Rants and Observations

Aug. 29, 2020

This week the masses were diverted from their concerns.

 

Mad scientist, Elon Musk revealed the first step into turning a poor pig into a cyborg. Maybe he will populate Mars with swine. Neither he nor anyone else can escape the inexorable march towards death.

Costa Rica is suffering proportionally more Covid 19 cases per, million people than panicking France and many other countries.

Floods, earthquakes, landslides and occasional volcanic erruptions here wreck the flimsy houses and destroy the meager possessions of the poor, killing some.

The relatively wealthier suffer minor irritations from nature. Our electronic gate control suffered its annual and expensive failure. Causes in previous years included: rain, humidity and a poor mouse that gnawed the wires. It electrocuted itself in the control box.

This year, it was an ant colony. The box offered a relatively dry and protected nesting site. Their sisterhood burnt out the electronics with their excrescences.

From Dust You Came and To Dust You Shall Return

Some suffer more than others on the way.

Aug. 25, 2020


Rituals are important.

My Spanish teacher sent me a text with a picture of an enormous Penis. My wife was suspicious. I felt inadequate.

Boringly, it began a description of various rituals around the world. 

My blog host informed me that the picture I wanted to attach was too big. Imagine that!

Here are my thoughts, cynical as usual.

Rituals help hold groups of people together.
They occur in religions, politics, sports, the military, business, families, science, and every other aspect of human life you can think of.

When a ship is launched, a bottle of Champagne is broken across the bow, after a speech by someone important. When a road bridge or building opens, a tape is cut, after a speech by someone important. This to reinforce the benificence of the important person for bringing this gift, funded with our taxes and work of course.

Weddings are full of rituals. They are expensive, often combined with religious promises. In many countries they include a dowry or other legal contracts. The expense, rituals, and involvement of legal and religious authorities make marriage promises serious and harder to break. Then rich men date prostitutes molest minors and have mistresses.

The international political gatherings of the IMF, the UN and the rest include welcoming rituals, false signs of friendship and group photographs.

In sports, players bring children onto the pitch by the hand. They stand solemnly for the national flags and anthems. An important person distributes the cup and the medals.

In the military, we were taught to drill, march behind bands and flags, and salute. Each regiment has its history and tales of heroism and honor. After which, it's okay to go slaughter foreigners in distant lands.

In universities, graduation ceremonies are loaded with rituals. There are the speeches by important people. These somehow make up for the many expensive and useless degrees and the lack of job opportunities.

In companies there are rituals in the boardroom below pictures of past Chairmen. There are speeches to employees about the culture and mission of the company. Meanwhile, the bosses and shareholders scoop the wealth created.

Rituals are a means of manipulating us to do what the elites expect of us.

Rituals about fertility ensure that there will be future generations of peasants to obey the elites.
At least the peons are having a little fun.

Aug. 21, 2020
TEACHERS-
We are bombarded by posts from current and ex teachers. Some are friends.
They say, 'If you can read thank a teacher.' They explain how they are poorly paid. They have to meet standards set by non-teachers. They have curriculae crafted by political appointees, that many disagree with. They complain about pushy parents and those who do not care.
 
In some countries, their unions are trying to stop any return to school unless an impossible list of demands relating to the virus are met. They have long vacations, but complain of excessive work loads, the size of classes and much more.
 
Teachers are mostly reasonably educated. They are confident. They need to be, to control their classes. They require the active attention of their students. They are big wheels in their classrooms.
 
There is another side to all this. Many teachers have no broader experience of work. This can be a major problem in advising pupils on career options and choice of subjects and colleges.
 
At my school, they caned us for not understanding their lessons. It suddenly struck me that usually that was because they were bad teachers rather than due to the pupils fault.
 
Either they made the subject totally dull through rote learning, or they were incapable of explaining it in a way to make it interesting.
The better teachers taught me well.
 
We were also dosed with nationalistic and religious nonsense.
 
Ergo, the bad teachers should have been punished rather than us.
 
The UK education system is still rubbish from top to bottom and needs a complete rethink. Curriculae, standards and performance measures need considerable attention and not from partisan politicians.
 
Like everything in the UK and US, radical change is impossible. These shamocracies are Heath Robinson machines. The mechanisms of governments that relate to teaching are just part of a greater problem. Without changing the whole system, nothing much can ever be achieved.
P.S. my mother taught me to read.
Aug. 19, 2020
Hypocrisy among socialists
We want to eliminate the ever growing wealth of the 0.01%. We want workers to be: covered for healthcare; protected from exploitative contracts; protected, when they obey the laws and pay their taxes.
 
Yet many flock to Apple, Uber, Amazon, Air B&B, Ryanair and the like, which are working in the opposite direction. Selfish desires and greed overcome socialist convictions all too easily.
Aug. 9, 2020

 

RT showed a segment discussing this, yesterday.

As a computer dinosaur, I wanted to understand TikTok and related controversies, so I watched it.

What is a social influencer? It seems that people built largely from silicone and public relations, like the Kardashians, make millions by endorsing products they probably never use.

They are expensive to hire, behave arrogantly and are liable to do things that damage the brand being endorsed. They might make racist comments; inappropriate religious remarks; or become pariahs through drunkenness, sexual assaults etc.

Avatars can do the job RT showed an avatar that was singing a pop song and had over a 1 million social media followers very rapidly. The video looked as real as the Kardashians to me. i.e., not quite real. No doubt, as tech improves they will look entirely real.

The avatar, not the one in the picture, was used to endorse products. A presenter on RT argued that avatars were: cheaper; could not do anything deviant and were therefore a superior vehicle for brand endorsement.

The counter argument Another RT presenter argued that consumers would believe in a real person, even though they might be lying about using the product, but would not believe in the avatar, which could not use it.

Tech will improve Thinking beyond the RT program, when Avatars look entirely realistic maybe they will be fielded as real people.

Anyone stupid enough to buy products because of celebrity endorsements seems beyond hope. The same might be said of those voting for politicians. They too are largely a fake, a creation of: their PR; spin; and their media aids.

The Future 

How long before we have avatar political leaders. Could they be worse than the existing ones?

 

Maybe some country already has. The North Korean leader has the look. Maybe he will live forever, as an avatar?