Friday, February 26, 2021

Appliance Connection

I've been grateful the appliances have kept working. After the personal bionics, the avatar, and those around us, we want our machines to work, especially the life sustaining ones, like the furnace, air conditioner, for many a car. I running a two person household yet managing my Oregon Curriculum Network on top of that, pumping memes to the world.  That's thanks to appliances.

So yeah, the clothes washer went out.  My ex Sandia Labs friend, with the can do attitude, was all ready to buy some parts and dive in.  Bill Shepherd rescued my DVD player by soldering a new capacitor to the circuit board, per online advice.  Perhaps $60 in parts and some hours, would make the Kenmore good as new.

Calling around for a repair person wasn't getting me anywhere.  The web machine is still directing calls, but these go to a black hole. The economy is still in suspension.  The economy would prefer I buy a new washing machine.  That's what the stimulus check, if there is one, could be for.

My Sandia friend was also ready to solve the BP crisis, when British Petroleum (aka the Pentagon) trashed the Gulf of Mexico. Patrick had his aquarium tank fired up and started prototyping these giant sucking contraptions (giant at scale), designed for ordinary fishing boats to use.  Mobilize the fleet.

He's taken on other challenges: the python invasion in the Everglades; the need for easy verification of vaccinated status.

My sense of the problem with the washer is there's no diagnosis by telepathy. One has to take it apart to see what's wrong.  I've had it for more than five years probably, and it's not under any kind of extended protection plan.

Buying a new appliance, and protection plan, in this day and age, is a statement of confidence about our civilization, and even about so-called "capitalism" (a word I use for something else, but never mind). I'm expecting Home Depot to be around for another five years, and maybe even expand to other countries.

We need to get back to tourism, and not tourism in camo.  In exporting its youth in military uniform, instead of as civilians, the Americans wasted a few generations.  People are entitled to UBI as compensation for all this abuse maybe.  Monkey rule of humanity has been a bummer.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Of EQ and IQ

From the Polymaths & Polymathy group on Facebook:

Even if it's true that IQ is measurable and EQ is not, meaning you can't walk around with a numeric bell curve score for your EQ, that doesn't mean we don't each have a sense of gaining and losing EQ points over a lifetime.

You can suddenly have insights and understand yourself and others a lot better. Part of that just takes growing to adulthood. You gain empathy for people raising kids, by raising kids, and so on.

I think the game in both cases is to guard against losing points, which means exercise and train to stay at full potential (for you).

I believe EQ is trained by novels, movies, soaps, TV series (not all of them, just the ones that do). Also travel. Having friendships and community. EQ is developed and cultivated.

Even if we think IQ is somewhat fixed (everyone has a maximum they can't go beyond, similar to physical height and/or maximum strength), there's the question of whether we value it or not and/or have opportunities to "work out" in order to live up to our full potential.

Sometimes we're not rewarded for physical strength. Likewise, you my be stuck in a routine, not of your own making if you're not free, that has no use for your stellar IQ. Picture an Elon Musk type wasting away on a marijuana charge in Texas. Times a million around the world.

Humans deliberately sabotage their own smarts, to conform to social norms. Women have been especially so encouraged.

I'd say a polymath is someone who (a) values both IQ and EQ and (b) strives to "stay in shape" which means "round" (as in well-rounded). Life by its very nature is multi-topic, multi-subject, so the very process of staying in shape is going to take care of the poly part.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Playing World Game

How does one play it, this World Game thing I've been talking about? Even the subtitle of my Grain of Sand blog is Kirby Plays World Game.

Well, I'd say Natasha here in this Youtube is a player, in that she's sharing about growing up in her hometown. I just came across her channel recently, starting with the one where she takes us on a tour of her dorm block in her language school.  She's on a seventh floor sharing the space with her sister, likewise a language student.

Natasha had elected to learn Japanese, however owing to a teacher shortage, she was assigned Chinese instead, and English.  Her English is already quite good, which helps her join the world of traveling Youtube bloggers, the new citizen diplomats.

That sounds like a more exalted title -- "citizen diplomat" -- but its in some ways redundant.  As a player, you'll likely speak up for, most identify with, a subset of the total team.  This will help others communicate with you, through a somewhat standardized API.  You identify with some country, nation, camp, tribe or company and thereby serve as a representative or ambassador therefrom.  Perhaps your nation is one of the diaspora nations, not on any UN-approved map at this time?

Speaking of maps, Fuller's Dymaxion Projection was generally devoid of political data, sticking nominally to temperature (global average). The map was positioned in this way partly because of its role in the space of citizen diplomacy.  

