emblematic of a bygone age never to return, and arrogant but at the same time not all that good.

If they had to choose an American, I’d recommend Kelly Link. Her stories are some phantasmagorical blend of Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Alan Poe and Jorge Luis Borges.

I know, I know — the Nobel Prize committee would never choose anyone who is associated with any “genre” works so strongly as Link (though they did choose Doris Lessing), but Kelly Link is the best American author qua author that I know now writing — her stories are haunting, evocative, thoughtful and never take a false step.

Bob Dylan. What a putz.

Oct 14

Probab

If causality were more firmly established in the universe, the study of probability and much of statistics would be either completely unnecessary or vastly different.

Oct 13

Composthension

Trying to read a scientific paper, but too tired to realize I’m too tired to read it, so keep stumbling over the first few sentences and realizing they are easy but still unable to comprehend them.

Don’t worry, I broke out of that time loop.

I think.

Oct 13

One advantage

One huge advantage the US has is that no matter what, it won’t face overwhelming waves of Muslim immigration any time soon.

This is going to doom much of Europe and by 2050 due to that and climate change, it’ll no longer be economically competitive and will be mostly a backwater again. Anyone able to flee will have fled.

While the conservative “Eurabia” wil not quite be the case, countries that have allowed high levels of Muslim immigration are going to have absolutely huge problems. Unmanageable ones that will transform and destroy most of their current societal arrangements.

The US’s primary immigration pressure is from people with a mostly-similar culture (Mexico) and so will face no such problems, really.

Oct 13

Sharing economy…sharecropping

My grandfather on my mother’s side was also a member of the last generation of traditional sharecroppers. He grew up just outside of Valdosta, Georgia.

He rarely talked about that life or his experiences because most of it I think was so horrible. He did describe to me once how he’d wake up at 5 AM every day, seven days a week, to tend to the animals and to do his chores. Amazing he even graduated high school with that sort of burden.

The post talks about the neo-feudalistic sharecropping economy that is returning. Looking back at history, though, the amount of personal freedom enjoyed by certain swathes of people in Western Europe and the US for a period of time is anomalous.

Feudalism and oligarchs in control seems to be the way humans operate. Suspect the remainder of human history will look that way, too.

Oct 12

Guilt

I understand, but I also believe this is a terrible reason to vote for Hillary Clinton.

By the same logic, one could pull the lever for Sarah Palin.

Most people vote for a particular candidate for emotional reasons (probably more men than women, actually). But try as I might, I cannot understand it.

I just can’t give a vote to Hillary Clinton because I know all that people overseas she’s going to kill, and I won’t have any part in that. I just don’t value American lives over those of people overseas. I can find no ethical justification to think or behave otherwise.

Can’t understand people who will, and can justify that to themselves.

Lesser evil == still evil.

As for Scalzi, he would have been in most respects a conservative Republican in 1950, and now he’s a “liberal.”

All that remains are pseudo-liberals these days. After GW and the wars that follow due to people like Clinton, all we’ll have is dead ones. Well, that includes everyone, actually.

Voting for Clinton is like licking a dirty toilet. Voting for Trump is being the toilet.

Oct 12

Metrical

Someone at work was shocked that I knew to within 5% in square meters the size of the average European house vs. the average American one.

But that’s just the kind of thing my brain does. It remembers. It’s why arguments based on anything but emotion are almost impossible to win against me. I have a treasure trove of facts spanning back 35 years, and the urban legends, myths and outright fallacies have been mostly expurgated.

Of course it is mostly useless because 95%+ of arguments are based on emotion and ideological and tribal identification, not facts.

But it’s a fun parlor trick; more than one person has called me “human Google.”