Category Archives: Psychological Musings

Brute force

artificial-intellQuantity is quality, attributed to Joseph Stain (although he probably said Quantity has a quality all its own).

Nvidia is a graphic chip builder who, more or less accident, has become the Intel of artificial intelligence. As games became graphic centric, they needed processors that handled a massive amount of information. Quickly. It turns out that as chips fast enough to make Modern Combat 5 work so well also worked for artificial intelligence. As I understand it, artificial intelligence is just lots of memory – and storage, I guess – and lots of processing speed. In other words, brute force.

Now, I am beginning to think that natural intelligence – including human intelligence, maybe especially human intelligence  – is also just brute force. I am beginning to think that we are not as different from other mammals as we like to think we are, maybe we just have better processing, more memory, and more storage.




Yesterday, I went to cardiac rehab,

trump-hqjust like most Monday mornings. My life has not been changed by the election and it probably won’t change very much. We are geographically isolated from most of red America and at 76 most of the damage caused by this election will be after I am long gone. My denial and anger are theoretical. I am not going to be trying to get an abortion in Texas because I was raped or have my right to vote taken away from me in Virginia because I don’t have the right ID. That didn’t make my rage any less, just more theoretical, stirred up by a constant barrage of emails and facebook posts.

I used to think my outrage regarding Climate Change was theoretical too. I used to think that I was not going to live long enough to see Sacramento under water or hundreds of millions of people, now living in coastal cities like New York, Shanghai, and Tokyo, trying to migrate inland: but Michele has pointed out that the climate is already changing and the sea rise will look more like Hurricane Sandy  than filling a bathtub. But here, on a cold fall day, in a liberal part of a liberal state, my life is unchanged.




The idiots and change

On the roadAnd while you’re spot on in terms of the good she’s done for white women and children in this nation as a result of her activism, you also know the facts concerning her lobbying for the 94 crime bill and welfare reform, with the repercussions of that still reverberating today in minority communities, as well as her overt militarism that she demonstrated in her Senate seat, as well as the State Dept, as is also still witnessed today in the refugees pouring out of Libya and Syria as ISIS pours into those failed and failing states. Of course, the list goes on and on… Will Taylor on Hillary Clinton in a facebook comment.

I was listening to Barney Frank and Bill Maher talk about the guys that booed Berni, and Barney Frank. They – they being Bill and Barney – were very dismissive and we got a short lecture on government being compromise. The Bernie booers were written off as being unreasonable purists. On facebook, they are called sore losers, or simply not getting it, or just, idiots. I know I can go there, calling them idiots, not with the Bernie idiots but with the Tea Party idiots refusing to compromise. But listening to Bill and Barney’s sanctimonious chatter, I began to think of them as heroes. I realize that Bernie lost, even Bernie knows he has lost, and I want to be reasonable. I don’t want to be called an idiot of facebook. But we reasonable ones, we pragmatists, the great majority of us who say the purists are unreasonable, owe them a big debt. They are purists and extreme so we can be reasonable.

People like me who want change but agree to vote for Hillary, who fall in line, because it is the sensible thing to do, will not bring on the change we so desperately want. The people who are called idiots on facebook, are the people who actually move the political needle, not the reasonable ones like us. They are the ones that, in reality, create change.

Fear and Loathing on facebook

Grand Canyon“Nobody has spread hate more ten Obama he has set race relations back 50 years.” a facebook post 

Coming back to the news, my email queue, and facebook, after being gone for two weeks, has been a shock. Not that anything is any different than when I left, it’s just that I had been away from it. I pretty much only used my phone as a paperweight and alarm clock while we were gone and it separated me from the normalcy of violence in my daily life. Grand Canyon-2A coup in Turkey, a mass killing in Germany, another black man killed by another scared- shitless cop in any city USA, fill the papers. Entreaties for more money because a judge has jailed a black lawyer for wearing the wrong pin, or because Trump has said something particularly nasty, clog my email in-basket. And then there is facebook, sucking me into arguments that seem like arguments on morality when they are really only different opinions. I don’t want to say that the sun going down over the Grand Canyon is better than arguing over Hillary hiring Wasserman, it isn’t; but it is more soothing and it is more connected to the Mystery.Grand Canyon


Americana (1 of 1)
Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to the presence of an antigen. …Any substance capable of triggering an immune response is called an antigen. PDL BioPharma website

“During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices, we must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.” Nikki Haley talking about Donald Trump rather than Obama in the Republican answer to Obama’s State of the Union speech.

“Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight. And let Russia, they’re in Syria already, let them fight ISIS.Look, I don’t want ISIS. ISIS is bad. They are evil. When they start doing with a head chopping… these are really bad dudes… Let Russia take care of ISIS. How many places can we be?… Russia likes Assad seemingly a lot. Let them worry about ISIS. Let them fight it out.” Donald Trump.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to a radio program in which they were talking about the culture of Silicon Valley and how much cash it has brought into this part of California. Among other things, they talked about how various politicians and businesspeople have tried to get a part of that cash by replicating Silicon Valleys in other parts of the world. The speakers agreed that it doesn’t work because the local antibodies come up. One guy used a liver transplant as an example and how the body tries to reject the foreign liver. I had never thought about it in that way and it explains something I’ve always – in a low grade way – wondered about.

Back when we were building houses in Blackhawk, we sold a house to the new manager of NUMMI, a joint manufacturing partnership between GM and Toyota. When I congratulated the new manager on his new job, he said something to the effect that “nobody ever gets promoted from NUMMI, this has pretty much tanked my career.” I was shocked and we talked for a few minutes during which he told me that nobody, back at the Mothership in Detroit, would want to have him working for them when he rotated back in four years. GM had paid big money to learn Toyota’s superior manufacturing and logistic processes techniques ways culture, but the host body, the entrenched culture of GM in this case, was rejecting it.

It seems to me that the both the Republican and Democratic Parties are doing the same thing. And they are doing it in almost diametrically opposite ways. The Democrats are ignoring Bernie and the Republicans are attacking Trump.

When I say Democrats, I mean the Democratic Establishment. And when I say Democratic Establishment, I mean important Democrats; influential politicians, big donors, newspaper columnists and owners. I am sure that there are hundreds of exceptions, but, generally, the Democratic establishment does not like Bernie and they have dealt with that dislike by trying to make Bernie as invisible as possible. They scheduled the few debates on Sunday nights – one in the middle of the MLK holiday, no less –  to give him the least amount of exposure and Bernie get almost no daily press. A couple of weeks ago, the Sander’s Campaign complained that Trump had 59 minutes of national TV on a given day and Bernie got 1 minute; the New York Times, among others, didn’t cover it. When he is mentioned by an Important Democrat, it is always to subtly, but affectionately, point out that Bernie is a cranky old man way out of the mainstream and can never get elected. His platform, or details thereof, are rarely mentioned. This is classic passive-aggressive behavior  and it works best when the aggressor is the mainstream press.

Conversely, the Republicans, and when I say Republicans, blah, blah….attack Trump. In my opinion, attacking is almost a knee-jerk reaction for the Republicans; from Bush the Younger’s Shock and Awe  to Ted Cruz’s Carpetbombing; attacking is usually the preferred Republican solution to a problem. But, in this case, they also attack Trump because he is impossible to ignore. The Republican Establishment, despite Fox News, have less control of the press than the Democratic Establishment and The Donald is a first-class self-promoter. There is nothing passive-aggressive about the Republican Establishment and, in this case, it wouldn’t work anyway, so the Establishment sent Governor Nikki Haley to go after Trump, in broad daylight, allowed Governor John Kasich to break the Eleventh Amendment of not attacking fellow Republicans by saying that trump is “dangerous and bad for America, ” and Jeb! even called him Unhinged (which, as an aside, is a word I love).

Interestingly, in this new Internet world where the candidates can bypass the Establishment and contact the voters directly, even while being ignored or attacked, both antigens keep doing better, this should be a fascinating primary.