Friday, January 23, 2015

Deep Knowledge v. Knowing A Lot About …

Deep Knowledge v. Knowing A Lot About …

To know something means … what?
To know a lot about something, say a particular thing – like, “I know a lot about movies.” Does this mean you have deep knowledge of that thing?

acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition:

Now, of course I first went to my favorite authority on everything Wikipedia, which said, Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.”  A definition I prefer.

I also went to the Oxford Dictionary of English, but the ODE refused to let me have access to a search without signing up and logging in.  I am soooo tired of having my name and email tagged into a million web sites.  I wonder when these guys who force you to set up accounts for any kind of service, at all, are going to realize that almost everyone who does this, uses a junk email address.  An email account that you never ever check, because it’s all just spam and crap.  So screw the ODE. 

Side note: 
With all the information and data that is available today on the Internet, who is to say what, or which, of any of it is totally factual – or even mostly accurate?
With a simple search line, you can get thousands of volunteer answers to anything.  If you bother to check the sources of each source it’s like watching your curiosity spiral down a toilet of frustration.

I believe the only real thing left is to use your own personal sense of reason and logic.  Plus with all the data that’s available at the touch of a qwerty keyboard, the whole concept becomes like is often said about statistics, “You can prove anything with statistics.”  (I have no idea who said that first, but it wasn’t me.)  I think today you could say the same thing about research, or even knowledge for that matter. 

Under the right circumstance, in the right conditions, you could prove “pigs can fly”.
Look for the connections.  A pig is a mammal.  A bat is a mammal.  Somewhere in the evolutionary circle, they had a common ancestor.  Etc..  I am surprised it hasn’t shown up yet, but somebody is going to strap a hang glider on a pig and you’ll see the video on YouTube.  It won’t be an American though, because if anybody did that in this country, the Animal Rights people would just simply shit their pants.

You can shoot your neighbor in the face if he gets in your way on the sidewalk, but you had better not kick a dog!!!
End of side note:

I am going to have to write an addendum to this blog, because I am over-running my self-established length quota, but for the nonce; “What is deep knowledge v. knowing a lot about…  something.” 

I have a deep knowledge about making pottery, because I was a professional potter for nearly twenty years.  (visit and you’ll see)  But Mostly I just know a lot about painting because other than doing hundreds of paintings, I never sold more than a dozen or so, and never deeply studied the topic.

I see this as a cultural issue (problem) today with the prevalence of authority available through on-line research, because there is a massive preponderance of information that is not composed through deep knowledge.  Simply knowing a lot about  seems to be enough. 

Art Shows juried by a bunch of wealthy housewives, who have good taste and know a lot about Art?  Singing and dancing judges who obviously have never sung or danced, but are really just celebrities; i.e. they have national face recognition.

TV shows hosts with questionable degrees, giving out advice – because they assume they know a lot about … ?

Scientists (?), wilderness survivalists, cooks, chefs – the list is nearly endless.

Politicians arguing about economics when, if they have a college degree, it is in Divinity (?) and they have never owned or run a business ???  But they convince people that they sure know a lot about it!

More later

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Falling Through the Ice

Falling Through the Ice

So the Scientific Community – all the scientific biggies – (can’t remember all of the organizations), but ALL of the big ones – have just come out with the latest ecological and environmental studies.  Their big conclusion – we’re screwed.


Big time screwed.  On the bright side, once again the cockroaches and reptiles are gonna be fine.  But humans and equally higher life forms, like ferns, are screwed.  Say two decades and the oceans will no longer support very many species of fish.  The oxygen producing guys – algae or protozoans, or whatever those guys are – are gonna all gasping their last.  Which means the days of long marathon running are numbered; at least without a helmet and a fifty pound O2 tank of your back. 

Of course the politically Conservative elements are waiting for, as they have put it “We’ll wait until the scientists have proven there’s a problem.”  Dudes!!  They just did!  I think of course another possible bright side is that a good portion of the southern United States, apparently, will be underwater and the more northern and mountainous regions will soon be as warm as the southern ones.  This, kind of, means that all the ones who seem to have trouble accepting that all of their overconsumption of stuff in general will soon have to take place on houseboats.

Anywize … what bothers me the most is the disappearance of ice.  Imagine it, no ice.  The whole planet so hot that water will no longer freeze.  Talk about screwed.  Who is gonna drink warm Red Bull?  Forget about beer.  Most everybody but Americans drinks it warm already anyway. 

