Tuesday, October 26, 2021
  More from the point of inflection

The April 76 issue of Computers and Automation includes a POWERFUL article by Joseph Weizenbaum, the author of ELIZA. He got everything right, and saw the dismal consequences.

Weizenbaum had originally wanted to demonstrate the limits of computers. He wanted to prove that computers were just machines. He was truly shocked to find out how ELIZA was seen, and how it affected people....
DOCTOR, as ELIZA playing psychiatrist came to be known, soon became famous around MIT mainly because it was an easy program to demonstrate. Most other programs could not vividly demonstrate the information-processing power of a computer to visitors who did not already have some specialized knowledge, say, of some branch of mathematics. DOCTOR, on the other hand, could be appreciated on some level by anyone. Its power as a demonstration vehicle was further enhanced by the fact that the visitor could actually participate in its operation.
Participation and the use of language were certainly key differences. Before ELIZA, ordinary students punched a pile of cards and submitted them to the Computing Center, which then sent you a printout several days later. No connection with the process. Nearly all instruction in computers and programming started with number theory, the most abstract and least useful part of math. Prime numbers are mental masturbation for math freaks.
The shocks I experienced as DOCTOR became widely known and "played" were due principally to three distinct events.

1. A number of practicing psychiatrists seriously believed the DOCTOR program could grow into a nearly completely automatic form of psychotherapy. I had thought it essential, as a prerequisite to the very possibility that one person might help another learn to cope with his emotional problems, that the helper himself participate in the other's experience of those problems and, in large part by way of his own empathic recognition of them, himself come to understand them. What must a psychiatrist who makes such a suggestion think he is doing while treating a patient, that he can view the simplest mechanical parody of a single interviewing technique as having captured anything of the essence of a human encounter?
This point isn't surprising. Freudians knew they weren't doing anything real. Eysenck had disproved the human value of the process, but the practice continued because it was lucrative.
2. I was startled to see how quickly and how deeply people conversing with DOCTOR became emotionally involved with the computer and how unequivocally they anthropomorphized it. Once my secretary, who had watched me work on the program for many months and therefore surely knew it to be merely a computer program, started conversing with it. After only a few interchanges with it, she asked me to leave the room.
We think computers are private. In 1976 this was more or less true, though ELIZA obviously had a built in logfile generator. Otherwise the transactions couldn't have been written up in articles. The secretary had been typing up those logs, so she knew it wasn't private. The same illusion continues. The vast majority of iPhone users worry about "Russian hackers", and go along with all the "security" needed to block "Russian hackers". The same iPhone users don't notice that Siri is listening all the time. If Siri WASN'T listening all the time, she wouldn't be able to jump in and answer your questions when you say her name.
3. Another widespread, and to me surprising, reaction to the ELIZA program was the spread of a belief that it demonstrated a general solution to the problem of computer understanding of natural language. In my paper, I had tried to say that no general solution to that problem was possible, i.e., that language is understood only in contextual frameworks, that even these can be shared by people to only a limited extent, and that consequently even people are not embodiments of any such general solution. But these conclusions were often ignored.
Deeply correct, and AI still proves it all the time. NSA and Google have been working hard on this problem for 40 years, and it's still not solved.

Here's the strongest and most prophetic part.
...the question of whether or not human thought is entirely computable. That question has, in one form or another, engaged thinkers in all ages. Man has always striven for principles that could organize and give sense and meaning to his existence. But before modern science fathered the technologies that reified and concretized its otherwise abstract systems, the systems of thought that defined man's place in the universe were fundamentally juridicial. They served to define man's obligations to his fellow men and to nature. The Judaic tradition, for example, rests on the idea of a contractual relationship between God and man. This relationship must and does leave room for autonomy for both God and man, for a contract is an agreement willingly entered into by parties who are free not to agree. Man's autonomy and his corresponding responsibility is a central issue of all religious systems.
See the loss of two-way obligations.
The spiritual cosmologies engendered by modern science, on the other hand, are infected with the germ of LOGICAL NECESSITY. They no longer content themselves with explanations of appearances, but claim to say how things actually are and must necessarily be. In short, they convert truth to provability.

