September 28, 2016

Horse 2169 - Fragments IV: My Mind Is Going; I Can Feel It


I had a rather strange experience yesterday when I came downstairs to collect a stack of documents and the chap who handed them over to us asked if my kind was capable of doing the work required. When my boss tried to clarify what "my kind" was exactly, I was asked where I lived, and was met with the rather tart answer that it was rare that people like me ventured into the eastern side of Sydney. This chap's wife then said without any hint of irony or humour that it was a good thing that the M4 extension would be tolled as that would keep the rabble from disturbing the tranquility of the east. Of course I said nothing and politely took my leave but it left me with the impression that I was not welcome to even be in this couple's presence.
The thing about groups which we freely associate with, things like churches, sporting groups, clubs, circles of friends and acquaintances, is that they mainly come from socioeconomic backgrounds which are broadly similar to our own. Apart from connections in the workplace and possibly family, most of the people who we voluntarily meet with live reasonably locally to us. The rise of the Internet has meant that people's contact circles have grown very large tentacles but broadly speaking, people who we have real world contact with are likely to be broadly similar when it comes to the sorts of housing and lifestyle to our own.
What I've come up against here is not uncommon and I have seen this on several occasions before but it seems to me that as time goes on, the frequency that I'm running into this sort of thing is increasing and the amount of ambivalent callousness which is displayed is becoming more blatant.
Someone far more intelligent than me said that classism was an advanced form of racism where people discriminate between members of their own race. I don't know to what extent that is true but I do know that as people become very rich indeed, the degree to which they have any empathy for the rest of society decreases.



The Constitution of Australia has proven difficult to change. Of the 44 referenda which have been put forward, just eight have passed. Mostly this is due to the operation of rather famous section 128 which requires that in order to change the Constitution, a referendum needs to pass with a majority of voters and in a majority of states. The former is to prevent the smaller states from bullying the big ones and the latter is to prevent the bigger States from bullying the smaller ones.
So far, no new states have come into existence as a result of other provisions of the Constitution but even if they did, they would need to exist before any constitutional amendment was proposed. If there was going to be several questions put forward on the same day, such as recognition of aboriginal peoples and the creation of new states (say North Queensland and New England), then the constitutional amendment would need to be passed by 4 of 6 states which existed at the time that the question was posed and not 5 of 8 states as those two extra states would not exist until the change was officially given assent by the Governor General.



This election more than any other has well known candidates for President. Even twelve months ago, the name recognition levels of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was easily +98%. Both of them have been in the public eye for at least two decades and that level of recognition extends deep into the Anglosphere. If you are an English speaker and have had access to a television, radio or even that new fangled internet thing and haven't heard of either Trump or Hillary, then maybe you are living in the apartment directly underneath Dwayne Johnson.
Donald Trump is the physical embodiment of Thanksgiving. Not in the sense that he is thankful for his creator's provision or for a celebration of the harvest, but in the sensem that he resembles that racist drunken uncle who says things and is unencumbered by the thought process and indeed any sense of tact.



Despite the fact that Juggernium would be extremely massive, its chemical properties would be fairly easy to guess. As it would be a Group 1 element with only one electron in its outermost shell, it would be quite conducive to forming ionic compounds and specifically salts. It would want to lose its outermost electron to attain a shell which is like Nihonium (118) and that electron would be free to go and join up with a halogen like Chlorine or Bromine. JCl would be stable chemical compound like NaCl is but it would face the problem of the Juggernium spontaneously falling to pieces. I don't know how long the half life of Juggernium would be but I don't expect that it would be terribly long. The theoretical chemistry of such a massive beast is sound, even if the actual real world stability of something which would only exist because it was deliberately created would not be sound at all.



One of the remarkable things about the 243 bus is that it appears to have cornered the market in weirdos. There is a chap sitting at the front of the bus (who I'm afraid to take a photograph of, in case weird things happen to me), who is wearing a clown outfit of the sort that would have appeared in 17th century comedy del arts. This person is a modern day Punchinello, Pierrot or Harlequin. If you think that those pictures of sad clowns in opportunity shops are sad and creepy, try sitting ten feet away from one in real life.
Not only this but the 243 bus would otherwise be a uniquely depressing experience if it wasn't for the presence of a weird clown, because of all the bus routes that I've been on, this one uniquely goes from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular and via a patch of suburbia which would make Stepford look like a hip and happening place. This is a land of 3 Series, A4s and C-Classes, with recycling bins full of empty Cab Sav bottles, and completely devoid of any visible signs of life. If the Curiosity Rover has accidentally landed in Cremorne and not Mars, it might have come to the conclusion that it too was a cold, lifeless rock but one that was better furnished and with the occasional clown passing through.



I'm kind of sad to see Paramatta Golf Course fall into chronic disrepair like this; not because I happen to play a lot of golf but because I like the idea that people are playing golf. Say what you like about golf being a snobby game, the truth is that most if not all the courses out in the real world are open to Johnny Schmuck and Jill Schmoe.
Paramatta Golf Course in particular was where I played the two greatest holes in my miniscule and obscure golfing career. One was a shot on a Par 3 which I played with a 7 Iron and landed less than four inches away from the cup; the other was a serious hook which somehow managed to pass in between a rubbish bin and a tree and landed about two yards away from the hole on  Par 5, thus giving me a short putt for an albatross.



The presidential debates from 2000 between George W Bush and Al Gore look positively pedestrian now. Al Gore who had been Vice President was hoping to step up into the top job and he tried to project a calm image. He not only excelled at projecting a calm image, he did so to such a degree par excellence that he managed to appear as though he was the calmest and most boring man in the world. In contrast, W (who as far as I know is the only President to have become synonymous with just a single letter) managed to display a remarkable amount of competence in those debates. I suspect that history won't be terribly kind to W but it doesn't change the fact that even though he traded on the image of being somewhat bumbling, he very much he sat square in the middle of his party's policies and provided he didn't stray too far from party position, he remained acceptable to both the majority of his party and indeed to a majority of voters in places that mattered.
Even if the chads hadn't fallen off in Florida and Gore had been elected President, then the events of ten months after the election wouldn't have played out much differently at all. There was only one voice of dissent to the legislation which has subsequently enabled at least four different military engagements, the most obvious being in Afghanistan and Iraq, and because most of the advisors from the military would have been the same, then the only real difference would have been the tone by which the war was prosecuted.



In addition to Thorn and Eth, some of the other letters of the alphabet need to a better job. X for example should be pressganged into making the "ch" sound and not the "cs" which it currently does. Words like taksi, bokses, foks, look pretty obvious. K can easily do the job which it already does, which would leave C free to take on the "sh" sound.
Silent e needs to die. If a vowel needs to be changed, then change it. German has no problem with this and adds umlauts above letters.

Wë këp xikens in þhe ced. 

No comments: