Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Self-aware Internet of Thiings.

A self-aware internet of things. Read all about it at The The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein

Call the internet Mike.

Am not going to argue whether a machine can "really be self-aware....A cat? Almost certainly. A human? I don't know about you, tovarisheh, but I am. Somewhere along evolutionary chain from macromolecule to human brain self-awareness crept in. Psychologists assert it happens automatically whenever a brain acquires certain very high number of associational paths. Can't see it matters whether paths are protein or Platinum.

So didn't hesitate to tell him to get "ill."  Mike had thought up a dandy; his 'illness" was wild oscillations in conditioning Warden's residence.

Conditioning a single residence should not go through a master computer!
Be afraid.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blood Drive Info.


For information about donating blood at a Heinlein Society Drive 
Or any drive for that matter,
Text your question in USA to THS Blood Drive Chair 
 650 520 8765 BDC THS

FAQ:

WHY SOULD I DONATE BLOOD? 
  • You save several lives. 
  • You get a short nap.
  • You get a free lunch. 
  • You learn needles aren't scary.  ---  Where is the downside?

CAN I DONATE? 

RECENT ELIGIBILITY CHANGES.

  • Tattoos, acupuncture and piercings: no deferral in many states for licensed single use facilities.  One year otherwise.
  • Medically controlled diabetes and high blood pressure: generally no deferral. 
  • MSM - Men who have had sex with other men and partners: One year deferral since last contact.  NO LONGER LIFETIME!!!!  YAY!!! You are welcome.   A long hard battle by many friends. 
  • MAD COWS - Military and residents in UK late 80s and certain others in Europe at that time are still deferred.  We are working on it.

OTHER: 
  • See above.
LEGALESE 
  • If you have been told by a blood collection agency or other medical professional not to donate blood,  get clearance from that professional before scheduling an appointment.  Some changes in eligibility have been noted above. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tribes, Monkeyspheres, Governments and Cults


 Tribes are the normal social systems for humans. Once tribes get beyond the Monkeysphere* which describes most modern tribes the possibility of becoming cults is an ever present danger. 

  Seeing through the crap is the first step in apostasy. Being identified as a radical is the first step in excommunication. You can't change them. Save them the trouble. Find a support group elsewhere and Fuck 'em.

 
 Where large organizations break down into Monkeysphere tribes, cults are usually avoided. Most companies, even large companies until the '60s were generally collections of tribes. So were most churches. 

 One of the advantages of small senior communities and Gated Communities and city villages is they preserve the tribal community for better or worse. Tribes tend to be homogeneous in culture and ethnicity. When they get too big for the Monkeysphere the homogeneity can become the basis for a cult.

 I think it is no accident that the village or parish is the basic unit of human society. Our monkeysphere is about 150-200 people whose behavior we can affect with the subtle social cues (the raised eyebrow, frown, or quick smile ) to say that behavior is or is not in accordance with the morals of the society. That is, what our common moral tendencies tell us is right. The morality of the village is pretty well solidified by Fulghum's Kindergarten.
   
 Where these groups are local, isolated and stable almost anything can be moral, witch burning, infanticide, child sacrifice, killing everybody in the next village. Whoops, almost forgot, except the virgins.  Blue Roads 4/26/08

 I suspect that as the twitterspheres and facebookspheres sort themselves out they will become either tribes or cults.  I have some friends on Facebook that I have to block their cult posts.  Not really an issue if they have other redeeming values they can still be in my facebook tribe which is well below my monkeysphere in size.


 There are very few of us who can find what we need for personal fulfillment if we become "Stickers" for the sake of sticking and building and maintaining a community. The school to meet our aspirations may be across the country or around the world. The job we have prepared for may not be in the same community as the school where we learned our trade. Then we grow in our trade and outgrow the job that started our career, or our significant other may have outgrown the community we live in and another community change is in order.

  Friends and associates in our monkeysphere also scatter so even if we would like to be stickers, the rest of the community isn't and we are stuck with a bunch of new neighbors, new industries, and even a bunch of new people in our church. that may change it beyond our comfort level.

  There may still be a few communities where sticking is a possibility, but they are rare and the vibrant cutting edge industry that is a necessity for such a community, works against the stickers maintaining a stable community.

  Where are we to find our roots? Is it possible that soil and bricks are no longer necessary for rootedness, but that the nascent communities on the internet will become the new roots for the boomers (old definition)? Is facebook our new village green or post office where we get our daily social strokes? Are blogs the coffee houses where we share our profound ideas with like minded profound thinkers? Is our little piece of the net the new community where the boomers are rooted? I think so. There will still be meet ups and face time but they will be increasingly mediated on the net, and with few exceptions community roots in jobs, churches, and neighborhoods will be non-existent. 
Blue Roads, 7/7/09

 I have been thinking a lot recently about that responsibility for the other "We's." I know where it begins. It begins with those closest to me, and extends at least to the monkeysphere. Probably also to those anonymous readers of this blog and the letters I write to newspapers etc, It certainly extends to the audiences I perform for. But does it extend to the bigots who are trying to change my laws, or only those who will be affected by those laws. Am I responsible for the Shiites and the Sunnis, or should I be content to let them bomb themselves out of existence with perhaps a little help from the Israelis and Wahabis.

