Friday, May 07, 2021
  Brilliant experiment, brilliant description

Paleontologists at Yale are using casts of the inner ears of dinosaurs to infer the lifestyle of the dinos.

Because we've been making such casts of modern skulls for a long time, we know how the configuration of the vestibular system correlates with motion patterns of living animals.
The form of the vestibular system is a window into understanding bodies in motion.

One vestibular cluster corresponded with "sophisticated" fliers, species with a high level of aerial maneuverability. This included birds of prey and many songbirds.

Another cluster centered around "simple" fliers like modern fowl, which fly in quick, straight bursts, and soaring seabirds and vultures. Most significantly, the inner ears of birdlike dinosaurs called troodontids, pterosaurs, Hesperornis, and the "dino-bird" Archaeopteryx fall within this cluster.
In other words, dinobirds were chickens.

We also know how the configuration of the cochlea correlates with frequency range of living animals.
Bhullar said the data suggest that the cochlear shape's transformation in ancestral reptiles coincided with the development of high-pitched location, danger, and hatching calls in juveniles.

It implies that adults used their new inner ear feature to parent their young, the researchers said.

"All archosaurs sing to each other and have very complex vocal repertoires," Bhullar said. "We can reasonably infer that the common ancestors of crocodiles and birds also sang. But what we didn't know was when that occurred in the evolutionary line leading to them. We've discovered a transitional cochlea in the stem archosaur Euparkeria, suggesting that archosaur ancestors began to sing when they were swift little predators a bit like reptilian foxes."
An important distinction on the production side might complicate these inferences about the reception side. The configuration of the vocal tract determines the style of singing.

Default mammals, with spine and head horizontal, have very little resonance. The larynx is immediately followed by the mouth, which is typically open on both sides. There's no cavity or tube or column after the larynx.

Humans, with spine and head vertical, are built like a pipe organ or train whistle. The pharynx is a closed Helmholtz resonator above the larynx, with the mouth branching off and providing another closed resonator.

Birds are bugles. The mouthpiece or reed is at the bottom of a long resonator with muscular control. The beak is open on both sides like a cat, but the beak isn't needed as a resonator.

Resonators phase-lock the song into discrete notes.

The cochlear inferences are mixing fox-type and bird-type dinos together, which misses an important part of the signaling and coding ability. Bird-like discrete notes make language possible. Fox-like howling is a signal, but doesn't allow for detailed coding by discrete symbols.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2021
  Astrometeorology 2: James Ferguson

Following from intro to the subject.

I'm going to slide into this sideways, starting from the junction point of entertainment and science exemplified by the Magic Lantern. Reminder: The magic lantern was an animated video system. Its slide-projector descendants were rigid.

James Ferguson was a highly unusual character in the aristocratic world of British science. His family was poor but smart. He was born in 1710 and immediately showed talent in mechanics, improving and inventing devices for the family farm. He was apprenticed out to a variety of farmers, millers, and aristocrats. Some mistreated him, others recognized his talents in math and astronomy and gave him room to develop. At age 30 he finally found his niche, the unique occupation that mixed math and mechanics and astronomy.

Orreries. Planet simulators. We'll return to those in the next part. First some entertainment.

Ferguson joined the fashion for electrical entertainment, building and demonstrating gadgets that used electrostatic fields to form complex animation.

Polistra likes this one:

A static-powered mill.

The negative emitter of the static machine is brought near a delicate mill made of paper. The 'electrical spray' repels the paper vanes, causing the mill to rotate. As each vane rotates, it loses the charge it had acquired from the spray, returning to neutral. A neat parallel to the potential energy of gravity in an overshot water mill.

= = = = =

The Electrical Sportsman is a more complex gimmick, perhaps not made by Ferguson.

The emitter from the static machine is connected to the center pole of the Leyden jar under the birds. As charge builds up, the birds tied to the pole repel each other, and float out and up on their wires. When the voltage is high enough to discharge to the gun, a spark shows at the end of the gun, and the bullet is repelled toward the birds. The center pole discharges, letting the birds fall back down as if shot.

In the next part I'll dig back into the history of astrometeorology, starting from Ferguson's geocentric orrery.

For now,




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  Interesting experiment, unsatisfying description

Via Gizmodo:
The Parker Solar Probe, Collinson realized, had actually travelled through Venus’s atmosphere, providing the first direct measurement of the Venusian atmosphere in nearly 30 years. Parker had detected natural low-frequency radio emissions, which are associated with planetary ionospheres—an atmospheric region packed with plasma, or charged gases.

By measuring the frequency of this emission, we can directly calculate the density of the ionosphere around Parker, finding it to be far less dense than previous missions have encountered,” wrote the scientists in their paper. “This supports the theory that the ionosphere of Venus varies substantially over the 11 year solar cycle.”
Makes sense, and doesn't even need to be called a theory. We know that Earth's ionosphere varies with the sun's activity, so we expect that the same happens even more on Venus, which is closer to the sun.