Surely, much of what we today regard as good and useful, as well as much of what we would call knowledge and wisdom, we owe to science.

But science may also be seen as an addictive drug.

Not only has our unbounded feeding on science caused us to become dependent on it, but, as happens with many other drugs taken in increasing dosages, science has been gradually converted into a slow-acting poison.

Beginning perhaps with Francis Bacon's misreading of the genuine promise of science, man has been seduced into wishing and working for the establishment of an age of rationality, but with his vision of rationality tragically twisted so as to equate it with logicality. Thus have we very nearly come to the point where almost every genuine human dilemma is seen as a mere paradox, as a merely apparent contradiction that could be untangled by judicious applications of cold logic derived from a higher standpoint.

Even murderous wars have come to be perceived as mere problems to be solved by hordes of professional problemsolvers.

As Hannah Arendt said about recent makers and executors of policy in the Pentagon:

"They were not just intelligent, but prided themselves on being 'rational'. They were eager to find formulas, preferably expressed in a pseudo-mathematical language, that would unify the most disparate phenomena with which reality presented them; that is, they were eager to discover laws by which to explain and predict political and historical facts as though they were as necessary, and thus as reliable, as the physicists once believed natural phenomena to be. An utterly irrational confidence in the calculability of reality became the leitmotif of the decision making."
And now we're back in the territory of Conelrad and CDC. Predictive models control everything, and the psychopaths decide the variables for the predictive models.

The demons are simply hiding behind the computer. Most people STILL don't understand the mechanical nature of computing. Most STILL believe that computers think rationally. The latest New Superstitionist STILL says computers will achieve true thought with more power and more speed. (Translation: More grants.)

Only programmers know how powerful the programmer is.

In '76 these trends were just starting to show up, and only a few prophets saw them. At that point we could have tamed the trends, could have applied the brakes with some strong negative feedback mechanisms keyed on empathy. But we didn't. Nobody listened.

Monday, October 25, 2021
  Conelrad in the new context

I've done Conelrad several times before, including one of my first items in 2005.

Seen in the context of the LATEST fake "threat" and real genocide, Conelrad has an extra resonance.

American Radio Library just added a brief brochure about Conelrad from 1957.

This brochure includes the usual tech details and propaganda blasts...
CONELRAD will go into effect simultaneously with the first warning from the Air Defense Command. The surest, safest way to know what to do when you hear the sirens is to tune to your CONELRAD station at 640 or 1240 on your AM radio dial.
Top-down authority. One commander controls absolutely everything and everybody. ADC = CDC.
With many CONELRAD stations in operation, all on 640 or 1240 kilocycles, this completely confuses the "homing" capability of the finder. Tests conducted by our own Air Force have proved that the CONELRAD system eliminates broadcasting as a navigational aid.
Technically true on its own, but broadcasting was IRRELEVANT. In the first fucking place, enemy bombers weren't going to make it over the Pacific or Atlantic or Arctic without being detected by radar. In the second fucking place, Soviets already knew where the presumed targets were. Russian spies had been mapping important locations. GPS was in the future, and presumably our Loran was turned off, but they did have gyrocompasses. We weren't blacking out lights as we had done in WW2 (also pointlessly) so visual sighting was possible at night.

In the current holocaust, the focus on CASES is a similar self-deception. Real public health was never based on testing everyone in advance; real public health and real medicine started with patients FEELING SICK and deciding to see a doctor. The patient's own judgment was the radar and the compass. The new focus on CASES pretends to be fighting the enemy "virus", but in fact it only creates panic and fear in our own population. CASES force us to depend on the opaque and demonic judgment of Virus Defense Command. We're not confusing the virus, we're just spoofing our OWN internal radar with "cases" and ballgags.
Due to the reduction in transmitting efficiency and the use of only two frequencies ( 640 and 1240 kc.) throughout the Nation, interference between stations may limit coverage obtainable in many suburban and rural areas. If you are in such an area, your radio may go silent or interference may prevent you from distinguishing the civil defense message being broadcast.
In other words, we're not "protecting" the peasants. In the current holocaust, country folks are left "unprotected" because there aren't any substations of the Public Death Agency in small towns. So country folks mostly continue living a normal life, without heart attacks from panic and fear, and without strangulation from constant ballgags.
Your local authorities may order you to take SHELTER if immediate attack is threatened. CONELRAD can bring you instructions in your shelter. Because local power may fail, a battery- operated portable radio with an outside aerial is your best insurance.
SHELTER IN PLACE. No metaphor needed. Same shit every fucking time. It makes sense for an actual bomb or a tornado; inside is better than outside. It doesn't make sense for the INVISIBLE PATHOGEN OF RADIATION, which is a natural phenomenon. And it doesn't make any sense with the INVISIBLE PATHOGEN OF VIRUSES, which are a natural phenomenon. Our immune system is built to deal with BOTH of those invisible pathogens in small quantities.

