Thursday, May 25, 2017

Labels

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One of the things which gave our species an edge back in the way back was pattern recognition, it's something we humans are very, very good at. While many animals have this ability, we are the reigning world champions. At least for now. Some computer wienies predict that eventually machines will surpass us in this ability. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. I have worked in software far too long to believe anything a computer wienie predicts. Especially if the problem is complex enough.

Imagine, if you will, a time many eons ago, Grok and Grom are out hunting when they see a species they've never encountered before. Let's say, for argument's sake, that what they see is a rather large animal with sharp teeth and claws and with an attitude. No grazer this, no, this is a meat eater, a predator. Looks kinda like the smaller species they have near their village but this one is bigger. This one attacks the two hunters. Grok barely escapes while Grom has become cat food.

Returning to his village the other villagers are somewhat concerned that Grom isn't with him.

"What happened to Grom?" the village headman inquired, looking rather sternly at Grok.

"We were attacked by a really big version of that little animal that eats mice." Grok manages to gasp out.

"What, you were attacked by a cat?" asked the village shaman.

"Way bigger than that and a lot more aggressive. And when did we start calling the little furry mouse hunter a 'cat'?" Grok wanted to know, his curiosity overcoming his shock at his recent near death experience.

"Shaman stuff, you don't need to know." said the shaman.

So yes, we humans like to name things, label them if you will. When we recognize new things, we give them new names. While a tiger is similar in pattern to a cat, one learns that while you probably won't die from a cat attacking you, odds are the outcome of a similar encounter with a tiger will be far different. So referring to both as "cats," while technically accurate, is not all that useful in the wild.

"Watch out for the cat!" doesn't have the same urgency as "Watch out for the tiger!"

Similar patterns, but different enough to require a different label.

One drawback to this pattern recognition ability is that we tend to see what we expect to see. Our brains will often leap to a conclusion of what we're seeing before we've really seen it. Does that make sense? For instance, if I walk into an area where I'm not supposed to be, where there are no distinguishing marks to indicate who should and shouldn't be there, well, if I act like I belong there, the locals, so to speak, will pay no attention to me.

Camouflage works because of that. Cover a tank with branches and place it amongst a bunch of trees, bingo, you won't really notice the tank. Unless it moves, while trees will move with the wind, the base of the tree tends to stay in the same spot. A patch of forest isn't going to move across a field, unless driven by a major wind storm.

Another way to use our pattern recognition skills against us is to confuse the brain. Dazzle camouflage was used for that reason.

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Really, it's the same ship in both pictures. Ah, but that's a painting you say, a photograph would look so different as would viewing it with the naked eye. You think? What does the following photo depict?

(Source)
Okay, it's a ship. But which is the bow and which is the stern? (Front and back for you lubbers.) Interesting stuff, Neh? You can read more about dazzle camouflage here. (I'm rather off topic but I wanted to show you dazzle camouflage, a subject I find fascinating.)

So patterns and the labels we attach to them and other things.

Modern society seems to have a big problem with patterns and labels. If young men from certain areas of the world and practicing a certain religion have a disturbing predilection for blowing themselves up in public places in order to kill and maim as many innocents as possible, are we wrong to look for that pattern of individual? Well, many in these idiotic modern times call that "profiling." Well, duh. Yes, of course it's profiling. When there is a certain pattern, or profile, to be aware of, even wary of, it's stupid, nay, criminal to ignore it. It goes against our survival instinct, it flies in the face of evolution.

We also need to be very careful in how we label, or name things. Referring to Islamic terrorism is a big no-no in certain circles. Because then they'll get mad and want to kill us? Calling incidents of terrorism "work place violence" will make it go away? I guess you could say that technically the events which took place on a string of beaches in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944 was workplace violence.

I mean for the Germans defending the beach, that was their workplace. They were paid to be there and, well, defend the beach. Against the Allies who were also paid to be there. While it wasn't their workplace at dawn, it certainly was by evening. Nah, wasn't a war, wasn't a battle, that's too pat, too obvious. Had to be something else, right?

Modern times. Where we can't call things what they really are. Where mental confusion, if not outright mental illness, is treated as normal and must be accommodated at all costs. Where a violent attack on innocent kids attending a music concert causes worry among the pointy head set that it will cause Islamophobia. Well duh, of course it will.

We're not allowed to be wary and on our guard any more, it's offensive and hurts the precious special snowflakes. Can't have that now can we?

Labels, I have one for the modern day so-called social justice warriors, gender benders, snowflakes, and left-leaning socialists of every stripe...

Morons.

Then again, if we let them have their way, then we're the morons.

Bunch of jerks.




