Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts

Saturday, January 09, 2021

The road you didn't take because of a lie

I thought of writing about Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken because many (most?) people misinterpret it.  Well, Today I Found Out covered the topic so well, there's no sense in my writing about the poem's meaning.  Please enjoy their video:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference..

Friday, December 25, 2020

Do And Die, not Do or Die - common misquote

The poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson called The Charge of the Light Brigade is often misquoted.  Lines 14 and 15 are commonly verbalize as "Ours is not to ask why, but to do or die", or something similar.  The key here is that a choice is present; "do or die".  In other words, we follow our orders or be will held accountable.  Or perhaps, do or die trying.

However, within the actual poem (below), such a choice never is present.  The lines are actually "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die".  The soldiers of the poem never question their order, even though the order is clearly erroneous.  For these soldiers, these six hundred brigaders, a choice is never even in their thoughts.  They would ride headlong into cannon fire, being cut to pieces, while knowing there was no hope of success nor life afterwards.  

When one applies this poem to one's own situation, the phrase "do and die" is far more powerful, potent and critical.  No choice is available, even though the required action surely leads to failure.  In this regard, one might be unintentionally critiquing their orders as folly.

Of course, the poem is poetic. Though the poem does mention some survivors, it romanticizes the sacrifice of the brigade on the whole.  In reality, many of the soldiers survived.  Further, history has characterised the order to charge as a misunderstanding or miscommunication.  However, the order being a mistake of some sort is not undermined by the fact that some brigaders survived.  The Light Brigade was decimated in their charge of the cannons, and that decimation was obviously inevitable. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade

                    I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                    II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                  III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

                   IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
   All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
   Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
   Not the six hundred.

                    V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.

                   VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
   Noble six hundred!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Today I just heard the phase "every mushroom cloud has a silver lining" twice from difference sources

Today I just heard the phase "every mushroom cloud has a silver lining" twice from two difference channels on Youtube in different contexts, though both referring to atmospheric nuclear explosions.  One source (11/23/20) was ranting about the ill effects of religious extremism, while the other was talking about how wine vintages from before 1945 cannot be faked today due to worldwide radiation contamination from all the nuclear explosions from WWII and the Cold War (11/22/20). It's a strange phrase to heard twice in one day.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Things that aren't happening right now

COVID-19
There's a lot of things not happening right now due to covid-time. For me, I've not seen family in a year.  However, it seems there's many who are actually planning gatherings for Thanksgiving.  I hope many reconsider, especially in light of the recent surge in both COVID-SARS-2 cases and related hospitalizations.

Allie and I were lucky to be able to visit Sydney, Australia late last year.  Even still, the Australian fires, which kicked off this crappy year in late 2019 and early 2020, were already starting to consume large regions.  The fires got much worse after we returned home from our vacation.

Allie did get a chance to visit family in Asia in February.  She was very lucky to get back home before things got covid-crazy.  Since then, we've been keeping mostly to ourselves.  Multiple plans to spend time with friends and family were cancelled.  We have no plan to meet other people until covid-time is over.  

That's not to say we've been hiding indoors as shut-ins.  Face masks and copious amounts of the appropriate hand sanitizer are always ready for our visits to the store and other necessary locations.  I've also been working from home almost 100% of the time, only going into the office (after site approval) a couple of times to access specific stuff on my work desktop computer or paperwork at my desk.

I am weary of the need to keep vigilant against the nasty virus.  However, out of love for my neighbor (and of course, family members), my resolve is not weakened.  


Month Event
January Australia fires
February Africa locust plague begins
March COVID-SARS-2 explodes
April Relatively minor events
May George Floyd's horrific murder
June Worldwide protests about George Floyd's murder
July Multiple natural disasters in Asia
AugustBeirut explosion
September Western US fires
October Terror attacks in France
November Massive COVID-SARS-2 resurgence
December Arecibo Observatory collapse
January 2021 Riot on Capitol Hill

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Three Theys of Interstellar

Interstellar movie
I'm not going to explain everything about Interstellar. I'm just going to jump right into the discussion.  Please watch the movie Interstellar, if you haven't.  Or, if you haven't seen the movie in awhile, watch it again.  Here's my "film theory" about Interstellar's supposed Bootstrap Paradox, "The Three Theys of Interstellar".