The advantage of an invisible pathogen, a spiritual pathogen, is that you can't see it. With visible pathogens like mice and roaches, there's no way for experts to hijack your senses. Normally we do trust our own body's NON-VISUAL senses to tell us when we've got an invisible pathogen. But the lack of CONCRETE EVIDENCE opens the way for the hijackers to replace your internal senses. (See ASYMPTOMATIC CARRIERS and ORIGINAL SIN.) You learn to trust the official witch hunter with her PCR test, which was known from the start to be fake. Because all details of nuclear stuff and priestly stuff and medical stuff are top secret, there's absolutely no way to find out the truth.

With atom bombs, the real risk was the bomb itself, not the radiation. If you're close enough to a big bomb, nothing at all will save you. Outside of the blast range, most people survived.

  Fitting finale

A fitting conclusion to my series on IBM in the '50s:

Chris Arnade, the chronicler of collapsed America, has a new article on Binghamton and Endicott, the cities where IBM flourished until it moved to China.
Binghamton's Main Street, the commercial spine, bisects downtown and then makes its way through Johnson City and to Endicott. Once you cross west over the river, things immediately feel on edge, ready to burst out at any moment. A busy road of fast-food franchises, vape shops, abandoned and reclaimed buildings, and large wooden homes of single occupancy apartments. It is also filled with college kids, drunks, and various people with no clear motives, all whooping it up and disrupting working people rushing to and from work. All of it is encased in the constant smell of weed that never leaves.

One of the boarded-up buildings, an old cleaners and leather refinisher, has a public notice pasted onto its plywood window. A notice for an upcomping hearing “for the establishment of a Crematory in this building.”

Looking around I spotted nobody who would or could take notice, because almost nobody was around, besides a few cars zooming by. The few people who drifted by looked like the time, technology, or desire to comment was beyond them. Not that anybody would listen to them anyhow.
Says it all.

Watson ran IBM in Social Economics style like NCR and Ford and Conoco, giving his employees a REASON to be loyal and efficient. So the loss was more dramatic than a company of the normal American robber baron style.

In other words, IBM maintained two-way loyalty with its customers AND its employees.

.... I just realized I'm using a Lenovo PC, made by the Chinese spinoff of IBM. Hadn't thought about the connection before. It's a good computer, quiet and fast, ten years old and still holding up. But it didn't contribute anything to the people in Endicott, and didn't use their well-developed skills.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021
  Reprint on Trinity House

I linked this in previous item. Feels like time for a reprint....

= = = = = START REPRINT:

Continuing on the theme of Trinity House, the guardian of true beacons and true science. Trinity has been running for 500 years without ever losing its sidereal focus. We need to build a new Trinity House.

With Trinity funding, Marconi used South Foreland lighthouse on the White Cliffs for his experiments with radio.

Here's a look at Marconi's transmitter in one of the wings of Foreland, based loosely on a few pics and diagrams.

There are three pieces. Two are derived from telegraphs and clocks, one is new for wireless. I'm not showing the connecting wires here to avoid confusion.

On the left, batteries provide low voltage with high current to the primary of the Transformer.

A transformer works by expanding and contracting the magnetic field. As the primary builds up, its field pushes through the windings of the secondary, developing a current in each turn. If the secondary has more turns than the primary, the output will have higher voltage.

In order to keep the field rising and falling, the Hammerbreak (more familiarly buzzer) operates by negative feedback like a clock pendulum. It begins with a closed switch, causing the magnet to charge up. As the field strengthens, it pulls the Hammer in toward the magnet, opening the switch. As the field collapses, it allows the Hammer to fall back toward the contact, closing again. The inertia of the field and the inertia of the Hammer maintain a steady frequency.

