Day 19-Quarantine-Alone and Weary

While eating my KETO breakfast of cheese, bacon, a hard boiled egg and some green grapes from Chile I watched New York Governor Cuomo’s press conference on COVID-19. I was mildly surprised to hear him speak with intelligence for once. I have only heard him speak politically, and when he does that he speaks through his progressive ass.

He basically explained exactly what President Trump has been telling us about how it is necessary to understand the needs at each hospital and to direct resources to those in dire need and not to those that are merely asking. His explanation seemed to me to be much cleaner than that of Trump’s. Perhaps because he heard Trump’s explanation before. Cuomo’s problems are basically limited to those of New York City, and then the rest of the state. Trump’s problem covers all fifty states and every big city within them. Cuomo admitted that the problem is hard and not one he likes to be involved with.

While this is going on, I switched to a Sunday morning news panel and heard socialist panelists criticizing Trump’s handling of everything. “He lies all the time,” no, he changes the message based on new evidence. “He should have stopped traffic from China sooner.” Yes maybe he should have and you Mr/Ms reporter should have put your brain in gear sooner while learning to become a communist. It is no different on any other liberal news broadcast station, they are all spewing hate and negativity to convince the population that he is the wrong guy for the job, and anyone could do it better.

At the end, Cuomo spoke about the effect the Stay in Place policy is having on people. He rightly referred to it as Cabin Fever. Listing all the emotional and physical effects upon people who are being forced to live with their families full time. If this were a hundred years ago we wouldn’t have that problem because everyone in the family would be too busy working around the farm to keep things going, not playing video games or surfing the net for dumb stuff.

I never completed a course in statistics, but I learned enough about stats to know they are important. During Cuomo’s talk he explained a graph indicating that NY may’ve reached a peak of the deaths. The first question out of a reporter’s mouth was “can you predict when this will be over?” No, dummy, the next point may still be higher. Those who know a little bit about statistics may remember that the mathematicians will only call something a trend if there are seven points in a row that are all in the same direction. So even if Cuomo’s peak was at the pinnacle, no statistician would stick his neck out and make a prediction based on one point. The answer is we will know in a few days, seven to know for sure if this is a trend. If in two or  three days another point goes higher the answer is no we don’t know. What bothers me is the number of genius college educated people in this country who cannot understand the concept.

One thing I learned about data is that without statistics to interpret all you have are numbers. If you think you can predict the outcome of something based on one, two, or three numbers you are ill informed. I know from experience because I was  using a limited number testing process in my work and made wrong predictions daily. It wasn’t until I began to understand how statistics works did I have a Chinaman’s chance in hell to make progress in product development. When the light bulb finally went on above my head it occurred  to me that medical cures, drug efficacy, and medical procedures cannot be proven effective unless tested in sufficient numbers to be able to predict outcomes.

Politicians are not trained to understand the world of statistical proofs as an idea, nor is the American public. Therefore, when the reporter who barely knows how to wipe his ass asks a loaded question the politician deflects the response with a verbacious dialog intended to change the subject and confuse the question to end the discussion.

As far as cabin fever is concerned, I agree with Cuomo. We all suffer from it. While I folded my wash yesterday I began thinking about living alone. It is something I miss, but after being alone for ten months I am questioning whether I would ever be able to withstand living with someone again. I don’t mind visiting or visitors, but after the conversation is ended I want to go about my way again, alone. One day I miss being with a partner, and the next I cannot even think of it. Call it grief, call it being introverted, call it stupid, but the emotion exists as a real thing. Ask  yourself what you would do if the war was conventional and the enemy was shooting and dropping bombs? Would you risk going outside for a run, or a trip to the grocer? Most likely you would hunker down in the safest place you could find sit with your head between your knees, and your hands over your head and pray for it to end.

Days 5 & 6 of Self Quarantine

Oops! I missed another day of logging. Yesterday was day five and I let the day go by without writing a single word. Instead I surfed the net. I spent way too many hours looking at photos of celebrities and their children. It is a matter of being sucked in by a headline on an article that read “Robert Redford’s Beautiful Daughter” or some such thing. I must have looked at two hundred people before Redford came up, and was I disappointed. His daughter was not ugly, but she wasn’t gorgeous, she was ordinary.

