Saturday, April 30, 2016

Safer Restrooms and Locker rooms...


... are coed accessible. Properly designed any public multi-person restroom and locker room has latchable doors on the toilets and changing/shower stalls. Making the partitions full length would be a trivial modification. Even men don't like foot tapping under the usual partial partition. Partitioned urinals generally need no doors although a few would be nice for the drop drawers men and women that choose them for urination. All women know that men pee standing up and leering at mens' hip pockets is a generally unsatisfactory experience for all genders. Cutting a door between the men's side and the women's side would provide equal access to the toilets and showers and equalize the lines at intermissions and breaks. The men's side and the women's side would still be different in the vanity area, reflecting the usually different grooming needs, and the usual sloppiness of men whose mothers don't follow them around to clean up. 

In a mixed facility the good guys could at least in theory protect all from the bad guys however they were dressed. In general a bigger group is safer than a smaller one and a predator alarm could be built in on both sides as in slack times sexes would still normally segregate. Ladies rooms are social, mens rooms are not.

Social Support Groups


Human society is ultimately organized into tribes once local and generally related.  Disruptions such as war, famine, predatory tribes, and recently industrialization have dispersed tribes but religion and ethnicity have maintained tribes as a primary source of social support and traditional values.  A more recent disruption has been the availability of of higher education and the teaching of rational thinking to a broad range of people both economically and religiously.  The religions are trying to keep their teachings in their higher education institutions, but staying competitive means teaching STEM and philosphical reasoning which are inimicable to blind belief and ethnic solidarity.  Therefore tribes are stratifying more on educational attainments and less on traditional values.  These stratifications create new tribal groups for which the concept of Social Support Group or SSG is more general and descriptive as it may include traditional tribal values as well as educational stratification.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Humans as Tribal Entities.


  Humans are tribal animals.   For most of our existence the tribe, however it was defined was critical to our very existence.  Any serious violation of the mores of the tribe or the tribal elders gets one thrown off the sleigh to the pursuing wolves.

  Until one is sure of alternative tribal support questioning any important belief using the null hypothesis that the belief is false is generally fatal as expulsion is the usual penalty for even questioning any tribal belief.   

  For much of human history gods and goddesses, if any, were local and the head of the tribe was a real person or council of people that were at least theoretically accessible to all members of the tribe.  The tribal leaders and even members might consult the local deities or ask for blessings,  but the tribal leaders and not the dieties were the source of the mores of the tribe. Tribes were generally small and concerned with tribal cohesion, cooperation and protection from predation.  Some intra-tribal conflict was common, generally territorial but occasionally philosophical (for lack of a better word) as some tribal mores were predatory.  See Spartans in ancient Greece. 


  The most important predators were rogue humans that either left or were expelled from their home tribes frequently taking a few discontents with them to try to figure out a way to survive.  By hunter/gatherer behavior if the land would support them or predation on other tribes if the tribe was too small to farm successfully.  Once agriculture was common and meat animals were domesticated the pickings in the wild were slim especially for a tribal group which left predation as the only option.      





 

Gods and Dogs

I submit that you're mistaking a side effect of Duverger's law as being significantly more objective than it is. That's the tail wagging the god.
Like · Reply · 1 hr · Edited
Fox Circe
Fox Circe "Tail wagging the god."

That is perhaps the most appropriate typo I've typed.
Like · Reply · 2 · 1 hr
Jonathan Korman
Jonathan Korman I will be stealing that typo in conversations to come, count on it.
Like · Reply · 1 · 30 mins
Carlin Black
Carlin Black No real difference. Gods and dogs will do anything you want them to do if you praise them and give them treats.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Just Do It - The Story of the ORVR Canister.


In October of 1968 General Motors had a major problem.  At the beginning of the 1970 model year, roughly September 1969, California was requiring all vehicles to have an onboard recovery for fuel vapors displaced from refueling and from evaporation while the vehicle was sitting in the sun, both of which were significant contributors to the infamous LA smog. While there were several technical solutions to the problem all had several drawbacks.  The preferred solution was a coffee can filled with activated charcoal with several ports for the gas tank, the fuel management system and other needs.  Unfortunately hot fuel vapors ate up the coffee can in short order.  A stainless steel coffee can with arc welded ports survived the hell under the hood but ate up the profits on each car.