The high voltage AC from the secondary terminals goes directly to the Leyden Jars (capacitors) which are connected by another inductor. The spark is maintained by the high voltage from the secondary. A spark generates a wide range of frequencies. The capacitors tend to shunt the higher frequencies toward ground, and the inductor shorts out the lower frequencies, leaving only the middle frequencies undamped. This form of resonator (a pi-section tank) is still used on transmitters in the tube and transistor eras.

Here I've added the wires in somewhat schematic form. The key breaks the circuit between the batteries and the primary, and the Hammerbreak also breaks the circuit much faster while the key is down. The high voltage secondary goes directly to the spark gap, where the capacitors and inductor narrow down the frequency; then the somewhat tuned output goes up to the antenna.

Finally, the whole thing in operation.

Inventions don't come from theories. Like all parts of life, inventions come from PURPOSES. Inherent dreams and wishes, or perceived needs. Wireless was a perpetual dream, first documented around 300 BC. It had to wait for a long series of materials and techniques, evolved through clocks and telegraphs. None of this development came from theories. Some useful theories came from the development.

= = = = =

Footnote on Marconi, since I normally avoid the Great Names. In some ways he was similar to our tech IPO founders. Young, fairly wealthy, extroverted and charismatic. Other industry founders at the same time were older. The Great Names in the auto industry were around 40 when they founded their eponymous companies. They had already established a career in bicycles or carriages or locomotives. But Marconi was distinctly different from Zuck and Bezos and Elon. He was modest and cautious, always building on previous experience and crediting previous experience. In other words he was an engineer, not a stock scammer.

= = = = = END REPRINT.


  Still missing the same point about alien talk

From MindMatters yet again.
The other question is, in a universe governed by the same principles of logic, mathematics, physics, and chemistry throughout, it should be possible for intelligent entities to somehow find a way of making contact. The fact that those principles of math and physics can be described abstractly at all seems to show that we do not live in a meaningless universe. Thus, in principle, there is meaning that we — and ET — should be able to find.

If extraterrestrial intelligences exist and want to communicate, it will be the same meaning. They won’t have a different “logic” or “mathematics” because they can’t.
No, no, no. Logic and math are irrelevant and unnecessary.

When we are communicating via radio waves, there is a guaranteed set of commonalities. We don't know anything about the aliens, but we know how their receiver works, and they know how our transmitter works. There are only two basic ways to create and receive electromagnetic waves. Nature does it one way, and human technology does it the other way.

Nature alters the static field by moving ions in neurons or tissue. Human tech alters the magnetic field by moving electrons in wires.

We know several of Nature's methods. Radio fish simply extend the axons of neurons out of the body in an antenna, with its length tuned to match the impedance of the mud they live in. Flowers transfer ions into petals to send a message to bees, then pull back the ions after the bees have grabbed the pollen.

Nature did it WITHOUT USING MATH, and the first humans to send and receive radio were doing it with minimal math. Mostly by trial and error, expanding in directions that seem to work, steering away from directions that don't seem to work. FEEDBACK IS LIFE.

So, as I've been saying repeatedly, the communication should be ABOUT the communication. Describe the circuits and antennas in a two-dimensional pattern that can be scanned after the receiving intelligence realizes the scanning freq.

This is how radio hams communicate across cultural barriers, especially when censors are listening. Humor and politics and religion aren't easily understood, and may be deadly. Antenna lengths and circuits can be understood by everyone in the circle.

HOWEVER! Considering that I've been repeating this message for years in the tiny single-culture circle of a few blogs, and nobody has heard it yet, I doubt that we have any chance of communicating to mysterious aliens.

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  A little Philco Phun

American Radio Library has added a 1931 Philco publication aimed at salesmen. Philco hadn't yet asserted its unique style of circuitry and cabinets and corporate behavior. Still, these two pictures are sort of interesting.