"Low-frequency emissions" is vague. Without an audio recording it's hard to tell what this means. I suspect it means the hisses and scratches of an active ionosphere, familiar to SWLs and hams. Hisses and scratches may be LF as seen in a long-term spectrum analysis, but they're mainly transients, so mainly HF as heard by the ears. LF without any other description implies a low hum or gradual seismic wave, not a discharge or transient.

Big Science always describes things in a timeless way, by spectra or by statistics. Humans don't sense the world in a timeless way, and useful thinking always requires a time axis.

Later: this NASA video includes audio. The sound is warbly, not hissy. It's described as a "data sonification", which is completely meaningless without more specs. Is it similar to a plain AM receiver, or is it a way of representing something or other with sound?


  Random auto export thought

Stirred by seeing a Packard limo of the Clipper era in an Egyptian movie:

These limos were never seen here. Packard exported most of them.

"Thinking" more, I realized that Cadillacs are never seen in foreign pictures. This applies to movies, and also to old street shots from various places. In every country without its own carmakers, US cars were common in the 30s and 40s. But the luxury end of the US imports was NOT Caddy. Buicks were the top GM car in most countries, and Packards were also more common than here.

Why Buick? One possible explanation is the Canadian McLaughlin Buick company. McLaughlin made its own cars at first, then allied with Buick, then became a GM division. Because of Canada's close ties to England, McLaughlin took care of GM's exports to England and other RHD countries. British royalty chose Buicks, and the rest followed.

Asia was RHD following British colonial tradition. China and Korea switched to LHD, but the rest of Asia is still mainly RHD. So a ruler or rich asshole in those countries was more likely to buy Buicks.

Footnote for clarity: GM had its own divisions in England and Germany, but those plants didn't make US brands. They made Vauxhalls and Opels, which were completely different from US cars until very recently.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
  Interesting experiment, uninteresting result

An article in New Superstitionist describes an interesting experiment with an uninteresting result....
Bats are born knowing the speed of sound. This may not be shocking, as they rely on echolocation to find food and avoid crashing into trees in the dark. But unlike birds that learn their songs, or lions that learn to hunt, bats seem to be born knowing how to echolocate.
The comparison doesn't work well, and the experiment shows why, but the author doesn't understand why.
To see whether bats can adjust their echolocation to accommodate changes in the speed of sound, Eran Amichai and Yossi Yovel at Tel Aviv University in Israel trained eight adult Kuhl’s pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus kuhlii) to fly to a perch within a chamber pumped full of oxygen and helium. Because helium is less dense than other atmospheric gases, sound travels faster through it.

The helium interfered with the bats’ echolocation timing and caused them to aim short of the perch. At first, this was expected, but the adult bats never learned to adjust.
The basic distinction is clear, whether you explain it by evolution or design. In Nature the speed of sound is constant, so there's no reason to evolve or design a mechanism that adapts to the speed of sound. Hearing CAN be rigid at this level, so it is.

Other behaviors depend on the situation right here and now. Hunting is different when the main prey is deer or squirrels. The speed of prey is variable.


Monday, May 03, 2021
  Speaking of rules

Partial reprint from last July.

= = = = = START REPRINT:

Thus I'm left with two explanations that aren't immediately disprovable.

1. A bar bet between Bezos and Soros. Hold my beer while I destroy the world. Who can reach the ultimate finish line first?

2. A test of all humans and human leaders, performed by God or Satan or an alien civilization.

For now I'm going to run with the test, because at least it provides a survival purpose for those of us who are trying in various ways to expose and oppose the holocaust.

It also fits with the old Sharia view of Natural Law.
The Almighty has created this world as a trial and test for man; every person has therefore been made to depend on others for his living. No one in this world can live independently as regards his needs and requirements. A person of the highest rank turns to the most ordinary to fulfill them. In other words, every single person has an important role to play, without which this world cannot continue.

This role depends upon his abilities, intelligence and inclinations as well as upon his means and resources, which vary from person to person. In fact, it is because of this variation that a society comes into being. Consequently, laborers and workers, artisans and craftsmen, tillers and peasants are as indispensable as scholars and thinkers, savants and sages, leaders and rulers. Every individual is an integral component of the society and contributes to its formation according to his abilities.

By creating various classes of people, the Almighty is testing whether the big and the small, the high and the low create a society based on co-operation and respect or create disorder in the world by disregarding the role each person has been ordained to play.

= = = = = END REPRINT.

It's a direct contract between God and humans. God gave us the infinite gift of life and order and beauty. In return we're expected to maintain and increase order and beauty. Pay for value. Equipoise.

This still makes more sense than the Christian crap about "original sin" and "image of God". It explains the setup with no unnecessary entities.

