Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Surprise!
Many of you were no doubt expecting one of those thoughtful, articulate, content heavy and well organized columns that CSTMS puts up on Wednesday. Well neener, neener, neener, I got Wednesdays now.
I don't know what these are going to be yet. When I first started doing OTs, I decided to eschew current events because:
West Coast -- anything really cool will be covered by the time I hear of it
Frequent camping, travel, and road trips -- I need to write and queue up well in advance.
That led to the evolving formats of my Monday and Sunday posts, but one of those is enough, I think. Among other things, I've never been a big fan of structure and formalism. It is nice, useful and efficient to have and use templates but it is still self-imposed regimentation.
I considered "WTF Wednesdays", covering some of the week's multitudinous WTF events, but, as above, travel and such, plus structure. Also maybe Wonton Wednesdays for discussing noodles and such, but that's still structure and alliteration is overrated anyway, so I decided to go free form, damn, there it is again. Alliteration sneaks into my work and brain even when I avidly try to actively avoid alliteration. I also contemplated just doing something on the evolution of my frame of reference to be titled Inside the Asylum just to ring a change on what has gone before, but realized that I don't have decades in which to do and redo it.
Ok, before I bore you further, I should take cognizance of the fact that it is morning, at least here in California, and, as an old school Californian, I give you:
OK, everybody awake yet?
Before I veer off on some date related tangent, I thought that I'd toss out a tiny bit of food for thought, something to consider when you have nothing better to do, and something that might lead to a new idle time pastime.
Once there was a proliferation of purported self help books on vocabulary building. Usually, when all was said and done they consisted of a daily word of the day, learn it and use 3 times in ordinary conversation, often given for xmas or back to school presents, and for the rest of the day everybody in town struggled to work ennui or fellatio or somesuch into their conversations. The idea was to appear erudite and profound and thereby enhance your employability and earnings potential, or at least get your GED. There was, nonetheless, the kernal of a good idea hidden in this phenomena, obscured by the seeming random choice of words, learning things by learning words.
Were I to toss out a list of words and phrases from almost any art or discipline, after some number of words, most folks could probably eventually identify the discipline or family of disciplines from which they come. For example, asset, deferred asset, liability, balance sheet, earnings, indirect cost, period cost, debit, credit, wasting asset, cost-of-sales, depreciation, SAS, FASB, LIFO, mark-to-market, etc. would eventually lead most folks to say "accounting". Similarly, force, mass, acceleration, gravity, electrons, photons, hadrons, quarks, quanta, centrepital force, momentum, torque, planck's constant, Newton's laws, relativity and such leads us to "physics". There is, I would like to suggest, something of a perverse obverse. If one learns the full, comprehensive, detailed meaning of every term and concept in a discipline, one will understand and know that discipline.
Think about how you learn and how knowledge evolves. At some young point you discern that the red apple, red ball, red triangle, red dress and red lollipop all have one thing in common, and that common thing must be what red means. If you go down one road you eventually learn about hue, tint, value, saturation, shade, tone, warm and cool colors, complementary colors and all that. Another road leads to a chunk of the electro magnetic spectrum between 625 and 740 nanometers in the frequency range of 400 to 480 terahertz, and even further that it is the color corresponding to radiation from a certain temperature black body, or the color of steel heated to somewhere in the range of around 550 to 900 degrees centigrade. Each drib of knowledge about "red" is also a drib or knowledge about reality.
As we discovered and learned the world, we formulated ideas and concepts with which to understand, analyze and communicate it. We used words to stand for those ideas and concepts. Myself and some of my childhood friends were, in our early teens, sent to sit in a room for an hour a day where we were told things like "force is mass times acceleration". That's not what force is, everybody grokked force, it is pulling and pushing and lifting and that, f=ma tells us how it is computed or measured, and how it relate to acceleration, oh year, like put the pedal all the way down, and mass, a bit less clear, not weight but what makes things weigh. Really gravity is a force and that is why stuff weighs, things way out in space don't weigh anything because no gravity. Later you learn how and why that is wrong, but it is a good start. Velocity is distance divided by time, and velocity is also acceleration times time and you tie a bunch of stuff together. But wait, isn't that speed? Ah, with a vector, it has a direction, oh oh, here comes momentum, conservation thereof and Newton's laws, and angular momentum to boot. Later, calculus really ties that group together. We were told and shown for there were demonstrations and experiments. As one learned more and more, it took two forms, new terms, ideas or concepts, and refinements and broader and deeper understanding of the ones already learned. Looking back, what it was, was vocabulary. We were learning the language of physics, especially if you treat equations as vocabulary, which you might as well do since most have names. Shit like acceleration, mass, torque and all that have to be grokked independently of learning the vocabulary, though it helps.
Arguably, if you have the fullest possible understanding of each and every term in the physics vocabulary, you will know physics. Chemistry? Same same. An idea that may or may not be worth worth exploring, if nothing more. I mean, like, what is a Red Shift? YOu could look it up, and a deep dive into that subject might (or might not) reveal a great deal. I guarantee that time dilation or frame dragging will take you on a ride.
We actually have a somewhat easy time of this because we speak English:
Meanwhile, what is the relationship between the "Coriolis Force" and the L.A. Dodgers' sweep of the Yankees in the '63 world series? Be specific.
OK, today is a somewhat odd day for me to start a new series. This is a special day in Mexico, moreso in some parts than in others. The U.S. started a war with Mexico in order to steal some territory. The US army was a hodge podge of draftees, those enlisted and or conned into it, those bribed to take the place of draftees, and many who were outright shanghied. Many were citizens, many weren't, it didn't matter. The US troops often behaved abominably, raping (including nuns) and pillaging (including missions, monestaries, and convents). Some of the soldiery, largely non-citizen immigrants of Irish descent, decided that they were clearly on the wrong side and defected to go fight for Mexico. They were El Batallon de San Patricio and did a bang up job of fighting being largely the source of the toughest battles the US forces faced. US Grant claimed that Churubusco was the severest battle in "the Valley of Mexico", a battle the US won. In the aftermath of that battle, the San Patricios who didn't die in the battle, minus a few who escaped, were hung as traitors by the US Army in a mass hanging on September 12. On September 12 Mexico celebarates and honors Los San Patricios, in many places with bagpipes no less. As an anti-imperialist old school California of predominantly Irish descent, I do too.
There is a really cool album by Ry Cooder and the Chieftans with folks from one or more bandas titled San Patricio but which appears to be largely blocked on You Tube in the US. However, for some reason the following track isn't blocked.
This is the Mexican Banda de gaitas del Batallon de San Patricio out of Churubusco, who celebrate on September 12, August 20 (Battle of Churrubusco), St. Pat's Day, and every Sunday at the rebuilt Convent of Churubusco.
And, for grins:
Picture is public domain: By John Patrick O'Riley (Brevet Major) - The Flag Book of the United States by Whitney Smith; Page 272 ("Other American Flags") March 1976; William Morrow & Co; Edition: Revised; ISBN-10: 0688029779; ISBN-13: 978-0688029777 https://www.amazon.com/Flag-Book-United-States/dp/0688029779This W3C-unspecified vector image was created with Inkscape., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17322346
So there we go compadres. The thread is open and the floor is yours. Whazzup?