Frank Lloyd Wrong

Tucson, Arizona (10/4/1971)

Abdicating to Anarchy
I have noticed a strange decision, or lack of a decision, in certain private spaces, that may serve as a metaphor, or a guide for modern thinking in society at large. It has to do with the self-checkout layout in modern stores. It has to do with the ruleset surrounding the lines. Basically, the stores have abdicated to anarchy. It's interesting. Someone had to do calculations or test a model, or possibly watch hours of video to come up with this idea. When there is a new way of doing things, there must be a ruleset to go along with it. If there's a new lane for "High Occupancy Vehicles" on the highway, then a new ruleset must be constructed to go along with it. And that means there will be unexpected interpretations of the new ruleset.

And this happened in the self-checkout. The stores had a choice. They could establish a ruleset and make it obvious and unavoidable, or they could say, "Anything goes!" And they consciously chose "Anything goes!" And I think I know why. If you establish a ruleset, by say, posting a sign that says, "LINE FOR ALL CHECKSTANDS FORMS HERE" then you are inviting unexpected interpretations, and further, you are expecting angry customers to come to YOU for resolution of the unexpected interpretations. For instance... Say someone stands in the line when it is short, their place comes up, they walk over to the open self-checkout stand, start the process and then, "Oops! I forgot a few things!" Ha ha! What a forgetful Sally you are! So, they walk away and get five or six things. Where does one draw the line? The same "accidents" cause problems at "counter serve" restaurants. Well, not accidents... The same thing happens when you go to a "counter serve" restaurant.

Let's say there's one group in front and three open tables when you walk into a "counter serve" restaurant. You stand in line, get a menu and wait. Then the people in front of you are, of course, taking their merry time ordering. And another group walks in. They see a bunch of people standing in line, and what do they do? They walk over to one of the three open tables and put down their coats and purses and shit and then get in line behind you. Well... it's no big deal. There are still two open tables, and at the rate the assholes in front of you are ordering, some other table will probably leave before you sit down anyway. And then another group comes in and sees an even bigger line and pulls the same stunt as the group directly behind your group... coats and tables in an open booth. Now, you are screwed.

And what happens? You end up sitting outside or something. You sit down at a table that just cleared out and someone who works at the restaurant gets all huffy at your group for making unnecessary work. But it's NOT YOUR FAULT. It's the fault of the assholes who came in after you and put their shit down. If they hadn't done that then you would have sat at an open table and the table that you are now sitting at would have been cleared while they ordered. But they had to fuck shit up.

Same sort of thing back at the grocery store with someone standing in line, getting the self-checkout and then running off to actually do their shopping. I haven't seen that happen, actually, but I am sure it does. The point is this: When the establishment doesn't use signs or other explicit indicators to demonstrate what behavior is expected, people will do whatever the fuck they want to do. People might do whatever the fuck they want to do even when signs and other behavioral cues are in place in any case. So no matter what happens, when things get busy, there will be conflict.

Here's the rub: If the establishment makes rules, when people find "exceptions" that happen to favor them (and some people are experts at finding "emergencies" and "exceptions" that give them priority) then the people they are fucking over, the people behind them in line will blame the establishment. But if the establishment makes no attempt at establishing a ruleset, then people will blame the violator. And hold the establishment blameless. And this is happening often in places where rulesets should be strict. The establishments, by abdicating to anarchy, are shifting the responsibility onto the customers to come up with techniques and strategies to insure fair access. It's a really shitty thing to do. Now in addition to checking out and paying for your crap, you have to negotiate a complicated set of behaviors with strangers with absolutely no cues or behavioral standards.

I didn't make it clear... the main conflict is... Let's say there are six checkout stands. Are there six lines, one for each checkstand? Are there two lines, one for the checkstands on the right, and one for the checkstands on the left? Or is there one line for all six? You go and stand there in the middle, but if you are off to one side or the other, then some guy behind you looks at the situation, and sees that one of the customers on the right group of three is about to be done, and this guy... this asshole... decides, because at this moment it favors him, that the "rule" is two lines, one for each group of three checkstands. And he comes up and stands to your side. What do you do? What can you do? He knows he's being an asshole. And you know for good and goddamn sure that if you did the same thing to him, he would suddenly decide that the rule is, "one line for all six checkstands."

Electoral College Hijinks: NOT GONNA HAPPEN
Flyin' Dandy
The only conceivable way that electoral college hijinks could prevent a Trump Presidency (however brief it turns out to be), from happening is if Texas electors come to believe that there is a conspiracy among Florida electors in cahoots with Republican electors from several other states to vote for Jeb Bush, and in retaliation, the Texas electors defect in significant numbers for Rick Perry. And simultaneously, perhaps, some Utah electors defect for Evan McMullin. So... if enough paranoid Texans defect for Perry, and enough paranoid Floridians defect for Bush, the combined efforts would then send the top three vote getters to CONGRESS. So, there would be Trump with 269 or fewer electoral college votes, Clinton with 232 and either Bush or Perry with who knows... 20 or so?

Whichever Republican can ring enough phones in the next week to get 20 electors to defect has a decent shot at the White House, for real. Is there any chance that the Republicans would go for this? Any? NONE WHATSOEVER. It is pure folly. It's freakin' Monkeyshines! They would go from having a President who lost the popular vote by 2,700,000 votes (and counting) to having a Usurper who was put in place by Congress. EVEN CONGRESS WOULD NOT WANT THIS. And there is a good chance that if it went to Congress, Congress would install Trump ANYWAY. This Electoral College Hijinks Nonsense is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Hope I'm wrong!

Out of Control Advice
Sometimes advice takes a very bad form. People get "stuck" on certain things, and these things spiral out of control. An analogy would be how in society, a police state can form out of bad or misinformation. All problems lead to the same answer: More police. Crime is up! More police! Crime is down! The police are working, MORE POLICE! Crime is flat. Better not risk a crime wave, MORE POLICE! No matter what the situation is, the answer, to some people, is MORE POLICE. This really happens with firefighters. Suggest a modest cut in expenditures on firefighting and watch the world explode around you...

There are many places, where this out of control advice loop happens. One of them, that took me ten fucking years to discover is in breadmaking. This is a little different than the "more police" loop. This advice stems from the assumption that you, the baker, are actually a lying, self-deceiving, impatient moron. So, if you say, "My bread is not coming out full and fluffy," everyone will tell you, "let it rise longer." No matter what the problem is, the answer is always that you are impatient. The more you protest, the more people will tell you that the problem is YOU, and that you are a moron and you need to let the bread rise for longer. I was letting bread rise for 24 hours and telling "experts" on the internet that that's what I was doing. And I WAS doing it, and they would respond, "Let it rise for longer."

They were assuming that I was an impatient moron (like they were) and that when I said 24 hours that I was lying, and that I was mixing up hours and minutes or something stupid like that. I wasn't. I was overly patient. I was exactly the opposite of all the impatient morons they had dealt with a hundred times before. They never considered that someone might actually take their advice. Because everyone is an impatient moron. And here's the key... THEY NEVER ACTUALLY TIMED HOW LONG THEY LET THEIR OWN BREAD RISE. They just "figured" that they were letting their bread rise for two hours because it "seemed like" two hours to them. But actually, they were only letting their bread rise for a half hour. So, THEY are the impatient morons, and this advice gets coded into EVERY bread recipe out there.

No one says, "Get a timer, and let your bread rise for 45 minutes." They say, "Well... if I say 45 minutes people will let the bread rise for 15 minutes, so I better say 2 hours so they let it rise for 45 minutes." And that's how the bad advice loop gets rolling.

I managed to uninstall the realtime kernel
I managed to uninstall the realtime kernel and zotz all the old kernels. This morning... New kernel in the update queue! It looked like it was going to reinstall a realtime kernel. I did it just to see. And the update figured out that I don't want a realtime kernel!