Here's an instantiation of the test code, from one of the hadiths:

Whoever of you sees an evil must then change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then he must change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then he must change it with his heart. And that is the least of faith.

Directly follows from the variation in abilities and RESOURCES.

When Bezos and Soros cranked up the most massive evil in the history of the world, EVERYONE who could have changed it by hand (economic and political bullypower) joined the evil. Legislatures, courts, churches, businesses. ALL eagerly joined the holocaust. NONE even momentarily pretended to oppose.

This doesn't relieve the duty for those of us who can only oppose by tongue or heart. We still have the duty because we received the gift. Pay for value. Equipoise.

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  The old inverse rule works

Interesting item from Wolfstreet. One of the offshoots of the holocaust is a shortage in the semiconductor industry, for reasons that aren't quite clear.

Intel is making clear and sane moves to counteract the shortage. It's building more factories in US, and halting the share buybacks that were its main source of profit for the last few years. More real work, less finance. Good!

My father used to say "If you want Democrat policies, vote for a Republican. If you want Republican policies, vote for a Democrat." Now R and D are meaningless, but his inverse rule seems to be showing up as Populist vs Globalist.

Trump scampaigned as a Populist, and did everything possible to advance Globalism. Our imports from China increased during Trump after holding steady during Obama.

Biden campaigned as a Globalist, and certainly is a Globalist. But now the pressure from NYC is off. Corporations no longer have to avoid the slightest hint that they might be making Trump look good. Now increased employment will make Biden look good, so it's permissible.

Fine with me. I don't give a fuck how you justify the right result. Just DO the right thing.



Satan always starts a sentence with Ummmmmmmm......

This has been obvious for at least 15 years. It became grotesquely murderously obvious during the holocaust. Any time you see this demonword (or variants) at the start of a written message, you know without reading the rest that the message was written by Satan, using force and verbal violence to destroy truth and culture and civilization.

For clarity, this doesn't apply to speech. Humans often start sentences with various hesitation sounds, without knowing it or intending any meaning.

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  Beautiful AI point-hitting

The vast majority of questions on Quora are either absurd or stings. The vast majority of answers (including most of mine) are snarky and nasty. Snarky can be fun.

Here's a rare example of a serious question that brought a variety of serious and SIGNIFICANT answers.

Why are so many software engineers against the Internet of Things?

All the answers are worth reading. This one hits the proper points neatly:
One trend is to collect more and more data about the Internet users and find more and more creative ways to monetize this data in more and more creatively unethical ways.

The other one is to switch more and more services and products from purchase model to rental model.

Between these two trends there is a lot of sentiment among the tech crowd that the wide spread of IoT devices will provide a lot more potential for misuse in both directions.

In the first trend it will enable household IoT devices to gather a lot more private data without your consent. Would you like your IoT bed to tell Google how much sex you have? And if your partner(s) have their phones with them, Google might even find out who you have sex with! Isn’t technology wonderful?
Creatively unethical is a perfect hit.

Real programmers have been arguing against other uses and fantasies of AI as well. Programmers know how these things work, so we know how they can be misused, and we also know which goals are physically impossible fantasies.

How come nobody listens to these Experts? I thought Experts were in charge of the world?

The reality, of course, is that expertise is NOT the relevant variable. Deepstate is the only variable. Experts who agree with Deepstate are experts. Experts who disagree with Deepstate are Anti-Science Anti-Intellectual Deniers Who Must Be Exterminated.


Sunday, May 02, 2021
  The biggest One Exception, still there!

I needed a beacon, so I checked in with Tanzania.

Still free and sane, despite the death of Magufuli. His death was suspicious, but apparently it wasn't a full-fledged coup by Satan. It might have been a coup by another politician who simply wanted to take the power. In any case it's clear that the blessed country hasn't changed.



  Not surprising

Article in the misnamed "Conversation" outlines the development of voice profiling as used by Deepstate.
In one Amazon patent, a device with the Alexa assistant picks up a woman’s speech irregularities that imply a cold through using “an analysis of pitch, pulse, voicing, jittering, and/or harmonicity of a user’s voice, as determined from processing the voice data.” From that conclusion, Alexa asks if the woman wants a recipe for chicken soup. When she says no, it offers to sell her cough drops with one-hour delivery.
None of this is surprising. I was working on this stuff in academia in the '80s. At the time I didn't foresee the evil reality. After I caught the shadows of NSA working in the same areas and sometimes subsidizing the academic side for replication, I shied away from that line of work. It could have beneficial uses, but frankly the beneficial uses haven't materialized. Only the Deepstate uses.


  Who said it? Nobody said it.

I was vaguely thinking about the BushRush style, which became the only form of public discourse after 1990.

It definitely started with Bush Senior in politics and Rush in media. Never complete a thought. Always jump unexpectedly to a new subject. Psychopath mode.

