Ugh, what a year.  I feel like I’m being pulled in eight different directions, what with the pressure to get a “real job,” because that is the one thing I have never made any progress at… ever.  No job I have ever held has been worthwhile, and my search for one has been fruitless.  Personally, I think it’s also pointless, seeing as I’ve made far more progress expanding my online presence, to the point where I might be able to construct a viable business out of all that.  In fact, that was the idea behind the Cooperative Artisans’ Guild, but I’ve had quite a few setbacks with that.  Then there is my thirst for knowledge – should I go back to school?  I have no use for another degree, as I have no desire to get a job that requires some sort of proof that I know what I say I know.  That being said, there is a limit to what I can learn just by reading.  Oh, and then there are the cartoons.  Bloody cartoons.  I’m not even talking about good cartoons, such as the one I’d like to make.  I’m talking about stupid cartoons.  Think Simon’s Cat, but then remove everything remotely entertaining about it, and that’s what I’m being pestered into making.  I’ll probably call it “slice of bird life,” pile of garbage that it is.  I genuinely hope I can get out of this project, because I have better things to do.  For instance, now that I have set up and successfully tested my brand-new GoPro, I can start making hands-on tutorials without having to worry about my tripod-mounted SLR getting in my way.

Now that I’ve gotten my gripes out of the way, it’s time to explain the title of this post.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I regularly read the AAAS journal, Science.  The year-end issue (volume 362, issue 6421) has some rather interesting articles in it.  The inspiration for the title is a research article on page 1410, titled “The strength of long-range ties in population-scale social networks.”  The article by Patrick S. Park, et al, begins as follows:

Over the last 40 years, the social sciences have embraced the counterintuitive thesis that individuals are more likely to acquire new information from a weak social tie to an acquaintance than from a strong tie with a close friend or family member.  The reason is straightforward: Information that one acquires from within a “small circle of friends” is more likely to be redundant than information acquired from acquaintance in a distant region of a social network.

My father had an interesting comment to add: another reason that people don’t tend to get information from within small circles is because of the possibility of being asked “you mean you didn’t already know that?”  This seems unnecessarily clique-ish, but people make no sense to me, and the researchers looked at over 100 million social media users, split roughly 50/50 between FakeBook and Twiddle.  A brief moment of pondering reminded me with whom we were dealing: the shallow and vapid, who don’t have true friendships in the first place, and so must turn to the internet for “friends.”  Personally, I think Park et al were wise in conducting their research when they did, because people are now leaving the two main social media land-whales in droves.  Anyone who’s been paying attention knows why…  Anyway, if you want to learn more, I gave you all the information, go read the article.  This is merely one of my random thought posts, not an actual opinion piece.

The very next research article in the issue was on the subject of Permian plants (palaeobotany), which I find interesting, because the Permian is my favourite geologic period, with landmasses completely covered in conifers, as deciduous trees had not yet appeared, and the climate was no longer suitable for the lycopods that flourished during the earlier Carboniferous (most of which have been turned into coal).  Bloody hell, it’s been a while since I’ve written a run-on sentence.  I’m not going to bore you with any further thoughts on that right now, but I’ll probably mention it during some future “fictional phylogeny” post, when I work out what sort of vegetation exists in my fictional world.  Next!

Earlier in the issue was an article about next-generation wargaming, and the picture was a laughably outdated board game.  The article (page 1362) mentions World of Warcraft and Eve Online, and also that researchers are now looking at modern computer games and similar software for better simulations, able to take more variables into account and produce results faster.  Granted, there are things that no commercial game developer would include, as it would make the game tedious and boring.  I even mentioned this in a previous post of mine about wargaming and the variables to consider.  I’m genuinely surprised that no-one mentioned any RTS games, since those are probably the most sophisticated in principle, even if the genre is long dead.  Granted, some of the newer games are probably even more complicated in some respects, and if I ever get my hands on Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2, I guess I’ll find out.

In an ironic twist, as if the editor was making a nod to the saying “make love, not war,” the very next article is titled “The sex robots are here.”  The article is actually a book review of Turned On by Kate Devlin.  The subtitle is “science, sex and robots.”  If this sort of topic interests you, go check it out.  I have no interest in this subject whatsoever, though I’m happy to laugh at memes poking fun at sex robots.

Well, that was a pile of trash.  Last thing I’d like to discuss is the future of this blog – again.  I’m including this in my random thoughts simply because none of it is complete, and my brain has been mush for the past three weeks (hence my lower-than-normal writing quality, even by the already low standards of the random thoughts posts).  I will attempt to return to Steemit, and if I manage to get enough resource credit to post daily, then I can post pictures there, videos on BitChute, and my intellectually-charged articles here.  If I can’t get out of the “slice of bird life” project, I’ll probably post that on a separate website under a different name.  I don’t want that mixed in with the rest of my work.

So, first thought: I hate my life.  Second thought: social media was valuable whenever that research was conducted, but now, it’s cancer.  Third thought: I find a bizarre array of dry topics to be fascinating.  Fourth thought: wargaming is fascinating, and so much better than actual war.  Fifth thought: sex robots – enough said.  Sixth and final thought: my brain hurts.

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