Incoherent ramblings

Falling victim to youtube clickbait: Sociologist claims “Math is racist”

January 24, 2020 Incoherent ramblings No comments , , , ,

I made the mistake of listening to the following stupid interview while eating lunch today:

This was a stupid interview, and was probably just designed to piss people off:

  1. The premise itself is asinine.  There have probably been racist applications of all fields of study, but that does not imply any intrinsic racism.  Individuals can be racist, but it takes extraordinary circumstances to make a subject racist.
  2. The interview format was ridiculous.  If one makes the unlikely assumption that there is some sort of nuanced view to the thesis, how can somebody be expected to explain it in 4 minutes in an aggressive and confrontational interview?

Sadly, it sounded like the interviewee actually did want to make the claim that “math is racist”.  However, she was actively trying to bend language to her will, redefining racism in the process, which is both lazy and pathetic.  It seems to me that it is profoundly immoral to attempt to use words that have historical baggage, words that invoke an emotional reaction because of that history, and then do a bait-and-switch redefinition of the word under the covers.  It’s like playing the magician’s game, distracting somebody with the left hand, while the tricky right hand palms the coin.

What would racist fields of study actually be?  How about the research programs of the Nazi doctors, or US military radiation experimentation on blacks in the ’50s [1].  Those I’d call racist research programs.  To use abuses of math to call the subject itself racist weakens the term to the point that it is meaningless.

The 4 minute constraint on this interview was also pointless.  I don’t have any confidence that the interviewee would have been able to provide a coherent argument, but this sound bite format made that a certainty.  Calling that an interview is as ridiculous as the thesis.  Kudos to the interviewer for quickly calling her on her BS as it was spouted, but he should be ashamed of trying to fit that “discussion” into a couple of minutes.

<h1>References</h1>

[1] William Blum. <em>Rogue state: A guide to the world’s only superpower</em>. Zed Books, 2006.

Some adverts from 1930’s and 1940’s Argosy pulp magazines

December 29, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

I have a whole pile of 1930’s and 40’s era pulp fiction magazines that I bought when I was a kid.  I’d read all the Tarzan books and was also raised in a Scientology household where LRH was revered, so I hoped to buy some of the original Argosy pulp fiction mags that I understood featured both these authors.

I asked at my local used bookstore if they had any such magazines and was told yes, but “If you want them, you buy the whole box.”  The bookstore owner didn’t want to haul the box out of the back storage room, have me flip through them, not find what I was interested in, and then have to put them all back.  I basically had to buy the whole lot sight unseen.  For $15 I ended up with a giant box that had a whole bunch of Argosy magazines as well as a whole bunch of “Blue Book” (a “magazine for boys and men”.)  I didn’t score the Burroughs nor the LRH that I was hoping for, but they were pretty neat nonetheless.  Plus there were a couple 1910’s era magazines that I also scored, which I thought were worth the $15 just by themselves.

Despite how cool I thought these mags were, the bulk of them have languished in boxes (kept from degrading in comic book bags), for years in various basements.  When my latest move was pending, I thought it was time to get rid of some of them.  They didn’t move on kijji nor facebook-marketplace, but I gave a few away to people who came by the house, and have now also started sprinkling some of these around various Toronto “Little Free Libraries” in the new neighbourhood.

The aspect of these magazines that I like the best are the ads.  Here are the ads from two 1936 issues and one 194x issue (both of which now live in a neighborhood little free library.)

weird match.com identity theft?

November 29, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments , , , ,

My gmail inbox was filled with “Like” emails from various guys this morning, and it appeared that somebody had created a new match.com profile using my gmail address:

Weirder still, the identity using my email address, was that of a woman:

I don’t understand the motivation of using my email address, since I was able to use that email address to submit a password change.  At that point, I was able to see that the profile was for somebody purporting to be an Australian.

In the time between changing that passsword to lock out the originator of this profile, and switching it to ‘not visible’, the password appears to be reset again.  I’m not sure how that would be possible given that the password change confirmation emails were going to my gmail account.

