Saturday, October 25, 2008

Snow Job

Snow Job
A Short Lecture on a Buncha Stuff Doug Becker, Pierrefonds, March 9, 2008

Good evening children.

The lesson we’ll explore this evening is:
Don’t leave it to the next person in your house to have to change the empty roll of toilet-paper that you just finished. It’s impolite.
See, it’s an easy one, you all know it already.
Now let’s cut the “crap” out of our statement and give the real reason behind the rule:
The next guy could easily be you.
And as Murphy so elegantly predicted within his theorem, the need for the extra roll usually happens at the worst possible time.
As long as we’re looking to put the rules of logic into our exploration, let’s apply Occam’s razor and cut-out the unnecessary words, (the “Shit”) out of the statement:
Ya change the roll you just finished because the next guy is often you.
Another way of putting, (I think just as elegant,) is:
“Replace supplies of things (the shit) before they’re needed.”
So let’s look at a few events I’ve been through just today. Well, the first one’s obvious, so I won’t repeat it.
The second example is similar: When I fry bacon I like to put the fried bacon on a piece of absorbent paper before eating it. And I also like having that paper handy because, well:
I tend to concentrate only on the job at hand once I’m committed. I’m in there for the team and getting the job done.
That’s just silly of me because I’m overlooking another important rule to follow:
Get all the tools and supplies needed before committing yourself to the project, or how we know it: “Get your shit together.”
This new rule, applied in Occam’s fashion, becomes
“Before you start a project, get the tools and supplies, because it is you You are committed, ya started the job!”
This is interesting because it is really more of a variation, if you will, on rule number one. It differs mainly on its probability factor. But this is important, especially in the examination or analysis of social behavior: In rule one it might be you, in its variant it is you.
So in my first experience the time needed to get the supply burned the bacon. I was not (just to mention) the person who left the empty roll.
Later today I made my kids some milk-shakes. (This is just an aside but, new blender, 1st shakes I’m making for the kids, you get it…)
No straws. Kind of nice to have for consuming the product you just finished making.
The result? Not a milkshake per sé but kinda “thawed ice-cream and milk.”
Later, I walked into a dark bedroom looking for something, and for that you need light.
Well here’s a rule for ya, kids: Do ya kinda always expect there to be light that’s produced in a three-bulb lighting device?
Silly you! Well, now you have been warned.
Ya see; ya Change the bulbs as they burn, not when there’s just one left, hoping it’ll be the other sucker that changes the three bulbs for you. Do you believe that rule? Silly you!
Remember kids, it might be you!
In my next example I hope to show that variations can really be the expression of the same rule, only expressed quite differently and therefore requiring some distillation and thought.
Here where I live and actually as I speak, we are experiencing a snowstorm, a blizzard, (which are two terms that seem to refer, at first, to the same or a very similar thing.) But they’re different, you’ll see.
A snowstorm differs from a blizzard in the amount of wind: Blizzards have more wind and thus express a quite different phenomenon.
In a snowstorm, what changes (in relation to driving behaviors or experiences) is the terrain.
Again, let’s go back here: In a snowstorm the road gets snowy, and therefore maybe a different, perhaps more appropriate vehicle is the solution for that which was the same task before the snowstorm.
You need perhaps something people call an “All Terrain Vehicle”. The altered condition seems to be mechanical in its nature. Perhaps the solution also should be.
This is a mechanical way of changing the supplies needed to accomplish the task in a somewhat sane way. Here comes my law of mechanics, but it probably applies to other areas as well.
“If the conditions have been altered, you can apply a solution logically by examining the nature of the conditions that have changed – what exactly those changes are. If they are mechanical in nature, you can seek, (sensibly,) a mechanical solution: Change the device used.”
Again, (let’s go back) Snowstorms differ from blizzards in the type of condition that has changed: Add wind, and you get a new change, a visibility issue. Visibility is reduced. What machine or devise has been designed to properly assist the driver in the situation that the conditions that have been altered are not solely mechanical, but optical as well?
Well, I like to think the device is called the human brain, and as such the “brain” controls our “behaviors” because that’s what needs to change: Driving behaviors…
Here’s another law I invented all by myself (and it came quite naturally):
Strap a couple of hundred pounds of metal around a curiously otherwise normal-functioning human brain, suspend the whole on at least four rubber rotating discs and the potential for the proper function of that brain goes down the toilet.
