It’s All About Meme

a wise meme once said

About 10,900,000 results (0.40 seconds) 

Did you mean: “a wise man once said”?

No, but thank you for the algorithm, G. Oogle. I didn’t mean that.

Did you meme: “a wise woman once said“?

Thank you Mr. Oogle, but those results are more helpful. Your bots do fine fast work.

Disinformation_vs_Misinformation
Memetics is a term invented by Richard Dawkins (1976: The Selfish Gene) to describe how information propagates in a network. The internet permits you to inform and misinform as rapidly as web-crawling bots can jump from here to anywhere.
A borg in Macedonia, a bot in Minnesota or a Shakespeare-typing monkey may be squinting at a computer screen as you read this.
Misinformation
Mr. G.O. Ogle, what’s a “meme generator”?
About 1,270,000 results (0.53 seconds) 
Why an all-caps serif-free dishwater-grey font? Personally, I would prefer Henry Ford black.meme.font
Why would Gandhi quote Martin Luther King on Einstein’s memories of Logan Paul?
Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

A Möbius Twist Please

 

Hariod Brawn, a fellow I follow regularly on WordPress, recently posted “What is it like for nothing to happen.” Many, including myself, have found great mill for grist there. Please consider spending a moment or five there.

gahan-wilson-nothing-happens-next-this-is-it-new-yorker-cartoon_a-g-9172121-8419447

Such thoughts as these intrigue me.

What is the science behind the abrupt discontinuity and surprising continuity of a Möbius strip? You are on one side and simultaneously on the other, or is it the other way around. Or is there just one side? A simple twist of the two-dimensional surface is radical and beautiful to ilk like me.

moebius-strip

 

Calculus allows us to keep begging the questions on a seeming, and actual, infinity:

“Are we there yet? When are we going to be there?”

Meanwhile we march on asymptotically toward an axis or several axes, or three-dimensional, four-dimensional axes.

asymptote

I say “dare to divide by zero.” But thank me not —thank the unknown scholars who introduced the zero. Roman numerals are hard-headed and in-your-face hard-nosed to math fans.

But back to nothing (or zero or zed). Consider the weight of the universe. Then consider its opposite: absolutely absolutely nothing.

“But, but the big-ass weight of the universe is a whole lot of something. Or something.”

Some time ago a science fiction author (name unknown to me) imagined a planet with never dissipating cloud cover. At no time of the day or night could an inhabitant see anything but the underside of endlessly butting together clouds. The sun was a hazy bright spot visible during the day. At night, of course, no stars. What could the inhabitants know of the universe?

Thanks for reading.

 

Speak Arabic Openly and Joyfully!

Arabic is a tapestry

Modern Standard Arabic is a construct used to help Arabic speakers living over a wide expanse to understand each other. To speak the language, and yet be understood, you have to choose among Arabic dialects specific to particular geographical areas, as suggested by the map below:

Arabic_Dialects.svg

Modern Standard Arabic is akin to Esperanto among its many speakers: about 400 million Arab speakers on this planet of ours!

Lines on a map I’ve viewed 10,000 times mask the neighborhood scenes, but empires find borders (preferably using a straight edge) an expedient means for control.  Africa before Europeans. Is there a downside?  Empires rape as much as they can as fast as they can, but what’s wrong with that?  Endless decadence for one.

My safari (سفر, from Swahili) into Arabic started some years ago when teaching a German class: sample, sample. One student was born in Jerusalem. Palestinians live under constant occupation. Occupied by Ottomans until 1923, British Empire until May 1948, then another legal entity to 2016 and counting (down). But Palestine is a forever place.

I made a good deal “if you can learn some German I can learn some Arabic.” It was a means for transcending culture and stereotypes, the kind explained in the documentary Reel Bad Arabs.

It’s fun tackling curiosities in Indo-European roots. Only recently did I discover that Persian shares Indo-European roots along with most European countries. Their alphabet looks like Arabic, but there isn’t much overlap in vocabulary.

Farsi doesn’t use the root system – a fundamental building-block system for assigning meaning. Arabic dictionaries are arranged by consonant groupings

SFR = SaFaRi, a journey

indo-european-word-history-of-plek

Arabic script is brilliantly beautiful. The Roman alphabet has a tiny toolbox, as useful as thimbles for trumping fingers and thumb IMO.

Latin doesn’t even have lowercase letters and it does not often include curved letters like U when a V will do. But they are easier to chisel into stone.

alan-dunn-does-ex-take-the-ablative-or-the-dative-new-yorker-cartoon

Nothing beats a zero when speaking the language of science. The Romans didn’t get there. To paraphrase the John Cleese (Why does British food suck? “they had an empire to run.” It’s not easy to derive square roots using Roman numerals.

Let me say something about resources: not all Arabic alphabet aids are good. This one helped me the most: Sugar comes from Arabic.

Many Spanish words derive from Arabic. They stayed on after Arabic culture was forceably ejected from Spain in 1492. So at least two all-time epic fails happened in 1492.