Above all NEVER APOLOGIZE and never explain. If the current statement clashes with what you said 7 seconds ago, you might "clarify" that what you said 7 seconds ago was just parody and irony. Beyond 7 seconds, no need to worry because the audience has automatically memoryholed it for you.

Now everyone in public life speaks the same way. Disconnected ramblings, changing at every moment, constantly shifting the subject and switching the truth. Trump's scampaign speeches were perfect.

It's one version of Room 101, but it wasn't directly foreseen by Orwell.

When was the last time you heard anyone in politics or media or ESPECIALLY SCIENCE say "I was wrong"? (The whole point of science, according to the textbooks, is admitting when previous results and theories are wrong!)

Just for fun I tried googling "I was wrong". 90% of the items were about some rock-and-roll noisemaker who had a hit "song" with that title. The other 10% were mocking televangelist Jim Bakker for saying "I was wrong".

That's it. Nothing else. Nobody except Jim Bakker said "I was wrong" in public during the period that Google examines.

See also flat assertion, the core of this technique.

= = = = =

Self-calibrating: I went back through the archives of this blog to find verbatim "I was wrong". (Not looking for other ways of saying the same meaning.) There are about 20 instances of "I was wrong". About 1/3 of them were apologizing for a previous attitude or assumption which was actually right. In other words, I was converging to fashionable neocon idiocy and apologizing for being unfashionable before. The other 2/3, especially after turning off the TV in 2011, were in the correct direction.

One major exception in the later period: When Brexit finally happened in 2019, I was happy to see Boris getting it done, which I had never expected. "I was wrong" that it couldn't happen. Soon I realized that "I was wrong" about being happy. As soon as Boris got Brexit, he started ruining Britain even faster than EU had been ruining it. He wanted Brexit, and pushed it through to completion, so he could be free of EU constraints on his own power.

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Saturday, May 01, 2021
  The Shadow knows

The Internet Knows Everything Immediately.

For a couple weeks Quora has been hitting me with ads for TalentLMS, a full-service LMS somewhat similar to ScormCloud. Quora obviously knows that I'm a courseware developer, so the ad is well targeted.

I tried out the LMS, and found that it's remarkably easy to use and control, and also 'stiffer' than ScormCloud in terms of rejecting poor coding. It rejects the same thing that Canvas rejects, and it's vastly faster and more reliable to use. Canvas is just plain slippery. You can't tell where you are or what you need to do next. Feels like walking on ice.

I'm trying to reach compatibility with Canvas, which is hugely popular for unknown reasons. What I need is a Canvas-like test that's easy to use, so I can run repeated trial-and-error without mystery and frustration. TalentLMS fills the bill. I plunked down a significant amount of money for a yearly subscription to get more storage, more users, and more help. This will be my measuring standard now, instead of ScormCloud.

Immediately after the payment, the ads disappeared from Quora.


  More on the Law Of One Exception

Continuing with the One Exception Rule, we still have exactly ONE fact about the holocaust, and exactly ONE apology from participants.

The apology isn't consequential in terms of power. It's a strong and beautifully worded apology, but the young priest didn't do anything bad, so he didn't need to apologize. He simply went along for the ride when the church leaders decided to lockdown and muzzle. If he had objected, it wouldn't have made any difference. A young unconnected priest in a poor area can't move the cardinals and popes. But he can move his own soul, and his GUTS can help to move the souls of believers and unbelievers who hear him. (Including me.) So the apology was eminently worthwhile sub specie aeternitatis.


  Still more on church attendance

Phil Lawler makes a nice clear comparison. Catholic churches started losing people after Vatican II, and every "reform" since then has made the church more comfortable for elite intellectuals and more disgusting for working-class Catholics.

Now the Vatican is banning the traditional Latin mass.

Lawler's sharp point: Nobody needed to ban the Edsel, because nobody wanted to buy the Edsel. An object or practice is banned because it's popular. Rules don't forbid actions that nobody would do in the first place.

The Ford analogy also works the other way. When people ARE buying your product, don't screw it up by trying to make it resemble some other brand.

Old Henry never made that mistake. He produced the T for 20 years, and half of all the cars in America were Ts. He saw no reason to change.

When Henry II took over in 1948, he started making holdem/foldem mistakes, including the Edsel. He tried to copy GM's brands and practices, and failed every time. Ford customers bought Fords because they liked Fords, not because they wished Fords were more like Chevys.

Church leaders make the same mistake. At one time half of all Americans were Roman. Then the church decided that their customers would really rather have the cool "religion" seen in cool places, so they tried to copy academic and media weirdness. They shouldn't be surprised that they're losing. Catholics go to church to get real Catholic masses, not to get Unitarian Gaia-worship. If they wanted Gaia, they'd be in the Unitarian building.

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