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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,641

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

School sports, kindergarten through college, need to be reformed.

The sole purpose of school sports should be to promote the physical well being and positive social interactions of students.

Maybe these sports once had some evolutionary value in human societies, back when raw physical prowess and testosterone poisoned comradery won wars, but none of that makes sense now, not since humans gained the ability to destroy their enemies by electronic propaganda and economic warfare, or in MAD scenarios, by throwing around nuclear weapons on missiles.

I'm thinking of my grandfather here. He was an Army Air Corp officer in World War II. He joined the Army Air Corp to escape rural Wyoming, see the world, fly planes, and woo the ladies wherever he landed. Unfortunately he was also a klutz. Watching him ride a bicycle, or swim in anything but a small surf, were some of the most terrifying things I witnessed as a kid. Grandpa is going to die! The Army, in its wisdom, did not let him fly airplanes or play with guns. I've heard he flew an airplane once. Just once. And none of his relatives would invite him hunting.

I can still hunt, I like to believe, but haven't in the 21st century. I flew an airplane once. Didn't take off or land. Didn't break anything.

My grandfather was some kind of wizard with exotic metals, and a competent intermediary between ordinary military society and brilliant people far weirder than he was. He never talked about his military service. He did a dirty job that had to be done and I suspect a lot of it was messy and secret. His knack for making impossible parts out of exotic metals is unexplained.

He would talk about bits of metal he made for the Apollo Project. He was fiercely proud of that.

I'm a klutz. School sports culture was hell on me. In sixth grade they used to leave me far out in left field picking through the grass, biologist that I am, even as the innings changed. I was always last pick, after the kid with the tremor and coke bottle bottom glasses because he was always nice. I was not always nice. I could break noses with my elbow.

I quit high school. Never attended a football game or dance. Didn't care.

In college I got to know a lot of people in co-ed recreational running and softball, and that's when I finally understood the value of sports.

Our party has a very deep bench.

I've no concerns that Biden and Harris won't appoint extraordinarily competent people, even people who are not currently political celebrities.

Personally I'd like to see more government positions filled by utterly boring technocrats.

My political utopia looks a lot like Star Trek TNG.

Make it so. Make it so. Make it so.

Some people have mistaken sarcasm for actual arguments...

... others have mistaken arguments put forth by people who are serious (but blatantly wrong) for sarcasm.

This creates a bitter storm of internet controversy.

The people who can't laugh on either side (right or wrong) are the most offended.

BTW, my own response to that thread was sarcastic.

Or maybe not. Is it possible to count the electrons in empty space?


Is it even possible to count electrons?

John Wheeler proposed all electrons and positrons are actually manifestations of a single entity moving backwards and forwards in time.

It complicates things immensely if all the electrons we count are just the faces of a single electron that's very, very busy.

Engineering electronics today, especially on the scale of modern microprocessors and computer memories, requires a fairly sophisticated understanding of quantum mechanics. Naive interpretations of electronics, most especially the "water in a pipe" analogy where voltage is analogous to water pressure, and amps are analogous to the volume of water, turn out to be fairly useless. "Counting" electrons "flowing" through a conductor gets weird.

I've seen know-it-all techs heatedly arguing uselessly with physicists, no information being transferred in either direction, because their understanding of a problem isn't even on the same plane.

When a mathematician argues 2+2=4 they have very precise understandings of objects, integers, and operations. Other interpretations, especially those based in non-rigorous languages, can be dismissed.

The scary thing about human languages such as English -- and the most wonderful thing as well -- is that we can say things that are untrue, things that might be true, and things that are close enough to the truth for everyday use.

But science requires something more precise than "everyday use" and develops its own languages, especially the languages of mathematics.

If we don't know these languages of science we can't make scientific arguments, and it's silly to argue that 2 + 2 = 5 in some alternative context. If there really is some alternative context (not likely...) then it's up to the developer or observer of that context to create the rigorous language that explains it.

Otherwise they are simply stomping on the highly developed and precise languages of others, which may be the very crime they are accusing others of doing, the equivalent of some MAGA hat wearing fool in WalMart yelling "This is America, speak English!" to shoppers speaking Spanish in the checkout line.

A Song for a New Day -- Sarah Pinsker

In this captivating science fiction novel from an award-winning author, public gatherings are illegal making concerts impossible, except for those willing to break the law for the love of music, and for one chance at human connection.

In the Before, when the government didn't prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce's connection to the world--her music, her purpose--is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.


This is an amazing book. Check it out.

I hope it's not prescient of our actual future.

Every diet "requires a lot of knowledge and effort."

People learn their culture's version of a healthy diet as children, which is why learning other sorts of diets as adults seems difficult.

Some cultures have healthier diets than others, but no culture has a traditional diet that is so unhealthy it can't sustain the population.

Human diets evolve. In human history people have created healthy diets by trial and error. They may not have had specific scientific knowledge of nutrition, they just knew which combinations of foods they needed to eat to stay healthy.

In some animals this dietary knowledge is largely instinct, in other animals such as humans, bears, sea otters, etc., specific diets are learned behaviors.

There are seven and a half billion people on this planet now. We can't all eat large quantities of meat every day without doing very significant damage to whatever is left of the earth's natural environment.

About half the people in my extended family are vegetarian, many of them nearly vegan. The reason they have chosen these diets are varied. I've seen children thrive on such a diet and grow up to be very healthy adults.

Times change. Three of my grandparents were the children of ranchers and dairy farmers. All of my great grandparents were Wild West, the meat they ate they killed themselves. As a little kid I used to watch my great grandmas cut up fish, chickens, and small mammals for dinner with awe. Their hands moved faster than I could follow.

My dad doesn't like hunting much, but he's an avid fisherman. When my siblings and I were children most of the animal protein we ate was fish he caught, followed by cheap powdered milk, bulk cheese, and ground up dairy cows.
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