The third "they"

The movie Interstellar runs deep with current known science and also notions of time (in a manner that is not well-enough understood by science).  In the movie, there are several discussions that refer to "they" as the architects (my word) of the events within the movie.  "They" is used to refer to the creators of the wormhole, the same wormhole that brings humans to a distance galaxy to find habitable worlds.  "They" is also used to describe the creators of the tesseract within Gargantua Black Hole into which Cooper falls.  There's actually a third "they" used by Brand (daughter of Professor Brand) where she unknowingly shakes Cooper's hand while she's in the wormhole and while the tesseract collapses around Cooper.  She mistakenly refers to Cooper as "them".

The second "they"


While in the tesseract, Cooper hypothesizes (or guesses) that "they" are future descents of humans.  When viewing the movie's narrative superficially, "they" are the ones who set everything up to allow colonization of distance worlds, and also to allow Cooper to survive within the Black Hole long enough to send back the necessary data  to solve Professor Brand's equations. The movie does not provide any further explanation, but does hint that Cooper's guess is not 100% accurate.  This hint comes when he becomes third "they" during the aforementioned handshake with Brand.  Also, Tars specifically calls the creators of the tesseract by the moniker "Bulk Beings".  

Cooper's explanation for "they" is flawed.  If "they" are our descents and also the creators of the wormhole, this forms a "Bootstrap Paradox". If the wormhole didn't exist, we'd have no ability to save humanity in order to have our descents create the wormhole.

Getting stuck on this Bootstrap Paradox assumes this movie presents the final and accurate explanation for "they" or the "Bulk Beings'.  However, if the creators of the wormhole are different from the Bulk Beings (creators of the tesseract), the paradox evaporates.

The first "they"

Cooper was right in his guess that we were solving our own problems.  We got our selves to the wormhole.  We investigated several habitable worlds on the other side.  Cooper himself fell into the Black Hole and interacted with Murph.  However, what's the moment that prevents the paradox and allows Bulk Beings to exist?  This moment is when Brand colonizes Edmond's Planet.  Her colony saved the human species, but not humans on Earth.  Her colony's eventual descents (the Bulk Beings) had to finish the job.  They had to enable the survival of humans on Earth.  They did so by creating the tesseract for Cooper inside of Gargantua.

So, who are the creators of the wormhole that kicked off human survival?  Who are the first "they" of Interstellar?  My best guess is that "they" are simply an interested party who provided us with a way to save ourselves, if we are ready to be saved.  The first "they" of Interstellar are different non-human related beings who were possibly even more advanced than the Bulk Beings.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Baseball obscure stat

Baseball obscure stat:  In modern era of Major League Baseball, no game has ever had an unassisted triple play in either the 3rd or 8th innings.



Friday, August 28, 2020

Charities suck and you suck for supporting them?

Presentations that provide misinformation or misrepresentations regarding charities are common.  Awhile back I ran into this seemingly well-meaning Youtube video  (below)  that attempts to expose the dirty underbelly of charities.  Normally, I don't promote content I see as wildly or widely off-base.  However, in this case, I feel it's important to see the earnest and confidence of the presentation and still be able to peer through the facade to come face-to-face with the video's deep flaws.

I've worked with funding of charities in the past.  After viewing this video, something just feels off about its presentation.  It's as though Thought2 (pronounce "42") is trying to promote an agenda of lowkey fearmongering rather than provide accurate information.  

Yes, administrative costs exist and are typically a large amount of where the donations are used in a well-run organization.  However, this video makes it sound like there are dozens if not hundreds of people on charity payrolls.  The truth is that most locally managed charities are scraping by with just a few people, who are often volunteers, in makeshift or hand-me-down office spaces.  