A creative engineer at GM's Rochester Products named Jack Castellana, the inventor of the pop out cigarette lighter and the trademark small, secure GM car key used from 1960s to the invention of the chipped key, read about a heat and chemical resistant structural plastic manufactured by DuPont that he thought might be a cost effective solution to making a canister for the system.  He went to his local DuPont technical consultant who you know as J'Carlin to see if this new plastic had what it took to hold hot fuel vapor in hell, and if it could be manufactured into the elegant but complex shape required.  The short answer was technically yes, but practically there was no way to produce it in the required volume by summer of 1969.  Just the lead time on the huge injection molding machines that would be needed was several years.  And tool design and manufacture took many more months than we had.  Jack's reply was give me the technical solution and let me worry about the practical aspects.

Neither GM nor DuPont were happy about the risk involved in committing to the project but permitted preliminary design and testing to proceed without committing to production.  But GM had a huge cost driver, and DuPont had huge excess capacity in nylon production, so both Jack and I got tacit approval to proceed with the preliminary work with the proviso that it would be nice but it won't happen.  HEAR THIS you are both spinning your wheels IT WON'T FLY.

Jack asked me if I were sure I could solve the technical issues involved in production by summer 69?  I assured him that they were not trivial but known solutions existed.  He basically told me I would have to solve them as he and his boss were going to take on GM and have the plastic canister in production for the 70 model year. My immediate boss took a liberal view of "preliminary design and testing" and as long as I did not neglect my other clients, I could spend the time and money needed to support the GM project. 

Once the mockups proved themselves on the Arizona test tracks, my first technical problem was to teach a zinc die casting tool builder to build a nylon mold.  None of the nylon tool builders would take a chance on the intricate design details.  Once I explained the forces involved in molding nylon they decided they could do the job if I would help with the plastic design necessities.  We did fine except that I forgot to tell them nylon and cooling water don't mix.  This is taken for granted in plastic tool building, but I didn't know that for zinc a little bit of water overflow helps cool off everything including the moldings.  After a frantic night of rebuilding the cooling for the tool, the first shot the next day at a friendly nylon molder was perfect, all three parts of the three piece canister.  I still have that shot as a souvenir of my part of the project.  The friendly nylon molder was kept very busy on pre-production test canisters to prove the system and not incidentally the right formulation for the nylon.  It didn't take long for Jack and his boss to get their atta-boys we knew you could do it and move into production mode.  Unsurprisingly GM was able to cut into that two year line for production molding machinery to meet the model year deadline.

For my reward I got to write the material spec for GM and a nice promotion as well as the atta-boy.  I am still mad at GM for taking out the line in the spec. that the container for the nylon had to have a Z on it for the Zytel brand name DuPont used, but I got everything else including some proprietary additives and a salt and pepper mix to insure the additives were in the ultimately black molding.   After a few career building moves I was back to work at another nylon supplier and at a trade show I asked a friend who worked for a supplier of HDPE to GM about the canister. He said a high percent was grandfathered to DuPont, and the rest of them were competing for the remainder.  He also commented that he would sure like to have a word with the SOB that wrote that spec.  As he appeared to be non-violent I invited him to talk away.  That night at the bar, when he heard that the project from inquiry to production was done in 10 months, he admitted that I had earned my SOB the hard way.

The other reward was that Delco ended up supplying ORVR canister systems to the other manufacturers and most US and many foreign cars used it.  It wasn't too long before "Where is the smog" became a common tourist question in LA.  I have to admit that it is nice to see the mountains from Azusa all day long, and know that I had a part in making it happen.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Satire as Religious TRUTH™ - You Can't Lay It On Too Thick

This is an unpublished work in progress on Thinking on the Blue Roads.  

Here it is a collection of satire cum religion thinking

From a recent facebook exchange on Pastafarianism:
The funny thing is, what started as a satire of religion is going to turn into a genuine religious faith. If it hasn't already.

 It has a coherent set of precepts and beliefs, and adherents who purposely follow it/them.