A few examples and complements of this law occurred to me too: There seems to be some relation in the equation about the amount of the resulting weight of the whole: It expresses itself as: “As weight increases, function of that same brain is affected and more often than not, decreases.”
So, in proper scientific fashion I looked towards the accuracy of the predictability of my model.
Sure enough, there seemed to be a relationship. It is good at predicting the unobvious: Why would a vehicle normally referred to as a “Mommy-mobile” or “Minivan” somehow seemingly transform itself into something we might call a “Moron-transport System” with the introduction of the snowstorm, if it were not for the existence of three factors: Human brain, snowstorm and weight?
And a lot of what we call “All Terrain Vehicles” (here I’m referring to those vehicles specifically equipped for transport over rough terrain;) well, many were out there being a menace to the rest of us and themselves on the roads.
A lot of these people, driving these vehicles, seemed to understand intuitively the law (a lot of them were demonstrating aspects of it) herein being discussed or expressed, or examined: “The Mechanical solution to the change in the physical terrain: add weight.”
I felt the creeping-in of another factor when I thought about the mechanics/optics relation rather poorly discussed above. I was becoming aware of the possibility of the existence of something else coming into play; again quite naturally occurring:
There is something called “prestige’ which may be a more accurate predictor of who is more likely to have suffered the physical brain-drain from getting into their vehicle in this snowstorm.
Most of the dorks I witnessed being menacing and stupid were driving luxury vehicles called “S.U.V’s”. (That’s what we like to call them). This is why my weight relationship seemed to be inaccurate.
Big-rig trucks like 18 wheelers and such are surely a lot heavier, but they don’t seem to have a comatose driver at the wheel. (That’s kind of important if you’re going to continue to follow a line of reasoning: The disproving exceptions do count.)
I began to back on my thoughts and remembered that there was the unnoticed and improperly addressed variable of optics, and could think of no vehicle mechanically designed to give better vision when dealing with a surrounding cloud of snow.
For that you need a driver who can deal with all the conditions that changed and the conditions that follow, not just the terrain change.
Driving habits need to adjust too, but that’s why we call this new type of vehicle a “Sports Utility Vehicle”, not a “Special Conditions Vehicle”, an “S.U.V” not an “S.C.V.” (I’ve added another acronym for businesses to develop, but I don’t think I’ll see these soon. You can’t fabricate nor sell common-sense very easily.)
Maybe the function equates by some relationship between the two? And are you kidding me? How many of these gas-guzzling “Luxury “S.U.V’s”” have ever or are ever going to be seen in the mud or the forest?
Well, I noticed a lot of familiar very brand-names because I see them at work, names like B.M.W., Porsche and Mercedes. Then I caught on to another missing variable: You can try to sell prestige, you can even promise it but if it doesn’t occur you wind-up with a fairly angry customer. The human who expected prestige, (or at least its expected corollary, happiness) didn’t get it, in fact often experiences its opposite. (But, that allows-in that Prestige is followed by Happiness and… well, forget that.)
Here enters my “Bitterness towards the middle-management, middle-class ” cycle.
It can be used to see how an otherwise normally functioning human brain reacts when factors and conditions that formerly predicted an outcome, (with relative ease and certainty) can no longer predict the outcomes? In fact, quite astoundingly those same factors and conditions quite often suggest the contrary?
This one get’s Occam’d by reducing it to symbolic mathematical illustration:
Where A is “Prestigious items” and B is “Prestigious positions”, the equation produces the result C, which is “Prestige and/or its accompanying friend, Happiness”.
Remember kids, this is the old shit we’ve been taught since grade-school!
So how can you reverse a formula of such simplicity?
Good ole’ Ancient Greek Logic to the rescue!
In a syllogism you need only to prove that one of the two of the established premises is in fact untrue or improperly defined, however you defined it. Or (to put the same a different way) it is something different or the opposite of what you need it to be to support your syllogism…
Deductive syllogism, they talked about it a lot back in Greece. It’s like the walls of a house, it has to do with form more than contents or substance?
But that’s ancient history so let’s move on.
If “A” is actually not “A”, or is the opposite of A as we defined it, then here is how it works:
Not A + B = C.
So people without prestigious items but with prestigious positions = C, the Prestigious and Happy.