The Crusades and the Inquisition (The Church Militant) were not good ideas. Spreading lies like Joseph Goebbels lends not a single grain of truth. Truth went into exile from 1933 to 1945. No literature or art of any value springs forth under Fascism. Nothing good comes of Fascism. “When I hear the word ‘culture’…”

Islamophobia (from the xeno family of racism) will not lead to a better gentler world.

An earlier post on this theme: Thinking about language

 #RumiWasntWhite.

 

 

 

#HateHurts

#HateHurts is a blog I follow and recommend. Misinformation and deliberate bias provokes; it intends to provoke. Broadcasters who long for a return to the Pre-Enlightenment write volumes that with titles like The Glory of the Crusades. Authors with absolutely no knowledge of Arabic language and diverse cultural roots endlessly repeat bad translations of the Quran. This is not scholarship: the title is all you need. Wink and a nod to the ignorant, arrogant and angry. The following video features propaganda using false witness.

Not responding to evil is a complicit act.

In the aftermath of acts of violence/terror by someone from a Muslim background, there is a unique backlash that takes place against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. There is often an upswing in assigning collective blame to the greater Muslim community, resulting in violent attacks or harassment against Muslims and their institutions. This […]

via A List of Anti-Muslim Incidents Since The Orlando Shooting — #HateHurts

Niemöller and Johst

Niemöller was not a narrow-minded person

Pastor Martin Niemöller’s timeless quote is larger than his name.

First they came for … then … then …there was no one left to speak for me.

first.they.came.for.the.palestinians
from Mondoweiss

Xenophobia is dangerous and narrow-minded. It flourishes on ignorance. It has no redeeming social value.

Ignorance of algebra combined with chutzpah-level arrogance recently became equated with terror. My advice: spend less time removing innocent passengers from flights and spend more time learning about other cultures. 

The Arabic word “InshaAllah” is the most common word spoken by Arabic speakers to express the hope that everything will be OK, such as “Let’s hope for the best.” Not all Arabs are Muslims. Most Muslims are not Arabic.

Curiously enough, the word algebra comes from Arabic; actually a long list of English words come from Arabic

aljabr

Should we be more tolerant of the rabidly intolerant? Let’s consider über orthodox Al Kresta, the broadcaster who owns the drive-time slot on Ave Maria Radio. Mr. Kresta always presents himself as a fair commentator. A couple years ago he announced formation of a panel to answer the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace.” He selected a new convert to Islam as the panel’s scholar and proceeded to bulldoze the poor guy.

Here is an excerpt on the clever ruse from The American Muslim:

“He will certainly be in over his head, and this “featured debate” will simply be used as an opportunity to humiliate the American Muslim community. Shadid Lewis may mean well, but participating in this very public event without the tools to deal with someone like Robert Spencer is at the very least unwise. And, the fact that Spencer, Kresta, Ave Maria, et al are framing this as a debate between scholars, when that is clearly not the case makes it clear that they have an agenda.”

Al’s guest today was Winston Churchill’s grandson. It did not take long for Kresta to direct the conversation to Islamic jihad and The Church Militant. The takeaway: Winston would have recognized ISIS as a threat similar to Reich 3.

billziegler1947 follows Kresta in the Afternoon so you don’t have to. 

Fear of the stranger may derive from a sense of superiority, privilege or ordained certainty. Xenophobia flourishes best on the dark side: it works like the brain’s autonomic system to profile “the other” as an existential threat. You don’t even have to think about it. Hate goes way beyond rolling the eyes: visceral reactions, racist rants, flying spittle, cognitive dissonance…

cognitive-dissonance-2

We enough personal experience with the human shadow in our cultures, traditions and literatures to know how long that shadow may be cast.

Hanns Johst wrote the play Schlageter

First performed on Hitler’s 44th birthday, 20 April 1933, Schlageter is a play by Hanns Johst. It celebrates the arrival of Adolph Hitler and Reich Number 3. That piece of Nazi theater is the source for “When I hear the word culture…, I release the safety on my Browning!”

SCHLAGETER: Good old Fritz! (Laughing.) No paradise will entice you out of your barbed wire entanglement!

THIEMANN: That’s for damned sure! Barbed wire is barbed wire! I know what I’m up against…. No rose without a thorn!… And the last thing I’ll stand for is ideas to get the better of me! I know that rubbish from ’18 …, fraternity, equality, …, freedom …, beauty and dignity! You gotta use the right bait to hook ’em. And then, you’re right in the middle of a parley and they say: Hands up! You’re disarmed…, you republican voting swine!—No, let ’em keep their good distance with their whole ideological kettle of fish … I shoot with live ammunition! When I hear the word culture …, I release the safety on my Browning!”

SCHLAGETER: What a thing to say!

THIEMANN: It hits the mark! You can be sure of that.

SCHLAGETER: You’ve got a hair trigger.

— Hans Johst’s Nazi Drama Schlageter. Translated with an introduction by Ford B. Parkes-Perret. Akademischer Verlag Hans-Dieter Heinz, Stuttgart, 1984.
It’s not fair to judge a minority of Israelis on the actions of a majority, but the word “Palestinian” twitches thumbs to search for the safety.
Fascism produces no art, no literature. Actually nothing of value, but it is superb at destroying all human values.

 

Thanks for reading.