Wednesday 30 August 2023

Lacey Doolittle Does a Bit of Investigating

"Something should be done"

There is a series on UK tele where a rather pretty redhead lass does a bit of investigating about a variety of gnarly topics. Our flame-headed temptress, er I mean journalist, lopes across the world looking for stories of injustice that cast a dim shimmering light upon society and human nature. First off, I confess I don't watch the 'show'. Little Racey wears way too much clothing to entice a sad old fart with a mild 'Red Head' complex. However, Mrs. Flaxen is an avid fan. On occasion she regales me with the latest topic under scrutiny while I try to look interested and, at the same time, make a valiant attempt to shuffle orf to my beloved barn containing a well-stocked beer fridge. Anyway, one conversation struck a chord with my penchant for the moribund state of humanity, and in this instance, I actually listened to Mrs. Saxon's generally inane babblings. Apparently, Pasty had crossed to the US to 'investigate' a particularly unpleasant circumstance of innocent folk getting caught up in the crossfire between rival gangs. I forget the name of the city under investigation; however, you can tick off from the following list according to your personal want: Detroit; Chicago; Philidelphia; Oakland; Los Angeles; etc., etc..... The problem: Gang members going about their usual nefarious activities often bump into rival gang members. Instead of exchanging friendly 'how de dos' they instead shoot at each other with no regard for accuracy. So bad is the marksmanship that they have a tendency to shoot casual passerby folk going about their own ignoble business. 

Vapid, then goes on to interview families affected by this gang-fueled phenomenon as well as community leaders, various. The upshot: Everyone interviewed agrees that something needs to be done. Intrepid Tracey looks at the camera and says: "Something needs to be done to stop these senseless shootings''. Then the director shouts that's a rap and the whole production team, including Dacey, bugger off to an out-of-suburb 'Arsefucks' for large frapparunis all around.

On pertinent reflection, it seems to me that there are a number of simple solutions to this mindless violence. Here are Flaxen Saxon's well-considered solutions to this most profound problem.

Number 1.

At the heart of the problem lies the woeful lack of shooting acumen of the protagonists involved. The lack of marksmanship cannot be ascribed to congenital defects. The gangsters are invariably 'swart folk' and it is well known, at least for those that can see, that our brown/black brethren are endowed with impeccable vision. In contrast, Japanese snipers are inherently myopic. Even with thick pebble glasses Japanese snipers are painfully inadequate for the task at hand.  After stating these indelible facts, the solution is obviously manifest. I humbly suggest that the various protagonists receive training in the gentle art of marksmanship officially sanctioned and paid for by the requisite local government agency. Within short order, hordes of violent coloured folk will have attained full proficiency in the use of small arms. From now on, and henceforth, during an exchange of gunplay, the greater accuracy afforded by the aforementioned impeccable, nay dedicated, training will pay dividends, and the gangster-to-innocent bystander 'kill' quotient will fall to socially acceptable levels. Arse bucket, akimbo!

Number 2.

In this scenario, 'salted' ammunition will be willfully and with forethought leaked upon the black market. This ammunition will look like normal handgun ammunition, and in appearance be indistinguishable. However, on discharge, the bullets will explode thus denying the shooter of several of his digits. It is hoped, that over time, said 'shooters' will desist from their villainous activities. 

Number 3.

Admittedly, this proposed solution is highly controversial. I envisage that the municipal authorities reverse the policy of defunding law enforcement and increase spending to secure a surfeit of officers. Thus endowed, the local police department will have sufficient staff and powers to enforce law and order. Local miscreants, if found engaging in antisocial behaviour will be shot, out of hand and the survivors will be swept from the streets and incarcerated for a goodly time.

What do my readers think?  

Friday 18 August 2023

Mathematical Infalibility

What a Naughty Boy

Is there anything more beautiful than a well-crafted mathematical proof? If you answer yes to this question, you are indeed a very sad and troubled soul. 

