Monday, January 26, 2015

A Prince Among Men.

It is a well known fact among people who live under internet bridges that the Great Southern Land or Australia was discovered by Captain James Cook whilst looking for the remote down the back of the South Pacific Ocean. While carefully sailing his boat onto rocks near the current site of Sydney, Cook noticed that the rocks were connected to a larger mass of land which he had not noticed before.
Writing in his diary Cook noted "Hit a large land mass today, I think the helmsman was having one of his turns. he keeps shouting at someone called Mr. Turniphead. My uncle had a cat called Turnip. Have given orders for the Merchants and Providor "Riddled" persons to be keel hauled if they come around again. I wonder what happened to that cat?"
Aside from the slur upon the good offices of "Riddled Time Travelling  Merchants to the Discerning", the interesting fact is that Cook pays more attention to a cat than he does to the inhabitants of the Great Southern Land who were probably having a laugh at the Pommies stuck on the rocks. Thus was the stage set for Australia's  development.
This upward trending in an on going progressionary go forward manner has resulted in the current government who could loosely and possibly unkindly be described as "off the twig" in Australian parlance with its 300 ways of describing the effects of too much heat on the human mind.
The head banana in Australia is Tony Abbott (a name that has given Australian parlance 301 ways to describe the effects of too much heat on the human mind) and he has taken the obligatory step for a conservative government in these Great Southern Oceans of re-instating outdated methods of enforcing feudalism such as "Work Longer For Less Pay" laws and "We'll Spy On Who We Want To" laws and the very popular "Fuck Off If You Don't Like It" laws.
Similarly he has re-instated the Honours System.
This fabulous relic of colonial exploitation and repression gives the Gubblement of the day the power to hand out fancy badges and funny titles to whomsoever they wish to give them to and the rest of us peons can continue to kick a can along the road.
"Oh ho" people will say "the good burgers of the antipodes will not stand for this. They are very keen on egalitarianism and other eagles down there."
 Well, no. Most people saw the Honours system as a bit of a laugh a bit of a joke and now and then someone who had actually done something good managed to sneak in.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Abbott has managed to bugger that up with one of his appointments to the position of Knight of Australia. He has given this to the husband of the current Queen of England Prince Phillip Mountbatten of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. That's the Athens, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburgs
Now people are at first bemused by making the husband of the reigning Queen a knight since in the wacky way of such things that is a demotion. But then there is that "Who the fuck is that guy, anyway?" And that is where it gets sticky since the Prince is probably most well known for a looong series of racist or sexist statement he has made in the past. Quite the idiot.
Which is all by way of saying that Mr. Abbott is displaying the effects of too much heat on the human mind. In the words of a highly influential member of the twitterarti (me) Abbott has set the controls for the heart of the sun.
Which, while it bodes ill for the Great Southern Land, might be quite funny for the rest of us if we did not a similar set of loons in charge of our country.
Anyway the World Cup of Cricket will be in Strailya and New Zild  shortly so then we won't to worry about things too much  unless Abbott bites someone (probably a brown person) and orders the Aussie team to be crucified while our Dear Leader gushes to the Indian Prime Minister that he likes curry.   

Saturday, January 24, 2015

When Prophecy Fails: Maximum Acceleration edition

In 1952 there only existed a single chart showing PROGRESS as an exponential curve, thereby proving that estimates of future progress based on linear extrapolation of past or present trends would be wild underestimates. Decades passed before the second chart came along... then a third... and then appeals to the Argumentum ad Exponentio came faster and faster. Even the rate of increase increased after the invention of the Singularity.*

Extrapolating the exponential growth shows that by 2020 the Argumentum ad Exponentio will be so common as to displace all other communication and the entirety of human culture will take the form of hand-drawn diagrams of exponential growth.

Knowing that one person has turned into a penguin, an exponential curve leads directly to the prediction that the same fate will soon happen to everyone.
The term for this rapidly-impending moment is of course "the Pingularity".

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When you're a dairy farmer, everything looks like a river of poop.