This made me wonder if match.com is populating itself with fake profiles, and they’ve now switched this one to use a different email address?  That theory seems to be substantiated by the following article about an FTC law suite against match.com for the use of fake profiles.  Looks like their angle is getting people to purchase paid subscriptions after seeing that there was interest in the fake profiles they generated:

“According to the FTC’s complaint, Match sent emails to nonsubscribers stating that someone had expressed an interest in that consumer. Specifically, when nonsubscribers with free accounts received likes, favorites, emails, and instant messages on Match.com, they also received emailed ads from Match encouraging them to subscribe to Match.com to view the identity of the sender and the content of the communication.”

Assuming that this case is not yet resolved, it’s pretty clumsy of match.com to continue to play the same scam.  It’s also pretty clumsy of them to use a female identity for me, but I guess my name is non-standard enough that they didn’t know what to do with it (either that, or they just take a lazy 50/50 chance when creating their fake profiles.)

 

EDIT: managed to re-reset the password, long enough to figure out how to shut down the identity.   Before I did so, I grabbed a screen shot of “my” profile:

I see that the “Profile Hidden” that I selected the first time I logged in was still selected.  I also tried changing the email address associated with this profile to one that I use only for spam, but match.com won’t allow that without also knowing the birthday that they used to create the fake profile.

Celebration of “killing in the name of” day.

November 11, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments , , ,

November 11th, known as “Remembrance Day” in Canada, is pretty much intolerable on social media.  We are inundated with flags and blind patriotism, pictures of veterans posing in the formations of their original invasion pictures, inane comments like “he died so I could live”, “the price for freedom” and other similar obfuscated war propaganda.

This is the day for the inhuman celebration of the killing of the unnamed enemy, forgetting that that enemy had a face.  This is a day for forgetting that the enemy was also coerced into fighting in the name of their worthless governments or country, just as the veterans of North America were.  This is a day for forgetting to do causal analysis for why the wars were fought.  This is a day for forgetting that war is actively sought for profit, and how evil political puppets of war profiteers lie their way into wars on behalf of their countries again and again, regardless of what side they are nominally on.

We’ve all been touched by the wars of the 20th centuries in many ways.  My VanaEma (grandmother) and my dad effectively lost most of their family, their homes and their heritage, and were refugees in Finland and Sweden.   Having lost his real father, my dad ended up abused and damaged by his first step father, a drunken beast who thankfully died in a fishing accident.  If there had been no world war, he would have had a home, his real father, his country and family.  Dad lived a lot of his life seeming displaced, and not fitting in.  VanaEma’s final husband was stuck mentally in his WWII experience, and talked of nothing else, reliving that trauma again and again by inflicting it on anybody around.  I think that is why my VanaEma ended up needing a hearing aid — so she could shut off her husband.  I don’t celebrate the war that led to all this trauma and displacement.

I don’t think that I personally know any North American veterans of the war, but know of three in my family circle that were made to fight on the German side of the war, all damaged mentally.  Two of those men went on to damage their family as they lived out their PTSD, initiating a cycle of abuse that still has an impact today.  The thing that we should remember is not the valor and the glory of war, but the evil of war.  This should not be a day of triumph and celebration of victory over the enemy, or flag waving, or the mindless propagation of the fable of the “Good war”.  We should remember that we had two times in the last century where millions of people fell for the propaganda and coercive conscription imposed by their governments that had them fight and die for wars that should never have been fought at all.

There is no good side in the mass mobilization of men for war, only death.

 

A mostly useless Jeffrey Epstein document from the FBI

October 18, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

The FBI appears to have made a mostly useless document release about Epstein.  The only non-trivial, non-redacted content that I could find in the first 16/21 of these documents was a black ink purchase order and letter describing it.

The three last documents appear to have some interview notes that might be of investigatory interest, but it appears that, in the interest of protecting a dead pedophile, the FBI has redacted almost anything that could possibly be incriminating.