A display in Wanamaker's department store demonstrated car radios, a new idea. Philco later specialized in car radios and became a division of Ford. In '31 Philco receivers were mainly installed in Chrysler products. Note the common classical theme in the '31 Philco and the '31 Chrysler. The lights are on, so presumably the car's electrical accessories, including the radio, were powered by a transformer to provide a bit of drama.

Here's the control box in a Lincoln. In the early '30s the steering column was vacant and available for accessories. Earlier the hand throttle and spark control were usually on the column. Later the shift lever and turn signals. Philco took advantage of the vacant territory for the radio controls.

In other words, column selectors for receptions came before column selectors for transmissions.



Previously I showed the 305 RAMAC, which was IBM's first equipment. The 305 was a complete setup designed to serve accountants and nobody else.

The DCL (or 650 in today's money) came slightly before the 305. First produced in 1954, it was just a processor with no input and output capabilities. It had to be connected up to a tape drive and cardpunch for permanent data storage. Later it could connect with the multiple disk pioneered by the 305.

According to Wikipedia, the DCL became the 'iconic' computer in movies, with its flashing lights catching your attention. It was also the dominant IBM machine in colleges, so it was the first machine most young programmers saw.

= = = = =

Reviewing the modes of electrical data storage:

Tape came first, as seen in the picture above. The huge disadvantage of tape is that you can't access any location in the storage quickly. Tape is suitable for reading in a long series of data in a specific order, and then writing out a long series of data in a specific order. It's not suitable for holding the numbers or categories used in actual computation or decision-making.

All calculators have some form of register, an immediately accessible store for a few numbers.

Mechanical calculators, like this one used by IBM field engineers, hold the number as the positions of rotors. More complex cash registers or adding machines had many registers, built like odometers.

Every electronic computer has at least one register formed by flipflops. A flipflop is the electronic equivalent of a snap-switch, with a pair of opposed tubes or transistors. When one tube conducts, it holds the other tube in a nonconducting state. An input to one side switches the pair to the opposite condition. There's no real difference between the tube flipflops in the IBM DCL and the extremely miniaturized transistor flipflops in the latest CPU.

Each flipflop is relatively complex, and requires current to maintain its state. So there's a practical limit to how many registers you can 'afford'.

The first solution to this problem was the magnetic core or matrix memory, which was dynamic in the modern sense.

Each ferrite core was intersected by several wires. Any current passing through any of the wires induced some magnetic field in the core, which would last for a short time before fading. The currents and the cores were designed so that a current pulse on BOTH of the XY wires through this core would leave a magnetic charge large enough to last for a longer time. I show this charge as enlarging the toroid. After the field has been induced, a much smaller pulse in the coinciding pair would be enoough to trigger a pulse in the sense wire, shown wandering around through all the cores. The sense wire is essentially the secondary winding of a transformer, with the coinciding XY wires as the primary.

That's how you'd write and read a binary ONE in this particular spot of the matrix. Writing a ZERO was the same thing with reversed polarity. Here I show the opposite induced field as shrinking the core. The sense wire would give an opposite pulse of voltage when the small read pulses coincided.

Core memory was highly dynamic, so it also needed a complex set of refresh pulses to keep it up.

= = = = =

The DCL wasn't the first to use a drum for a multiple register, but again it became the most famous. I remember seeing the DCL in a college Fortran class in 1967. The instructor showed us all the parts of the computer, and opened up the attic of the DCL to show the drum.

In essence the drum is just a very short multi-track tape loop. Instead of a long and narrow tape, it's a short and wide tape wrapped into cylindrical form. Each track holds about 50 numbers, repeating over and over.

Each of the V-shaped troughs around the half-cylinder holds a long horizontal series of read-write heads. I'm showing (abstractly) how each head was activated for part of a revolution to access one track of the 'tape'. This activation wouldn't be visible in real life.

The drum itself isn't visible; it's rotating inside the half-cylinder of heads. The drum held about the same amount of information as a core matrix, but it was non-dynamic. A track once written would stay there without any use of energy or refreshing, and it could be read or rewritten almost instantly.

The 305 RAMAC switched to multiple disks, and we're still there 65 years later. Same principle as the drum, with tracks in three dimensions instead of two.

= = = = =

Why am I calling it the DCL? Because it used Roman numbers. The lights on the front showed the contents of individual flip-flop registers. The knobs and buttons on the front selected which register you were seeing.

