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The Sackler Laws #4: The Law of Political Activism

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things are not going to get better.  They’re not.”–Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

“If god had not intended us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.”–Ralph Nader

Note:  In general, I have avoided the controversies of religion and politics in this blog, though there have been hints at my views on both.  This post tiptoes dangerously towards the precipice of both, though it clearly points no finger at any specific political or religious viewpoint.  I’m bound to get flamed, anyway.

For the fourth and final** installment of the Sackler Laws, I bring you Law #4: The Law of Political Activism.  This is not to be mistaken for Law #1, The Law of Bumper Sticker Activism.  On the other hand, maybe it should be.  Both have to do with taking a good thing too far.  It is simply stated:

First class activists remain forever activists.  Second class activists run for office.

The greatest first class activists of all time, if you look at it carefully, rarely if ever ran for office.  Think Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Susan B. Anthony.  Yes, it’s true that great activists for freedom such as Nelson Mandela and Lech Walesa ultimately became president of the entities their activism wrought; but they were effectively drafted by popular acclaim that arose from the ultimate success of their leadership, they did not attempt to become politicians.

As a primary example of the type of second class activist I present to validate this law, I give you two words.

Ralph Nader.

Here is a guy who pissed off half the country–mostly the corporate world and the Republican right–with decades of pain-in-their-asses activism and left-wing proselytizing.  Then he ran for president on a 3rd party line and pissed off most of the other half of the country.  His siphoning of votes from the left in 2000 almost certainly enabled the election of the candidate most diametrically opposed to his beliefs.  Not satisfied with having made the world, as he saw it, worse, he ran again in 2004 just to thumb his nose at those that might have otherwise been his ally.

That’s about all there is to that.  The only one thankful to him, other than a few diehard loyalists, is me, if only because he gave me the best real world validation I’ve ever had for this aphorism.

But the question then arises.  If we know what a second class activist looks like, what does a third class activist look like. That one’s even easier.

Robertson

Robertson

Sharpton

Sharpton

And you were wondering how I would manage to piss off the religious nuts as well?  If you want inspiration for political activism, the Dr. Seuss quote above is a good place to start.  If you want religious inspiration–you’ve come to the wrong place.

200px-The_Lorax

**Nothing is final except death and…well, except death.  This will only be the final installment of the Sackler laws if I die before thinking up another one.

Signature       @MarkSackler

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Hurricane Rerun: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

Here is part two of the rerun which began on Monday.  If the northeast USA has been washed away by the time you read this, consider it my last will and testament.  If not, brace yourself for something new by the weekend.

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos


With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.

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Hurricane Rerun: The Sackler Laws (Part 2)

By the time you read this, hurricane Sandy will be pounding the northeast US.  I’m not one to let that stop me; this post has been pre-scheduled.  For those of you who have come late to this blog–or who need a reminder as to what inspired Equations of Everyday Life–here is the first part of two reruns.  If I don’t post something new within a week, send out a search party.

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things.” –Buddha

Part A, the equation of canine chaos: As the number of dogs in any household, or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said dogs increases exponentially.

The math on this one is easy and so is the logic. Let’s start with an easy equation:

Cd=D2

Simply stated, where Cd equals canine chaos and D equals the number of dogs present, then canine chaos equals the number dogs present squared. So two dogs equals four times the chaos, three dogs equals nine times the chaos, four dogs 16 times, and so on.

As for the logic, that’s also easy. Assuming that dogs are a pack animal, then each chaotic activity started by one, will be joined in by the others. This includes, but is not limited to, barking, fighting, knocking over the trash, attacking the mailman, biting Aunt Millie, pooping in the hallway, stealing your lunch and whatever other crazy things canines do. So, if there are two dogs, it will happen twice as often and be twice as chaotic each time. If there are three dogs, it will happen three times as often and be three times as chaotic. You get the idea.