Jeffrey Epstein Part 17 of 21:

pg 91

went upstairs
stayed downstairs
introduced herself
Jeffrey came down in robe introduced himself
paid 200.00
paid 300.00
paid 200.00
and told her

pg 167:

A friend
do you want to make 200.00

go to million or billion
house

pg 169:
JE said that he knew models
that was the reason
he was going to

pg 170:

times each friend
told then
They went on it

171:
want to go back
won’t do it again
w/ a week or two
called
Gave # to JE

172:
JE provided advice about
– What to eat – salad
not ????/or drink
drink lots of water
exercise

173:
JE paid 200.00

174:
He asked her to

175:
they would want me to
didn’t like

176:
went to JE
given to me from cell
anymore

==============================
Jeffrey Epstein Part 18 of 21:

pg: 10
Help him
Holiday break – X mas
JE purchased ticket
tickets to
Picked her up
Inverviewing?
Bottle of champagne
casual asking @ schools
new … about it
talked @ traveling to help w/ school
bathroom in residence later
office
limo

pg 11:
have … for dinner
limit
went home to
JE
JE
unconfortable
left
don’t worry about school
Theought that meant he would pay
talked to

pg 12:

Got to know you better
finalize plans for summer
bought ticket -> ? paid for it
someone picket her up she did not know
Friday -> Sunday
little drive
Some discussion about where she was going to be staying
JE said she will be staying with US
thought JE

pg 14:
Bought popcorn/cokes
seeing them again -> doign the trip etc
did not want to mess up things for
herself and/or
before x-mas > Months prior to flying to NM
JE called once
$4000.00
+ few hundred dollars

[there is more in this particular pdf to review — more notes from interviews.]

==============================
Jeffrey Epstein Part 19 of 21:

– a bunch of photos (recieved 2011), scanned in black and white instead of grey scale. What isn’t redacted is pretty much impossible to see.

 

Are mandatory #AmberAlert messages less than useless?

October 2, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments , , ,

I received two supremely annoying Amber alerts on my phone yesterday.  They appear to be specifically designed to maximize intrusiveness, which is quite counterproductive, as the natural response is to shut down the incessant pinging as quick as you can. I’ll elaborate on why I consider that these alerts have no value (actually negative value) below.

The thought and action process to deal with the alert is modeled by the following internal dialogue: “Gaghg … what the hell is that noise!?   Grab, swipe, clear.  Thank god I wasn’t wearing my headphones!”  I got a passing glance at the message in the process, enough to see that it was an Amber alert, but no more.

This was pretty much the same process as dealing with an accidental press of that stupid red panic button on a car key fob — you know the one, it’s always triggered because you are trying to hold your keys, phone, and two dribbling travel mugs in one hand, and a backpack, garbage from the car, and a bag of groceries in the other.  Like the Amber alert, the panic button just triggers more city noise that is ignored by everybody.  It’s been 30 years since car alarms have had any value, but for some reason, instead of just getting rid of them, the manufacturers have supplied an easy way to trigger then accidentally — but I digress.

When yesterday’s second Amber alert triggered, I knew the drill and was able to silence it quickly without even having to look at it.  It was time to turn to google and see if there was a way to avoid these.  It appears there’s a way to do that on an android, but for the ancient discarded iPhone-6s that I bought for $50 USD (and probably even newer models), I appear to be out of luck.  There’s a CRTC ruling that mandates these messages, and phone providers are not allowed to provide a mechanism to disable it. They are also sent with a priority so high that their intrusiveness is off the charts.

Ironically, making the message so intrusive, means that the rush to shut it off means that you loose any chance to actually look at the message.  This is a classic example of a government policy backfire, as the policy has the exact opposite effect than the intention.

Later in the day, having struck out with google, I noticed a an #AmberAlert hash tag beside my twitter stream.  My thought was, “Perfect, there’s got to be people who know how to deal with this there”, and I posted

There were a couple helpful responses, and the rest basically conformed to expectations that one has for the worst Jon-Ronson “So You’ve Been Publically Shamed” style twitter responses:

Reading those reactions, you’d think that I’m an advocate for kidnapping and abduction, perhaps child sex trafficking, and pedophilia too.  How could I be such a piece of shit heartless fucking bastard?  Why would I want to avoid a tiny inconvenience when kids lives are at stake? Sigh.

