Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Does it count?

Is measurement, numbers, taking over our lives?

The humanist in me is tickled that the design of, say, sailboats, is done using mathematics.

Surely university scholars are safe? 
*statistical analysis of texts to find word patterns to help identify anonymous authors
*a database that ranks scholars by the number of times their article has been cited

My physician likes to describe the nuances of his patients symptoms on his reports, he told me, but he added that his boss wants him using specific diagnosis codes ---numbers--- instead. So much for nuance. Easier for billing, perhaps, easier for epidemiology perhaps, but less human. 

I stopped going to a confidential support group in part because of the new rule that everyone had to sign in. So much for confidentiality. I'm told that this decision was made because the institution gets its funding based on ----the number of people who attend. In some support groups, that will scare people away. 

Is it a "sign" of the "times" that even the romantic places of libraries often now use statistical "tests of collection strength"? 
(One joke: if a math book is a book about math, is a library book a book about libraries? Just asking)

Then there's the danger of computers doing financial trading ---flash trading--- the owning of a stock for seconds, literally less than a minute, to make a profit. 

What happened to the craftsman who designed the boat by how he felt, the librarian who bought the books that felt right, buying stocks because you feel they will go up? 

What are we losing? 
Are we becoming numb-er? (That joke is from the delightfully thoughtful book Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos, but all the other jokes, such as they are, are mine. The context in which I am using his joke is also different: the trends I  describe are not his focus in that book and, in any case,  have advanced since his book. Hopefully that does not "mean" that we are numb-er to them). 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Star Trek

A character study, Cold War story, racism, all in a compelling drama? An epsiode of the original Star Trek called "Balance of Terror" did that seamlessly and enjoyably.

I'm not a Star Trek nut, I'm not even that fond of TV, but that episode of that show was compelling.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump vs Constitution

Hi all,

Donald Trump is dangerous, please sign the change dot org petition now, asking the Electoral College to change its vote at its December 19th meeting.

Do you think Trump is emotionally stable? Really?
Do you believe that climate change is a hoax? Land based hurricane, melting glaciers, and all?
Do you believe that journalists should be sued for stories that displease a politician?

I did not want this blog to be political, but I am making an exception, because Donald J. Trump is so dangerous. Even his appointment of alleged white supremacists, denial of climate change and support for changing libel laws to allow journalists to be sued --even these---are not my greatest concern.

I signed the petition because I am concerned that Donald Trump is not emotionally stable.
*remember when he published the politician's phone number?
*he stated on 60 Minutes last night (taped Friday) that many of the people protesting his election are paid by the media to protest and do not actually oppose him. Does he have a grip on reality?
*he has bragged about groping women, yet he threatened to sue as "liars" women who accuse him of doing what he bragged about. Is this someone who is emotionally stable?
*how did he react to petty insults, many of which were true, with 3am tweets? Do you really want him to have the nuclear codes?

Then there is this: he publicly called for the arrest, and perhaps the assasination, of his political opponent. Is that America?

I signed the petition because Trump is emotionally unstable.

More info on his positions and appointments thus far: ACLU dot org and Southern Poverty Law Center (splc dot org). Or even Trump's own website.

Change dot org petition to ask the Electoral College to change its vote at its December 19th to keep the loser of the popular vote from taking office: change dot org.

Friday, November 11, 2016

HEDY! Tuesday November 15th

First the premiere sold out, then the encore performance sold out. Now you have one last chance to see the funny and thoughtful "Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr" on Tuesday, November 15th, at 9:30pm at Theater Row theaters, 42nd btw 9th & 10th.

The time is important, because at telecharge dot com, the show will be listed by date and time rather than by show name, as it is still part of the United Solo festival.

On seeing it again, I was powerfully struck by how the show amusingly highlights the non-amusing issue of women being judged by their looks and the humor of Ms Lamarr using men's stupidity to her advantage.

For less than $25 it is a bargain, and only an hour long.

And there's intrigue: she was Jewish and imprisoned in Austria at the dawn of WWII. And she bested Louis Mayer in negotiations. And did I mention that it is funny?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

May Trump grow

I can only hope that he is more self-reflective, more willing to listen to advice, in office.

My worst fear about Trump isn't his policies ---I often disagree with politicians--- my fear about Trump is his impulsiveness.

May he grow into the responsibility he has been given.