On occasion, I have posted with regard to mathematical topics and concepts. My own level of comprehension of the subject is limited, although I do have an honest interest. My peak of mathematical knowledge occurred during my first year of University when I undertook and passed a foundation course in calculus. Recently, I was reorganising my study and came across my old notes on the course. A wave of nostalgia overcame me, and I decided to flick through the pages full of calculus notation. I confess none of what I had written was intelligible to me. I had understood the mathematics at the time, but after the passage of 45 years, the symbols and the concepts were complete gibberish. I digress.....  

At the beginning of the 20th century, two eminent intellectuals came together to formulate a logical footing for mathematics: Bertrand Russell (for it was he) was primarily a logician, while his associate, Alfred North Whitehead, was an established academic and mathematician.

There was a time, sometime in the 19th century when haughty mathematicians proposed that mathematics was applicable to all human endeavour. But not only to endeavour but also to the inner workings of the human psyche- a bold thesis indeed. It was honestly conceived that mathematical theory had a role in the understanding of music (beyond harmony), theology, philosophy, ethics, and, god forbid, meteorology. Now we know better, apart from meteorology.    

After 4,500 years of development, mathematics evolved into a myriad of systems. Here are just a few, in no particular order: arithmetic; geometry; calculus; set theory; non-Euclidean geometry and algebra. These represent the most important branches of mathematics, but there are many others. Indeed, today, founding a new mathematical system remains the province of math. PhD students. These systems, once acknowledged by doctoral review professors, are promptly forgotten. It needs to be admitted that most of what we call mathematics has no discernible practical value but nevertheless remains an intellectual monument formulated by very clever people and only understood by a very select group of very clever people.    

Our Heroes (c1900) were perplexed that the 'so-called edifice' of mathematics was but a ramshackle affair built up over centuries upon shifting sands. Each 'advance' had been erected upon systems where the premises were taken as unequivocally true. For how long could this continue before it was discovered that a core tenet of a pivotal system was found to be false. In such a scenario, the whole of mathematics subsequent to the error would come tumbling down. At a stroke, the life's work of sages, current and past, would lie crushed to gather dust and scorn of the ages.

My reader may look askance at the previous paragraph and gape with wonder: surely we have learned that of all the sciences, mathematics is the only subject, along with logical deduction, that provides the means for the generation of true and absolute knowledge. Certainly, this is the case if all the premises in the line of mathematical deduction remain solid and true, that said, if an error is introduced into the chain of reasoning, then what follows is mere ferret shit on a stick. They decided that the best approach was to utilise the principles embodied in formal logic. From a given set of sparse logical axioms that are irrefutable, it should be possible to establish all mathematics on sound principles. If the preceding premises are true, and by maintaining logical rigour, what follows should also be true and irrefutable. A noble course/cause, no doubt. 

It was with this problem in mind that Russell and the other fella decided to undertake the daunting intellectual process of providing a firm base from which to build all of mathematics. Twas a bold endeavour, nay adventure. They were about to embark on an intellectual journey full of hardship and drama, both personal and intellectual. Initially, it was thought that the project would take a year; however, the task would take a decade to attain fruition. And even then, they had doubts about whether the work was actually complete. What followed became the 'Principia Mathematica' eventually published in three volumes (1910, 1912 and 1913). I direct my readers to look up said tomes and inwardly digest. And therein lies the problem. Even folk well-versed in logical nomenclature will struggle to follow the reasoning of these two great men. When it came to publishing this seminal work, Russell et al. quickly found out that no publisher was forthcoming. In fairness, the books were never going to be best sellers. Thus, Russell and Whitehead had no recourse but to self-publish. It has been hypothesised that at the time of release, only six individuals read the three volumes from beginning to end; it was never going to be an easy read. So now, after such immense intellectual attainment, the authors could bathe in the self-satisfaction that can only come from pure cerebral achievement- and there was also the adulation from fellow savants. Let's not forget that within the sacrosanct pages of the first volume of  Principia, it had been proved absolutely, nay conclusively, that 1 + 1 = 2; it only took 362 pages. And then, along came the German mathematician Kurt Godel.