$ uname -r

See? Things worked out. Now I have to redo the whole machine and update to 16.04 on a solid state drive. This will require some plumbing. And I am going over to a new monitor too. New monitor, new harddrive, all kinds of new doo-dads. There are a few things I am worried about...

_ getting the scanner to work in the new install
_ the "Super" key
_ my bookmarks
_ gedit script thing-a-ma-bobs

Maybe I should just start from scratch? Screw it! Go for it! That sort of thing. Getting rid of the real time kernel did nothing to stop the crashing... I think it's coming from shockwave, flash and chromium fighting each other. Adobe apparently is angry at the open source world lately.

"Todo" list morphs into rolling failure pile
Does anyone else have a "todo" list that turns into a rolling failure pile? Because a "todo" list is eventually going to accumulate certain types of items. These items are complex, multi-stepped, ambiguous, difficult, and their success or failure have lots of implications. Let's look at a concrete example. I have had, on my todo list, a rolling item for a long time now, maybe six months. I can't get it done, and I can't break it into discrete steps. It appears like this:

_ uninstall realtime kernel

It just rolls from day to day, along with things like "_ get a job" or "_ lose weight." There's no real way to break these things down into discrete steps because "step one" would be something like, "_ overcome overwhelming existential dread and fear" and step two would be, "_ press button." And all these things trigger a cascade of anxiety in my mind, which lead to me looking out helplessly over a wreck half-undone and three-quarters-not-started "projects." But I will try to elucidate "_ uninstall realtime kernel" and why something so seemingly simple is heart attack inducing.

I got this machine seven years ago with ONE idea in my mind. I would use to make multi-track recordings. I would generate "click tracks." Then I would listen to the click track while recording another track. It's pretty simple. That's what I wanted to do. And I have NEVER been able to get it to work. Not for a day, not for an hour. There have been countless positive leads, almost-works, nearly-theres, I think I can I think I can, I KNOW I CAN I KNOW I CAN, and... I can't. But... I THINK I CAN.

One of these missteps was the installation of a "realtime kernel." And I think the realtime kernel is fucking everything else up. But there is no real easy way to uninstall a kernel. Well... there is, sort of, but not, but yes, but this other thing, but if I do it, I could screw up this, or that, or that thing, or maybe I should. Should I? Shouldn't I? I don't know. Maybe? Ehh? What if... and so on and so on and so on. And I am not just typing a random pastiche of thoughts. There are things behind ALL of those. And ALL of the things behind all of those sentiments lead to their own rabbit holes of similar thoughts.

Then I start thinking about other things. And those things are their own endless labyrinths of maybes, possibly, might, kinda, ehh..., I don't know, NO!, maybe sorta...

_ uninstall realtime kernel
  _ uninstall old kernels

There. There is a possible, discrete, first step. What is involved in uninstalling old kernels. I think I have a list of steps somewhere that I have worked out...

dpkg -l | fgrep linux-image- > image_list
   # lists all the kernels (fgrep not necessary, grep works)
uname -r
   # lists the kernel currently running
sudo apt-get purge
   # zotz all the packages you want to zotz
sudo apt-get autoremove
   # Zotz dependencies that are no longer required
sudo update-grub
   # So it doesn't go looking for shit that ain't there. I think this runs automatically.

sudo purge-old-kernels --keep 3

That's something I should do today. It doesn't really help, actually. I will get the list down to two kernels one is the generic kernel and the other is the realtime kernel. The final step SHOULD be to simply eliminate the realtime kernel while the computer is up and running in the generic kernel. But the Linux world is FILLED to the brim with situations like this... That SEEMS like the obvious thing to do. But no one would ever say to DO IT or NOT TO DO IT. If you ask, "Should I do this?" People say, "That's one way to do it..." and then go off on a rant about something that has nothing to do with what you are trying to do. If you do it, and then there are problems, people say, "You should never have done that!" Why didn't you do this or that or the other thing?