Between that waste of time, I spent a few minutes replacing art work that I had taken down during the floor refinishing process. I read the last thirty pages of my book, and spent an hour working on my new intarsia project. The best thing I did all day was to go for my walk. I watched the Governor’s press conference where he announced that the Illinois will be on lockdown beginning Saturday.

After supper, I enjoyed a brief text session with a friend while we conducted a Virtual Happy Hour. I drank Scotch and she sipped an exotic chocolate-cherry liqueur.  We traded photos as proof of our activity.

Today, day six, has begun a little better. I folded my clothes, made my bed, concocted a KETO breakfast and moved some more furniture back into place. The remainder of the day I will spend in my workshop grinding on wood to remove all that does not look like a rose.

So far, my days in self quarantine are not much different than my normal days. Since I don’t have a partner to take care of I waste time and become bored. Except, I can’t go to the library (closed), or church (closed), or the grocery store (don’t need anything). What is different is that I am using the dishwasher more often and I set it on sanitize. Same holds true for the clothes washer.

I can’t get over how people complain about not having masks and gloves in hospitals. This morning I watched a news bit about a lady whose mission it is to make up kits with masks, gloves and sanitizer. She donates these to health care workers. I missed the part about where she gets her supplies.

Many people are in panic mode and buy their important needs to the point of absurdity. A friend sent me a photo of a lady with a rather huge derriere loading her SUV with jumbo packs of toilet paper. The truck was loaded and she still had a couple of shopping carts full of TP to load. Who needs that much stuff?  Then I watched a video by the History Guy explaining the history of toilet paper.

It seems TP is a relatively new invention. This history goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times.  The best part is the story about King Henry the VII who employed a special officer of the court to keep his butt wiped and clean all the time. Think about that the next time you feel your job is terrible.

I must clarify why I am in self-imposed quarantine. I have not come in contact with anyone who has been exposed to the corona virus. I don’t know anyone who has been exposed. I am just being a good citizen of Illinois trying to do my part to squash this terrible scourge.

Read up on the virus. It’s DNA does not  come from humans therefore our bodies do not have any resistance to corona at all. Virologists have little history to go by when trying to develop a vaccine. Talk about getting a problem with a blank history this is it.  Yesterday I read a news bit about how long the virus lives on different surfaces. It sounded like the study was developed in that last two weeks. If you want to kill the virus fast you must clad everything to own in copper. Corona virus does not like copper at all, but It loves stainless steel. Thank God I don’t have stainless steel appliances. The virus can live on stainless the longest.

After proof reading my words above, I’ve decided I really didn’t waste all of my time yesterday, I rather entertained myself with new knowledge.

 

What?

Today I read a short headline proclaiming that Chinese mega phone company Hua Wei is becoming the world’s leader in artificial intelligence infrastructure. Evidently, the Chinese want to know everything about you before you do. I only wish they would place particular emphasis on designing hearing aids for me that can differentiate between the noise of a crowded restaurant and the person sitting opposite me. If ever there was a need for artificial intelligence that would do it for me.

I am on my third set of Siemens hearing aids (eight years) and although I will admit they have made some progress in reliability, and in sound quality, hearing aids are still in the stone age. Siemens is the European version of General Electric, known for its advanced quality in all things electronic. When I bought my last set they changed the name of the hearing aid division from Siemens to Signia. A good move I thought, why tarnish your entire company by one poor division. Give it a new name and we dupes of the world will believe the product is better.

Ask anyone who uses hearing aids what they like about them and they will say, “I can hear.” Ask what they hate about them and they say, “I can’t hear.” The “I can’t” has to be qualified with I can’t hear in noisy environments. When I got my last set the audiologist sold me on the many wonderful ways the devices can be programmed. For instance, I have a setting for noisy environments which dulls the sound I hear. The only problem is that the AI required to separate noise from voice is still lost in China. The second setting is a super sound deadening for when I am running noisy machines in my shop. This setting is almost as good as removing the aids from my ears. A third setting trains my brain to forget I have tinitus or ringing in the ears. Basically the device plays one of six different alternate noises that are more pleasant over the top of the ringing (a form of noise cancelling). I used this setting every chance I got until I realized that the chances of killing the ringing is slim since my ears have been ringing for forty years. A few minutes of sound training a day is probably not going to shut that off.