Were Bucky to have published a veridical political map, he would have had to copy an authority, such as the United Nations, or maybe would have planted his own flag in some way, by drawing different borders. Either way, he would have taken a position on many political issues, simply by showing borders.

Rather than get involved in such border disputes, Bucky made it so that any nationalism worth its salt is concerned with the welfare of the entire game board.  He would supply and artifact, neutrally devoid of political data, and leave it to the individual players how they wanted to value-add.

Parochial adherence to some specific jurisdiction could be seen as negligent. Looking out for the welfare of a people, was tantamount to taking the welfare of all of the peoples into account.  We're a single unified ecosystem, a planet, with or without competently designed systems on the humans' part.  And that's where World Game comes in, and playing with competence.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

From My Outbox

We could artificially create human "breeds" with pedigrees, and a lot of this goes on with inbreeding and nobility.  If we really wanted to play the game of "purebreds" versus "mongrels" in the human sphere, we could.  But for the most part, we don't want to.

When it comes to typifying humans by genetic makeup, there're so many ways to slice and dice.  Why aren't dwarves a race, or albinos?  We say "genetic anomaly" or whatever, but any genetic characteristic might be lumped into a breed or "race" by convention, should we wish it.

We could easily have "races of human" based on blood type only.  This would satisfy no one of course, because the whole point of racism is to have distinguishable outward characteristics that allow one to be classified.  Like if you speak Italian as a first language, you're obviously of the Italian race and so on. :-D

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Learning to Work Remotely: An End in Itself

USDLA 2015

Back when O'Reilly paid our way to professional development experiences, I got to hang out with the  distance learning crowd (USDLA) in St. Louis.  Or maybe I should say "distance teaching" as I was learning from the teaching end of the business.

All of that was pre pandemic of course, at the time of the big earthquake in Nepal. I remember Leela (then Lindsey) calling me in my Hilton hotel room from Kathmandu, to say she was OK.  Hilton had taken over a goodly portion of the old Union Station in downtown STL, the site of our conference.

In those days, Michigan was giving some kids opportunities to take a distance learning class as an experience in itself.  A special school had set up facilities in several metro areas, whereby the kids would be in a learning facilities, complete with snacks and exercise equipment -- but their teachers were far away.  

They could practice their Zoom skills, or the old timey equivalent.  They could get ready for remote work.

Part of schooling today, is around developing the skills needed to work remotely.  Developing those abilities is an end in itself as well as a means to an end.  

Some teachers specialize in teaching remotely just as some specialize in teaching gym or home economics.  But then remote teaching works best for some subject matter, such as maybe history and computer science.  YMMV.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Contra Opinionism

I was grousing the other day about what Individualism (individuation) is not, actually reiterating a pet peeve of mine, first consciously formulated around high school.  

Now these were good schools mind you, as the parents were already at the top of their games usually, living a high life of some kind. 

What they all said they wanted you to learn was "critical thinking" which means how to think critically, but what does that in fact mean, let us pause.

What "critical thinking" doesn't mean, yet what comes across as a poor substitute, is being strongly opinionated on a wide variety of topics. This gets confused with "building character" i.e. someone with character is known to kvetch and moan, or praise and promote, about a very long list of notions.

What seemed to be happening is my classmates and I were being encouraged to express strong opinions about matters we'd barely considered.  The way to acknowledge learning about something, was to pass judgement thereon.  "Knowing about" meant "having formed opinions about".  Therefore, strong opinions could be taken as knowing.

I suppose a "knowing person" is what the schools coach us to become.  But how much of being "knowing" is pure affectation?  

What I came to was a disparaging opinion of "know it alls".  A "know it all" isn't just good at regurgitation information, which can be an impressive skill, but someone who invariably accompanies that information with some kind of judgement or spin.

Obviously I'm being opinionated and judgemental right here, so am I not hypocritical?  I may well be hypocritical on occasion but I don't see any logical contradiction in questioning an ethic, and an esthetic, which is itself about "being critical".

A reason distopians might give for the ultimate untenability of utopian communities with libertarian and democratic ideals, is that once you have a bunch of know-it-alls in the room, collaboration quickly becomes impossible.  The principals become too interested in jamming one another's plans.

However, if a primary reflex of most of the denizens is "not necessarily my business" or "I'm not prepared to venture an opinion" we could have a lot smoother functioning.  People are happy to stay on the sidelines and not feel aggrieved at every turn, because their opinion was not sought.