Tuesday May 18, 2021
Marjorie Taylor Greene is being reported (hailed?) as the face of the Republican Party. Some are aghast. I ask, “Why?” As in “Why are you aghast?”
They, the Republicans, have been working for this moment for decades. This is who they are and who they have been for years. Fox News just put them on rocket fuel to get here quicker.
Some might want to stop and consider if they want to follow an unhinged lunatic, but they’ve already decided that. They did when they elected Trump. ( I was cleaning up some old files and ran across articles about the 2016 election being rigged and stolen – by Republicans. Why did Ohio turn off the security on their voting machines? And questions like that. )
Years after Pavlov, another person (Russian I think) did experiments to bring out various traits in dogs. He could bred a dog to be mean or gentle. Same breed, different outcome. One or two generations was all it took.
I’ve got to wonder if this isn’t what has happened to the Grand Olde Party. But then again there was always an undercurrent of racism and a cheat to win attitude.
Things have gotten bad in Israel. Two questions: 1) Will Israel stop stealing land from the Palestinians and building settlements on it? 2) Will Hamas stop shooting rockets into Israel?
No and no? Okay, then cue “Blowing in the Wind.”
I gave a talk yesterday on Egypt to my niece’s third grade class via a Microsoft type Zoom link. I was wondering at what level I should aim the talk. It’s hard to know when everyone is a little screen on your computer. At the end, the first question I got was on Khufu’s boat, discovered at the base of the Great Pyramid in 1954, “Was the boat named after Ra?” Good question. I don’t know. I think I aimed my talk a little too low. Turns out archaeologists aren’t sure either. Could be.
I’m also reading a book on quantum physics. The intro to the book, actually the first chapter, which was an intro to the subject, was the author noting that although he had studied physics in college and had gone on to a long career in Astrophysics, he never really understood quantum physics and in particular Bell’s Theorem.
He realized that in much of his college career there were things he didn’t really understand, but he could get by because he could do the homework and spit back whatever he had heard. But understanding? Especially on quantum physics and Bell’s Theorem in particular? No real understanding.
How refreshing to hear someone say that!
I remember teaching a course in C Programming and the Unix Operating System. I got to the slide explaining how the operating system transferred control to the compiled C program when I realized I had no idea. Up until that moment, I thought I knew. I looked out at the faces of the students waiting for me to tell them something, when I realized I didn’t understand it.
I was lucky. I called a break because I told them there was something I didn’t understand and needed to check out.
Fortunately, this point is a sticking point with a lot of people (I think, because time is spent explaining it).
The Operating System passes three values to the about-to-run C program.
Two of those values are addresses to another place in the computer’s memory. In those two places are lists of other variables and their values. What are those two places named? They aren’t. And that is where I was hung up.
Boy do I remember that feeling of not knowing and that realization.
To understand what you don’t know with enough specificity that you can go try and look for an answer is a terrific thing. It starts with a realization. A realization that you don’t know something.
In other stuff, The Supreme Court is going to hear an argument from a case in Mississippi designed specifically to challenge and hopefully (in the eyes of what are now called conservatives) overturn or sharply restrict Roe v Wade.
I wonder if they will do it? And I wonder what the reaction will be?
Ah me. Will have decades to find out.
I watched a little bit of a show called “Unexplained and Unexplored.” The god awful show where two bros go wandering around the world looking for answers, find none and move on to the next episode. There’s the guy with the slick backed black hair. He’s always got this serious looking face. I especially like it when he asks a really dumb question and can maintain that look. Maybe, it’s botoxed in? I dunno. Okay, I’m being unfair. The questions he asks, in and of themselves, aren’t dumb. The problem is that they are questions that people have been asking for years and to get any understanding you’d have to demonstrate a little more knowledge. It would be akin to asking Eric Clapton if you could have a 30 minute lesson from him and would that let you play like him? Well, maybe…?
So here’s the show’s formula of scenes:
Opening – “I’m slick backed hair guy with a perpetual serious look on my face. I call myself a world explorer. Joined by my friend, the guy who jumps in with a possible answer at just the right moment, we are determined to solve some of the world’s biggest mysteries by reading maps. We call them ancient maps. If we could just read them …”
Middle scenes – Following an intense discussion between us we determine that there is something mysterious and many people have tried to solve the mystery. We are going to solve it. We are going to read a map. There are places on the map that are mentioned in the mystery. Let’s go to those places and we’ll start by enlisting an expert to mention a few things to us.
Then I will give him my very serious look while I ask a seemingly ludicrous question like “Is that where the treasure is buried?” Or “Could this be the meaning of life?”
Because this expert is getting paid he says, “Could be.”
Late middle scenes – We go diving, digging, or hiking. We look at things. We point to them. We wonder, “Could this be it?” (Answer: “Could be.”)
We get very excited!!! This could be it.