The top section was one 10-digit number, with a sign light on the right. Each column was like an abacus. The upper pair was First Five / Second Five. The lower lights were 0 through 4 added onto the upper pair.

The lower part of the front panel was devoted to functions. The left two columns were the opcode of the currently executing command, and the next four were the address of the current command. The lower right lights indicated what was happening now, as in calculating or reading from drum or reading from the external tape.

Here I'm showing opcode 12 and address 3456.

= = = = =

Listing related links so far:

Computers are always sorters.

Parallel is always faster.

Timelines and rentalizing

Just before the NSA web

When analog fertilized digital

Time was a whole bunch of money!

IBM had Pascal in 1957!

The 305 RAMAC

McBee cards

Not medieval enough

IBM DCL [650]

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Saturday, October 23, 2021
  Problems with scambusters

Zuhlsdorf calls attention to the scam-busters who track down the scammers and send them stink bombs or other nasties.

I have two problems with this activity.

1. It's vicarious justice, not real justice. Fun to watch, like a cop show where the bad guys always end up in jail. But nobody is really caught and jailed. Vicarious justice tends to use up some of our revenge-juice. We feel satisfied even though nothing has really changed.

The scammers are running an industrial-scale international operation, and the stink bombs seem to end up harming innocent people who are used as temporary receiving addresses. The actual scammers don't live at the address. Even if one of the actual team got stinked, it would be a meaningless bit of 'overhead'. Gangs always use disposable low-level operators.

2. Many real scams involve two fake sides, like everything else in this faked-up fucked-up world. One side poses as a scammer, and the other side poses as a cop or private investigator. You're suckered into paying the fake cop to help catch the fake criminal.

When a scambuster like Rober calls the victim to explain what he's doing, how do they know that he isn't the fake PI side of the scam? For that matter, how do WE know he isn't part of the stageplay?


  Learning and teaching by making

In previous item I was noticing that the maker of a medieval font didn't try to draw K and W because they weren't in classical Latin. But real scribes weren't writing classical Latin. They were using Latin as a framework for a mix of local languages, and they included the local character set where necessary. Following a theoretical assumption led the fontmaker astray.

While 'building' and animating these old devices, curiosity always drives me to understand the culture and feelings of the era when they were made and used. I'm learning a lot of history, including some fairly important and rarely written history, AS A SIDELINE.

If I tried to read about these times and places in the usual history text, I wouldn't learn anything because THERE ISN'T ANY FUCKING INFORMATION in the usual history text. The usual history text is a list of battles and generals. Battles and generals have NOTHING TO DO with history.

I'm a fake artist using 3d software. I've noticed a similar tendency in the real artists who draw anime-style cartoons with real pencils. They often situate their characters in a specific time and place, and they end up learning and teaching important things about the chosen time and place.

This is my most basic and constant theme, of course. Education by experience, education by making. No subjects, just work. If you want students to learn a certain type of information, arrange the work to create curiosity about the certain type of information.

There are two extra advantages to experiential learning in history and "social studies".

1. Learning by curiosity puts you in touch with the lives of real people, not the lives of the leaders and generals.

2. Learning by curiosity gives you practice in the actual WORK OF A HISTORIAN. You're not doing any historian work when you memorize the battle scheme of the Peloponnesian War. You're just being a dumb computer. When you're trying to understand the background of what you're drawing or making, you explore original sources outside the filter of historians and propagandists.


Friday, October 22, 2021
  Not medieval enough

A monk has built a digital font resembling Teresa of Avila's handwriting. Or more generally the typical hand of that era.

The font has a couple of unnecessary oddities. K and W were not common in the Latin used in Italy, so they are thrown in undrawn, using a generic sans font. Arabic numbers are also thrown in undrawn.

Leaving the numbers out makes sense, but leaving out the K and W doesn't make sense. Latin documents in most parts of Europe included K and W in local names and local words. In such documents the undigested K and W stand out.

From the Lancashire Rolls, British legal documents in the 1100s, listing people who paid debts.
Radulfus filius Bernardi reddit Compotum de cc.li. numero de firma de Lancastra. In thesauro c. et l.li. et xv.s. et vij.d.