And Linux (really, all computer systems) has all these commands that are mixed bags. In one mode they do what they do, and in another mode they just give information. So something like:

killallhumans -hair=blonde -eyes=blue

Is a nice straightforward tool that kills all blonde-haired, blue-eyed humans. But if you just want to list all these humans you would do something like:

killallhumans -l -hair=blonde -eyes=blue

See the little -l? That makes a BIG DIFFERENCE. The -l means "just LIST all the blonde-haired, blue-eyed humans." And then there can be other switches that make a big difference.

killallhumans -v -hair=blonde -eyes=blue

That might mean kill all humans who aren't blonde-haired and blue-eyed. It's a lot of punch to pack into a single little -v. You don't want to mistype that. And why is it -v? I don't know, look in the manpages.

The Linux world is filled with these little tools that can deal out big damage depending on what swtiches you put on the command line, or what you forget. And there is no way to distinguish between "exploratory" programs and "execution" programs. Often the difference is just a little doo-dad switch, usually a -i, -v, -l or something like that. Sometimes it's a horrible combo like: --info=list or --list=info or --list=all.

Anyway, I am going to go delete a bunch of old kernels now.

Is there a method?
Is there a method for measuring or monitoring currency flow within an exchange system?

There must be. The currency itself is a essentially a... uh... metric that represents (allegedly) value. Therefore, the currency system itself is what I am looking for. But information is hidden in the currency system. There is great transparency at some points (where it serves the people the system is set up to serve) and bewildering murikiness at other points (for example when corporations "depatriate" and "repatriate" their money). This transparency/opacity is itself a way of making (or destorying) currency out of nothing.

[I typed "destorying" when I meant "destroying" again. It's a slip, but one I feel has a great amount of meaning.]

Currency systems have this way of "eating" everything they come in contact with. Let's say you were alive 800 years ago anywhere in the world. "Work" would be something you did like... breathing, eating or sleeping. It wasn't really connected to any sort of currency system. There was a quasi-currency system of the internal trust-metering social network that we all build in our heads: Francois is a good guy. He gave me the same number of eggs even though he knew that my butter was a little waxy (whatever butter does when it's not quite as good as it should be 800 years ago). Next time, Francois gets first dibs on butter. Stuff like that. The general tally of who we owe, and who owes us. This turns into a general tally of who is "trustworthy" and who is not. It is a kind of currency, but it is not discrete or measurable in any way.

But once "money" infects a society, or an aspect of society, then that game is about money. And we've all watched this happen in our own lives. "Social Media" is an engine... a tally-keeping meter that has hidden parts (almost everything) and visible parts, that is designed to (or rather has evolved to) monetize our French peasants internal, natural trust-tally system.

In all currency systems, there MUST be "flow". This is a largely ignored (except by Economists, I reckon) concept. When currency "freezes" it starts to "rot" in a way. It MUST flow. THE SPICE MUST FLOW.

Since flow is so essential to the functioning of a currency cycle, and the currency cycle is essential to the systems (trust, attention, resources, carbon, oxygen, CO2, etc...) it allegedly monitors. We MUST have or develop a measure of this flow, and where the flow is "blocked" and currency is piling up, and where the flow is starved, and systems are in a state of "rot" or "decay." But I know of no such system. But we see the results in reality of a lack of this system. There is both a lack of awareness and a lack of control.

FOR INSTANCE, there is a battle for "control" of two markets right now, that we are fighting blindly. The one system is our beloved money system. The other system is nature's glorious carbon cycle. Our money system, through ignorance (deliberate or not) thinks of itself as infinite, boundless, powerful. Meanwhile, carbon has been "put out there" in the form of CO2 and the resultant energy of burning fossil fuels. And it MUST BE PUT BACK in the form of "carbon capture." If this does not happen, EVERY CURRENCY SYSTEM that is related to carbon (which is ALL of them), will suffer unintentional blockages to flow. Rot and decay will set in. "Productive" areas of the planet will turn into deserts, and so on. From the perspective of the "money" system, the "carbon problem" is a blockage in and of itself. Because "productive" (in that they serve a class of people who control violence--another currency) relationships will be "disrupted" by the necessity of capturing carbon and storing it so that the atmosphere doesn't... you know... KILL US. This is seen as a "waste" in the money system for some reason.