It is striking to observe first hand how easily people are willing to take up arms to shame somebody for a cause, despite not knowing anything about their thought process, or any possible nuances that underlie the perceived offense. It’s truly thoughtless mob mentality.

Understanding that so many people are unfortunate victims of media stranger-danger fear-porn, the vitriolic reactions of the people above make some sense.  Like useless car alarms, we’ve had 30+ years of the media pumping it’s danger is everywhere story.  Fear sells exceptionally.  However, all the worry that’s been drummed into us about the black van at the school taking off with the kids has been shown again and again to be unsubstantiated.  Most kidnappings are by family members, largely related to custody issues.  Kidnapping is the conflict resolution strategy for desperate white trash trailer park inhabitants who aren’t smart nor sober enough to realize that a split second decision of that nature will only backfire and result in no access to your kids, plus considerable jail time.

Unlike car alarms, media stranger danger carping is not just an annoyance, but has massive social consequences.  I’ve now lived in three Markham subdivisions in the last 20 years, where walking the streets would make you think that you are living in a retirement community.  There are no kids playing.  The parks and the streets are empty on weekends and after school.  Kids are kept corralled in their houses, or only let out for carefully supervised play.  This fear has also become institutionalized.  I know one mother who was afraid to let her 10 year old son out to play at the park alone or try to recruit friends for unsupervised park play, because she was worried that she would be vulnerable to a child protective services induced confiscation of her son.

I know that the media and fear of CPS aren’t the only factors that are keeping kids from outdoor play.  Video games, TV, and phones now also compound the problem.  We have a couple generations of effectively lost kids, who are all experts on the characters in the 10 Netflix or YouTube series that they’ve binge watched, in countless video games, or other useless knowledge sets.  They aren’t kids who know how to  play with each other, start conversations, get into fights and make up, or even look each other in the eyes.

The AmberAlert, in my eyes, is just another conduit for media related fear porn.  It is also useless.  I’ll never know anybody who’s name flashes by in an AmberAlert, not on my phone, on media, or one one of those highway signs.  I’ll never know anybody who knows somebody related to an AmberAlert.  The chances of one of these messages being relevant is effectively zero.  I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.  If I look at 50 Amber alerts, there will be a 50x times more chance that it is relevant: 50 x 0.00000000001 = 0 — just like buying 50 lottery tickets.

You can find plenty of Amber alert advocates that claim they are effective, but it’s not hard to find research that shows the opposite.  One such example is this “After 20 years of AMBER Alerts… Are They Worth It?” research gate interview with Timothy Griffin, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Asked about the success rate of the program, he states: “However, in my reading of the data, the number of children whose lives have been saved by AMBER Alert ranges from zero to something very close to zero.”, and as expected “These cases do not appear to typically involve apparently life-threatening abductors. Rather, they are far more often deployed in familial/custodial disputes and other cases not suggestive of life-threatening peril to the abducted child(ren).” I defer to that interview for other interesting facts, none of which were surprising to me.

The truth of the effectiveness of Amber alerts probably lies in between the glowing stats of the Amber alert advocates, and the more data driven conclusions of Prof. Griffin — but I’d guess the facts are much more strongly skewed towards the conclusions of Prof. Griffin.

Regardless of the effectiveness of the program, not allowing an opt out mechanism for these messages, nor any way to regulate priority, is a strategic mistake by the CRTC, who appears to be pushing the value of this program. Setting inappropriate priorities gets you ignored. In a corporate environment, think of the pencil pusher who sends all his ISO-9001 process conformance emails with urgent priority.  You set up a rule in short order to put all emails from that person directly in the trash.

