How will change come?

Let’s face it: the world we experience today, with its reminiscences of the last century, with an international consortium beginning to look ragged and stressed and the culture is not the public dynamo it once was. Acknowledging the passing of political and cultural time, add to that a new and very dominating influence by intellectualized computers; add to that significant worldwide changes in population where wealthy nations are losing population generally then add that the entire planet is exacerbated by global warming that shifts farms into deserts, valleys into seas and expensive devastation to urban life.

The new age promises better management of health, a new interpretation of the work week, increased agricultural economy, a burst of jobs to upgrade old technologies, old roads, improved water management, stronger and more flexible supply chains and a new economy that is international and replaces some of the role of nation-specific economies.

But the vision isn’t clear. There is fog everywhere and rumblings are heard. For a hundred years the white collar culture was the spine of American society. A college education with its focus on liberal arts and a college experience that instilled a unifying grace among graduates. Even with fog about, one can see liberal arts fading rapidly; one can see that what has become important is job training, not intellectual perception.

There is a sense that the relationship between capitalism and democracy is crumbling. This has led to dysfunctional governments from the Federal Government to County districts. The cultural spine has disappeared. Lack of cultural spine has allowed big corporations to expand without obligation to the citizenry and has allowed oligarchical greed to flourish.

But isn’t it supposed to be a big new world? Isn’t progress a way to grow society? isn’t a changing world the secret to sustaining life? The trouble is that humans have been taking out loans from the biosphere; extinct species have passed 20,000 and what’s left is threatened – because humans haven’t repaid the loans.

Clearly, the three-branches of government have been compromised by weaponized political parties. What events will occur to regain unity through grace? What economic shift will bring 25 percent of the nation’s citizens back to an ability to survive?

There are some bad thoughts. Since the beginning of human existence when major shifts in religion, culture or economics occurred, the shift included a war. Will we have a war with China? The Middle East? Economies everywhere are unsteady because of overpopulation and the stressed biosphere. Will the US have another civil war?

We will have to wait and see.

What are the tools society needs to build a new cultural spine? All the tools are handy at the individual citizen level. A powerful tool is one’s right to vote. Has the nation used this tool appropriately and with good judgment? Make an effort to casually connect with all your neighbors – without politics as a subject. Bring the whole family together for a week. Occasionally attend a legislative hearing or a staged conversation with politicians. Look for fresh candidates.

All-in-all, however, no one knows how the future will play out – yet.

Ancient Mariner

Beyond Matrix

Yes, our bold scientists have moved beyond Matrix. Read this excerpt from Science Magazine:

“By squirting cells from a 3D printer, researchers have created tissue that looks—and acts—like a chunk of brain. In recent years, scientists have learned how to load up 3D printers with cells and other scaffolding ingredients to create living tissues, but making realistic brainlike constructs has been a challenge. Now, one team has shown that, by modifying its printing techniques, it can print and combine multiple subtypes of cells that better mimic signaling in the human brain.”

This article gives mariner a better idea of how humans will evolve into the technically driven creature of the future. As pieces of the body are replaced, the chromosomes will be modified in a manner that will alter future offspring. This way, humans won’t have to wait 260,000 years for a new species; just a few generations is all the time that’s needed.

How will 3D printers modify the brain? Perhaps arms and legs will disappear in three generations. Perhaps pregnancy can be triggered with a radio signal. On the other hand, perhaps life expectancy will be variable, maintaining a finite population/environment relationship.

Don’t be concerned about this. Your Apple goggle reality won’t expose this process.

If anyone wants to visit the mariner, he’s in his apartment in Chicken Little’s henhouse.

Ancient Mariner


Yes, he knows, logarithms aren’t interesting. But the reader will have to put up with obtuse and irrelevant subjects while mariner spends time in Chicken Little’s henhouse.

Cruising through Netflix, mariner found a documentary about how everything in the Universe is connected with everything in the Universe in an orderly fashion. Humans, like every creature, measure reality in terms of meaningful increments – one candy, one day, one football game, 12 eggs, one automobile, $500 dollars, three children, etc.

But if a very large number of anything – people, number of days late to work in a lifetime, the distance from Earth to every star in the sky, the number of times each letter of the alphabet starts a word in The New York Times, etc., the numbers will relate to one another in a pattern called a logarithm. Even the pixels in a photograph are subject to the same pattern in this logarithm. What is fascinating is that the values in the logarithm are the same for every example!

Take the tax returns from every citizen in the US. Throw all the numbers in all the answer boxes together. The number ‘1’ will start 30 percent of the values in all the boxes. The same is true when measuring distances to the stars; whether one uses miles or kilometers or 2x4x8 lumber, 30 percent of the distances will start with ‘1’.