Difficult to prove, suffers from some fallacy they called “distribution“and you gotta draw a diagram and shit to figure it out.
It’s complicated, man, because you could also be asked to go out and see that in every instance where some poor shithead with a Beamer but without a prestigious position is actually happy… Well I don’t feel like it, too many shitheads in this world and I don’t wanna have to count them all.
I don’t wanna count all the people with “prestige positions” but no “prestige items” to figure it out either. To be quite honest the more people with prestigious positions I meet the queasier I feel.
Especially those in the middle, which is the kind I meet because I have way too little prestige to meet the really high-up cocksuckers…
Those poor bastards in the middle are the really fucked-up ones, the ones who (to me) seem the saddest.
– Promised all their life that if they got the beamer and the VP position they’d have Prestige and Happiness.
And this was probably taught to them by their parents, who got fucked themselves in the same cycle a little earlier.
But we keep spreading the lie! It’s like Christmas and Easter! It’s because it’s a good story…
I digress, sorry. Let’s get back to the equation:
So it must be that the formula and its definitions are correct!

- Let’s get on with it already. What’s the hold-up?
Another answer is to prove that the fallacy lies in some missing part of the definition, or some change has occurred in either the way we know “A” or “B”. Maybe we weren’t told about it?
Dammit, gotta go back to Greece again, sorry:
All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, and therefore Socrates is mortal…
Well, there are all sorts of new science developments out there, and I’m largely uninformed of their progress. I don’t read the bullshit general press and can’t afford the subscription-price of the really good scientific journals.
Did Socrates somehow find a cryogenic clinic and he told no one about it?
Or was it a sex change? (That’d be just like them Ancient Greeks, huh? At least what we are told about them…)
Hey wait! Eureka! (Hey wait, who the hell was he?)
Something has changed that I do know about!
Prestige items are more affordable because of some law that a guy named Adam Smith wrote about. He wrote about it in 1776, just as the American Revolution was starting… It was called “The Wealth of Nations” or something like that…
You can read about him in many of the general news sources, and even the business presses, and the publishing-houses they own like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He’s quoted on this supply and demand thing a lot.
You almost never see any quotes, (or for that matter even some recognition of the existence of) a book he wrote before it in 1759 called: “Theory of Moral Sentiments.” Must be the title, people think it’s just the mushy romance-intro to the “real” goods.
- Hey, we got no time; we’re busy doing our duty creating increased demand and increasing supply and creating wealth!
I will talk about it a bit though, I liked it. I’m mushy.
Anyway he gets this goofy idea in his head that if you ever allowed someone to get effective control either of the supply side or the demand side; you fuck up the whole equation. He saw the growth of the “Large Corporation” or other types of big “Joint Stock Companies” as messing with the “Invisible Hand”. Cool, huh? The Invisible Hand is like the main character of the books!
Well, lucky that by his second book, he gotten rid of all that nonsense of requiring freedom of the people, all people, for it to work.
He must have gotten rid of the idea or that thing would never have fucking sold like it did… I should reread it.
So yeah, you increase the number of prestige items available to the consumer, the price goes down because some will lose interest: (Rarity is a big factor influencing price.)Shh! I don’t wanna spoil the plot.
Another cool thing is this works on the other hand, as the Corporations just invent new needs as they go, because something new to the market is always rare and therefore you get to majorly jack the already ripoff prices on the new stuff. Works like an infinite machine!
Hey, it’s these “nouveau riche” jackoffs that can afford them anyway because of their prestigious positions. I say Fuck-em!
And on the demand side this one’s good too: You just keep stretching the numbers of people in that middle-income bracket by actually not increasing real wages, but on giving them what costs you nothing! Some phony title of “V.P.” which doesn’t make any sense at all because really, how many vices can a president have? I guess I mean that figuratively and…
Hey, and wasn’t the title “President” supposed to mean you were “one-of” something?
Oh yeah, keep creating phony different departments so that one day there are more Presidents and Vice Presidents in a company than there are Employees!
Cool thing is, they’ll never fucking figure it out, that it costs you nothing in real dollars because you keep them so bloody dumbstruck with your constantly depreciating in value “low-end” junk that you’re importing from China, and it’s coming at them at seemingly lower real prices and at a dazzling pace?
They’re like deer in the headlights by this point, all buzzing about how great the economy and the world are since the Industrial Revolution.