Even if you believed that these alerts were helpful, Amber alerts depend upon an “everybody sees it” strategy that is actually crippled by making these messages mandatory and in your face. The end result is that people will delete without reading, just to silence the offending noise. The probability of even the limited possible success of the alert program is thus sabotaged. The small subset of people who will actually read the Amber alert text, and feel that it is important to do so, is made even smaller by the CRTC policy that enforces “can’t be ignored” and “can’t be prioritized”.

Book sales stats: slow and steady

September 2, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments

I don’t have full stats for all my kindle-direct sales, but am surprised how steady the sales for the GA book have been

Jan 1- March 31 2019 April 1 – June 30, 2019 June 4 – Sept 1, 2019

Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers

24 24 26

Statistical Mechanics

3 2

Relativistic Electrodynamics

2

Classical Optics

4

Quantum Field Theory

2 2

Condensed Matter

1

Graduate Quantum Mechanics

1

Some of the earlier sales were to family members who wanted copies, but the rest are legitimate.

John Grisham: The Brethren

August 31, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

(spoilers here)

This was an enjoyable book, and a page turner, even if it’s a bit predictable, and contained a few large holes in the plot logic.  The basic idea is that there’s a group of incarcerated older judges in a federal prison, who with nothing left to loose, concoct a blackmail scam.  They use their lawyer as a mule for gay hook-up themed “penpal” letters.  After some private investigator work, also initiated by their lawyer, they try to discover the real identities of their correspondents, looking for in-the-closet married men that are nicely blackmailable.

This blackmail story is intertwined with story of a senator who is determined by the head of the CIA, to be “so clean” that he is a good candidate to secretly finance for a can’t lose presidential run.  I found that idea to be pretty naive and comical, as it goes against my suspicion that many politicians win their selections because they can’t be compromised, but are pushed to positions of head-clown and distraction-chiefs precisely because they are compromised.  In this book, this new would be presidential candidate selection is promised the job if he exclusively pushes a help the military become great again agenda, which will be aided by convenient terrorism incidents, and massive sums of PAC money from military-industrial people and individuals.  Clearly Mr So Clean, is intrinsically dirty under the covers, as he has no objections to people dying in these engineered terrorism incidents if it gets him into the presidential role.  Of course, he’s also been secretly participating in some gay procurement penpal letters courtesy of the judges, and you can tell it’s only a matter of time before his true identity becomes known to the judges, and they get ready for their best blackmail haul.

Complicating things for the judges is the fact that the CIA watches their soon to be president carefully, and they discover the blackmail plot to be before their man, and intercept the situation.  The lawyer is first paid off and then taken out, and eventually the CIA director swings presidential pardons (from the lame duck president, in exchange for past favors) for the judges, and gets them all paid off and safely out of the country.

It’s a kind of weird ending, because the soon to be president has been saved from blackmail (by resources and gobs of CIA dirty black money), and the judges are out of jail.  Everybody wins except the letter mule lawyer who was taken out while attempting to run with some of that CIA cash.  This “good ending” obscures the fact that the new president is a scumbag that didn’t have any trouble killing a pile of innocents to get the job.  In that respect, he’s not much different than Trump, Obama, either of the Clintons, or either of the Bushes.

I enjoyed this book, but it assembled some strange conspiracy-theory style themes, in ways that just don’t make sense.

My office hardware, fully deployed today

August 30, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments

I’ve got all my desktop hardware deployed today:

  1. Intel NUC6i7KYB (Skull canyon NUC)
  2. Intel NUC6i7KYB
  3. Large cup of coffee
  4. Mac thunderbolt monitor
  5. Mac thunderbolt monitor
  6. Monitor for my NUCs (not usually connected)
  7. Mac Laptop, a really expensive way to run terminal (to access my NUCs)
  8. NUC keyboard (not usually connected)
  9. Keyboard for my mac
  10. Mac trackpad
  11. NUC mouse (not usually connected)

(and half concealed by monitor (4) is my WD “My Book” backup drive for the Mac).

My youngest reader

August 23, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

My nephew Jake is a prodigy, and is already tackling QM!