Mariner will not pursue deeper uses for logarithms. He suggests the reader go to Netflix and search for ‘Connected’. Or, if you are more scholarly, search for ‘Benford’s Law’.

When mariner took calculus in high school, the ethereal characteristics of logarithms was not taught. Consequently, as a tool it was a boring inversion of exponential values. He, remembers, though, that a different order of values was created that seemed to having nothing to do with the rest of the values in the equation.

So, what’s for supper?

Ancient Mariner


Spring is nigh

After several weeks of near-zero temperatures, a foot of snow, a large lake at the end of the yard, bitter winds and muck in the yard, there are signs. Mariner is hesitant to celebrate. He has no trust in Punxsutawney Phil and last February saw similar temperatures in the sixties which provoked premature growth that later was frozen in a series of frosts in late April.

Still, in these times, any sign of a positive event should be appreciated. Today, tulips in the front garden poked through just by an inch or less but there is life! Further, when mariner cleared last year’s dead tomato plants, he discovered four chard plants pushing through in spite of all the cover. This is well appreciated because that row of chard was covered by the huge tomato plants and bush beans. He considers the chard heroes and they will receive special care this year.

It was refreshing to return to the hardscape chores that will restructure the backyard gardens.

Since spring is nigh, he and his wife will attempt a celebration of family as they launch a visit to their family in California (if they haven’t been washed away).

So, readers, look around for similar good times with your family and newfound gumption. Be warned, however, not to look too far – it’s a tough world out there.

Ancient Mariner

Life is relative

Today, mariner was skimming through Associated Press news and came across an article about the discovery of a new flying dinosaur called Ceoptera:

It was unearthed on the Island of Skye in Scotland. It survived for 2 million years between 168 – 166 million years ago. The article caused mariner to think about time as a ruler with which to measure the biosphere. For example, today the Isle of Skye is nothing but jagged, treeless mountains and not the warmest place to be. What was it like 168 million years ago? In fact, Skye emerged in the Precambrian Age 538 million years ago and was a torrent of volcanoes; certainly no Ceoptera could have survived until 370 million years later!

The Earth stabilized into a planet 4.5 billion years ago. Is there a constant time called ‘Earth time’? Earth seems to have its own calendar of activities from totally dry to covered in oceans, to ice ages and even an occasional meteorite. After 300,000 years of stable weather, it seems the planet has decided to grow warmer. Ultimately, Earth abides by Sun time – a life span of about 15 billion years.

Mariner suspects there must be different clocks for different types of biosphere. 538 million years is a long, long time for Ceoptera to wait and then live only 2 million years.  The first primitive life form that can be called an animal emerged 550 million years ago. Trees have been around for 450 million years;

Moving forward, the first mammal emerged 225 million years ago; the first primate came along 65 million years ago; monkeys showed up 40 million years ago and primitive homo types split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago.

Australopithecus is a genus of hominin that evolved in eastern Africa approximately 4 million years ago and went extinct about 2 million years ago.  H. erectus appeared approximately 1.8 million years ago and we came aboard 260,000 years ago.

Readers may recall this paragraph from a recent post:

“Readers know that recently tech scientists were able to create a self-producing biological app by connecting an electronic sequence with the chemical sequence of a chromosome. Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein both said that if electronically-driven devices can reproduce themselves, the humans would become extinct because of the overhead of mammalian survival.”

Is sapiens already on notice? Every species in history survived only within a viable relationship with its environment. Today, there are headlines about overpopulation, inadequate food sources, and a disruption of the atmosphere that has urged Earth to move on from 300,000 years of stable weather, give or take a couple of ice ages.

Given these numerical references, perhaps there is a singular life time for planet Earth – tied to its parent Sun. The measuring tool is in units of 10 million years incremented by tenths. Time moves constantly toward that moment when a dying Sun will consume the planet – about 5 billion years from now.

On the other hand, evolution seems to accelerate across time. For example, Ceoptera hung around for 2 million years. We Homos have been around only for 260,000 years. Our successors already have arrived. How long will a robot-driven animal survive?

This leads mariner to surmise that evolutionary time is not a constant time. Measuring evolutionary time behaves more like the algorithm for falling through gravity:        distance = 1/2 gt

For each second one falls, they fall the square of the previous second. For example, one falls 1 foot in the first second, 4 feet the second, and so forth (see chart).

Similarly, changes in evolution happen faster and faster as time passes. There are few folks who think humans will be around 2 million years from now as ceoptera did.

Mariner will not dwell on examples of Armageddon. We shall experience existence as due course in the timeline of evolution.

Ancient Mariner



Data Breach

Suddenly, mariner’s two favorite magazines, The Atlantic and Scientific American, are writing articles about mariner’s favorite topic, the demise of the human race to be replaced by electronic life – the Armageddon of us. It’s as though the magazines have accessed mariner’s unknown library of posts and have decided to frighten him to death by implementing his quick order long before he expected it. He was speculating the transition of power from human brains to total computer domination sometime 30-50 years into the future. No, no, the magazines say. They say “Surprise, mariner, it happens today!”