Et in terris datis Willelmo de Valeines x.li. numero in Culfho. Et Willelmo filio Walkelini ix.li. in Stainesbeia.

Et Nigello de Greselea iiij.li. et xvj.s. in Drakelawa. Et Engelrano Portario et Rogero de Sancto Albino xx.li. numero in Crokeston. Et Warino Venatori xxv.s. et j.d. de liberatione sua per breve Regis. Et Jacobo 1.s. et j.d. de liberatione sua per idem breve. Et Gibbe xxvj.s. et iij.ob. de liberatione sua per idem breve. Et Petro Bernardi vij.s. et ij.d. de liberatione sua per idem breve.

Idem Radulfus r.c. de vj.li. de Cremento de Presteton. Et de vj.s. de firma de Mareton hoc anno. In th'ro lib. in ij. tallis.
I get the sense that Radulf was an utgota.

Other documents in the same set include AngloSaxon thorn þ, eth ð, and wynn ƿ along with the regular Latin. Scribes, like later typesetters, were flexible and adaptable. The maker of this font doesn't give the scribes enough credit.

Rewriting this using the Teresa font, the Ks and Ws are obviously wrong:

Here Polistra and Happystar are printing out the medieval document on a 'medieval' computer.

Why medieval? Because the IBM 650 on the right used the Roman system instead of decimal or binary. I'll feature the 650 in the next IBM item....

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Thursday, October 21, 2021
  Both were flipped

Continuing from here. In 1974 Suskind suggested a new Hippocratic Oath for engineers that would have made things worse SOONER.

Thinking about the parallel:

The practical oath, tradition plus Hippocrates, has been flipped upside down for BOTH doctors and engineers.

Before the flip: First do no harm. Hold steady. Stick with EXPERIMENTALLY PROVED SOLUTIONS.

After the flip: Do ONLY harm. Change everything all the time. NEVER do anything that is known to work.

Civil engineers (bridges and sewers) haven't been fully flipped yet, but they are mostly paid to do harm. Environmentalism forces them to tear down dams and bridges, and to build flood generators instead of flood controllers.

Software engineers (the main target of Suskind) were specifically flipped by Larry Ellison and Google. The new slogans are Move fast and break things and Let the fires burn. These are perfectly opposite to the tradition of engineering.

And I don't need to repeat what happened to the former "medical" profession in 2020. Move fast and kill everyone.

In short, both professions traded a Hippocratic Oath for a Psychopathic Oath.

= = = = =

Later: Here's yet another 'open letter' from the tiny fraction of doctors who have NOT flipped. This declaration emphasizes restoring the spirit of the oath:
RESOLVED, that the physician-patient relationship must be restored. The very heart of medicine is this relationship, which allows physicians to best understand their patients and their illnesses, to formulate treatments that give the best chance for success, while the patient is an active participant in their care.

RESOLVED, that the political intrusion into the practice of medicine and the physician/patient relationship must end. Physicians, and all health care providers, must be free to practice the art and science of medicine without fear of retribution, censorship, slander, or disciplinary action, including possible loss of licensure and hospital privileges, loss of insurance contracts and interference from government entities and organizations – which further prevent us from caring for patients in need. More than ever, the right and ability to exchange objective scientific findings, which further our understanding of disease, must be protected.

RESOLVED, that physicians must defend their right to prescribe treatment, observing the tenet FIRST, DO NO HARM. Physicians shall not be restricted from prescribing safe and effective treatments. These restrictions continue to cause unnecessary sickness and death. The rights of patients, after being fully informed about the risks and benefits of each option, must be restored to receive those treatments.
Of course none of this will happen. The rulers are enjoying the game. Endless orgasms. Psychopaths never give up power after they've tasted blood and turned feral. Still, I suppose it's nice to see that a few thousand members of a profession have NOT turned into monsters.

The hundred leading signers are not the 'regular crowd'. I don't see any familiar names. They're currently employed by a variety of clinics and universities, which makes their action GUTSY but still meaningless. Nothing will change, but other professionals may gain a bit of courage when they see someone in a similar position, or someone they know, speaking out and not being fired or assassinated.