The entire Book of Mormon is a joke perpetrated on an annoyingly pious young man in New England by his gay, atheist friend Walt Whitman.  The Mormons suppress literary analysis like work count and stylistic and content parallels but they cannot suppress any literate person from comparing the Book of Mormon with Leaves of Grass on a boring few day stay in a Salt Lake City hotel. 

I read the Book of Mormon on the first night of that boring stay (no booze, no friends) and could not miss the resemblance to a satire of the Bible I wrote in High School.  I gave myself 20 lashes with the monster's noodly appendages for not naming my angel Moroni, but chalked it up to a lack of literary genius.  The next day I got my copy of Leaves of Grass out of my suitcase and read it side by side with the Book of Mormon.  No brainer - same author.  I would not put it past Whitman to have given his friend "magic glasses" and told him where in the woods to dig.  I am sure Whitman kept a copy or revision of his satire and cleaned up parts of it for his future writings.  I still have mine.  You may have seen parts of it on beliefnet©.  

 http://jcarlinsv.blogspot.com/search/label/Jahwist

Hey!  Don't leave out the woman who told all of the best stories in the bible: the Jahwist.

If you read J's stories with an intelligent woman author in mind the misogyny of the traditional oral history is clear from the ironic retelling of the Garden story as a prime example.  "The woman made me do it."  The woman is the only reasonable person in the whole tale.  Both God and Adam look like idiots. 

But any reading of scripture confirms your thesis that God is a human invention.  Probably not the invention of the vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies, they aren't smart enough to do anything but use God for controlling their sheep.  But some of the prophets, apostles, a preacher, and some "interpreters" were smart enough to give the vuvuzelas plenty to work with.  Both for good and for awfulness. 


A Schizophrenic Trinity?


Thoughtful theist: God would simply be strictly identical to the plurality of the three divine persons.

Blü:  No. God would be strictly identical not onto to the plurality of the three, but simultaneously strictly identical to EACH of them.

Neither is correct.  God is a single entity with three personalities striving for dominance only one of which can be expressed at any one time.  And this all before there were serotonin antagonists to help. 

For the Jews the angry, vengeful, murderous, personality was dominant, although the priestly rule-maker tried to keep the people under control, and the storyteller Jahwist tried to make sense of it all for humans. 

For Catholics and many Christians the forgiving, empathetic and human centered personality is dominant, although he seems to have had trouble keeping the "My Way or the Highway" rule-maker under control, especially when the political pressure on the humanist became too intense and he had to suppress that personality. 

Other Christians focus on the "My Way" personality. 

It is very simple they all worship God, and the necessary personality shows up at the right time.
In other words if you want vengeance you pray to the father manifestation of the schizophrenic God; if you want mercy pray to the son manifestation; and if you want wisdom pray to the ghost manifestation. 

Probably why prayers are sung.  The music wakes up the right manifestation.  When you pray a Kyrie Eleison or an Ave Maria it alerts the son that He ought to pay attention.  When you pray a Dies Irae you alert dad that somebody needs to be terrified.   And a Psalm alerts the ghost that you need help with the interpretation. 



The Creation of Eve

The birth of Eve - Beliefnet:

"Agnostic wrote:

You're absolutely right. Clearly Eve was a divine creation, separate from Adam. Eve was created in the divine image of God Herself. In contrast, Adam evolved from primates with lower intelligence. It should be obvious that women are innately superior to males.

The Bible shows this. The very name for 'the Lord' is Yahvah. Eve in Hebrew is Chavah. If you look at the original Hebrew letters, they are even more nearly identical.

Each time a female is born, it is another divine creation. Males, on the other hand, bear far too much similarity to apes of lesser intelligence. It should be obvious.

The Genesis story shows God leading the animals and beasts to Adam for a potential mate, because Adam was just an animal. Adam almost chose a dog for a mate. But God, in Her infinite wisdom, realized Adam was not capable of living without divine help, so God gave a replica of Herself to watch over Adam.

This is clear from the Hebrew word, usually translated as 'help mate' It is 'Ezer,' a word which does mean help. But in the Bible, it only appears as a term for God Herself, or for Eve. David says, 'God is my Help (Ezer)' Eve, the Woman, was Adam's Help (Ezer). It was Adam who needed help, divine assistance. Eve was provided. She did not evolve. She had a separate divine creation.