There are a couple of things these aids do that I really like. I get the sound from the TV piped right into my ears. I like this so much that I have the TV on mute because it is easier to hear through the aids. I can also listen to the radio the same way. I need a smart phone and a radio app, but the bluetooth feature will send the sound right into my ears. This is useful for when I am mindlessly surfing the net, I can also listen to my favorite program. Because I have bluetooth, I am also able to control loudness from my phone or the bluetooth pendant I have hanging around my neck. The TV requires a special sending unit and the radio requires the phone. It only took me one year to learn how to control these connections because it was not obvious that when I want to watch TV I have to “pair” the TV sending unit to my pendant which then directs the sound into my ear. All of that should be totally automatic with no need for human intervention, training, and frustration. The pairing and the electronics should all be integrated in the hearing unit. If AI and the automated pairing were part of the package then I might believe the money I paid was worth it.

I am sure the next generation of hearing device that I buy will no doubt work on a network which means it will require user names and passwords to access anything. I can visualize it now. You ask me something and I say, “hold on while I input my user name and twenty character password.” After all, I wouldn’t want anyone to hack my hearing aids to hi-jack my brain.

Maybe if I live to be a hundred and eighty I’ll see some real progress in artificial intelligence come to fruition. In the meantime AI is just another acronym that people will try to impress us with.

I Am So Sorry I Am White

I am so sick of hearing people apologizing for being white. Each time, I say to myself, “this person is severely mentally warped.” What would that person want? Would they want to reverse the race of his/her parent? Why? and why would you be sorry for your parent’s race? There is nothing in the universe that one can do to change it.  I suppose if you are like the Rachel Dolezal dame who paints her face black, and gets her hair done in kinky curls that one can say they have done something about it. To me, people who apologize for their race have zero respect and love for their parents. There is absolutely no basis for apology. If anything I would criticize the parents for conceiving the child at all. Perhaps there should be an eleventh commandment added to the ten Moses brought down from the mountain. “Thou shalt not conceive a child with a person of your own race.” Maybe we should insist that at the time of birth we ask the child which race it wants to be. We’re headed that way with gender, why not race? Or better yet, we should make a law that once a woman announces she his pregnant that she have the embryo tested for DNA. If the child is pure white it must be aborted and the woman given a directory of men of non-white color for impregnation. How the hell stupid are we going to get?

Here is my proposal to fix the problem: Make everyone who apologizes for being white the slave of a black person.

These liberal progressives disgust me. I’m sure Dr. Frankenstein would reject them for a brain transplant.

I Finally Finished


In my old age I should know better than to struggle for twelve weeks to finish reading a book. My time on earth is rapidly diminishing and reading useless literature is not what I want to be known for. The book that almost broke my back is Alan Turing: The Enigma. I love the story of the Enigma. It is an important piece of WWII history. A machine invented by the Germans to scramble messages, it drove the British nuts. I saw the movie Imitation Game and loved the story. Following my rule that a book is usually  better than the movie I trusted my fellow reading club members that this was still true. Except, in this case the movie is infinitely better.

Who ever this author Andrew Hodges is, I will never read another of his works. This work is over six hundred pages of small print. The story could have been cut in half that amount of words and pages. True, trying to describe a mathematician’s work process and ideas is trying. None of Hodges’ descriptions of Turing’s early work while inventing the modern digital computer was understandable. The only way I was able to decipher what he was trying to say was by looking at Turing’s sketches of his early machine which contained a series of zeros and ones. It was then that I began to understand some of his gibberish. I learned to program an early digital computer using binary numbers which was the basis of the machine i learned to program.

This story convinced me that I abhor intellectual work and should refrain from reading it. I love good stories. I hate reading math books. Even a physics book is more exciting than a math book. Alan Turing was a pure mathematician and Hodges failed to tell his story in a simple understandable way. The last two hundred pages finally started to read well, but by then the story drifted away from math and toward the man and his life struggles.

I also like stories with short chapters. This work has boring with long chapters of a hundred pages or more. The chapters could be shorter. The author may have decided to cut some of them had he done so.

All in all, if you want to learn the story of the Enigma go see the movie “The Imitation Game.”

Five ughs.

