April 19, 2007

The quiet of the library isn’t so much relaxing as it is freeing. I feel I have a better range of motion here, and I feel a bit more in my element than in most places. This is a refuge of sorts, here, behind this big bulky desk at this semi-restricted computer. Oh, the hours I’ve put here.

However, tonight is one of the nights I find myself a bit more bored than usual. I don’t want to apply for jobs, and I don’t want to write or read. In place of normal boredom activities like finding fun flash games or digging around blogs or just talking to people, I’m going for something different: Bibliomancy.

The Great Wiki tells us that “Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination.” The practice, in its informal form, is simple. You pull a book off a shelf, you open it, pull out the first sentence that you find, and that is your answer to whatever is troubling you. Let’s give it a shot, shall we?

Our first book is really a newsletter. It’s Vital Speeches from October 1, 2001: “Indeed the IAEA has a long and fruitful history of promoting the international implementation of good physical security practices and of coooperation to prevent illicit nuclear trafficking.”

Of course, the “IAEA” in question is the Internation Atomic Energy Agency. And the “implementation of good” is an out of context reference to the work they do to stop those rogues in the other hemisphere from doing bad things. And the “illicit nuclear trafficking” refers to the idea/fact that some of the countries that are violating the nuclear agreements set up by the IAEA and a couple other groups, probably. So, in commentary, here is some interesting information for you to rumminate. Basically, the US is a big bully who runs the playground by breaking all the rules.

Our second piece is the book The American Culture, by Hennig Cohen. Herr Cohen writes: ” ‘ “I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy….”And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman. “And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion. “No; you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.” ‘ ”

An obvious quote from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A great story about the gilded society at the beginning of the 20th century, which was really only written for kids. L. Frank even says so. For the sake of interpretation, I’m gonna go with perspective reality on this one. Each of the characters in the story saw something different from the truth, and so their perceptions were skewed. I know there are times when I read into something far too heavily, and find myself sitting in a mire of awkward conversation. I actually did it a while back with The Ex, when I questioned him about his intentions, when really the intentions in question were really ones I’d made up. I wanted him to be wanting me, basically, so I accused him of flirting or something. It was awkward. Two steps back for me. Next.

Now, and excerpt from Contemporary Review, v. 238, no. 1382: “The wide difference between actual risk and perceived risk is a modern phenomenon. In earlier times the risks we perceived were not too far from the risks we actually ran.” Then we get some allusion to historical hunters and how a threatening beast is actually threatening. Now, we have problems like “investments” and “pollution” which are both things that take a considerable amount of knowledge to actually perceive and analyze, yet seem to take little effort to convince others that both are what they are. The risks of either of these are hard to know until you are fully involved, or until it is far too late to reverse the affects of the risk-agent, or something like that. There are rarely many instances in “daily life” where the perceived risk is anywhere near the actual risk. Take eating fast food, which I’m weakly indulging in at this moment. Its bad for you. We all know its bad for us. However, we like our wallets to be fat, so we oblige to keep it company in its fatness. Unfortunately, wallets don’t get diabetes.

The Dream of Reason, by Clive Bush: “Colt understood very clearly the psychology of action at a distance. The showman-salesman’s technique, like that of the politician, is to rouse fears, exaggerate them, and then provide reassurance at the critical moment.” I’ll admit, I’m more partial to talking about this second statement. And oddly, its kinda ties a lot of this together so far. Checklist:

  • The IAEA is involved in the regulation in nuclear things, a common thread in political discussions these days, though its hard to be sure what exactly any government body is doing. The nature of such bodies is one of secrecy.
  • The perception of things has a great impact on what we believe to be true.
  • The perceived risk plays a big part in our reaction to it, little though it may be.
  • The tactics of others to influence our perceptions plays a large role in what we perceive, not just how we perceive it. We are, in fact, a media driven society.

I think I want to open the comment about the IAEA to even a larger context. What about governmental bodies? How much can we really know about what goes on? The amount of research being done on both sides of the “aisle” is enormous, yet self-contradicting. Some say the government is working as it should. Others say its completely nuts. To be briefer, facts aren’t even true anymore, when faced with the idea that perception is stronger than fact. Moving on.

Ooh! Linear Algebra and Its Applications, v. 13, no. 1/2, 1976: “L’idee d’utiliser une norme vectorielle (c’est-a-dire une norme a valeur dans un espace vectoriel ordonne) comme instrument topologique sur un espace vectoriel, semble remonter a Kantorovitch [13] (1950). Dans un contexte d’analyse fonctionnelle appliquee, on trouve cet outil utilise dans differents ouvrages generaux: Collatz [5], Kantorovitch [13], Krasnoselskii [14], principalement pour des problemes de points fixes et de convergence de methodes d’approximations successive, et les applications classiques: equations ou systemes d’equations, dans R^n, differentielles, integrales, etc.”

Of course, this turns everything I said before on its head. D’accord?



  1. Lol. Oh dear.

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