 Or Haiti? Or New Orleans. If they do not have the resources through their own mismanagement/misgovernment to rebuild or even succor the injured do I have any responsibility to help? I'm thinking the answer is no. Humans are evolving, and in evolution the winners don't help the losers. They are too busy helping themselves. I have limited resources, and even if I didn't, the buck at Radio Shack for Haiti will be used for much more worthwhile causes. Blue Roads 2/12/10



 *There is a much more scholarly version of the Monkeysphere out there but as usual Cracked explains more. http://www.cracked.c om/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html

Sunday, May 28, 2017

On Steak and Other Red Meats.

Vegans and PITA trigger alert.  Stop here.

Red meat animals have been bred for millennia as walking larders for nomadic people which convert non-arable vegetation to useful proteins for human consumption. By and large the animals are selected to be herd able and relatively trusting and are therefore unfit for survival in the wild.  If this is cruelty to animals so be it.  It is prehistoric cruelty, so enjoy the food or pay for their freedom in human habitations as India does.  They die in the wild.  Probably more brutally than even a factory slaughter house.  Not that I condone factory methods. Religious or humane slaughter is much preferred, as most "Free Range" ranchers have learned to advertise.  If stem cell meat becomes commercial I would probably break our prehistoric contract with those animals and condemn them to extinction except for zoo farms to keep the species alive.  Similar to our treatment of Buffalo in the US.  Culls would go to the fancy restaurants and the stem cell pink slime to fast food as usual.

White meat, pigs, chickens and recently turkeys were bred as human garbage and bug eaters and therefore can carry human diseases.  Nonetheless useful food if well cooked.  It loses most of its flavor if cooked well so most white meat dishes are heavily spiced and good.

Red meats are most flavorful rare and are safe for human consumption if freshly sliced as in prime rib or seared to remove handling pathogens. They stand up well to strong flavored sauces as in barbecue sauce and steak sauce for those that don't like rare meat.

A high quality steak if it is seared on the outside is safe and wonderful.  If it is a low quality steak, burn it.  Chefs know this and select the meat by how it is ordered. Steak tartare was almost certainly mishandled in most restaurants.  Hence the spices and crap they include covering up the spoiled meat. I learned this lesson in high school in the Midwest when I worked in a gourmet meat market and grocery store.

My boss overheard me tell a customer that I liked my steak well done (without the ketchup) :-)  He didn't say anything at the time but soon invited me to his home for dinner.  The Colonel asked me to select a T-bone steak, my favorite at the time, from the "Super Deluxe" case which was meat from steers bred for show. He displayed the blue ribbons on the wall of the meat department. He asked me to select one exactly like it from the "Good" case which was USDA select, the lowest quality in the store.  His butcher was good so even that was well chosen.

I showed up at his home with the steaks still flash frozen as all employees were instructed to recommend to our customers, and asked me how I liked my steaks cooked and naively I said well done. He said nothing but my plate when it came out had two parts of T-bones without the bone well done just like I liked them. The Colonel asked me to taste them and asked me which was the Prime  and which was the Select steak. I guessed wrong. He then said to his wife "take that away, and bring the other half properly cooked." I looked at the poor cow bleeding all over my plate, almost gagged, but he was the boss so I tried them both and answered confidently which one was Prime and which one was Select.  I didn't need the A-1 sauce I was thinking about asking for, and enjoyed the rest of both steaks. I was a growing athlete at the time and almost asked for the burned halves back. Ever since if I trust the chef I will order steaks Extra Rare and am usually rewarded with an excellent steak. At one time I asked for my steak as rare as the meat was good that day, but quit when one day I got a well done steak which made even a bad piece of meat worse. I needed the A-1.

It is hard to find but I still like a rack of Lamb rare, but even medium rare it is good without sauces.  If it is only offered with sauce I assume the chef knows his meat and go with the flow.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Autonomous Cars and Cities


 With autonomous or even semi autonomous cars in 120mph+ pelotons on existing freeways and Musk 120mph skates in tunnels in LA, whole metro areas are sprawlsville.  The American life style will not be changed to urban living.  Ford, General Motors, and all the rest will still be around in 2100 promoting sprawl. 


 Freeways will evolve to narrower lanes restricted to autonomous vehicles, with high speed lanes running in pelotons for efficiency and throughput.  Current freeways of three lanes or more with a breakdown lane in the center can in the near future convert to two or more high speed lanes, one transition lane and leave one wide lane with a breakdown lane for non- autonomous cars at existing speed limits and entrance and exit. Transition lanes would have restricted access and egress and would be separated from the conventional lane by a Jersey Barrier those shaped concrete vehicle diverters used in construction zones.  All that would be required to facilitate this transition would be to improve the roadbed in the high speed and transition lanes.  Autonomous cars exist today capable of 120-150 mph and transit vehicles soon will be once the need for them exists.    