Algorithm, the New Dirty Word

cake-algorithm

Since when did the word algorithm evolve into an evil demon? So often I hear of Facebook, and Twitter leaders refer to algorithms in an accusatory way. As if the word itself resides within the computer. I haven’t read anything about how the Silicon Valley gods have breathed life into computers. The lords at Facebook and Twitter have been caught with their pants down around their ankles and to weasel out of their dilemma they blame things on the mighty “algorithm.”

Here is the definition of algorithm:

a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer: a basic algorithm for division.”

So who is giving the computer instructions within the algorithm to screen conservative voices?  Certainly the computer does not have the intelligence to do anything by itself. I admit, the beauty of modern programming languages make it easier for a man to give the computer instructions, but once an algorithm process is defined it can only change if a man changes it. The lords may allude to artificial intelligence programs doing it, but I cannot buy that at this time. Artificial Intelligence or AI has been a concept floating around since before the eighties. Men keep envisioning a day when the AI computer will replace humans as workers. I remember when computer salesmen were selling us on the idea that we will have a computers on our desks and they will be able to  perform wonderful things. That was also in the nineteen eighties. Many of the things they promised then are just becoming useful to us today. My math says the “sell” took thirty-three years to become reality. I’ve seen some tremendous improvements in computers and in software during the years of my useful employment, but AI isn’t one of them. The closest application we’ve seen that uses AI is the self driving car. I applaud Google and Tesla for testing the self drivers on real highways. It is the only way they will ultimately prevail. What I don’t applaud them for is killing people during the test. The reason they have failures is that the sensors they install on cars are nowhere near the quality or comprehensiveness of the human senses feeding data to the greatest computer in the universe, the human brain. What I predict is that AI will not become a practical vehicle to replace humans in simple jobs for another thirty years.

The lowly algorithm is being used as a political ploy by the lords to sell a line of B.S. to a seemingly ignorant public. That is where the lords are getting it wrong, we aren’t ignorant. When Facebook screens content to prevent conservatives from having a voice they are denying us our Constitutional rights.

During the early twentieth century there were a number of mega-companies that got so big their lords felt they were invincible. Good old Uncle came to the rescue and filed lawsuits to break up their bigness. It seems to me it may be time for Uncle to kick into gear again and set some regulatory controls that will protect we the people from evil algorithms, or better yet the evil people who program the algorithms to do evil things.

LIFE 3.0

I just completed reading “Life 3.0, Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”  This was not one of my better selections, but I read it to the end anyway. The subject intrigued me. I first heard the term Artificial Intelligence used some thirty years ago, and it didn’t hurt me to finally learn something about the topic. Artificial intelligence refers to super computers with programs that learn, and adapt quickly. The only real example of AI that I know of is the IBM computer that beat the world champion Russian chess player at chess.

Behind the scenes that I am familiar with there is an army of people developing software and hardware to think like humans. The current rage of robots need AI to exist. Author Max Tegmark is obviously a genius at AI. He teaches at MIT and writes about two miles over my feeble brain level. I thoroughly enjoyed the Prelude titled The Tale of the Omega Team. This is a well drafted story of robots gifted with AI, and how they develop into a force we don’t want to reckon with. When I began reading The Tale of the Omega Team the story was totally believable given the advanced level of today’s technology. The story hooked me into complete concentration, but as the narrative developed I began to suspect Omega Team was toying with me. It was. As Omega used its experiences to learn, he quickly adapted to become smarter and smarter surpassing his creator in intelligence. The story became more and more preposterous, but still very believable. The Tale of the Omega Team could very well become a TV series.

The last two chapters were also very engrossing. Tegmark’s discussion on consciousness is very insightful, and one realizes that making an AI machine into a real human requires consciousness. How to do that is another monumental task. The last chapter deals with the people who are currently developing AI. However, they agree that developers need a set of rules by which to guide themselves to keep from creating AI monsters.

The chapters in between the Prelude and Consciousness were so steeped in physics, philosophy, and mathematics that I found them about as exciting as I did during college reading my books on differential equations, and meta-physics. The physics discussions were so far beyond my comprehension that I could have skipped them and been just as satisfied. Most probably, that is because my knowledge of physics peaked in 1960, and the physics in this tome has developed since then.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I am glad I finished. Because of the level of difficulty I have to rate this book at three stars. However, I rate the prelude, The Tale of the Omega Team five stars.

 

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