Friday, September 16, 2016

August 18


The road cuts through the woodsy ravine that runs along our neighborhood.


Petunias in pink planter.

Pink and purple, in proximity.

Cute pink bouquet on outside table in front of Aventura.

Still more pink.  Sedum "Autumn Joy."

I had been aware that there are Nerd Nights, in Ann Arbor, where people come and talk about things they are excited about.  On the 18th I decided to go check it out.

It was in a dance bar. 

The music they played was so loud that I'm sure it was harmful to ears as we sat waiting for the presentation to begin.  If I hadn't had my handy earplugs in my pocket, I'd have left.  (Even with them it was louder than I was happy about.)

Trying to entertain myself taking pics.  Wasn't it nice of this white-haired woman to wear a white shirt, under the black light?  (and I like her haircut)

The presentations were on genetic modification of organisms, computer memory over time, and use of repeated musical themes to help us keep track of what's going on in the Ring Cycle.

I thought the Ring Cycle guy was interesting and entertaining.

The other two.........  The computer memory guy was up to speed on his era, but he was wrong about some older things.  He said punched cards were not used for data storage, which is just not true....   Any time someone states as fact something I know is not true, it makes me wonder about the rest of what he says............

The GMO guy was just plain disturbing.  He's a PhD student, but seemed to lack a basic grasp of how science is supposed to work.

1)  Mother Nature is not on our side.  She does not care who "wins."  Her plan is "more is better," and "let's see what happens over time!" 

2)  Following from #1, the fact that Mother Nature does something does not mean that thing is in humanity's favor.  "Natural" is not equivalent to "good for humanity" -- cyanide, small pox, and category 5 hurricanes are all natural..........

3)  Even if we were to go crazy and pretend that anything Mother Nature does IS in humanity's favor, for us to do it, too, is probably not a really good idea.  Unlike Mother Nature, we do have an opinion about whether outcomes should be in our favor, and we surely (SURELY) do not have enough data to know what the outcomes will be as we blindly mess around with DNA.  !!!

4)  The fact that we have no proof something is bad is NOT, NOT, ***NOT*** proof that it is ok.  The presenter said that because we've been looking for reasons that human rearrangement of genes is bad for 20 years, and haven't found any evidence that it is bad, it is unequivocably true that GMOs are ok.

That was his word -- "unequivocable"...................... 

This one proposition is scary enough, but for someone who is supposedly a scientist to have such a poor grasp of how one "proves" something is ... much scarier.  Failure to disprove is NOT the same as proof!

Remembering my paleontology teachers, who said that while disproof is easy, proof is very, very difficult. 

REAL SCIENTISTS might say "we do not reject the hypothesis that GMOs are safe" but would NEVER say "it is unequivocably true that GMOs are ok."  Especially with only 20 years of data to back that up!

I guess I learned that "nerds" (as they call themselves, for "nerds night out") are NOT scientists (even when they ought to be!!!), and that self-proclaimed nerdiness is not to be equated with lack of stupidity, given that said nerds are apparently not smart enough to decline to expose themselves to ear-damaging levels of noise, let alone to apply any intelligence they may have to a critical examination of what they are being told................

(Wondering if they were trying to prove they were cool, sitting in the dance bar being deafened?  So un-cool, to note that the noise is too noisy.......)

This event was partially (entirely?) sponsored by the library.  Which checks out decibel meters.  If I were interested in going back, I'd be taking a decibel meter along to verify my assessment of the loudness of the music.

(Not exactly a Digression -- I would say that there are two kinds of people.  Those who charge full speed ahead, gleefully shouting "What could possibly go wrong!", and the rest of us, who stand skeptically watching, saying "I can think of 15 things that could go wrong, without breaking a sweat!"  People are FAR too eager to assume that because they can't see a problem, there are no problems............  And that's probably the understatement of the anthropocene epoch.   Sigh.)

On top of everything else, it ended late enough that I walked home from downtown in the dark.  Not my fave.

One of the parking lots along Huron was being messed with.  The northern-most lane of Huron was blocked by a big truck which had brought other vehicles, including a small steam roller.

And there was this guy, doing this..........

I'd never seen that before.  Or -- at least, had never seen it in the dark, when it looked like this!


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