The highly informed readers of "Riddled" are, of course, aware of the seasonal distress that is afflicting New Zild at the moment. Other cultures with experience of these climatic extremes might call this "summer".
New Zilinders, however, take a more nuanced view of the higher temperatures and longer sunshine hours:
City and some rural people explain slowly and carefully that this is due to climate change because, look, the climate has changed. We used to have summer from December to February and while it got hot and we had droughts sometimes it wasn't every fecking year like it is now from January to April.
Farming people say "Lawks a mercy, we have run out of water. We need more water, more cows and less blimmin' government regulations holding down the backbone of the economy which is us by the way. Also this is not a handout we are asking for just unfettered access to water"
Power companies say "Lawks a mercy, we are running out of water, we need more water and less regulation and no taxes because look we are the backbone of the economy. Also get a job losers".
The government says "Lawks a mercy, we are running out of water and need to reduce house prices in Auckland. To do this, we must change a few minor parts of the Resource Management Act and give ALL THE WATER to farmers and power companies. Also, it sucks to be you, in our opinion."
Thus, by careful consideration of the issues which surround the backbone of the New Zild economy and by listening carefully to all stakeholders in the issue on an ongoing basis in a going forward momentum situation NZ decides to give ALL THE WATER to business people.
 Who could have foreseen this outcome?
 Brave new Zild Prime Minister John Key meanwhile, bravely goes to see The UK Prime Minister , at Chequers, where he bravely tells David Cameron that "Where Britain goes, so we goes to the- that place - we'll go too, not me though" And the NZ media soberly reports it as "Kiwis join anti-Islamic coalition" bless them. They have since retracted that and renamed it the "Anti-Islamic Crusade". Because the rugby team Canterbury Crusaders have...LOOK A SQUIRREL!!

Parallelogram for Mr D'Souza!

AN INTERESTING PARALLEL: The bottom-feeding parchment worm Chaetopterus variopedatus exudes a film of mucus to trap food; Dinesh D’Souza exudes films from his tuchus to grift money.

Left: Pigbutt Worm Chaetopterus pugaporcinus

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A million memories in the trees and sands, oh no How can I ever let them go?

After a marathon meeting in the Wigglesworth Lounge of the Old Entomologist, dominated by robust debate, consumption of Christmas Ale and flinging of crockery, the Riddled Amateur Dramatic Society agreed that the first production of 2015 will be an adaptation of "Shakespeare's Memory", the last work by Jorge Luis Borges.

Tigris noted that in the original text, the narrator (Hermann Sörgel) presents himself as an unassuming Shakespearean scholar. Also his account of being overlaid with a second memory makes no mention of a journey to Mars, let alone joining the Martian Resistance movement and finally fulfilling their objectives (though only after betraying them to the authorities), as is depicted in the script outline tabled by Another Kiwi. Also too she was skeptical whether Arnold Schwartzenegger would be available to play Sörgel.

AK suggested that Sörgel was just very modest about his accomplishments. He is known to have devoted his career to the idea of reclaiming vast areas of seabed for agriculture and habitation by draining the Mediterranean, Deep beneath the autumn lake, where only echoes penetrate; which the Borges story does not mention either.

Smut Clyde complained about leakage of lyrics from the Prog-Rock channel and asked about the long-promised flux shielding for the cryotanks.
Swearing Bob raised the issue of feckin' intellectual feckin' property and copyright gobshite.

AK reminded the meeting that the genre of "Secondary acquired memory sets" really began with J.B.S. Haldane's last, uncompleted novel, making Borges just a Johnny-come-lately plagiarist with no cause for complaint.

Smut Clyde took issue with the harsh term 'plagiarist', and opined that the thematic duplication was more likely a manifestation of the Morphogenetic Field -- a non-causal, unlocalised organising principle, which allows one person's actions to carve new ruts in Reality that steer other individuals to unwittingly repeat the same actions, Riding inter-city trains, dressed in European grey, riding out to Echo Beach.

Tigris inquired about progress with retraining the 'Replicating Shakespeare' team of monkey typists to work in the style of Haldane, in order to provide the unwritten concluding chapters of 'The Man with Two Memories'.
AK vouchsafed his optimistic assessment that a simian replacement for the missing chapters was not far away, and that he "would not be at all surprised" if it proved to involve underground drilling machinery at the Martian colony. Greenish Hugh countered that progress had been slow because the monkeys lacked motivation and could not be cajoled out of a negative attitude of "it's no use" and "what's the point?" and "why bother trying?" In retrospect he conceded that it might have been a mistake to hire the workforce from Seligman's Learned Helplessness experiments.

Evangeline van Holsterin visited the table to replenish the plenished glasses and to disentangle Space-Time Eddie from the overhead light fitting. She observed (to ensuing hilarity) that despite assistance from an infinite team of monkey butlers over a considerable passage of time, the Riddled directors were no closer to attaining good taste or colour coordination in their clothing.

