Neptunus Lex

Blogging is a very personal effort. NEO is not the same as any other blog, even though I may draw on many of them for inspiration, or even long quotes. It has been so as long as I’ve been around. One of the blogs I read, even before I started was Neptunus Lex, the blog of Carrol Le Fon, a naval aviator. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he made me think, what more can a man do for another. Lex died on 6  March 2012 doing what he loved best: making naval aviators even better. That’s a legacy that any man can aspire to.

Our blogs overlapped, but I don’t think I ever referred to him. I was amazed, reading the Victory Girls last night, that he still appeared on their blogroll. On a nostalgic whim, I followed the link. As I thought, the site disappeared shortly after his death, but what I didn’t know is that it was preserved. YAY!!! It is here, mostly. It’s not the same as having Lex amongst us, but I think it will serve. A sample of why so many of us loved him, and still do.

Well, and I very much appreciate all those who offered their thoughts. They pushed and pulled in many different directions, and apart from those who counselled immediate retirement – sorry, that’s not me – I have shared in all of them, all in a moment. Funny how things can swirl so quickly through your mind, between the moment when you hear unlooked for news, and the moment after, when you are asked what you think of it.

Is there a moment of wounded pride, wherein you ask: What? How can I be offered up? How can I be spared? As busy as I am, and as much as I contribute?

There is. But we are none of us irreplaceable, the wheel continues to turn. And it does not surprise me that I am offered up: I made a decision some time ago that this would be my last tour, which obviated the need for self-promotion. I do my work quietly, accept no thanks, offer it instead to others. It’s really quite astonishing what you can do, when you don’t care who gets the credit.

Is there a moment when the old joy of battle sings again in your heart? When you think of joining the fray rather than reading about it? When you think of qualifiying in weapons whose range is measured in meters rather than in miles? Of strapping on and suiting up once more? Of hurling yourself into the fight?

There is such a moment. A moment only. And then you reflect that no one places super-annuated FA-18 pilots on the deck in order to carry the fight to the foe. You reflect that of all the things you might learn in Sojer School, the most valuable would be to count your rounds as they went down range, in order to save the last one for the end. Because just like in the days when I strapped an airplane on to go to war, if it comes at last to a pilot with a pistol in his hand and dust on his boots, something has already gone horribly wrong, and the odds of it getting any better are vanishingly small.

From Now is the autumn of our discontent Who amongst us older people can’t relate to that? It’s happened to me and I’ll bet it’s happened to you as well. All we can do is try to pass on all those lessons we’ve learned, often to youngsters who think they know it all, but it’s our duty.

I note that Lex died a few days before the USS Enterprise set out on its last tour. Is it connected? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised, legends are like that.

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Has the internet made us too dumb to understand #Dickileaks?

from Bookworm Room

from Bookworm Room

This has bearing on the Clinton Scandals, including Dickileaks, but it is not its prime thrust. It tells you something about us and not something we want to know.

You know what the most interesting thing about the #Dickileaks revelation is? The fact that social media has effectively managed to stifle it.  Although the topics have changed in both Facebook and Twitter since I started looking at them last Friday, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that both sites’ trending feeds ignore the fact that the FBI — while looking at the computers seized from “Weiner the Pederast,” who is the estranged husband of “Huma the Muslim Brotherhood Scion,” who has long been surgically attached to “Hillary the Corrupt” — found a trove of political emails of the type Hillary was supposed to have turned over to the FBI and to Congress.

Pretty much true, by the way, not much in my feeds either, although blogs are a different story. Then again, I personally, for good or ill, refuse to pay much  attention to them. To me, the format leads to unsupported statements and simple arguments about nothing of importance. I’ve better ways to spend my time, and it’s addictive. To continue

The sad reality, though, is that our new media’s financial incentives discourage deep analysis. Even those people who are trying to pay attention are getting hit by what one writer labels the “TL;DR” factor.

That “TL;DR” acronym stands for “too long; didn’t read,” which could be the motto for much of the internet. Chris Byrne explains how our culturally short attention span has worsened thanks to the internet’s economic incentive for low-word count (i.e., minimally analytical) articles with screaming headlines. This leaves Americans incapable of understanding, or even being interested in, complex issues (such as Hillary’s shenanigans):

You may have watched in dismay, as some of your favorite online writers published work, suddenly went from a few good posts a week, to 20 posts a day, most of it nothing but clickbait or damn near it?

Well… now you know why.

Their editors and publishers are making them write to maximize clicks and views and shares. Who cares about accuracy, depth, or insight… most people never read past the headline or first paragraph anyway right?

Long form news, analysis, essays, editorials, and commentary (and related background historical, scientific, and other detailed information and exposition pieces) have largely been replaced with tweets, teaser videos, memes, 200-350 word skim pieces; and lots and lots of 50 to 150 word bare blurbs, with inflammatory or otherwise emotionally manipulative …if not outright false… headlines, and lots of links to monetizing partner sites.