Scientists generally are correct. Adam evolved. But religion is also correct, Eve was a Divine Creation. All the violence is the world is caused by men, who have barely evolved past their lower primate origins. Even with divine assistance from women, they often are unable to advance beyond their atavistic nature."

J'C: In light of Harold Bloom's theory that "J" was a woman, the irony in Genesis 2 is, with this post, beautifully explained. 

Fundy:  Donald Duck has CREATED nothing!  The Walt Disney Corporation created the animated Donald Duck out of human imagination and human-developed technologies!


 If the Jahwist had not been the Disney of her time it is likely we wouldn't even have a Bible, or Torah.  Can you imagine worshiping a book compiled from P, E, and R if you left out J?  It is hard enough to wade through all that crap with the leavening of J.  All that would be left is a soggy matzoh.

If J wasn't a great storyteller we probably would all be using a different book.  All the good stories you remember from the Bible were J's.

 I will even "Celebrate" the traditional Christian/Catholic God, although one might detect a bit of irony in my interpretation of the celebration, but that is a long tradition in the Abrahamics, and the true believers interpret the irony as faith so it is a win-win for all.  Three of the most famous and effective Requiem Masses were written by atheists along with some of the most beautiful interpretations of the traditional Mass and ritual prayers. The church paid artists well, and the artists knew that too much was not enough for believers.  



"I would say the Pieta is an incredibly beautiful and emotionally powerful work. I first saw it as a young dogmatic atheist and was moved by the universal humanity of a mother grieving for a dead child. I saw it again as one better educated in Christian theology and creed, and saw not only the humanity of the mother grieving for the divine sacrifice, but also, more than a little resentment, I carried and nurtured your child for this?

I don't know how much of what I saw was put there by Michelangelo, and how much was put there by me. But in studying art, I do not assume divine inspiration, even if the artist is doing a professionally excellent job for a religious client. Editorial comments which are masked by the believers superficial interpretation, may nonetheless be in the art for those who wish to see. Note that even bad art is not really looked at if it tells a religious story. See the stations of the Cross in any Catholic Church."

I have been thinking a lot about what the composer/artist is putting into the music/art commissioned by the church. Of course the believer will take it with a large dollop of faith and not really think much about it. Also some composers Messiaen is a prime example put their art in the service of God. But many of the others I wonder about. One believer claimed Mozart was divinely inspired. I wonder about the dueling sopranos in the Grand Mass. They seem to be a bit much, and the Ave Verum Corpus in a Major key, and when Christ is pierced shift to another Major key?? An absolutely beautiful piece of music, but I am sure Mozart understood the text, and was at the very least indulging in a bit of irony in his setting.


Hell - Beliefnet Forums: "Although I am not a believer in an afterlife of the body or soul, I do find that a semblance of immortality is achieved in how we are remembered by those whose lives we touch. Perhaps this is why I like the Dies Irae in the mass. The trumpets sound and we think of our deceased acquaintances. Surely they are judged, as they have sown, 'He brought laughter and irony into my life' 'He was a stinking asshole. Shitting on everything that he disagreed with.'



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Peter's Story

Note, everything up to the rescue is speculative based on behavioral cues since Peter was welcomed in his forever home.

I was whelped late winter 2009 from a Chihuahua bitch who was a bit careless in choice of a mate.  Not unusual in Milpitas CA where small mixes rule.  A nice family welcomed me home and helped me learn to be a nice family dog.  But soon things got a little weird.  A man in a suit and another in a uniform knocked on the door and made my family very angry.  I hid in my carrier as I usually did when the family was angry, and tried not to be noticed.   Soon after a big truck came and took everything out of the house and my family was looking at me with a strange feeling of love and unhappiness.  They took me to my favorite park where I loved to chase squirrels. I didn't  play much with the other dogs.  I was a small puppy, and stayed close to my family when I was tired of chasing squirrels.  When I got tired I came back to parking lot but they were not there.  I made my way back to the house but they were not there either.  I stayed in the neighborhood for a while hoping that one of the neighbors would take pity on me or at least leave a bit of food out for me, but it was not to be.