Readers know that recently tech scientists were able to create a self-producing biological app by connecting an electronic sequence with the chemical sequence of a chromosome. Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein both said that if electronically-driven devices can reproduce themselves, the humans would become extinct because of the overhead of mammalian survival.

The news this very day is that no less than the honorable and wise Elon Musk has been able to implant a socket into a human brain – a socket that allows a computer to plug into the brain. Those who have watched Matrix know this is exactly what the evil electronic empire did to the entire population including Neo. (Actually, Neo volunteered to have the plug inserted so he could access the fake world of the evil empire).

A much publicized Congressional hearing was held yesterday with the Big Six of the technical world trying, but not successfully, to introduce humanist values into their tech world. It already has been proven time over time that they control too much of the daily behavior of humans and ignore the laws against monopolization to assure there is no corner where the human subconscious can operate without tech influence.

Beyond mariner’s magazines are the special intellectual streaming channels that speak of the future impacts on the biosphere, not to mention society. Even in the curricula of the most successful trade school in America, YouTube (mariner calls it ‘Junk University’; he has a degree in gardening), the TED Talk series has had recognized professors suggesting that there will be three major controllers in the future: Eastern politics, western politics and, managing the economics of the entire planet, Artificial Intelligence.

Remember horse carriages, ponies and chopping wood for the fire to cook homegrown pork stew?

To add insult to injury, The Atlantic wrote an entire, lengthy article about the evils of being Chicken Little. Chicken Little has been a dependable alter ego for mariner since mariner began his post in 2013. Chicken Little’s behavior is different but logical. If one is burned by a fire, one learns not to get burned by fire. The article suggests that one should take the offensive and stick their hand back into the fire in an effort to take control of the situation. Any social psychology evaluation would acknowledge there are moments when retreat is the best option. Consider the innocent population of Gaza: Should they stay at home and be bombed to death or retreat (in unconscionable conditions)? Much of middle America has scant resources to spend in a battle where they will have little influence.

Neo, where are you?

Ancient Mariner

Need a counselor?

This post shares a news item from Axios.

A startup (Luka) best known for offering AI companions for romance and friendship is expanding into coaching, yoga and meditation — the latest AI industry effort to encourage personal relationships with chatbots. It is an app that aims to use AI to create the digital equivalent of a wellness retreat complete with a life coach.

Luka founder Eugenia Kuyda says acceptance of the role AI chatbots can play is growing. Within a year or two, the idea of having relationships with AI will be commonplace, she argues.

  • She likened it to online dating, which was once frowned upon.
  • Luka executives have also been making the case that chatbots offer a safe space for people to try out dialogue and improve their human relationships.

What’s next: Luka has been developing a version of Tomo that works on Apple’s new Vision Pro headset. The immersive aspect, Kuyda says, makes it a good match for the wellness features Tomo offers — whereas “when you are just on your phone, it is very easy to get distracted.

֎ This new service melds nicely with one’s robot dog. Mariner notices that none of these robot corporations are eager to offer their beautiful and conversationally competent sex robots. If the reader wants to switch from online dating to sexbots, type ‘sexbots’ in your search engine.

Hurry, Neo, come save us!

Ancient Mariner


Come fly with me

For all the readers who have taken to the air to ride an airplane to another place, they will understand existentially the problems of boarding an airplane. Of further interest is that boarding an airplane is an exact metaphor for trying to integrate AI with human nature. Mariner depends heavily on an article from the January edition of Scientific American magazine.

It is a difficult process to efficiently seat a large number of travelers loaded with luggage, children, carrying a drink and using a single person aisle, overhead storage, predetermined seat numbers and two or three seats in a tight-space row making it difficult to reach a window seat. Understandably airline corporations have tried different sequences to overcome this jumble. They have tried loading from front-to-back, back-to-front, by class, by seat number and by no seat number. None have sufficiently resolved the jumble.

In 2005 Jason Steffen, an astrophysicist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, became captivated by the problem. He turned to his computer modeling skills, which he usually reserved for studying the movement of exoplanets, to find a better way to board.

After hundreds of iterations, he found that the most efficient boarding method was a version of back to front—with a few key twists. Rather than have passengers fill in each row sequentially, it was best to start boarding from the window seats, skipping every other row along the way. Effectively, this means that people with an even-numbered window seat would board first, followed by those with an odd-numbered window seat, those with an even-numbered middle seat, and so on. According to simulations, this approach was twice as fast as the front-to-back boarding strategy and 30 percent faster than random boarding.