This is bizarre, because people LITERALLY taking money out of the system and putting it in a big pile and DOING NOTHING with it is somehow NOT seen as a "waste" in the money system. Which is hilarious to me. This is because, I think, the money system and violence system of currency are intertwined and trapped in self-perpetuating loops.

We know where we are going to end up. We are going to end up building solar collectors that power atmospheric collectors that capture CO2, release the oxygen and convert the carbon into a long term storage medium... probably graphite, as it is stable, dense, and cheap, compared to say... diamonds. We MUST do this if we want to have anything close to our current lifestyle. And there is more we must do... in the water cycle and the "wild" cycle, if we are to have any hope at all of a future with billions of people on the planet. We really, literally, DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE in this matter.

And this begins, I think, by making certain people understand that like violence, trust, attention, and productivity, carbon is a system THAT MUST FLOW. That what burns must return. If it does not return then that failure will inevitably cause blockages in other currency systems, and these will not be productive blockages (like pooling wealth, for instance, which serves a function), but rather strangulating, rotting, decaying blockages... like a stroke. We're gearing up for an "eco-stroke" in both senses of the fragment "eco." And the blockage WILL BE the failure to return atmospheric carbon to a stable, solid (as in phase of matter) form of one sort or another. I prefer graphite.

Which is to say... We should be MAKING COAL, not burning it.

Weird Trope/Meme

We watch The Walking Dead and last week's episode had a narrative trope that I think is a little annoying. First of all, I can't remember who any of these people are. The episode begins with "The Lesbian" and "The Braids Guy" in a camper. We are supposed to like them, I think. The show has gotten a lot of criticism for killing the black guy... Anyway, "The Lesbian" and "The Braids Guy" are separated on the bridge. And the episode is about whether or not we believe people are inherently good or bad. Is cynicism a good strategy? Is evil real? That sort of thing. During the separation we are left to wonder, "Did 'The Braids Guy' abandon 'The Lesbian' on the bridge?" Thus confirming that we are all alone in the world and we can't rely on anyone, people will always put their own interests above others, and cynicism is the best strategy.

Eventually, "The Lesbian" makes it back to the bridge, where in a flashback it is revealed that "The Braids Guy" did NOT in fact abandon her, and therefore trust is the best strategy. While not everyone is good, some people are EVIL, most people ARE good and can be trusted. But where is "The Braids Guy" now? Did he survive? Oh no! There is a person who resembles "The Braids Guy" but is a zombie. Wait... they turn around... It is NOT "The Braids Guy!" It's just a fucking Rando! Yay! Fuck that random person! We are glad they are dead and not "The Braids Guy!" What a relief.

And this is irksome to me, because Rando was probably just as good a person as "The Braids Guy" for all we know. Poor Rando is just a tool in the narrative like a Henchman. I just think it's rude that some person's life is just used as a sort of punchline in the story.

(Says the guy who refers to the main characters as "The Braids Guy" and "The Lesbian.")

Blazing Through 20 Years...
They are playing "nice" now. And on January 21st they are going to toss out the filibuster and push 20 years of the most insane bullshit through so fast we won't even know what to put on our newly illegal protest signs. New "dissent" laws. New police powers... You name it. And they'll finally put the ridiculous laws they already have into place... Private prisons, $500 a day. A return to debtor's prisons. Debt peonage. People dying of preventable diseases. New "emergency powers." This is whether or not Trump approves. He will have to sign everything they say, or they'll impeach him and Pence will be their rubber stamp. Who knows what they have in the queue? They probably don't even know. Passed and signed, passed and signed, passed and signed. Goodbye ACA. Goodby Roe v. Wade. Goodbye EPA. Goodbye Medicare. Goodbye Social Security. The whole country is an open air prison now.


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