Friday, November 25, 2011

Printed Nazis Occupy Minikin!

Attack of the Killer Printers

It seems that the problem of world hunger will soon be a thing of the past. The rising technologies of in-vitro meat and 3D printers are blazing the trail to ensure that every person on earth will have the need for a drawer full of Tums.

The test tube meat should make for an interesting culinary experience. Just imagine going to a fine five-star restaurant and catching a glimpse of the kitchen as the waiter bangs through the swinging door. Instead of pots, pans, and cooking utensils, you see a myriad of beakers, Bunsen burners, petri dishes, and pipettes. Of course the lab techs would still be wearing the traditional chef hats.

Then there's the gastronomical promise from 3D printers. As long as the raw materials are available, these printers can actually reproduce an edible cake! I’m assuming you just throw some flour, cocoa, sugar, a couple of raw eggs and a few chopped walnuts into some sort of print cartridge. Don’t throw out your color ink cartridge yet; you may want to use it to add a little color to the icing. Then you copy and paste a picture of a delicious looking cake morsel to your desktop, select print, and voila! an output worthy of what’s sure to become your default print device.

Copy and paste this photo and then use it to print out a tasty slice of devil's food cake. 
Note: You must use a cake-producing printer. Regular printers will just print out tasteless paper crap.

These 3D printers can also print working tools. One shudders to think the future might be should these printers become coupled to super computers. They may someday be able to reproduce themselves. Given the proper raw materials, they may even be able to print out a race of hostile beings. They might try to take over the world! This would make for a great horror film: Attack of the Killer Printers. Too bad Ed Wood isn't sill alive to realize this.

The military will undoubtedly want to take advantage of this new technology. In fact, Canon could probably land a lucrative military contract to produce printers which make actual cannons.

Occupy Minikin

There have been a great deal of news items these days regarding protesters occupying parks in various cities. Recently, someone captured a video of a police officer pepper-spraying a group of peaceful protesters square in the face. What was remarkable about the incident was the matter-of-fact blasé manner in which the cop assaulted this group   as if he were the Orkin man using a can of pesticide to rid the garden of a few pesky aphids. Considering the fact that this was all caught on video and that it has garnered so much negative attention, this nonchalant nincompoop should consider himself lucky if he's not submitting a job resume to Orkin in the near future.

I personally haven’t eye-witnessed any instances of the occupy movement. It’s likely that our hamlet of Minikin is just too small. Besides we’ve no park to hold the protest in. But a couple of our residents could occupy the nearby Mini mini-putt and send a message to the fat cats that run that goofy golf course that we won’t stand for their economic policies. That mini-putt must rake in hundreds of dollars each season by gouging the wallets of the vacationing youngsters that descend upon our area during spring and summer.

And we're not worried about setting up tents for inclement weather. We can just throw a tarp over the windmill, or castle, or the frame that supports the swingy thing that always hits my ball.

A little civil disobedience in Minikin is sure to have enormous impact on Wall Street.

Jawohl Mine Heir born in my house is mine heir.
- Genesis 15:3

Here is a news item from QMI about a delightful little family:

"A New Jersey white supremacist couple, who have already had three kids seized from them by authorities, lost custody of their newborn son 17 hours after he was born. 

Heath and Deborah Campbell gained notoriety for giving their children Nazi-inspired names - Adolf Hitler Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell."

Aren't those lovely names? The report goes on to say:

"Authorities said that move was done because of past violence in the family, who lived in a home decorated with swastikas."

Doesn't that sound like a charming home? And finally:

"Both parents, according to court documents, have unspecified psychological and physical problems, have denied being neo-Nazis."

I’m not sure about that last line. If you give your kids names like Adolf Hitler and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, then I think your psychological problems are pretty specific. And they deny being neo-Nazis???!!! I guess they want to be thought of as classic old-time Nazis.

Can't you just picture Heath, Deboarah, Adolf Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, and Honszlynn Hinler all sitting around the piano in the parlor after Sunday dinner singing

...gimme that ol' time fascism
it's good enough for me...

... it was good enough for Hitler
 it’s good enough for me...

The news article also stated that the Campbells had previously gained notoriety when a store refused to decorate a birthday cake with the name Adolf Hitler on it.

Let’s just hope that if these people ever get their hands on those high-tech-produce-anything printers, they’ll just be content with creating a Hitler birthday cake and not a Hitler birthday.

And let's pray that we don't see a future where printer-produced Nazis occupy Minikin.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shoveling The Postulation

Forgive me, but it seems that I’ve incorrectly used the phrase “begging the question” in the past. For example, if I listened to what passes for music these days, I would have said that it begs the question, “why do we have ears?”

However, a little investigation reveals that I’ve been using the wrong phraseology. I should have been saying “raises the question".

From a Wikipedia article on begging the question:

Begging or assuming the point at issue consists (to take the expression in its widest sense) [of] failing to demonstrate the required proposition. But there are several other ways in which this may happen; for example, if the argument has not taken syllogistic form at all, he may argue from premises which are less known or equally unknown, or he may establish the antecedent by means of its consequents; for demonstration proceeds from what is more certain and is prior. Now begging the question is none of these. [...] If, however, the relation of B to C is such that they are identical, or that they are clearly convertible, or that one applies to the other, then he is begging the point at issue.... [B]egging the question is proving what is not self-evident by means of itself...either because predicates which are identical belong to the same subject, or because the same predicate belongs to subjects which are identical.

Which raises the question, “HUH?” defines the idiom as to assume the truth of the very point raised in a question.

