Random Thoughts

We all share the concept of rooms. I suspect it's common and abstract enough to span cultures and millennia of history.


The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one's eyes.)
--Wittgenstein

Rooms are so common that at first it seems silly to even talk about rooms as an abstract concept. Yet, the simple obvious things are often important. Simple human things are often also quite difficult for computers and artificial intelligence.
During the short time that Roy Thomas took over as writer of the Fantastic Four from Stan Lee, the original writer, it got a lot better.  I know, I know, that is blasphemy.(1) There is a reason Stan Lee gets a cameo in every movie about every Marvel superhero - he co-created them all, he made them all famous. He is a bigger legend than the guys behind Batman or Superman, his economic impact rivals the GDP of many small nations.

Still, when is the last time you read a good Stan Lee comic? Eventually, people are just phoning it in. And that had happened on the Fantastic Four by 1972.
There was an old man and a second, older man who was considerably older than the old man; they were visiting a very old man.  The afternoon passed without them saying a word.  As the sun was low already, the old man said slowly: “I didn’t expect that I would come to think like this.”

The older man slowly took a deeper breath, just barely audible to the other two old men, looked further into the distance and replied: “Yes.”

If you subscribe to New Scientist, you can read an excerpt of "Science Left Behind" by their editors, drawn from the book and dealing with some of the more nonsensical ways progressives get catered to by politicians who are happy to check science, reason and data at the door if it will get out some votes; in this case by replacing plastic utensils in the Congressional cafeteria with corn-based ones that melted in soup and couldn't cut anything.
Two weeks ago I got a call inviting me to attend one of the inauguration balls for President Obama. But it wasn't to be held in Washington, D.C. it was in Texas.

Texas? you might think, but aren't Democrats irrelevant in Texas, almost as irrelevant as Republicans are in California?
I am changing my nickname on a few sites I visit - ones where a nickname is useful - to "allhadronic". The name makes reference to the hadronic final state of certain particle decays. Hadron comes from ancient greek and means "strong", and indeed the strong force is the one responsible for the binding of quarks and gluons inside protons, neutrons, and other unstable particles, collectively also called hadrons.
Much has been made of recent efforts to address the gun control issue, in the wake of the shootings of school children in Newtown, Ct.  While the media plays up the controversy, and various pundits go through the motions of bringing various pro/anti gun advocates on their programs, we find that the entire process is an elaborate illusion designed to make people believe that something serious is afoot.

Of course, that's the beauty of illusions.  You can imagine that people are actually serious, while you miss the sleight of hand that ensures that nothing actually gets done.
Any time the subject of taxes comes up with respect to economics we are invariably treated to examples such as the following, to illustrate how government revenue has an effect on the economy.  Of course, this is all smoke and mirrors nonsense, but nevertheless it seems plausible enough so that many people don't consider the absurdity of these examples.

In the first instance, we are treated to the supposition of what society would be like without taxation.
While one can't reasonably assume all corporations are corrupt, it is little wonder why so many people are adopting a much more cynical attitude.  

HSBC got their hand slapped.  Of course, none of those responsible were charged with anything.
http://www.salon.com/2012/12/11/hsbc_to_pay_1_9bn_to_settle_money_laundering_scandal/

AIG ex-CEO manages to reflect its disdain for tax payers (1).
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/washingtons-jaw-drops-at-possibility-of-aig-lawsuit-85924.html

I'm digging around for posts people have written on what to say/what not to say to autistic people and their family members for an episode Kathleen and I are working on for The Blogger Ladies (on The Autism Channel available on Roku) and I ran across a question by the mother of two autist