36 comments:

  1. I have always been interested in dazzle camo. I wanted to paint my old pickup with that scheme. BUT, it's too effective. If anyone at the insurance office knew what it was, they'd triple my insurance. So, I see dazzle camo, say to myself that'd be cool, and go about my biz.

    I also like the patch camo from WW1 German airplanes. Maybe when I get older and develop my dad's old attitude.

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    1. Yes, that weird lozenge pattern they started using late in the war. Most effective.

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  2. A thoughtful post Sarge and chums. Close to home for me too. I was in that other drinking den of ours and one of the team asked for my view on a blog article of one Kim Du Toit. I think I can safely cut and paste my response here, because I think it fits your post:


    I read the other piece by Mr Du Toit. I don't want to try to do a British comparison with the current feelings in your neighbourhood as it is so different on so many levels. I did not like his article or his proposals but I understand where it comes from and respect that it was his entitled point of view. I have just observed an 11:00 hrs, National, one minutes silence for the victims of the latest bombing. I used the word `latest` quite deliberately. During that minute of well observed silence, and the more than one minutes rousing applause that followed it, I was thinking that it was so much more powerful a gesture than would have been the mass cocking and locking of weapons. I try very hard not to get drawn in by the hatemongers and I try hard not to lash out in anger, as it can spoil my aim. I don't want us to get mad, I want us to get even, hunt these murdering bastards down, be ready to kill them if they resist; put them before British law, convict them beyond reasonable doubt; lock them up and forget them; work on peaceful prevention and set an example for how civilised people apply force, proportionately and with justification. We are capable of raining down quite a bit of hellfire and brimstone upon our enemies, small though our Nation is, but I'd sooner hate the criminal and the crime, not the religion, and certainly not my neighbours, providing they are of the sort that live by our laws and appreciate everything that this country offers them.

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  3. "I have worked in software far too long to believe anything a computer wienie predicts. Especially if the problem is complex enough."

    I find comfort in that statement.

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  4. "A patch of forest isn't going to move across a field" ~Macbeth

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  5. After the debrief, Grok managed to adequately, er, comfort Grom's grieving girlfriend. He made her lose the cat though.

    Couple of thoughts. All of the sjw stuff is neomarxist postmodern dogma. It's EXACTLY the same as Russia in '17, China after WWII, Cambodia, etc. That narrative is deeply entrenched in our society, and it's nothing new. The siren song of marxist utopia killed well over 100,000,000 souls in the 20th century. In every case the people were certain that they could contain and control the excesses, that it "can't happen here."

    Well it certainly can happen here and it is happening here. Almost every single person I know lacks any shred of civilized morality. They've never thought about principles and ethics because they've never had to. They've been constantly bombarded with the message that the american dream is all about themselves, and if somebody would just gas all the evil people they are being victimized by, and if we could only get ourselves a great dear leader, then everything would be rainbows and unicorns. No, they wont knife you in the front, and they'll only steal what they can get away with, but they'll never have your back and they'll quietly cheer when the authorities take you away in the night.

    Now, as for patterns and naming. Most people I know believe to the core of their being that if they know the name of something they know everything about that something. That they can name and categorize and that's that bit of the world mastered, particularly if they get the information from a recognized expert on television or koobecaf. But of course they've only matched a noise and a symbol with a thing, and almost certainly a bit of misinformation. A cow is a person. Corn is baby poison. The patriarchy causes global warming. A terrorist is a freedom fighter.

    My major point is this. First Principle again. All men are equally men. All men have the capacity for great good as well as great evil. When men are practicing great evil, thinking of them as named things isn't enough. Calling them names feels good, but the names are misleading, give us a false sense of superiority and invulnerability, and don't help us understand the threat at all. These people constitute an existential threat to civilization. They need to be studied. If we're to protect America and modern western civilization, it's not up to the military, it's up to the individual. We have to recognize that those people are first of all people just like us. That they are people who have consciously chosen to do evil. That they need to be treated as such, and not coddled and mollified. That when they cross the line into violating the natural rights of other individuals, they need to be severely dealt with. But we can't do that unless we know for certain that they are people just like us, and that we also have to choose between good and evil, and there are principled reasons to be and do good, and principled reasons to smash those who do evil.

    Or something like that.

    Grom's gf really was a hottie.

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    1. AS always, you express yourself very well and make a number of excellent points. I can't really argue with anthing you've presented. Oh we might quibble on a point or two, but on the whole we're in sync.

      And yes, Grom's gf was a hottie, yet fickle.

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    2. The only thing missing from your assessment of Progs, Shaun, was that they're not concerned that people will get hauled away because they're convince that THEY won't be. Until.... Which if/when they haul me away, there will be a small last glimmer of satisfaction when I see the look on their face when they are identified as the "Useful Idiots" they always were as they are hauled off with me.