I hate to be wet, and when the storm came I went to the neighborhood shopping center and found a dry place to hide behind a breakfast place.  I found a blanket nearby and dragged it to my refuge and fell asleep under it.  By morning I was very hungry and ventured out of my hiding place.  People have been nice to me so I was not afraid, and I saw a nice lady outside taking a break, and begged for some food.  She went inside and brought out a dirty plate with some eggs and butter on it and left it for me.  That was my food for a few days as she would always leave a plate out for me in the early morning.

But one morning a bunch of nasty men grabbed me and took me away and began using me as a soccer ball, kicking me and laughing at my cries of pain.  I managed to escape when they took a break but I was in a strange neighborhood and couldn't find my way back to anyplace I knew.  I don't know how long I wandered around trying to find some food but a nice lady in a little truck enticed me with some food and picked me up and took me to a big house with lots of dogs and cats in it.  They fed me and stuck some needles in me, and put me in a nice open cage in a quiet part of the house.

The next day a nice lady wandered into my aisle which was marked Not For Adoption and when she saw me we bonded instantly.  The rest of my new family was talking about adopting some other dog, and the nice lady went to them and told them "We will look at Peter."  She was told that I was a stray that had not been evaluated yet, but the older man said he was a good trainer of dogs and could handle me.  After some argument they brought me into the meeting room and I ran up to the woman and rolled over so she could rub my sore belly.  That convinced the people at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley that I would be a good dog for the family and they let me go home with them the next day.

In my new home I had a brand new rug so I didn't have to worry about accidents, but I knew about inside so they did not have to worry.  I used their nice back yard with lots of squirrels to tend to my needs and went back and crawled into my carrier for the night.  It felt safe, but I missed my blanket so I scouted around a bit and saw a nice quilt hanging off the couch.  I knew I wasn't allowed to be on the furniture so I gave it a little tug and another and it fell to the floor and I wrapped myself in it.
I was so comfortable that I didn't even run back to my carrier when I heard them come down and this was what they found.  They didn't even tell me I was a bad dog for stealing the quilt and I knew that I was home.

After breakfast training began, they were surprised that there were no piddles on the rug, then I barked at a squirrel on the fence, and they let me out to give him a run for his challenge and took care of the necessaries and went back in.  I am really a house dog, and go outside only when it is necessary, and never when it rains.  Not even to chase a squirrel.

When the man made breakfast the smell of eggs and butter was so nice I went over to the table to share.  It turns out that the man didn't like that and sent me away.  So the next day I didn't bother him and sat on my sleeping mat and told him I was waiting with my eyes and ears.  He looked at me and told me I was a gooddog, and after a bit he put his not quite empty plate down for me to clean up.  I learned quickly that "gooddog" eventually was followed by a treat, so training was easy for both of us.  After breakfast the man was refilling the butter dish, and I remembered the lady at the breakfast place always left a few butter wrappers out for me, so I went back to my mat and waited expectantly, the man isn't dumb either so he brought me the butter wrapper to lick.  That ended the table training for both of us.  If I stayed away I always got a plate to lick, and he almost always remembered to put the plate down as soon as he was finished.

The nice lady wasn't as persnickety and kept a little dish on the floor beside her, and when she found some fat or gristle that she didn't want to eat she dropped it in the bowl.  I told you we bonded instantly.  I made sure that when I tested out the couch rules that the man was nowhere to be seen to object and found that none of the furnature was off limits.  The man didn't fight the consensus and the orange quilt on the couch became my downstairs home.

When I was still a pup we went to San Francisco for an outing, I was good on a leash and knew all the usual cues, heel, sit, wait, come, etc.  I still didn't like men including the trainer man, and didn't like him even touching me.  But as we were walking in the city we approached a bus stop where a big bunch of men were standing around.  I just couldn't be convinced to pass them even in a tight heel.  I just sat down and let the man solve the problem.  He finally picked me up and carried me past them.  I didn't really like it but it did make me feel safe away from their feet.  He felt me shivering and put me down as soon as we were past the trouble. 