From the fucking start it was clear that only MASSIVE UNION STRIKES BY PEOPLE WHO COUNT could make a difference. Recently a real strike by Southwest Airlines workers caused their demonic management to back down on vax mandates. As long as the opposition is scattered, it's meaningless.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
  Always harder to measure a fadeout....

Interesting observation from Sailer. As other Identity Subcultures get stronger, the Deaf culture seems to have faded out.

I noticed the growth of deaf culture in the '80s because I was working around speech and acoustics. After I started working from home in 2004, I lost contact with those movements and hadn't really thought about them. Still, the culture is notable by its absence in recent years.

Atypically, Sailer gets the history wrong.
It’s useful to think about why there is deaf culture but not blind culture. Wikipedia’s article on the former is vastly longer than its short squib on the latter, which sums up, “…blind people integrate with the broader community and culture, and often do not identify blindness as a defining part of their culture.”

That’s because language can be essential to identity. Just as nationalism in Europe was an offshoot of the consolidation of local spoken dialects into a standardized national written language (such as the French government’s imposition of the Parisian dialect on its sprawling domain), deaf culture exists due to the consolidation of sign languages.

Language is fundamental to communication, of course, and perhaps even to thought. So life tended to be extremely difficult for those born deaf, especially if they didn’t work out an idiosyncratic sign language with their families.
Before computers, deaf people had a much wider range of occupations than blind people. Industrial work and farm work need good eyes, but don't need ears. Noisy industrial environments are actually EASIER for deaf people than hearing people.

Deaf folks were common in printing. When I worked at Cromwells, we contracted our linotype work to Gene Laird, a deaf guy who ran his own linotype shop in a storefront. His wife handled the telephone and talked with visitors. Gene ran the machine and drove around to distribute the finished forms to Cromwells and Vaters and Daugherty. No problem after you got used to talking by writing.

Automation and offshoring were thus especially hard on deaf workers. Computers made life easier for blind people, but actually got in the way of AMERICAN deaf people because AMERICAN deaf people are not good at writing and reading English. This is NOT true in other countries. You can see the difference easily when looking at deaf Youtubers. Most Americans type incoherent descriptions and titles. Others, including Brits, write correctly.

This is not a problem with ears, it's a direct result of the deaf subculture eliminating real English from their schools. And this is a standard procedure. "Human rights" crusaders ALWAYS damage their "protected" groups. The "protected" groups must lose their native skills and niches so they need the "protection" of the NGOs and government.

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  More from the inflection point

From Computers and Automation Feb 72, an article claiming that computers will "empower" secretaries. Oops.

In this case I'm sure the author is not a poor prophet. She's starting up a new company, and the article is basically an advertisement.
The way things stand now, many women making their way up in business and industry face the formidable liability of their own secretarial skills. The better their skills, the more they are categorized as secretaries, effectively precluding their promotion into more responsible positions. Many smart women are keeping themselves ignorant of such skills in order to avoid that trap; this is passing the burden on to office managers, who find good secretarial help harder and harder to come by.
Keeping themselves ignorant? I doubt it.
The editing typewriter is very useful for a secretary for it does a lot of repetitive work for her. Not the kind of work she might enjoy or profit from, but the jobs of retyping, revising, and correcting that go with the rest of the job.
True for TYPISTS, not for secretaries. The distinction between a typist and a secretary was perfectly well known at that time. This school film from the '40s defines the two jobs clearly.
Second, she will find herself with time on her hands -- and energy. A smart secretary can use her newly-found time away from the typewriter. She can take on new jobs that will put her in closer touch with the decisionmaking levels of the corporation she works for. She will be able to attend meetings, do the first drafts of reports, coordinate and keep records, follow up past activities, handle questions, and solve problems.
Actual secretaries were already doing those tasks. I was in academia from the mid '70s through 2003, across the transition to computers. Department secretaries didn't change their job. Unlike what you see on TV, a real secretary is more like a mother than a hot babe. She knows where everyone is and what everyone is doing. She knows who has the real power, and knows how to shape the power.

Computers did eliminate typists, who were generally students on work-study in academia. The executives and professors now have to do their own typing, which is a waste of their skill and time.

In short, computers didn't empower secretaries, they wasted the talents of executives.



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