Cui bono?

honor hominesque honesti floreant

Category: entanglement

Examination Paper CID4U

Next regular posting scheduled for 16th  August

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES DECONSTRUCTED     CID4U

This examination is scheduled to last ten (10) minutes

Read each question carefully before answering and then write your answer on both sides of the paper provided.  Cheating is permitted but must be cleared with the supervising examiner in advance 

1. Is the increased proportion of testosterone allegedly discovered in the metabolic system of western men by comparison with forty years ago the result of changes in diet, changes in the visual environment on screen and off, of doping to accompany ‘sporting’ activity, or of input self-administered by males afflicted by self-doubt after listening to preposterous lies told by male work colleagues?

2. Cui bono?  This was the favourite question of Cicero (ancient Rome’s answer, 2,000 years in advance, to Jeremy Corbyn, except that he wrote much better Latin).  Strangely this phrase is completely ambiguous.  One of its meanings is “What’s the point?” but the other one, which Cicero claimed was what he meant when he ued it is considered more respectable, and quotable, and is equivalent to “Who got the benefit from it?” when discussing mysterious unpleasant events such as political murders where there was no eye witness (or no one with any intention of coming forward as such).  Caruana Galizia’s explosive exit in Malta is only one of several prominent cases in recent times where this question might be put to work.

3. Question for Tony Blair (to receive if you ever find him at a public meeting where he is bold enough to take questions): ‘On your travels do you ever get the chance to visit the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq?’

4. If we conclude that quantum mechanics shows that assertions which are fiercely counter-intuitive (e.g. cats being simultaneously both alive and dead) are correct, might we not reasonably conclude that there is a high level of fallibility about the mental processes by which human beings reach conclusions ?

[p.s. surely any Ph.D student in physics could cope with that premiss by just assuming an extra dimension or two]

5. Given (a) the great predominance (or should that be ‘predomination’) of the male gender in those holding positions from which appointments to lucrative, fashionable, or prestigious jobs are made (e.g. M.P., broadcasting bigwig, CEO, theatrical panjandrum, or director of think tank) and (b) the surge of agreement across ‘developed’ nations that gender inequality should be ‘tackled’, there is likely to be (a) a substantial increase in the number of new female appointments to lucrative etc jobs, and (b) a high chance that those appointments will be of attractive young women.  Is this likely to result in increasing the disadvantage of older, less attractive women who may well need the job more?  (Answer: ‘Yes’)

6. How long does a family have to live in a country before they cease to be immigrants?  Twenty years?  Fifty years?  A hundred and fifty years?  And does the length of time depend on any factors other than their length of residence, such as complexion or how much money they have?  (Answer: ‘YES, and YES!’)

7. It is claimed that an important aspect of human intelligence is the ability to learn things from just two or three encounters.  Are there any public-spirited psychologists or sociologists researching into ways to develop a human ability to dis-learn, from ideally just six or seven, or anyway as few encounters as possible (with particular reference to the tendency to invade foreign countries, especially but not exclusively in the Middle East?   (Oh, and Afghanistan.)  And if not, why not?

8. Can you place the following government responses in the standard chronological order of appearance after a disaster inescapably and obviously caused largely by government incompetence or dishonesty or both combined?

(1) Blaming the victims   (2) Congratulating the survivors on their resilience   (3) Promising that the government will take all necessary measures to ensure that such a disaster never happens again  (4) Announcing the launch of an enquiry (to report back ‘early next year’)   (5) Assuring that their thoughts and hearts and profound sympathy go out to those affected and their families (6) Showing how it resulted directly from the policies of the previous government  (7) Guaranteeing that survivors will receive prompt and adequate compensation, where appropriate (on presentation to the committee to be set up in Newcastle upon Tyne to review claims of the evidence of harm or loss, provided that they submit such evidence within six weeks, and can attach satisfactory proof confirmed by a solicitor or barrister that they were at the relevant time properly registered inhabitants of the locality so sadly stricken).

9. How long will it be after the first robot newsreader delivers her initial news presentation (because she will certainly be female) on a public news channel, before some inadequate gets himself 15 minutes of attention in the twittersphere by announcing that he has tweeted ‘her’ a proposal of marriage?

10. Simon (the one who said the fuss over colour of UK passports should be solved now that the UK is supposed to be a diverse society, whatever that means, by making them every colour of the rainbow plus brown, black and white) asks why windmills which have their blades vertically aligned only have them on one side of the structure holding them up.  If he’s right about that, why is it?  Wouldn’t you get twice the power if there were blades on each side?

11. You wouldn’t ask barefoot passers-by for advice on how to make shoes.  Then why expect government to pay any attention to an oppressed underclass (variously known as ‘the poor’, ‘Labour voters outside London’, ‘the oiks’, or ‘the bottom 30%) on how to run the country?  (Sorry Kropotkin!)

12. Which tends to come first, domination over other nations and identifiable minorities, or callous barbarity?

 

 

 

 

Entanglement and entanglements

A first!  We have today a contribution from the Doc (though I’m sure he won’t mind me letting you know that I helped him with the first part)

Work very recently reported in the public media is said to strongly support the claims that particles can be so ‘entangled’ by ruthless physicists, not excluding those based in Delft, that in some sense they cannot break free from the embrace. What you do to one of them will be experienced by the other, as a physical event parallel on a nanoscale to what is occasionally claimed to happen with emotional events affecting human twins, although in a very indistinct way, and almost never under scientifically validated conditions. (I regret to say I am rather less sceptical about such claims than I should be, scientifically, having had a dozen or so experiences of a very peculiar type of telepathy between the ages of 11 and 38.)

