Monthly Archive: September 2015

Issue 38 – Big Changes

This week has seen some tremendous changes on the US political landscape. The Pope journeyed from the Vatican to address Congress. Hardly a day elapsed and then we hear reports stating that the Speaker of the House is stepping down sometime in October. And finally, yet another government shutdown looms on the horizon.

But I would like to pose a question. Does any of this really matter? If each of us focuses on trying to make the world around us a bit better by putting someone else’s needs before our own, would we really need spiritual leaders, politicians, and government bureaucracies? Would a lot of little things done over a long period of time be a whole lot more palatable? Just a thought.

Well this week, Blog Wyrm has plenty of food for thought.

Under the Hood delves into one of the more baffling and strange looking – but very useful concepts – the convolution integral. An indispensable part of Laplace ad Fourier Transform theory, convolution still borders on the weird and mysterious for most of us. Hopefully, this weeks column will help dispel a little of the mystery

What do Pink Floyd and the Federal Reserve have in common? Common Cents argues that they have more in common than may first be thought. Read and find out what.

Aristotle to Digital takes another looks at the logic and humor of Yogi Berra, who passed away this week at the age of 90. At the heart of Yogi’s witty remarks is a skillful and playful use of natural language – especially equivocation.

And rounding out this week’s offering, About Comics finishes its examination of the comics how-to book by Peter David. Come and join the analysis of plot, script, the three-act form, and word balloons.


Issue 37 – Under the Weather due to Weather

Well there is a particular nip of cold in the air. Several of the nights have gone down well below what could be called a balmy summer nights and became quite chilly. Unfortunately, the rapid changes in temperature have a tendency to screw up the sinuses and that is exactly what the problem is at Blog Wyrm this week. So we will be featuring a slightly smaller issue this week.

Do you know who Hernando de Soto is? You should! He has emerged as an economist of note who’s policies have offered a turn around for many third world countries. Common Cents has a summary of his philosophy and the changes they have enabled in Peru.

This week’s Aristotle to Digital looks at fallacies and the concept of ‘settled science’. Is it possible to have a fallacy about fallacies? Read and find out.

Under the Hood continues examining the Laplace Transform. This week’s focus is on determining the transient and steady-state behaviors based on the Initial and Final Value Theorems.


Issue 36 – Careful With That Interpretation

Given the date of this particular issue and the current events we are subjected to on a day-to-day basis, it’s hard not to be introspective. The disaster of 9/11 is still painful and, as no doubt most people are aware, this particular day was marked by a disaster of its own – the collapse of a construction crane into the Great Mosque of Mecca, which killed dozens of people and injured scores more.

There is an odd sort of symmetry that such a tragedy should occur on this day. Unfortunately, the symmetry is a disturbing one.

Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reports came in about people in the Middle East rejoicing at the death and destruction visited on the United States. It was sickening, disgusting, and intolerable. Equally disgusting were the interpretations that some in the US heaped upon the tragedy that it was God’s divine punishment for sin.

Now, today, the circle closes upon itself; the snakes swallows its tail. Hundreds of tweets (perhaps more) decorated the twitter-verse displaying joy and glee over the disaster in Saudi Arabia. These are equally sickening, disgusting, and intolerable. So, too, were the interpretations that suggested that it was the divine wrath of Allah.

No amount of pseudo-philosophy and vapid thinking on either side is going to replace the fundamental aspects of the human condition. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Perhaps even more fundamental, we are all some mix of good and bad and it isn’t clear to the end of the story just what our lives amounted to. So, please, think carefully about what interpretation you are attaching to the events that occur and try, please try, to see everyone as the miracle of humanity that they are.

Speaking of the miracle of the human creature, Aristotle to Digital once again looks the problem of representations, the treachery of images, and the power of imagination, and finds that the latter human faculty is truly a remarkable one.

About Comics begins its review of Peter David’s book on writing comics and graphic novels. In this first-of-two series, the focus is on his thoughts about character, conflict, and theme.

Common Cents considers what appears to be a meltdown in the Chinese financial markets. Is the end nigh or is it more doom saying? The analysis may surprise you.

And in the last column, Under the Hood continues tinkering with the Laplace Transform. What functions possess a Laplace Transform and how this relates to the Fourier Transform and causality are the questions addressed.


Issue 35 – Are You Ready for Some Lawyers?

I must admit that this time of the year is always fun…or it used to be. Time was when I would hunker down with the NFL rosters, a fantasy football magazine (who know the kind that say “Rule Your Draft” or something equally bombastic), and a spreadsheet. Statistics would be entered, models and fits tinkered with, and the optimal draft order determined. The only considerations were weighing new talent against old, strength of schedules, and coaching changes. I never did particularly badly but never won it all.

Over the years, I’ve given up on the numeric side of things and have been paying greater attention to the people side. How is the locker room chemistry, how desperate is management to get rid of a big salary cap issue, how disgruntled or downright anti-social is a player. These have been the focus and I must say that I’ve been doing much better.

But with the NFL in its current state, I’m wondering if I need to start looking at the number of legal briefs drafted, the number of motions filed with the federal court, and what interactions are happening between the NFL front office, the Player’s Association, the NLRB, and some judge somewhere who may or may not be overruling some judgement rendered by some other bigwig.

Now let me be clear, I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t care if Tom Brady plays or doesn’t. I really don’t care if he cheated or he didn’t. The NFL has a long history of teams ‘cheating’ in all sorts of ways. If old anecdotes are to be believed, teams look for every little edge they can get. Want to make the opposing team uncomfortable as they sit, make their sideline bench too short. Want to make them too hot, stick them on the sunny side of the field with the sun shining in their eyes. And so on it goes. Why deflated footballs matter when both teams were using them is a mystery to me. Or perhaps only the Patriots were – who knows and who cares. The point here is that fairness in the NFL is like the proverbial elephant in the room. Focus on something else.

One last note, the demise of the NFL is on the horizon if this continues much longer. No industry can long prevail once the wretched ambulance chasers and insufferable word stretchers get too strong a hold. What was it that Shakespeare said about the lawyers?

Well, until the legal beagles figure out a way to take our free speech rights from us at Blog Wyrm, we’ll continue to provide our weekly content.

This week, Aristotle to Digital ponders how a small footnote can lead to a big idea and an uncomfortable one at that. Find out all you ever wanted to know about deductivism and the great lengths that some go to make everything logical.

About Comics completes its two-part look at Denny O’Neil’s book on writing comics the DC way. This installment covers his ideas on the large format undertakings, including graphic novels, miniseries, and more.

Common Cents takes a critical look at some recent economics analysis that suggests that not all billionaires are created equally. Cronyism is identified as the deciding factor in separating the sheep from the goats and while we agree with the conclusions we are skeptical of the method.

Finally, Under the Hood sets its sites on a prolonged engagement with the Laplace Transform. Long considered the darling of the controls engineer, the Laplace Transform has always taken a back seat to the Fourier Transform in the halls of physics. Under the Hood is determined to find out just why.