Smut Clyde proposed that the monkey typists should begin with a simpler task to encourage them and 'ease them into the zone'. He tabled a 1928 passage from J.B.S. Haldane, dramatising the scale dependence of the effect of air resistance; and a 1931 passage in which H. G. Wells independently came up with the identical way of illustrating the point:
We know that the similarity of phrasing was unintentional because Wells' publishers never retracted The Science of Life for plagiarism... so it must be the Morphogenetic Field again. The double occurrence having deepened the ruts in reality, the ease with which words will fall again into the same combination borders on inevitability.

A motion that "We must not allow a mineshaft gap" was passed with acclamation, and the meeting was adjourned sine die, Somehow we drifted off too far, communicate like distant stars.
1976 review:

This is my favourite J. B.S. Haldane story.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This ain't the Garden of Eden:
Wrong on more levels than Amway

"Any progress on the new Paleo Diet book?" asked tigris.

I frowned at the Riddled typewriter, which has never worked properly since the time that Mrs Spat got it into her little furry head that there was a haddock concealed somewhere in the mechanism. "Slowly," I admitted. "I'm having to rely on imagination... the Book of Genesis is not forthcoming about the details of prelapsarian cuisine."

"They were squeezed out, no doubt, to make more room for smiting and begatting," said tigris. "But we know that apples are off the menu."

"Perhaps 'Paleo' is not the aptest term for a time only 6000 years ago," I said, "How about 'The Garden-of-Eden Diet'? Right now I'm writing a historical Appendix about Counter-reformation attempts to revive Adamic cuisine."

"I do not rate for the Diet of Worms," said Another Kiwi.
I do not remember whose idea it was to mash up the unchecked cave-bear fantasies of the Paleo Diet crew with Old Testamenty preacherman creationism. The topic arose after several pints of Spargelpony Asparagus Ale, and unconsciousness intervened before it could be explored at length. Imagine our shock, however, to find our inspiration has been pre-stolen by Ben Carson, US loon and grifter (whose portfolio of crazy includes Presidential aspirations) to tout multilevel-marketted dietary supplements!
The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel. And that fuel was the right kind of healthy food. You know we live in a society that is very sophisticated, and sometimes we’re not able to achieve the original diet. And we have to alter our diet to fit our lifestyle. Many of the natural things are not included in our diet. Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health.
Supple-ment caused by ointment
(one shilling the box)
It turns out that for the purposes of searching the Intertuba, the Great Gazoogle recognises 'MLM' and 'scam' as synonymous.

The instigator of Mannatech was not the first person to notice the excellent fit between the psychology of MLM -- the reliance on credulity, authority-worship and obedience to keep the newest recruits handing over their earnings to higher tiers in the hierarchy -- and that of conservative politics and televangelist grifting. Nor will he be the last. Still, he gets full marks for his success in harnessing religion to suppress any vestigial skepticism among the rubes. By the way, dibs on the term "Ziggurat Scheme".

The result is a circle of True Believers who see the promotion and consumption of Mannatech products as not just an income stream, but a sacred duty and proof of piety, while anything discrediting the company must be the work of demonic forces waging spiritual warfare. The outsourcing opportunities of the MLM business model has allowed the operators to route their entertainingly outrageous claims for the benefits of Mannatech through these lower echelons, in the hope of plausible deniability.

Outside that circle, Mannatech has received a less favourable press. So in public, Carson denies ever endorsing Mannatech, and who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes? His spokesman and disgraced wordpimp reckons that on the numerous occasions when Carson addressed company meetings about their magic medicines, it was on a purely professional basis in which he remained professionally ignorant of the identity of his client for the night.

We know about this because some other aspirant to the Republican 2016 candidacy sent out an oppo-dump through a National Review Online fuckpuppet. Implying that someone regards Carson as a serious rival. This does not bode well for the party.
Must credit Oglaf!

Afterthought: I found myself trying to distinguish sincere religious stupidity from cynically self-seeking religious stupidity. Caster (founder and main beneficiary of Mannatech) is clearly of the latter camp; his first two MLM scams were purely secular, but went tits-up amid recriminations and lawyerly scrutiny, before he realised the crucial role of cross-waving Anglosaxon Aramaic-attitude Godtalk in persuading the suckers to overlook the fraudulent promises and made-up bullshit (indeed, to embrace them as a test of faith).

But for Carson and all the lower echelons, sincerity and cynicism go together... there's nothing like the conviction that God wants you to be rich, to help rationalise being part of the con-job. Everyone in Mannatech thinks that other people are the suckers, and everyone in Mannatech except Caster thinks that God wants it that way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Not relevant to my interests

The life of a Repo man colour-linguistics researcher is always intense.