In 1930, Godel published his 'Incompleteness Theorem'. In essence, Godel completely undermined the logical reasoning used by Russell and North Whitehead, and Russell was plunged into a deep depression. It seemed his years of concentrated work had been in vain. Godel's theorem is highly technical, complex and specialised and completely outside my understanding. However, in layman's terms, it appears that there can be no axiomatic form of arithmetic that achieves both consistency and completeness. Even the so-far infallible logic inherent in the axiomatic-deductive method proved to be flawed. Did 1 + 1 really = 2? The genius, Ludwig Wittgenstein, suggested a return to commonsense reality.  But most mathematicians thought that this was going too far.

O, the calamity/humanity! Mathematics has never really recovered from this 'basic truth' - go ask the man in the street. 


Friday 4 August 2023

The Wisdom of the Ages/Sages....

Whilst contemplating my life over a pint of 'Ol HMS Plop Plop, the Third', a fine ale brewed locally in the trendy micro-brewing district of the Royal Municipal town of Tipton, I espied the approach of a young man intent on gaining my attention. He hovered tentatively within my orbit and asked if he could buy me a drink. I regarded my innocuous assailant with a steely blue eye. The other eye wandered upon the well-appointed frame of the hostelry's serving wench with frank approval- I digress. I scanned the expansive/expensive drink menu and finely decided to sample a pint of 'Ol Fanny Fart, Legs Akimbo'. Allegedly, a brew of boundless fruity proportions. My newly acquainted imbibing associate ambled off to the walnut-appointed bar to obtain our beverages, thus, providing a natural hiatus to the unfolding proceedings.

On return, my guest, after taking a halting drink of his ale- 'Ol Knee Wobbler, Wokey Pokey', ejaculated accordingly: "O wise Flaxen, a man of renown throughout the black country, a man gifted with rare prescience and sagacity. I seek to tap the wisdom that courses through your veins, like a ferret in a drain pipe, and wallow and absorb/adsorb your perspicacity. Tell me, wise one, what are the fundamental secrets to living the best life. Flaxen, I beseech you''   My visage became misty as I entered an ethanol-fueled reverie........ What follows is a phantasm of a mind, a figment of a scarcely and rarely divined consciousness.

The Rules of Life as Related by the Flaxen-Haired One. Please note: what follows is in no particular order of importance and is from the perspective of a heterosexual male.

Be born between 1955 and 1961          

Be white and aesthetically pleasing to the beholder           

Born in a Western country                       

A recipient of inherited wealth                                                         

Be tall                                                   

Be kind to animals                               

Treat folk with courtesy and respect  unless they show you otherwise             

Be smart                                      

Own a ferret and name it Shagger                                

Everything is fleeting       

Fret not about those things you can't change      

Enjoy all the fruits that the senses demand    

Obtain an education according to your want

Escew religion in all its guises

Have no more friends than fingers on your left hand after a chainsaw accident

Have no truck with politics and politicians 

Associate not with fools (see above)

Be content; happiness is fleeting

Try everything once except incest and country dancing

Imbibe deeply but never appear drunk

Induction is supreme

Use sanity sparingly

Do not posit above what is necessary

Without evidence, you have nothing 

Morality is subjective except for the 'Golden Rule.'

Strength through pain

Marry wise, if not at all

Enjoy solitude 

Be bereft of neighbours

Love mathematics

Pyrophillia is not arson

Thirst for knowledge

Take heed of smart folk

From wealth comes leisure for contemplation. 

Do not add sugar to homemade pickles

"The above is mere commentary. Go forth and live a life worthwhile." My guest recoiled and said: "Sir, this is undoubtedly stern counsel and sound advice as far as it goes. But where is a consideration of the inner psyche, the very soul of man. How am I to find inner peace". I drank deeply of my ale and responded thusly: "Attend to what I have said, and what you seek will follow. I have no more to say".