It means the end of the Winter Olympics.  No more NHL.  (Gawd, that’s a depressing thought – no more hockey.)  Everybody will have to wear oxygen masks outdoors, even the dogs.  No more birds shitting on the statues – that’s a plus maybe.  All the rats and other vermin will simply move into the air sealed houses.  Gnawing through two foot thick walls with the new huge razor sharp teeth they will evolve to possessing, in like two generations – or about a week and a half.

I spent many of my brighter childhood years in the northern latitudes of this country, where ice was just a normal part of the year.  In New England this part of the year was maybe nine or ten months.  Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire is a huge lake, like twenty-six miles long and six to eight miles wide.  There are over 350 islands on Lake Winnie.  Some are miles from shore and there are huge mansions on these islands.  And some of these island mansions are over 200 years old.

So the question arises, “How the hell did they get all the building materials out there 200 years ago?”  Well, in the winter the ice on Lake Winnie can freeze two feet thick, or more.  So they just drove big wagons out there with all the stuff they needed and did the actual building in the summer.  And of course without the winter freeze and the cycle of snow runoff, etc., now most of those mansions are going to become fish farms.

What I loved was ice skating outside.  As a young boy I loved that.  Now in my dotage I just hate being cold.  But at that time, I could hardly wait for the first good freeze.  My buddies and I would go to our closest pond and everyday we would chuck bigger and bigger rocks, higher and higher, testing the ice.  Usually until after Thanksgiving, our rocks would ka-plunck through.  Then one day the biggest rock we could hoist for a big cannonball drop, would plank! , skid a bit and refuse to go through.

Even so, our biggest rock was maybe a twenty pounder and even with a good high heave it couldn’t have impacted with more than … maybe fifty pounds.  The biggest of us was say 100 pounds, the smallest …sixty pounds.   So our rock heaving test didn’t always prove that the ice was safe.  Necessarily.  Factually.  We were always wa-a-ay anxious to skate, play hockey, crack our skulls doing really stupid stunts.

A few times we … well, we … we got out on the ice a bit … premature?  The lakes and ponds in New England can be much deeper than might be expected.  Going through the ice has taken out many northern dwelling child, generally dumb boy childs.  Even if you are a good swimmer, the shock first of having the surface you are standing (or skating) on giving way is a very very shocking.  Then the bitching cold water is like being punched in the stomach.  Then your clothes become like wet sandbags.  The experience is unpleasant.

Maybe more like deadly?  Or, it can be.  It did happen to me a couple of times.  Being the type of kid I was though I survived.  Not because I was not really stupid, but somehow I was always a bit on the lucky side when it came to near death stupidities.
I did know of a number of other kids who were not lucky. 

There were always warning signs.  Even if the ice passed the rock test, but it wasn’t actually safe, there was the cracking.  When you got out on the ice and it started cracking, it was not only visually obvious, but you could hear it.  A creepy and easily recognizable sound.  Ignoring those signs was frequently a ticket for a dance with the devil.

It is possible that the newest generation will have children or, if they are lucky, grandchildren who will never know what real ice is.

So it would seem to me, if all of our scientific geniuses are telling us that we are on really super-thin ice, maybe we ought to pay attention. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

8,000 Years?

8,000 Years?

My very devout friends that I converse with at my coffee shop have determined within their faith, that the earth and everything we know is about – they approximate – 8,000 years old.  Because that is what it says in their holy book.  As an open-minded scholar I have read this holy book, in parts and as a whole several, if not many, times.  I have gotten into the nifty-grifty of it and read books about it.  Its history.  The story, as we can determine, about its evolution from campfire stories into written form in separate parts into the compilation we know today – I have studied all this.

Why?  You ask, why?  Because it interests me.  So much of what we must endure in our culture today is as a result of millenniums of worship of the precepts put forth in this text.  Actual worship of the text as a set of hard-fast bylaws by which lives are promoted or withdrawn.  Wear a hat here and we cut your head off, if you don’t wear a hat over in this other place … we cut your head off.  Really???

So the 8,000 year rule?  As it was explained to me; I am told there is no scientific proof that the ground beneath our feet with all of the dinosaur fossils and all carbon dating, etc., etc. are truly as old as science tells us.  I am told that science is wrong.  Lots of other science is correct because we can see the other science.  Nobody was there when the earth was created, so I am told we have to take that part on faith?