Basically, clickbait makes money, and everything else loses money, unless they have alternate monetization.

via Has the internet made us too dumb to understand #Dickileaks?

That’s so true, one can see it here. My posts average 800 – 1000 words, Jess’ are a bit shorter, usually around 600, but mine have occasionally gone 3000 as well when I need to go through something, but it’s not amenable to splitting into parts. I’ve come to believe that one reason this blog doesn’t particularly grow is that the articles are too long, and not SEO friendly enough, as Book outlined above.

What am I going to do about it? Not a damned thing. It’s how I write, and what I feel is doing an honest job. I just wish there were more of you out there.

When words are not enough…

xkcd-Comic #739

xkcd-Comic #739 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to pull away from politics today, so we’ll do something different. So often, we miscommunicate, it’s perhaps even more common in the written word.

Even as close as say, Jessica and I are, and we are very close, indeed, sometimes words are not enough between us, even helped by judiciously chosen emoticons. We don’t misunderstand each other very often, but once in a while, we don’t manage to convey all the meaning that is meant. But we are people of the written word, pretty well schooled in English, and so probably better than most, at writing to each other. Emotions are hard to put into words, though, and if we sometimes fail, it must be quite difficult if one is not as well educated, or as comfortable writing as we are.

So, I was was quite delighted when this showed up from Aeon Essays the other day, and I want to share it with you. Not least because as a friend of ours often says, It’s not so much what you say, or even how you say it, what matters is what is read or heard. Something many of us have trouble with, in my experience. Essay by Thom Scott-Phillips.

‘If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.’ These words are attributed to the realist painter Edward Hopper. Few can paint like Hopper could, but all of us can relate to the feeling that words are sometimes not enough. Having said that, what makes images any better?

Words are, after all, incredibly versatile things. Even one as supposedly simple and unambiguous as, say, ‘rain’ can be used to suggest a multitude of meanings, an infinity of implications. As part of a conversation about my mood, the exclamation ‘Rain!’ can mean something like: ‘Even the weather is bringing me down.’ If, on the other hand, I am making plans for the day, the statement ‘Rain!’ could instead suggest that I should take an umbrella with me. And then there’s metaphor and simile and irony.

Ordinary communication is replete with figurative, non-literal word use. Juliet is the Sun. Time is money. Cognitively minded linguists have documented in detail how metaphor, among other types of figurative expression, is so pervasive in everyday language that we usually don’t even notice it. Societies are not biological organisms, but you wouldn’t know it from our everyday language. We talk of social afflictions, of aplague on society, of the body politic, and of how we should give our nation a shot in the arm. The examples are endless, and this expressive flexibility is powerful. How is painting, or any art form, going to do anything that language can’t?

To answer this question, we need to look at human communication in the round.

As is so often the case, xkcd – a web comic with themes of ‘romance, sarcasm, math, and language’ – puts it best. In a recent strip on the indeterminate nature o­­f language, one of the characters reflects that:

Courtesy xkcd.com

Damn right it is. Even something as supposedly literal as ‘The next train is at 12 o’clock’ could be interpreted in a figurative way (‘Things are really organised and efficient here!’). The technical term is underdeterminacy: my words underdetermine my meaning. And the same is true of other, non-linguistic means of expression. We shrug and point and grunt and scream. Sometimes these behaviours are idiosyncratic and highly context-dependent. Others, like a nod of the head, can be as conventional and formulaic as words are.

Keep reading When words are not enough, gestures or images can say more | Aeon Essays

Lots there, isn’t there? It’s amazing that we manage to communicate as well as we do. It’s also the reason that YouTube, podcasts, and all the rest have become so common, and not only to remind us that kittens are cute! It’s also why we run videos, poetry, and other stuff here. Music and the nonverbal clues often add much to our meaning, or they can detract, and that’s why we select them carefully, as we do our words, mostly.

It’s a failing of many blogs, ones that I may like and agree with, but their tone doesn’t fit with what I want to say, and so, often I don’t feature them, or I use them merely for the idea and write my own post. Part of life, and part of trying to remain civilized, I think. It’s very easy to become angry and discouraged these days, and perhaps it’s warranted. But you know, if we’re angry and discouraged, we’re not going to do our best work, and our missions require our best work if we are to succeed.

So calm down a bit, act rationally, and likely we’ll come through once more, in any case, we’ll have less heartburn. 🙂

FYI: Nebraska Tech Site

I just thought I’d mention in passing that I just took my company site live. It’s not done, much to do yet but I would appreciate it, if you took a look around and tell me either there or here what you think. You will find that the store is a truncated Amazon catalog, it will get better, as I have time.

I intend it to be a more focused (on electrical and energy) than this. Maybe I have the discipline to do that. 🙂

For the moment, the articles are some appropriate ones that I have crossposted from here. Enjoy.

Here is the link: Nebraska Tech. Blogspot.com

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