Last scene – We may have found … Yes, that is it. We found it. But we don’t have time, gotta go. Onto the next adventure.
The episode I was watching was looking for where the ancient Egyptians can from. (Answer: Out of the Western Desert. The Sahara used to be a savannah, but things changed. It dried up. They moved to the Nile. But let’s see what the bros discover.)
I got seven minutes in and had to take a breather.
I think my two bros should tackle quantum physics. “Do you think this is what causes quantum entanglement?” (Could be.)
What about Bell’s Theorem? “To find out we consult ancient black boards, and books.” Then we go somewhere to talk to somebody who has spent their whole life trying to answer the question we will pose questions to him (or her).
“You know Bell’s Theorem is really hard to understand.” (“Yes, I know.”)
“Do you think you could explain it to us?” ( – Are you friggin’ kidding me? You guys are idiots. – “Well, I can try.” )
“You know Bell’s Theorem is really hard to understand.” (“Yes, We’ve been over that.”)
“We’ve got like 30 seconds for you to explain this, then we have to go dig, dive, or wander around.” (“Okay, perfect Bell’s Theorem is spelled B-E-L-L and it is the key to understanding quantum physics.”)
Time for slick back hair guy’s serious face stupid question, “So if we understand Bell’s Theorem we understand quantum physics?” (“You could say that.”)
“Okay, gotta go investigate, do you think the Hadron Collider is in use? We want to see if we can turn hydrogen and oxygen into water or the other way around.” (“It probably is in use, but you never know. By the way, you can do what you claim you want to do with a high school chemistry set.”)
“What? And miss a scene of me pushing a button on the collider and looking in the area where atoms collide?”
Confession time – I’m really pissed and envious that these two get all kinds of cool equipment and time to go do this stuff.
I finished watching the Egypt episode. I was thinking about the shots. There’s the drone shot of them in the car. The conversation in the car shots. (What is that two cameras mounted on the side of the windshield inside the car? And don’t forget the camera in the back for the 3/4 head shot and the looking down the road shots. Then they get side scan sonar to do a grid search of the Red Sea. There’s dive equipment. There’s all the places they went and people they got to interview.
So to conclude their answer to the question, “Where did the ancient Egyptians come from?”
They ask a guy who shows them a mound and says it’s the first pyramid in Egypt and it is from Dynasty 0.
Cool. Where should we go next?
I’m interested in this because I want to see the temple. On the walls are pictures and hieroglyphs that talk about Hatshepsut sending an expedition to “the Land of Punt.”
The bros go. The bros see. The expert there says that the Hatshepsut’s trip was by boat on the Red Sea for 40 days.
It was interesting to learn that the conclusion of it being on the Red Sea by my bros was based on the sea creatures depicted on the wall. They are creatures from the Red Sea. (Of course, if they could have red the glyphs they might have now this too..but.)
Okay, now the bros decide to drive to the Red Sea. There’s a road that take them there! How exciting! This route has been used for thousands of years. And by driving and drone shot we see they are getting close! They suppose that when they get to the end of the road there will be a town, which could serve as a port. Brilliant! No one ever thought of that before. (Yeah, right.)
They get to the port. Get a boat. Drop a side sonar and they find wrecks on the bottom of the Red Sea. They dive. They conclude that because the first wreck is made of iron it’s not what they are looking for. Totally brilliant. The second wreck is at 200 feet, beyond their level of clearance. They send the fat older dive masters to look. Serious slick back hair guy is on the two way mic topside. “What’s your depth?” Fascinating. Then they lose radio contact! OMG, can you stand it! Then the diver are back in radio range. They’ve taken pictures. They think the bros will like them. They show amphora, the ancient two handle pointy bottom containers used in the ancient world to hold wine or olive oil. Boy are the bros excited! This proves that this port was used by Hatshepsut! (What? Wait. No. It shows that a boat that was from ancient times sank here. That shows that this place two miles off the coast of the place where you just were was no doubt used in ancient times. You could have asked somebody who knows about this stuff and they could have told you that.)
Amazingly they go talk to someone who knows something and he shows them what they found in the Red Sea in an old wreck. Wow.
So the land of Punt is thought to be at the very end of the Red Sea and this is what the bros conclude and so the ancient people that settled Egypt must have come from there. On to the next adventure.
Wait. Let’s review a few basics. Like Dynasty 0 or Dynasty 1 was like 3,000 BCE and Hatshepsut was 1,500 BCE. So what happened in the intervening 1,500 years? You know like Hat was in Dynasty 18, you skipped a sh*tload of dynasties, pharaohs and what not.
Oh well, I got to see the hieroglyphs on Hatshepsut’s temple of the trip to Punt.
PS The kid at Fun City. Actually, it’s two crane machines that you can try to pick up a plush toy and drop it in the hole. So exciting. At a rest stop in Maryland on the way to see the grandchild.
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