I can do that.  I mean, I really can do that.  Taking certain parts of science on faith and discounting other parts because I can’t drum enough faith to accept them.  For instance I do accept on faith that the universe is infinite.  I can’t pull it together enough to accept that the universe is ever expanding.  If something is already as big as it is possible to ever be, how can it be in a constant process of getting bigger?

Stuff like that. 

An electron is an atomic element.  If you have an atom, you have to one or more electrons circulating, orbiting, the nucleus.  We are told that these electrons are everywhere around that nucleus at once.  Or, they are separate and distinct things which are everywhere at once.  I find that concept is something I can accept, but I have to do so on faith.

Now this means, if a god is everywhere at once, omnipotent and all-powerful and just decides once day (or whatever time element he/she lives by) to create a planet and place certain life forms, and such, on it – what would be the time constraints?  None really – that I can see.  Seven days plus 8,000 years?  Sure?  Why not?  If you want to take that on faith.  To me it makes as much sense as the electron.

Not even taking into account that nearly all evidence points to an observable condition of being able to stand on perceivably firm ground because the electrons sort of bind together with a measurable force.  To me this kinds of proves the existence and conditions of certain scientific evidence.  You can deny that it is fact, but you cannot deny the resulting factors.

Now, if you accept the electron part and that it is possible to actually and remotely measure the lifespan of certain atoms by the amount of energy remaining within those same atoms then there are intelligent design conclusions you sort of have to accept. 

One of those intelligent design conclusions is that if that measurement of the energy force remaining in the atoms (electrons cohesion) is measurably 100 million years old (or however many millions) and you are not sinking into the floor like quicksand – well then maybe the 8,000 year old faith component is kind of weird.
Look for "Drawing Blind" on

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Oh Yeah! … More Crows

Oh Yeah! … More Crows

What conclusions would you make?

- A huge guy is in the SuperMart.  He is wearing all kinds of motorcycle leather and he’s buying three trays of gourmet cat food.  The kind that comes in little cans.  And the top of the boxes are cut off, so all the little cans are just loose in the box.  AND that’s all he’s buying!   ???

- Again speaking of the Super-di-dooper-SuperMart, why are all the colors and designs of nearly every product, so goddamned ugly?!!  I was trying to find some bed sheets.  Leopard stripes and fifty shades of purple? 

- I have a good friend who has a car with the right-hand rearview mirror missing.  Just clipped right off.  This has been the case for at least three years.  How has she gotten past the State Safety Inspection?  You have to take your car in every year to make sure the state doesn't think it's too big a piece of shit to let out on the highways.  I got a Warning Ticket once for a loose license plate!!!  She is young and attractive – I am not - ???

- I live in a very rural and southern part of a very southern state.  Poverty and alcoholism are big problems here.  Very big problem.  During an AA meeting the parking lot at the community center is full, full.  I am not a member, but I drive right past it every Thursday evening going home from work.  On my drive home from work, about twenty miles, I pass no less than ten churches.  I mean it!  Ten Churches in twenty miles!!  Ten churches and the community center where the AA meeting is held and no bars!  We got GOD in abundance and NO liquor!  Somebody is falling down on the job, maybe???

- In my town the Public Library is in a strip mall.  In this strip mall is a pizza joint, a Thai restaurant,  a Dollar Store, a used clothing consignment store and a tattoo parlor.  The parking lot is generally full and the library is generally empty.  ???

- About three years ago a tornado ripped through our county.  It only touched down in two places.  It hit a local grammar school – demolished it! Nothing left but a pile of bricks and twisted school buses.  (It was very late in the day and nobody was at the school – no injuries).  Then it took off the main part of a local Methodist Church.  All that was left was the end of the church where the podium was.  The rest was just gone!  Within six months the church was completely restored, the school remains an empty field.  ???

- On television, watching a crime drama – at a meeting of three detectives, the head detective guy hands two actors a piece of paper.  On it is supposed to be the details of a criminal's record.  One actor is reading the paper by holding it vertically; the other actor is holding the paper horizontally???  (I’m sorry but that really bothered me and I am not OCD.)

- I have heard it before, but then I started noticing it and it is true;  during TV dramas when actors are having a conversation on the phone (cell phone), they do their little actor script lines and then they just hang up.  No Good-bye” or “See ya later” or “Catch on the flip side” – nothing!  Just “flip” phone clips shut.  Rude???

See "Drawing Blind" on