I quickly learned to announce anybody intruding on the property, and to park on cue if they were welcome.  If they were women and children I eagerly joined the party but was reserved so I didn't frighten anybody.  I had a much harder time accepting men even from a distance.  I didn't even like the trainer man with all the treats to touch me.  He could tell me what to do, and I would do it, but even in a heel I kept away from his feet for several years.   I eventually learned with lots of help to tolerate men that had good smelling shoes.   The nice lady is Chinese so everybody leaves their shoes in the foyer where I can get acquainted with them.

In the evening I get long walks to exercise my people and sniff my way around the neighborhood to make sure all is well.  They tried to teach me off leash behavior, but I prefer to keep my new family on the other end of the leash.  I don't even go to the door until they attach themselves to my harness.  

Not much more to tell just the boring adventures of a happy house dog in a nice family home.  I am sure you have heard them all. I am just a
happy old dog lying in the sun.





Saturday, April 16, 2016

Delayed Reward Voice Dog Training


I use delayed reinforcement of a vocal reward as it works at any time whether you are training or simply on a walk or reinforcing social behaviors at home. Use a unique behavior cue for each desired action, and when the action occurs provide a unique short reward word "Haihai" "goodog" or equivalent. Think "Good Dog" whatever reward cue you use, dogs do read your mind. After several cue, action, "goodog" successes take a break and provide a favorite treat after cue and goodog without the action. Try different ones. Hesh will let you know quickly which treat is the right one. For Peter it is 1/6 of a 1/8" turkey (not beef) hot dog slice. He refuses commercial treats. Some trainers use a clicker, but his partner's voice is a better reward. Professional dogs like bomb sniffers etc. are active dogs and a retrieve is the reward. If you prefer treat reinforcement substitute treat for verbal reward.
The first exercise is hand attention training. When hesh is looking at you move your hand. When hesh follows it with herm head give a cue like "look" or "here" then say goodog. After several successes say goodog and provide a favorite treat. Then comes the "look" when hesh is not paying attention and goodog when he looks at your hand. Repeat ad lib until it becomes a game. Hand attention cue followed by another cue once the hand attention cue is reliable is the key to advanced training. 

Social training is next how to meet and greet visitors. I like the natural barking at intruders but once the doorbell rings or the door opens the "park" command is after training to retire to herm mat, stay, and be quiet. This has several good points. Hesh is removed immediately from over-friendly or frightened visitors until they are seated and non-threatening. Then hesh is released with a "greet" cue to smell the feet of the visitors. New over-friendly or frightened visitors are told to ignore this natural behavior until the dog gets acquainted. If the dog is social hesh will then approach an available hand in a friendly manner. If the dog is not so social hesh will normally assume a guard position between the guests and the door. A dog friendly approach is normally tolerated by any dog if the visitor is so inclined. Amusing note, Peter is rewarded at times long after a series of visitors have come and gone with three treats, one for "bark", one for "park" and one for "greet" as I am the trainer and may not be at home or busy away from the treats. He can count up to five visitors, and will expect three treats for each whether or not any cues or goodogs were needed. 

The usual behavior cues can also be trained similarly "freeze," "heel," "wait," and "leaveit" on walks or in the backyard, with the treats after the training session is over. My rule is one treat for each cue no matter how many goodogs happen in the session. Again, "cue," "goodog," then treat.

For meds e.g. eye meds, "Look" then "EyesUp" move your hand slightly up when hesh follows it with open eyes and stays fixated on it "goodog." After that becomes a game add the eye meds, with an immediate goodog and treat. He will start begging for eye meds. Similar with any meds, a cue to present the affected area following a hand movement and be still. 

A note on housebreaking puppies. I use the same procedure, and have either paper trained or outside trained several puppies in less than a day by the simple procedure of devoting as much of the day as necessary to moving the dog to the proper place each time hesh wakes, eats, drinks, or starts to sniff around, with a goodog for each elimination. Again the treat is delayed until the dog has moved back inside, then "goodog" and treat.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The House Dog's Grave : Robinson Jeffers.

The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.