That may be true, but, the examples used by many to to illustrate what begging the question is are statements, such as; “He is ugly because he’s unattractive” or  “Lying is wrong, because we ought always to tell the truth”.  Those in the supposed know will claim that those statements beg the question. Period.

Someone from another web site had this to say on the subject:

The phrase BEG THE QUESTION dates back to Aristotle and means to make the logical mistake of assuming the very thing that is to be proved (or in Latin ‘petitio principii,’ to beg the main point, assume without proof). Since 1990, however, it has sometimes been used to mean avoiding a straight answer. And an even more recent usage is ‘to raise the question.’ Since its meaning is now ambiguous it’s probably best to avoid it altogether and if one means ‘raise the question,’ just say so.

I think we should heed the advice in the quote above and just avoid the phrase altogether. Apparently, no one can figure out what it really means. It sounds as if Aristotle or whoever, just chose an arbitrary verb to describe a grammatical action. We could easily say that a sentence like, “Snow is cold because it is frozen precipitation” shovels the postulation.

So the next time you find yourself in a conversation and someone expresses some gobbledygook like,“Circular reasoning is different from the informal logical fallacy “begging the question", as it is fallacious due to a flawed logical structure and not the individual falsity of an unstated hidden co-premise as begging the question is” just look at them with pity and exclaim in the most patronizing tone you can muster, “That shovels the postulation. In fact, it shovels more than just postulation". You’ll undoubtedly make quite an impression.

On another grammatical note, one morning earlier this month, I was on the web site where I saw the word of the day was keif  meaning drowsiness or dreamlike intoxication.

However, the pronunciation guide on the site had spelled it phonetically as keyf. Now I had correctly assumed it was pronounced to rhyme with leaf, or beef, or Donovan's Reef. But ey could sound like a long a, as in whey, or hey, or Susan Dey.

For some reason, I needed to know right away at 7AM how this word was pronounced. So I powered on my computer speakers and turned the thumbwheel down to adjust the volume to its lowest setting. At least I thought I had turned it that way. Apparently I had cranked the volume to the max. I leaned in close to place my delicate ear next to the speaker. I clicked on the sound symbol to hear the pronunciation from the demure female voice of An ear-splitting stentor blasted at me,


I was expecting my wife to storm into the room and whack me over the head with the keyboard. Actually, she’s very sweet. She just calmly walked over to where I was sitting and disconnected the speakers from the computer. She then grabbed the car keys, proceeded outside to the driveway, and ran over the speakers with our SUV. Not that it mattered much. I think they were pretty well blown at that point. My ears, that is.

Now I can "listen" to today's "music" in ignorant bliss. Which shovels the postulation...  well, never mind.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goodbye Antler River – Hello Minikin Ontario

Greetings dear reader. I hope you weren’t literally holding your breath in anticipation of my next blog entry. But perhaps with bated breath you now see that a new post has finally arrived.

Note that I didn’t write “baited breath”. I’m sure that everyone who reads my blog has breath that smells mighty alluring, but the correct phrase is bated breath. I think.

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

-  Cruel Clever Cat by Geoffrey Taylor

By the way, this is the first post from our new headquarters in Minikin Ontario.

“Never heard of the damn place”, you say. Well, you’re not alone. This place is small —  it’s tiny, minuscule, microscopic, Lilliputian; I dare say it’s almost non-existent.

It's too small to be called a town or even a village. Hamlet sounds right. That word evokes an image of a small place just big enough to house a few hamsters.

Minikin is so small that the sign welcoming you here says “Thank you. Come again!” on its other side.

Minikin is so small that the largest industry is Johnny and Suzie’s lemonade stand. The main source for news and information here is… well, you’re reading it.

And it’s not easy to find. To paraphrase my brother’s directions for getting here: You head north off the main highway onto Concession 3B until you reach East Horse Manure Road. Head west on East Horse Manure Road until you reach the second cornfield. Turn right midway down the cornfield and go about nine rows down. Turn left and ramble through a couple of acres until you get to a farmhouse. Walk up to the farmhouse, knock on the door, and ask the occupant, “Where the hell is Minikin?”

My brother likes to exaggerate. You only have to go down about six corn rows.

Speaking of horse manure, there was an article in today's Antler River Free Press about the theft of a manure hose. This is a special hose that is used to spread liquid manure. It is reported that the stolen hose was "valued" at between $15,000 and $20,000!!! Now that's one expensive fluid crap conduit!

The best part of the Free Press article is this last line, "The was coupled together in 200-metre sections. The first was black and the rest were orange." 

Do not you just love when you see writing like that that's real good? The proofreaders and editors is doing good job. 

I'm not sure what difference it makes what color the hose was. Perhaps for identification? My guess is that the police would be better off using their noses rather than their eyes when trying to locate the pilfered putrid poop pumper.

But let's get back to Minikin. One nice thing about this hamlet is that it is located on the shores of Lake Huron. Although my wife and I don’t have a lake view, we do often have a nice panorama of our neighbor swilling beer while sitting in a lawn chair next to a pickup truck in his driveway. However if you press the right side of your face hard against our side window and look to the far left, you can get a small glimpse of some water.

And we have a beach! Personally, I'm a cold weather kind of guy. However, not every month can be a snow shoveling one, so I do have to spend some time each year sweating it out in the midday sun. Lured with the bate bait  enticement of the cool water, I do take frequent swims in the world's largest freshwater lake

I actually went for a dip in the lake this November. And that water was COLD — colder than a snow-shoveler's implement. Due to that feat of lunacy, I've quickly gained a reputation as the wild man of Minikin. Even a hamlet has to have at least one wild man.

Even so, I'm not crazy enough to steal a manure hose.