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    3. That moment when they realize that they're not destined for the nomenklatura!

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  6. As soon as we remove labels they become human.
    Example - we want to drain the swamp, replacing all the reptiles.
    But when it comes to election time, we still vote for the folks we know.
    It would be much easier to vote them out if all the ballot said was Incumbent.

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    1. Someone I'm VERY familiar with (too much so in many cases, I know what he's thinking) has a voting rubric

      1) No democrat.
      2) No incumbent.
      3) No unopposed.

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    2. You'll get no argument from me on that score!

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    3. I used to not vote for "unopposed" candidates until my dad ran for township supervisor. He busted his hump during the spring primaries to win BOTH the R and D ballots (one straight up, and one via write-in), so he EARNED the right to run unopposed in the fall.

      That, and I can't shake the old "80% of life is showing up" quote.

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    4. I try to keep an open mind, I'll vote for someone who best represents what I think is best at the level of the office. Still, a good candidate is hard to find. Most of them, as you note, just show up.

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    5. a bear. I think I'll amend my friend's rubric. (He's pretty hard headed in his opinions, but a couple of wee drams of Glenlivet Naturra and he becomes amenable to suggestion)

      3) No unopposed (unless you personally know the person and believe that he's the one exception that disproves the rule that all politicians are crooks and scum)

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    6. A most reasonable compromise.

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    7. (Also, he's currently running for a third term, so 2) needs modification. I'm biased, but he's still the better man for the job. :) )

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  7. I love this pub! Mines a pint of bitter!

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    1. We try very hard. Sometimes too hard!

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  8. Another brilliant post with such superb comments that I can only add " I agree ".

    Paul L. Quandt

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  9. Ah, patterns and profiling. Nothing is more simple to understand yet so vilified by the "correct" people...

    Back after 9-11, there was an email that pointed out the number of attacks against 'Christianity' by young muslim males between the ages of 17 and 32. Starting from, well, the beginning of Islam to just after 9-11.

    The list was very long. Condensed versions floated around also.

    And the only problem with the list was it was true. And so useful as a profiling tool to keep oneself from becoming a victim to, well, young muslim males (and now females, yeesh) between the ages of 17 to 32.

    Yet our betters willfully and conspicuously ignore YMMBTAo17t32 and treat the rest of humanity (especially children, old people and those with handicaps) as the next potential terrorists.

    I think I'll go back to banging my head against the wall. Maybe I can get a job doing demolition work...

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    1. Well you know what they say Andrew, "Life is hard, wear a helmet." Especially when it seems all we can do IS beat our heads against the wall.

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  10. DH says that I have to have a name for everything (think recipes for supper) and if it doesn't have a name, I wont eat it. Which is not true, as anyone looking at me can see I haven't missed many meals lately (DH does the cooking, I do the dishes in our house as he is home and I'm out slaving away making "big bucks")

    Anyhoo...

    Labels, or names, or profiling, whatever you want to call it are useful to help communicate effectively and efficiently. After all, if you are running away from a large, orange and black striped animal with long sharp teeth and claws that roars or from a young dark olive complected male in white clothes carrying a back pack who is screaming some variation of "God is great", it is much faster to tell your friend with you "Run, it's a tiger", or "Run, it looks like a Islamic terrorist". And when something is trying to kill or injure me, I'm taking the fastest, most efficient way to communicate I can, to save my breath for running. So I can save my skin. Cause it's all about me and my skin :)

    I think the entire profiling discussion comes back to what folks say about clichés or old wives tales. They are still around because like them or not, they wind up being true...probably because they have been around forever. Same thing with profiling or patterning. Maybe that is what we should do...just change what we call profiling. Call it patterning instead. That way the SJW/PC crowd can't get all lathered up. Hopefully?

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    1. I like that idea. Patterning, it sounds so innocent, like something one might do at a craft fair.

      Wouldn't that burn the SJW/PC crowd?

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    2. Not to worry, those people can get worked up over anything or nothing at all. They don't feel that they are alive unless they are frothing at the mouth about something.

      Paul L. Quandt

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  11. "Watch out for the cat!" doesn't have the same urgency as "Watch out for the tiger!"

    I don't know. Walking around the house barefoot with Moshka and Mushka about can be quite dangerous. Schmedlap....Not so much.

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    1. Hahaha! Yes, while the domestic cat isn't as ferocious as a tiger, they can cause pain. If they've a mind to.

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    2. Oh, they can be as ferocious, lucky for us, they are much smaller than tigers.

      Paul

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)