But alas, when installed for an actual boarding,  known as the Steffen boarding method, it works slightly better than the back-to-front method  but hasn’t truly solved the jumble. Unfortunately, real people don’t behave in mathematically ideal ways. A large percentage of passengers do not follow the instructions given at the terminal. If people were expected to board in a predetermined order, they could easily miss their number being called because they arrived late to the gate or weren’t paying attention. People assigned a random seat number based on their spot in line might be confused or dissatisfied with their assigned seat and often fliers find themselves in the wrong line. Steffen’s method allows groups of people to either board together or sit together but not both—a huge drawback for families traveling with small children and groups such as students traveling with a teacher chaperone.

Hasn’t every flier experienced this? It is a situation where logic and mathematics, while being applied to human behavior, misses the mark because human behavior is not bound to follow the equation or, in some context, misrepresents the objective to board normally for some reason, perhaps a paraplegic passenger or simply to leave.

Existentially, this may be the standard experience not only for fliers but for medical doctors, insurance coverage, salary descriptions, health benefits, education certificates, background checks for renters, credit cards, etc. Will the presumptive, if simplistic logic of AI be able to deal with humans whose life is similar to New York City’s rodents? – only in terms of their existential lifestyle, of course. Will turning one’s life over to Walmart suffer the same jumble, getting tapa in their groceries instead of tapioca?

Ancient Mariner

Death by Prejudice

Please, please dear readers, forgive him but mariner needs to make a point.

Heretic, Redskin, Spic, Nigger, Wetback, Chink, Jap, Heb, Whop, Fag, Heine, A-rab, Polock, Trumper, Woke, Evangelical, Homo, poor . . . .

The United States, from the beginning, has had a serious social disease called prejudice. At many moments in its history prejudice meant death, often physical abuse, expulsion, and economic exclusion. As early as the 1600s Christian sects would perform many abusive, often deadly acts on other sects. Today, among many prejudicial groups, the Evangelicals are excluding homosexuals; two states have made it illegal to deal with homosexuals.

This is not a church sermon. It may be, as more and more nations assimilate in joint leadership (European Union), the United States may not transition very well to the global unification that will occur as soon as the Middle East (internationally bound by Islam) settles down to levels of civility.

Since the Second World War, most US international relations are militaristic, echoing international agreements from several wars during the late 2000s. What is beginning to emerge is a new era of colonialism that will have more sharing than the British and French had in their eras of colonialism during the 1800s and early 1900s.

China and India, America’s fellow sumo class nations, are active in colonizing the southern hemisphere. China is courting Peru, the world’s largest reserve of Lithium. Russia still pulls strings in Cuba. India is partnering with several African Nations. The US? We’re having trouble with fags, let alone a continent of Hispanics. In addition to southern hemisphere negotiations, China already is negotiating to install its Silk Road project which will encompass all of Asia, the Middle East, Russia and the Eastern EU nations.

Does it occur to anyone, especially the nation’s esteemed Congress, that the immigration issue would go away if the US were promoting its own Silk Road in Central America, the Caribbean and South America?

As everyone knows, the world is in turmoil because of climate, technology, population and natural resources. Might it be that those nations who are capable of redefining statehood may have a better chance at survival?

Ancient Mariner


Math Shmath

Mariner read once that truth is not a constant. Truths don’t last forever even if it takes a million years to change them. Truths are not forever.

It is often perceived that mathematics, by its disciplined procedures, always provides a truth given truthful beginning values.  The conclusions of mathematics will conform to its own discipline for dependable evaluation but it is rare for humans to think in such disciplined ways. No matter the mathematical truth, the perception of that truth by humans is flawed.

For example, in his family whenever a birthday occurs, he drags out an algorithm about who is growing old the fastest. His family members suffer this ritual knowing it will pop up in conversation for each and every member of his family on their birthday.

He will say to his daughter “When you were born, I was forty times older than you. With this birthday, I am only three times older than you; you are growing older faster than I am.” This truth is derived from a mathematical equation ‘mariner’s age divided by daughter’s age’,   M/D = a diminishing percentage, e.g., 60/20 = 3.

This, of course, is the wrong formula; it should be M – D, which would provide a constant difference of 20 years, each growing older at the same rate.

Which brings us to the point of this post. Mariner cited recently that the Hispanics were growing faster than any other race in the U.S. He was challenged with a reference to Census findings which said the Asians were the fastest growing race. [80 percent for Asians, 70 percent for Hispanics]. In the Census, it is important to know specific information about each race individually. New growth of Asians is measured with a formula similar to mariner’s where a percentage is desired rather than an absolute count, which would mean little.

On the other hand, there are 20 times as many Hispanics as there are Asians. 70 percent of Hispanics would be double the total number of Asians.

One will find that paradoxes and conundrums are common when using mathematics.

Ancient Mariner