I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 22, 2015 - 4:47 p.m.
I'm getting a late start today as my computer would not boot this morning. When I went to sleep I was afraid that would happen. You know how it has had that weird issue of not booting unless it was plugged into external power and even then it would take time to realize it was plugged in? Well last night while I was using it, it kept thinking it was on battery power When I closed the lid the power light oscillated between on and off instead of staying on. this morning it was off. I played with it for a while and asked for help online. I plugged it back in just to see if that might help. While talking to Warren on the phone it just came on with me doing nothing. I think it's haunted. Either that or there is a crack somewhere in the motherboard and temperature differences sometimes make the connection complete or broken.
I had another day where I did not do much. I have no idea how I spent my day. Finally in the evening I went to Trader Joe's. The place is empty on Saturday nights. Getting home was an adventure. the was not running in Brooklyn this weekend. I took the there. That's not bad, it runs local, but the often ends up doing that on weekends. But on the way home I got the the platform and the next train Time said "Delays." Then it said 14 minutes and went down to 11 minutes. Then it went up to 15 minutes. And then back to "delays." There were announcements that there was a loss of power so the was not running from Brooklyn to Manhattan but not a word o the train the other direction. I decided to walk to the and take that to Atlantic Ave and eee if maybe they were running a from there to New Lots. I got there and the was on the platform. I don't know if it was the one I could have taken from Borough Hall and it got there in less time than the signs said or if it was starting there.
So the train was packed and people were still taking up too multiple seats. One bench had 5 people instead of seven. One guy had his legs spread too far. He got off and a woman took his place and sat squarely between two seats so no one would sit next to her. And this is on a train where many people are standing. Ugh.
I got home so late I didn't make a proper dinner, just bratwurst. I have tons of chicken in the house. I will make some tonight. Maybe I'll get some brown sugar so I can make sweet garlic chicken.
I did make a very proper breakfast, for the first time in age I had the grand slam, French toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Why didn't I make cinnamon French toast? I know, I'm an idiot.
So remember I said I was number early in the week. That's over. And here's the odd thing. I'm actually happy that some things are making me sad. It's better than feeling nothing. They should make me sad.
Wow that was supposed to take up a lot more than a short paragraph.
I've been having trouble writing lately. I don’t know why. I am losing the thread of my arguments between the time I think of them and the time I sit at the computer. OK let's give this one a shot. I posted a link to this column by Nicholas Kristoff Straight Talk for White Men. I said that the evidence is so clear that there is discrimination and to deny it is to deny facts. Fred responded with an excellent point that I was actually thinking about but was trying to not draw attention to. He said,
People's brains are hard wired to draw conclusions about causation from observation of discrete incidents, whether in their own lives (most powerful) or in the retelling. What we scientists call "anecdotal evidence." (The term itself is an inside joke.) The ability to believe statistical proof in your gut probably takes years of day-to-day dealing with data to develop, and people who do live in a different universe from other people (the Two Cultures)I know this goes on because I've read enough studies demonstrating it that to deny it would involve me ignoring facts.
The part I'm not so sure if I agree with is that we learn to accept statistical arguments over anecdotal ones. I have read plenty of scientists ignore facts when they aren’t related to their field of study. They have the training and still don't do it.
But now to make an anecdotal argument. Yes I get the irony. I did not learn to accept evidence from studies over anecdotes from studying science. I love science because I've always in my gut felt that way. I know other people's minds don't work that way but I can't comprehend how people can just consciously reject evidence in favor of their prejudices. I know I have my prejudices. I know that I have all sorts of confirmation biases. When I was waiting for the into the City the other day The outbound and the in both directions came first. My train was the very last one. If feels like that always happens. But I know intellectually it's not true. It's just that those are the events I remember. I considered doing a study and counting the frequency of my train coming first, second, third, fourth, or even later but decided it was pointless. I know what it would show. My train would come first a quarter of the time. It won't come fourth a quarter of the time, you know why? No one says that the four possible trains arriving have to all arrive before there is a repeat. If the fourth train is the one I want sometime I won't be there to observe it as if it were also the first, second, or third, I'll be gone.
That's the way my mind will always work. I have had my notions overthrow many times because of evidence. I often test my notions to see if they are true. In my gut I know I can't trust my gut. But most people don't. It's why so many American's don't accept evolution. It's why so many people still think Obama is a Muslim. During the first Gulf War everyone remembers seeing the Patriot Missiles destroying the Scuds. know how many Scuds were intercepted? None! What we saw was the Patriots exploding in the air like they are designed to do whether or not they come close to their target. But after the facts were published and I tried to tell that to people they'd say, "No I saw it on TV." People will still say "Tax cuts will grow the economy." The fact that the economy grew much faster when we had a top rate of 90% doesn't faze them at all. They know what they know.
And I know that I don't know how to change that. One of the most disheartening things I ever read was that among conservatives the more educated they are the less likely they were to change their minds in response to facts. The opposite was true of liberals. I have wondered if that wasn't because of he difference between the liberal and conservative mind set but rather that the people willing to use facts as their guide become liberals because facts have that well-known liberal bias.
Well that went poorly. But hey it's done and I can post this. I'm not a happy camper.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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