 Autonomous cars can park in high density parking lots on floors limited to small SUVs by floor spacing, served by elevators.  Garages for autonomous vehicles only may be constructed over a major intersection with an existing freeway which is already served by transit and close to developed commercial centers.  The garage may be built over the freeway.  The passenger access floor will have bus clearance for larger vehicles also at high density enabled by autonomous control.  Pedestrian and bicycle access is over the existing sidewalk space on the cross street and transit access over a lane of the cross street.  Cars will enter from freeway access ramps to car lanes inside the garage next to the pedestrian/bikeway. Once passengers exit the car for local transportation and tell the car computer their expected departure time the car will join a cue to an elevator, tandem or more, at the far end of the garage to access parking floors. Exiting cars would use the same elevator with circulation on all floors in the same direction.  Driverless autonomous cabs would be available at the freeway nodes for those needing them. 

 Existing densities are adequate for those choosing urban living. It is an unpopular life style

 The Upper middle class will commute from their tract mansions to suburban commercial campuses, or to the city for work on the high speed freeways, using the existing freeway access and local streets for last few mile access as necessary.  

  Service workers and others with minimum wage employment will commute from now remote suburbs, car or vanpooling as needed where high speed transit is unavailable.  

  Depending on what happens with UBI and "Medicare for All" the workers displaced by robotics and the existing poor will die or move to now dead rural communities.  Assuming UBI and Medicare, the revived rural communities will become vibrant villages of local commerce and art most of which will generate excess funds for local amenities.  

Saturday, May 6, 2017

On Grief


May 5 2017 ~4pm.
Peter our dog died peacefully late this afternoon. He has been dealing with neuropathy for a month and apparently his heart just couldn't deal with it any longer. Prednisone made him comfortable but apparently the strain was too great. A wonderful pet. Happy to have him a part of the family for these nearly 8 years. RIP Peter,you earned it beautifully.

Grief is ones immediate reaction to the fact that the person or animal that has been an important part of ones emotional support team is no longer an active part of that team.  It is the sudden realization that those little continuous indications of mutual love and support, have ceased and can no longer be relied on and new substitutes must be found.  They are not the big things, a hug in a happy situation can always be found as will sympathetic tears in a sad one.  

It is the "Hi you are back" whether verbal or a tail wag, the food or treat that will no longer be provided as a recognition of all the emotional support provided.  The quick stopping by "just because."  The vetting of visitors to the property and to the house as known friend, unknown person, or possible foe.  "Never trust anyone your dog doesn't like."  But part of the recovery is the realization that those things aren't lost, just not active any more.  That unlicked bowl now needs to be rinsed for the dishwasher, but you still remember the patient waiting begging only with the eyes that you taught with the service provided as the reward.  And you still put the bowl on the floor instead of the table to remind yourself that hesh is still waiting patiently begging only with his eyes in his death dreams; or yours for herm.

Atheists and others have a beautiful ceremony celebrating the life of a deceased love one in part to keep those death dreams of the deceased alive in the real dreams of the survivors.  We call them memories, but what is a memory but the reliving of an event in a dream like state that may be a reflection of the loved one's presence.  


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


A Friend's tribute to his late wife

An atheist friend of mine lost his wife of 33 years recently. The following tribute is his beautiful response:

When someone has sweetened your existence with a strong “sense of life,” transforming every dark and shaded place around you to warmth, even the grief one feels in the hours of separation appears out-of-place in the brightness of her after-glow. It is easy to see her mark upon the Earth, etched forever in the hearts and minds of those that she loved and those that couldn't help but love her, too.

When a life-thread so vibrant is unexpectedly snapped, this awful circumstance comes upon us like a dark cloud; for some time we feel we cannot find our way without her guidance. Look carefully and you will still see a trail lined with candles that she left for each of us, to help us find the path to joy, to take up those candles, to light them and to share them with another person trying to find their way through life. 

On Atheist Priests.

beliefnet

I was part of a Requiem sung for a good Catholic friend. There was no hypocrisy there, for the duration of the requiem I was a believer helping other believers send their loved one to herm Lord Jesus Christ. My beliefs or lack of them had absolutely nothing to do with the performance. I was a human being helping other human beings deal with their grief.

A very good Catholic friend asked me to pray with him in a bereavement situation. He knew I was an atheist, but he also knew that I knew his God. We were on our knees together in a chapel praying for the gift of strength for him to deal with the situation. Was I being a hypocrite or was I helping a friend in a difficult situation? He was the one that told me that atheist prayers are more valuable to God as they are always sincere.

I see no problem with an atheist priest suspending disbelief to perform his offices for the benefit of his parishioners. Since there is no God to care anyway, what is the difference if the priest complies sincerely with the rituals for the believers in his parish. If their belief in the myth helps them get through the week, what is the problem with an atheist facilitating that belief? He is simply a human being helping other human beings, not judging them.