Imagine if there were such creeps out there in the world, like Smith was describing. Not as fictitious characters in a book but actually and really existing? Fucking scary man!
But wait, where were we in this? Oh yeah, the syllogism. Well, it kinda bores me a little now, but here goes, I promised:
So A is not “A” because the prestige items our character has just gone out and bought went out of style; and dropped in value…
And “B” is not “B” because real wages stagnate or go down in real dollar effects. So “C” is only possible if you can control the movement of either “A” or “B” in value… Big deal…
Actually the opposite is probably correct as well…
Hey, one last story about the snowstorm, an aside really:
I’m really an idiot because I forgot what I was writing about in the beginning about having the proper supplies on hand because in the end it’s probably you who’ll get fucked? Well, just the kinda day I’m having.
I pay this company money to have them remove snow from my driveway. In the winter…
(Just look at the “Bourgoies” lifestyle I lead when I kinda think that I’m really a wage-earner! Hhunh..?!
So I look at the car in my driveway and realize they haven’t cleared any of the snow today! Yeah, I was told that they remove snow, just not in a blizzard… Like “when it’s snowing.”
They haven’t got enough equipment. They don’t keep an increased supply or something on-hand so they’d have to rent additional equipment from some cocksuckers that would raise their price because of increased demand, scarcity...
- Yeah! Good for them! They don’t like to get fucked!
Yeah so the whole time I’m shoveling, thinking whose shoveling whose shit at whom?
Anyway, I finally get the car out (took a long time because the “Equipment” I have is a shovel) and I get the beer!
All is good! The beer was cheap too, only about $36 bucks for twenty-four. So it’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood after all!
When I get back and start shoveling I remember this “civic ordinance” thing about not leaving your car in the street during a snowstorm. I don’t wanna mess with that! I think that I have a pretty-good Civic sense; anyway. Hey, I was well taught in school.
So I’m thinking this through while doing it and I’m realizing that if I don’t, I get a ticket. I’m no schmuck! A ticket is more expensive than the beer I just bought! And I’ll never win on appeal anyway, because there’s no appellate or higher court in most cities now. So I get kinda lost in thought (these are the thoughts of mine that kept me out of any “good” schools!)
I drift into thought, like I do J and I’m trying to figure-out how it would go if I did come up with some plausible contest for the ticket:
My defense would run something like this:
1: The “Company” is in breach of the contract because the object of the agreement was in fact a service.
2: The Service they are supposed to deliver is snow-removal, which is handy during or after it snows.
3: It was snowing, therefore I expected timely delivery of the services paid for in-advance, and expected to be delivered at the time of need (that’s the way service contracts are supposed to run: You get “Serviced’ when you need to be “Serviced”?)
- Watch it on this one kids! There’s going to be a quiz: When do you get life resuscitation services? When you need them because you’re dying? Or well in advance or after that fact has occurred, like some “life-insurance” or “funeral planning” scheme?
4: I was offered a good-faith explanation that as the Customer, it is my duty to suffer the damages, delays, etc… Which still form the object of the agreement, my consideration for these services having been acknowledged and accepted…
5: But, because their financial damages should be placed before my wants and needs as a paying customer when entering into an agreement with a Company. Oh shit… There goes my argument.
Anyway, forget any of that because there’s nowhere to contest the decision of a little city court, there is no appellate avenue, there’s just no higher court to hear the case.
Civic Matters, yeah the Government doesn’t wanna mess-up these tight little structures we got now called “Cities.”
And did you also hear most of them have Incorporated by now? Wouldn’t Smith be amused?
Anyway, I got back to thinking about supply and demand. Why should the city absorb a few extra cash-grab opportunities on their citizens by using their massive and million-dollar snow-removal equipment for the benefit of the taxpayers, who have actually paid for them… But I digress.
- But could they at least consider some arrangement for the poor fucks just couldn’t get the damned car into the driveway, but showed effort and got it like, ½ way or something? Could at least they get a break on the ticket somehow?
I know, I drift sometimes. Sorry!
Then I came to my senses: That would be preposterous: You don’t throw huge supply at very small demand. It fucks-up the balance; the “equation” you may have to draw a little diagram to figure it out.
I’m back at home feeling safe now, knowing they’re out there looking after me. That’s what’s important!
The snow-removal should start tomorrow around noon…
P.S. send your local Political Representative your answer to the quiz.


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