Aug 08

Spin

Electron spin explanation. Pretty good. I wish he hadn’t bothered with the classical explanation at the start. Who cares? That world just doesn’t work that way at that scale.

To me one of the most mysterious facts in quantum mechanics is that electrons have memories of previous states while being infinitely small point particles. Where is this information stored? What exactly stores it? How is it retrieved and under what conditions?

These are questions to which we’ll probably never know the answers; the universe just is that way.

Aug 07

Ini

It is completely idiotic to say that because corporations are just composed of people, that they cannot have goals and preferred states that are inimical to most humans — even those comprising the corporation.

That’s just the same as saying cancer cannot exist in a human body, by the way. And just as obviously wrong.

Aug 07

Consequential

I first started thinking and writing about some of the things we’re only experiencing now way back in the mid-90s. A friend and I together posited many of the events and concerns of the present — among them, ubiquitous electronic tracking and surveillance, the corporate attempt and success of that attempt to re-assert control over information and the complete dominance of McJobs as the prevalent job type*.

Unfortunately few of my writings from that time survive. Not that it would matter, really. If you aren’t credentialed, you could discover free energy and teleportation and no one would care (until someone with credentials stole it from you and “validated” it and took all the credit and money).

Really it only matters to me, but I am glad to say that I saw the future fairly clearly in an area that I care about.

All that is just to segue into this review of Randall Collins’ Sociological Insight that discusses the psychological effects of ubiquitous surveillance.

Coercion, by the way, requires surveillance, which Collins meant in the old-fashioned sense of “someone watching you” as opposed to all-out electronic surveillance (which is still, eventually, someone watching you), and its effects on conformity, group think, and submission. High-surveillance societies are really coercion societies, and they produce people who appear dull and without any initiative.

This is something everyone should read and think on because we are moving from a low-surveillance society back to a high-surveillance society; perhaps the most high-surveillance society in history, in certain respects. Understanding what it is likely to do us is important.

I suspect one of the drivers of slow economic growth and something that mainstream (and many heterodox economists) will never consider as such is this all-consuming and ever-present surveillance. It’s impossible to model and extremely-difficult if not impossible to quantify, so no matter how large is effect it’ll always be discounted or just discarded outright.

By the way, lately I’ve been attempting to identify large-effect factors that are completely or mostly ignored by the math-obsessed quant culture.

Some of these factors I use to trade, so I will never write about them or discuss them here or anywhere.

Outside the realm of trading though, it’s a comparatively easy to be much smarter about the world, to punch above your weight and to comprehend more of the cosmos by identifying the huge gaps in math/engineering/quant culture and exploring the vast realms they ignore.

More on that later, though.

*One quote from that time I remember clearly: “Not everyone without a degree can be a burger-flipper. What are we going to do, flip burgers back and forth to one another? An economy just can’t work that way.”

Aug 06

Tammy Z

Tammy Wynette and Jay-Z go together surprisingly well, it turns out.

Apartment No. H to the Izz-O.

Aug 06

Air

Goddamn, Virginia Thrasher has a nice air rifle.

Makes the one I spent years as a kid saving for look like a piece of garbage.

Amazing shooter. I envy her skills, but never would’ve had the patience to practice as long as she must have to get that absurdly good.

Aug 06

Done

I have something like 500 tabs open in various browsers all spread between the five VMs and remote machines that I use (MacOS, two Ubuntu, one very-cleaned/firewalled Windows 10, one Windows 7).

Do they make methadone for this sort of thing?

Aug 06

Finality

I wouldn’t classify the Final Destination movies as great. They decidedly are not.

However, what I appreciate about them is that they focus on the implacability of death and even better that they are horror movies with no monster, no identified embodied antagonist and no one is ever sure if they’ve won — and know for sure in the long term they definitely have not.

The conceit is very clever, and the execution of some of the set pieces when death finds those who have cheated it are pretty darn genius.

Having no monster, nothing to fight except the world and the Moirai themselves — that makes the films completely sui generis. And breaking the pattern of those daughters of necessity means only that the doom jumps to someone else, just as in our everyday lives, just as if we cheat death we’ve only made sure we get to watch someone else precede us there. What sort of demented Boschian vulgarian thought of this? Of course, am I talking about the films or the world?

Yes. That is what makes them brilliant.

Aug 05

Just Florida things

I killed a roach once with a cavalry sword.

Was in Florida and I am a Floridian, so I had to do Florida things. The environment requires — nay, demands it.

I had the sword in my hand already and the roach with great temerity crawled across the carpet in front of me.

What else was I supposed to do, huh? Tell me that.

Aug 04

Strange aboutness

Here’s what Stranger Things is about.

It’s about the nearly-complete loss of freedom in our modern “voluntary” panopticon.

This is something I’d been pondering before ST — that is, how the 1980s represented maximum technologically-boosted freedom before it transitioned to our current liberty-stifling all-surveilling all-consuming data-gathering dystopia.

You had cable or satellite but no one monitored what you watched – it was not technically possible, especially en masse. You had walkie-talkies but no one cared to or much monitored them either. You could still ride your bike — even as a kid — and no one attempted to arrest you or your parents. There was no Stingray, no mobile license plate readers, no ad tracking, no Google search history, no black boxes in cars, no constantly-tracked cellphones, no crypto locker and no damn Cortana.

Eleven of course represents the embodied loss of that freedom as she is abducted literally from her mother’s womb and lacks the de facto ability even to control the use of her own mind, not coincidentally much like our current situation where omnipresent surveillance and electronic confinement literally affects how we think. She becomes the tool of the system, beneficial even only to the co-protagonists for the most part when she is being exploited for her ability to do stranger and stranger things to their foes. Her presence and her often-unintentional path of destruction represents the invasion of the modern super-surveillance normalized paradigm into a time of maximal personal freedom.

Like us, then, she is both the system and exploited by the system and — the brilliant part of the show — that she is like us so enmeshed in this arrangement that even the tools she uses to fight it and how she understands it are all available only in the terms she already knows. Thus, despite her best efforts, she is still in fighting back only reinforcing the walls of her penitentiary.

But can you blame her? She’s only twelve years old.

What’s our excuse?

Aug 04

Registration shenanigans

Both my partner and I requested to be registered to vote in NC when we got our driver licenses.

I checked online tonight and neither of us are registered in any county in NC.

Some more shenanigans, I assume. I registered as an independent and she almost certainly didn’t register as a Republican, so I’m guessing that’d be the reason.

That it happened to both of us and at different times indicates not a clerical error.

Not surprised, just reporting.