Robinson Jeffers, 1941

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dog's Last Will and Testament

A Dog's Last Will and Testament
(Author unknown)
Before humans die, they write their last Will & Testament, and give their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask....
To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:
My happy home.
My bowl, cozy bed, soft pillows and all my toys.
The lap which I loved so much.
The hand that stroked my fur and the sweet voice which spoke my name.
I'd  will to the sad scared shelter dog the place I had in my human's heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So when I die please do not say, "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."  Instead go find an unloved dog; one whose life has held no joy or hope and give MY place to him.
This is the only thing I can give...the love I left behind.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Winning Is Not the Only Thing

For white dudes winning is the only thing. Winning is a zero sum game by definition. If you are not a winner you are a loser. It is possible to opt out, even for white dudes, but their culture makes it hard to do. White dudes from little leagues, to presidential candidates are taught that those who do not win are losers. Doing whatever it takes to win is not only acceptable it is exemplary. Destroy your body and life with drugs? If that is what it takes to win -- go for it. Destroying your family and friends to take the next step to the win, no problem, they will be destroyed anyway if you lose. Winners can buy new families and friends. Ersatz families and friends flock to winners. It is all part of the game. If you can't win by the rules, simply change the rules. If winning is the only thing, rules like taxes are for the ordinary people. (AlphaGo is a white dude machine. If it can't win it seems to stoop to insults in losing.)

There are other ways of living your life. White dudes rigging the rules so that heads I win, tails you lose means opting out of the game is the only rational solution for most people especially those that are not white dudes. Trying to play by white dude rules means accepting the heads white guys win, tails you rules that are provided by the white dudes. Those challenging the white dudes at their game are never going to win. The only option is to opt out of the white guy zero sum game. This is frequently done by white guys, you just never hear about them. You see, they are failures. No matter what they have done for themselves, their families, or humanity, they didn't win and therefore are failures.

Opting out at one point in US history was a respectable and adequately compensated choice for most men and some women willing to work. In the post WWII consumer driven economy unemployment was low and temporary for most willing and able workers, and even marginal workers were able to provide necessities for their families. That all changed by design when the white guys invented Voodoo Economics and found an unemployed actor to sell it for them. The bigoted white guys were already in congress and once voodoo economics and right to work laws made opting out difficult if not impossible; the winners were fewer and fewer and took all the winnings. This works for a while, but sooner or later those that can no longer opt out and still survive reclaim their lives, traditionally in America by electing a progressive, but with pitchforks if that fails. In the words of Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster made famous by the iconic failure Janis Joplin "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

The only way to prevent this is to provide a way for people to opt out comfortably if not necessarily successfully. Providing basic needs for those who opt out, see Scandinavian socialism and post war unions, makes it possible for people to opt out of the zero sum game and still be human. In a modern society where mass production is essentially labor free, the consumption driver for the economy is gone. Some countries are recognizing this and providing a basic stipend that is liveable if not comfortable. Those who wish to contribute to society, and most reasonable people do, will find ways to contribute with artisanship, sale of intangibles on crowd funding sites, and innovation. None of which is possible for a person struggling to feed a family or even hermself.

I was brought up by a famous athlete who opted out of the winning game, probably because he was too nice a guy and nice guys are losers, and found a niche for himself in what is now called Human Relations Management. There are no winners in that field, pay is not commensurate with the responsibility of not only providing the necessary support for those who might become winners, but not incidentally those who are not winners but still contribute to the enterprise. One of the earliest admonitions from dad was a 1908 quote from Grantland Rice
For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name
He writes—not that you won or lost—but how you played the Game.
recycled in a poem Alumnus Football, which I just read for the first time in researching the quote, which is a poem about life after being a super star athlete, in a game where the rules are the white guy rules of winners and losers. My impression from dad and from others was that originally at least for the athlete the game was more important than the W. Perhaps the loss of that attitude is what is wrong with the American culture and economy today. 

From a very limited exposure to Chinese culture, it seems that this attitude of playing well at whatever level you are at is the most important thing. Western culture has intruded a bit, but even Apple is finding that exploitation, that is creating losers, is a losing game in the East. There is an adage among Asian weiqi players, "If your life is troubled; look to your weiqi game. Perhaps Google should learn from that.