Yes, some charities are short-sighted in their march to achieve artificially important goals.  However, the video's example of water pumps drastically misses the point: most communities that were helped do have working water pumps, even if many do not.  

The video's example regarding clothes and electronic donations is also far off the mark.  As stated by another Youtube commenter (Tripe): 

"Blaming the entire collapse of the Kenyan textile market on imports isn't reality. He does state "domestic market" at one point, but that isn't the data he presents.  He blames charity for the loss of 500000 jobs, but those people were serving the entire industry, not only the domestic market. The same issues that lead to the collapse of exports were still affecting the domestic market as well.  They've had loads of problems including tariffs, labor prices, port prices, high energy costs, stiff competition from Asian countries, corruption, outdated machinery, credit problems, trade reforms and more. I think it would be more accurate to say imports are one of the factors that lead to the downfall of the domestic textile market and are currently retarding the resurgence of the domestic textile market in Kenya, (if they have the leadership for such a resurgence),  not the main cause of the collapse and the loss of 500000 jobs."

Also, I found the video's focus on Africa-support charities produces a dramatically skewed story.  IRL, many charities are for local benefit, so don't have same economic effects about which this video speaks.   Thoughty2 seems to be heavily focused on big-picture and grand-gesture charities.  The charity rating services that are mentioned in the video are heavily focused on these types of charities too.  This video makes no mention of rape crisis centers, suicide hotlines, or local food banks.

Oh, United Way also locally audits the charities that they support using similar criteria as the organization that this video promotes.  United Way audits charities within each community separately.  This means that even national organizations are audited at a local level to justify their funding in that area.  The problem with organizations that publish charities ratings is that the numbers are often misleading, with too much emphasis placed on making "administrative costs" out to be a bad thing.  Due to the nature of some charities and the location of the people they help, costs are naturally higher for some charities over others. United Way funds charities without making the mistake of assuming administrative costs are somehow bad just because.

I'm not sure if this video is well-intended, or if it intentionally misleads.  Either way, in my opinion, this video is completely unreliable for the topic of charities and should not be used as a reference in discussions regarding charities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A missed call in a Baseball game that didn't matter (but might've if things where different)

Some missed calls in Major League Baseball will live in infamy forever.  Other missed calls are nearly forgotten.  I recently ran into a video by SB Nation where a nearly forgotten missed call is discussed.  Pivetta is the pitcher and Barnes is the batter.

Instead of me retyping the discussion, just watch the video here.




It's hard to judge the accuracy of the statement about the play without seeing the play.  So, check out the play here.



After watching the replay, it's clear the Home Plate Umpire did call the runner out as a result of the fielding of the ball, and not due to any action by the runner himself.  This means the Umpire stopped play while the ball should've technically remained in play.  Does it really matter?

Though the fielding of the ball was incorrectly ruled a catch by the Home Ump, it's the pitcher who fielded the ball.  The pitcher's next action would've been to throw the runner out at First, which should've been the real end of the play.  Now, there's a slight chance the throw to First would've been screwed up, so that is why the play shouldn't have been stopped.  However, most probably the result of letting the play continue vs ending the play with a catch call wouldn't have changed the outcome of the play in this case.  The runner would still be out and the inning would still have be ended.  Now, if other base runners where present, then this missed call would've been more consequential because this bad call would've stopped base running and ended the inning.  At that point, maybe this bad call would've been more memorable.  But even in this case, it's the last out of the inning.  The batter would've still likely have been thrown out at First.  The end of the inning would've still happened right then and there.  Austin Barnes wasn't robbed a base hit by the bad call.

There is one chance of Barnes getting on base in this scenario if it weren't for the bad call.  Had the Ump not ruled the catch and ended play, the pitcher may have thought he had a proper catch and failed to throw the ball to First, giving Barnes a chance to make it safely to First.  However, it can be argued that this would've been an Error by Pivette, still not a base hit for Barnes.