Category Archives: Blogs' Archive

5-4

The U.S. Supreme Court just decided that religious institutions are exempt from the rules against large gatherings, and recently appointed Christian Warrior Amy Coney Barrett (who was confirmed with almost zero resistance from Democrats) cast the deciding vote.
Of course I think this totally violates the concept of separation between church and state. To their credit, though, it’s not just churches. The wording clearly says ‘religious institutions’ so Jews, Muslims, Satanists and Pagans can also gather in large groups and infect each other, although I think Satanists and Pagans are actually smarter than that.
I actually think the whole ban on group gatherings is a bit unconstitutional, but I accept the safety concerns.
This could lead to a huge spike in the number of religious people who get infected, but maybe not. Just because they’re allowed to gather in large numbers doesn’t mean they’re required to, and maybe the smarter and/or more cautious among them will choose to stay home.
But, I doubt it.

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The Monolith

Tonight’s topic is nothing politically controversial, it is not about something which is a threat to the human species or even democracy, nor is it about some scientific discovery which will change everybody’s life for the better.
It’s just a kind of weird, funny thing that I want to share the link to, in case there’s anybody who hasn’t heard about it.
A helicopter crew, who were very scientifically counting the bighorn sheep in a wild, rocky, desert region in southeastern Utah, noticed a big, steel monolith. Well, big is a relative term. It’s 3.6 meters in height, which might put it just above the roof line of a single story, flat roofed building. And it looks pretty much exactly like the monolith in 2001, a Space Odyssey.
The article in the Guardian says ‘it may have been put there by a fan of 2001.’ I don’t even see that as a ‘may have been.’ More like a ‘well, duh.’
He (or she, or they, because just getting it there would have been more than a one person job) is obviously a fan of the movie. That’s the whole point. My question is ‘how long has it been there?’ because it may have been years and years. That requires an incredibly amount of patience on the part of the artist, who as of this writing has not stood up and taken credit.
In a way, it reminds me of the whole crop circle phenomenon. I must admit, I considered them legit evidence of alien visitation, until a couple of college students stepped up to take credit, and explained exactly how they’d done it.
Whether anybody ever steps forth and takes credit for this one, only time will tell, but I say this: Good on you, dear subversive artist, whoever you might be. Full credit plus bonus points.

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The Neo-Luddites

I just saw a meme, which perhaps I’m taking a bit too seriously because maybe it was just meant for humor’s sake, but it’s part of a larger meme (what used to be called a meme before internet memes became a common thing and the word was stolen) about how old objects are somehow superior to new objects. It was an old-timey telephone, sitting on top of a pedestal, and on the pedestal was printed “When the phones were tied down, people were free.”
No, we weren’t. I remember having to look for a pay phone, and then you had to have change. I remember getting to a place on time and then waiting, and waiting, and having no idea if the person would show up in 15 minutes, or ever. Mobile phones, while some people might be more addicted to them than is good, have made our lives easier, by a lot.
Typewriters are another one that tends to fill people with nostalgia. I remember ribbons that got twisted constantly, using white out to make corrections, and after you’d typed something up, all you had was a paper version which, if you wanted anyone to see it, you had to show them. Today, if I write a poem, I put it online immediately, and thousands of people can see it. Mostly, they get ignored, but that’s really O.K. It is much easier to deal with thousands of anonymous people ignoring my poems anonymously than reading them aloud to friends, who would then do their best to ignore them but it could get awkward at times.
People talk about how print books are better than e-books ‘because they love the smell, and the feel of the paper, which seems a bit strange to me. The important thing about books are the words and stories they have inside them – which comes across just fine on Kindle, or any other e-book platform.
I suppose nostalgia has always been with us and childhood is one of the more popular stages of life, but to say we’re worse off because of all the cool gadgets we have today strikes me as ridiculous and unappreciative.
I must admit, I am not exactly an early adapter, and there is a lot about computers and other tech devices that I don’t understand, but I am not a luddite.
Technology, used properly, makes our lives better. Much better.

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Legiterally

Normally, I find made up words to be kind of silly. A quick look at urban dictionary will show you literally thousands of words and phrases that people just made up and you would never have any idea what they meant without consulting urban dictionary and, after having done that, you try to use them in real life and get nothing but blank stares or the social media equivalent, which is zero responses.
But, I just saw one two minutes ago which legit needs to be a new word, and the word was legiterally, or its adjectival twin, legiteral. It is an obvious portmanteau of legitimate (or its shortened form, legit) and literal, which is one of the most misused words of all in this era of rampant misuse of words.
Since most people use literally incorrectly, to mean figuratively, or to mean ‘that’s a great metaphor and totally fits in with the stuff I agree with, it is necessary to point out when it is being used properly.
It saves us from either having to say literally literally, which could confuse people and some might think you still mean figuratively, you just mean it really, really hard, or adding an entire extra sentence, i.e. “Yes, I know the meaning of the word literal and am using it deliberately and correctly,” which is a bit overly verbose.
Legiterally explains it all very concisely. It is a word whose time has come.

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Is it the Algorithm, or is it Us?

The question was asked, “why is their so little intellectual content on Facebook” and most of the answers fell into two neat categories. Either “it’s the algorithm, this is all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault,” or “what can you expect, people post what they post and there are a whole lot of people out there who like cats better than thinking about stuff.”
The obvious answer is a little bit of both. I hate to say that, because it sounds like a cop-out, a common method of avoiding conflict and not pissing anybody off, but it is true.
How can we know it’s a bit of both? Because both exist. Whether it’s 60/40 or 90/10, this way or that way, that’s another argument.
Personally, I suspect that it’s way more down to the membership than the algorithm, like 90/10. Stupid, bland and meaningless comments don’t just write themselves.
Anyway, there are more intellectual sites. You can find out a lot on Quora, for instance. Or by eliminating all the obviously stupid people from your friends list. But, then you won’t have many friends.

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