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
-Bertrand Russell

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

May 10, 2013 - 11:24 a.m.

Irrational Numbers

OK time to get started. Well not really. I have to go out soon. I'll pick up again at the coffee bar where I wait for Celebrian. Today has a tight agenda. I'm going to the Botanic Gardens this afternoon. Lena is coming tomorrow and I'll be busy with her for just about 24 hours. I have to finish grading the tests and I have to send out the e-Blast for First Acoustics. Maybe I'll work on creating more time. That sounds like a good use of my resources. I'll win a Nobel Prize if I succeed and that will get girls to like me.

I have been good and I finished grading the pre-calculus take home test. I haven't computed the grades yet but nobody got a 100 and I'm not sure if anyone got a 90. This was a take-home test. What's sad is that there are people that got questions right but I can tell have absolutely no understanding and will not be able to handle the trigonometry when they take calculus. I make the say, "degrees are useless" every day. It's a running joke. When you do calculus you never use degrees. So what to students do? they waste all this time converting things to degrees. The entire thing I've been working to prevent. It's very much like learning to think in a foreign language. You can't be fluent till you do that. And these are like people going to a France to learn French but then only speaking English.

So now I'm in Kos Kaffe having my weekly coffee and chocolate croissant. this week it's cold brewed iced coffee. I love the coffee here. It's exceptional

Now back to my life. I also wrote and printed up both finals. the thing is in light of how they did on the take-home test I might have to reword parts of the pre-calculus final so they can't get the right answer using their calculators and not knowing anything. They knew what was expected but I see I didn't word things precisely enough so that they can feel justified defending what they know is wrong.

I wrote about the one student that didn't follow any of the directions for the take-home test. I discussed him with a colleague who didn't get what bothered me. He just kept asking if he got the right answers, I said the guy was bright but self-destructive. It isn't about what he knows but that he deliberately didn't follow any of the directions that I made explicit and was 56 minutes late handing it in when he was told it would cost him a point for every minute he was late. That's not mentally healthy behavior. You can't get through your life acting like that as I know from my own experience. My colleague didn't get that was my point.

It's allergy season and I finally remembered to buy the generic Zertec. What a difference it makes. Shortly after taking it my nose stopped itching. I love when medicine works. This was an immediate reaction, cause and effect. I still can't be sure that it wasn't a coincidence but of course thats' exactly what the drug is supposed to do. It works by understood mechanisms, and it's passed double blind tests. In other cases it is not so clear because most conditions vary, they get worse but they also get better. I've had lots of pain in my knees. I'm sure it is arthritis. I took it easy for a bit to not aggravate it and it has pretty much gone away. Now imagine I had gotten some quack cure or life style change. I wouldn't but many, perhaps most people, would ascribe the change to the "cure." That's how these things work. Many people would blame it on something "unnatural" in their lives and cut it out. Then when it comes back instead of saying "oh well I guess it wasn't that" they'll say, "I have to cut something else out of my life. I have friends that have done iterations of that many times. When I first got my dermatitis I conjectured it was caused by peanut butter so I stopped eating peanut butter, my staple food. At first it seemed to work but I was just going through one of those periods when the symptoms lessened. They eventually came back as bad as ever and I realized it wasn't the peanut butter. Now it did have an external cause. When I moved out of my house it went away totally. There was something in the house that I was allergic to.

Scientific thinking doesn't come naturally. Pretty much nobody did it till Galileo. Isaac Newton did more to advance the scientific viewpoint than anyone and it still didn't come naturally to him and when it came to alchemy he was no different than a medieval mage. It requires effort to examine cause and effect not just notice coincidences. We'll all fail but we should all to make that the goal. Otherwise all we do is reinforce prejudices.

That's one of the recurring themes of this blog and my life. Nothing bothers me more than people not caring if they are being rational. We've had 400 years of science. It totally transformed the world. It hasn't transformed the way we think.

OK I better get moving. I have to pick up Celebrian in 7 minutes and it takes me that long to post this.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile May 10, 2013
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