If the implications of the report are validated by repetition and confirmed by experiments of a different type, this will make some people happy, those for instance who are in the running to receive fat research grants for work on quantum computers. Others will find the result distasteful, inconvenient, and scientifically abominable or at least ‘spooky’. ‘Spooky’ was in fact Einstein’s own verdict on the possibility of entanglement, a.k.a. ‘action at a distance’.

Actually, there is one way in which such a result can be regarded as unamazing. All that is necessary is to assume an extra dimension. We can give a rough and ready indication of the sort of simplifying complication this produces in the following way. Take two maps of exactly the same region. Take an empty fish tank and turn it on its side. Place one map on the top, and the other underneath, aligned with the greatest possible care with respect to the surrounding frame of reference (the room), to ensure that Botten’s Pike, a hill top, on the upper map is exactly above Botten’s Pike on the map below; similarly for Codger’s Ford close to Botten’s Pike to the west and Skinny Beck close on the east; just by co-incidence they form an equilateral triangle. You have now changed the two-dimensional map into one of three dimensions. If you take a laser pointer and aim it perfectly vertically down on to Botten’s Pike on the top map its beam will also strike Botten’s Pike on the lower one. Likewise for Codger’s Ford and Skinny Beck. These are unusual laser beams remaining attached to their origins and points of impingement indefinitely. It will also turn out that they are flexible.

Sixty or seventy years later a government committee will give itself the task of rearranging the landscape of this region in the interests of greater economic efficiency. They will not bother about the map on top because it is easier to rest their papers on the table on which the former fish tank rests. They also will not bother about the laser beams considering them ‘insubstantial’ and ‘preferring to keep our feet on the ground’. They will cut up the lower map into hundreds of pieces and rearrange them to make a more rational and cost-efficient landscape. For instance Codger’s Ford is now actually at the same point as Botten’s Pike ‘because the water flow will be less up there and so it will be easier for the cattle to ford the river.’   Skinny Beck will have been moved far away, out of the region entirely. The committee will have this new form of the landscape recorded and registered as the official landscape of the region. Only one or two oldest inhabitants will annoy the younger generation by remarks like ‘Sitting up here on t’Pike always makes me think of watching cattle crossing the ford or dipping in Skinny Beck.’

Avoiding inconvenient precision, in the interests of an uncertain parallelism, let us merely observe the patterns of changes which have accumulated in recent years in many activities that need to run properly to keep a community in good order. In each field they have quite rapidly built up into complex surface layers suggesting a vast array of meta-activities to be organised (and paid for) in hitherto unsuspected ways, whereas hidden behind them in each case there are relatively simple basic needs – for learning, for travelling, for giving and receiving, for communicating – that are not really vastly different from the form they had half a century and more ago. The prolificity of the superficial business that is supposed to deal with these needs is in fact now in each case a major obstacle to these needs being dealt with satisfactorily. (Nothing of this, however, stops certain members of the community from doing very well out of the surface business.)

It is astonishing how quickly how many institutions and organisations have changed from doing things in a well-established traditional way, because experience showed that it worked, to a situation which looks dangerously close to administration for the sake of administration (and from a different viewpoint, for the sake of a profligate salary). Somewhere buried in the bowels of whichever institution it is there may have been a genuine if mistaken belief that breaking up practices which had evolved naturally to meet the situations encountered would save money. But much of it is down to a tidal wave of inexplicable trust in `planning’ and a spurious ‘professionalism’ as against experience and eyeball contact with the job which has washed over the whole country in the last few years. Without for a moment saying that they ran perfectly one suspects things went rather better (making due allowance for resources available at the time) when doctors ran the health service, broadcasters ran broadcasting, teachers ran education, librarians ran libraries, phone calls reached assistants not call centres, and, even, rock bands wrote the music they wanted to play. But bring in the administrators and ‘professionals’ who know how the business should be run (because they have a Master’s in Administration of Education, or Broadcasting, or… from Northwest Bullshire Business University). They know how to keep their own job, and other people off balance with questionnaires, graphs, mission statements, surveys, restructuring, rationalisations, resource allocation priorities, project planning groups, quotas, quota table reports, performance assessments, not to mention their managers’ car park where the children’s library/music room/wooden leg store used to be. The result? Imagination vanishes, achievement nosedives (though of course graphs show recorded success soaring), staff morale ceases to exist, and whoever is supposed to be on the receiving end gets a rotten service (and the rock ‘n roll sounds like muzak).   We also find 120,000 civil servants in the Ministry of Defence, with the number of actual soldiers down to 82,000 (and falling). As for the transport system – just try using it.

Add in the cronyism and computers, and one begins to see an alternative to the usual scripts for the end of civilisation sketching itself lightly in, with the world noticing, too late, that the jungle of interconnecting (but not necessarily intercommunicating) bureaucracies that has spread across the world demands most of the world’s resources for its support. Yet unravelling them would itself require an extra layer of bureaucracy; the last stone on top of the tower that makes the whole thing collapse.