Disclaimer: this equation is an average. Obviously, geriatric dogs will create less chaos and puppies are off the chart crazy. The breed of dog is a factor as well. (See figure X, schipperkes, and figure Y—as in “why?”—labs)

Figure X. Schipperke [Pronunciation: skip-it; origin: Dutch, meaning little s&$^%#–er, I mean, “little captain”] Noun: 1. a furry black dog of Belgian origin 2. trouble waiting to happen

Figure Y. As in, “why do people keep these things?” (attribution of photo unknown)

Take for example, our own pack of three (if you can believe that) schipperkes. They have the uncanny knack of lulling us into complete complacency. Then a chipmunk runs across the lawn and our former state of quietude is instantly transformed into the canine equivalent of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I’m sure insanity is zoonotic. You get it from your pets.

We also need to consider that there are limits to the human capability to distinguish between degrees of canine chaos. At some point, the saturation point is reached, and the perceived chaos is effectively infinite. Beyond this, addition of more dogs to the environment cannot inflict any measurably higher degree of pain. These limits may vary with the individual. I, for instance, have lived with multiple dogs for years and therefor have a higher threshold of tolerance than the average person. On the other hand, my wife is a veterinarian and is effectively immune. Our dogs could stage World War III on top of her head in the middle of the night, and she would sleep through it. [NOTE: Part B, the Law of Kid Chaos, coming soon in a future post.]

Text in the post ©2012 Mark Sackler

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Vacation Rerun: The Sackler Laws (Part One)

While I vacation with my family in an opulent mystery location,  here is a rerun quite appropriate for the current political season; or, for that manner, any season.   Fans, you will have to endure at least one more rerun before I return, if I return, if I’m still breathing.   If the ratings drop because of repeat content, I’ll run a test pattern the next time I’m on vacation.

Now for something completely ridiculous

Okay. You were promised ridiculous as well as sublime, so here goes. But be forewarned: sublime posts are speculative; ridiculous ones are not.

The Millennium Conjectures are speculations, guesses, wild assumptions. The Sackler Laws are not. They are not conjectures. They are not theories, nor hypothesis, nor speculation, nor guesses.

They are absolutely immutable laws of the universe. So you have been warned, and with that I present Sackler Law #1:

The Law of Bumper Sticker Activism

A person with one political bumper sticker on their car is a person with a cause.

.

A person with two political bumper stickers on their car is an activist.

.

A person with three or more bumper stickers of any kind on their car is a complete nut case!

As previously stated, this law is absolute, immutable, and not open to debate. It matters not the persuasion: liberal, conservative, moderate, authoritarian, libertarian, religious, atheist, vegan, cannibalistic, tea party, green party, toga party. It’s all the same. I have spoken. End of discussion. Next question please! (For a complementary, but not competing view on the subject of bumper stickers, click here.) Text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

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Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 3)

The Law of Laws

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.”  Douglas Adams

The only law that works better in practice than it does in theory is Murphy’s Law.

Image Credit: Cartoon Stock.com. Used by permission.

Whomever said originally that Murphy was an optimist was at least hinting at this. But this blog is about cutting to the chase, cutting out the crap, and stating the obvious (or the “should be obvious”) as directly as humanly possible.  After all, it is Einstein who said one should make things as simple as possible.  So for all the countless corollaries, addenda and sub-clauses to the infamous milieu of Murphy,  I do not believe anyone has ever stated this obvious notion so directly.

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Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos


With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.

post

Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things.” –Buddha

Part A, the equation of canine chaos: As the number of dogs in any household, or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said dogs increases exponentially.

The math on this one is easy and so is the logic. Let’s start with an easy equation:

Cd=D2

Simply stated, where Cd equals canine chaos and D equals the number of dogs present, then canine chaos equals the number dogs present squared. So two dogs equals four times the chaos, three dogs equals nine times the chaos, four dogs 16 times, and so on.

As for the logic, that’s also easy. Assuming that dogs are a pack animal, then each chaotic activity started by one, will be joined in by the others. This includes, but is not limited to, barking, fighting, knocking over the trash, attacking the mailman, biting Aunt Millie, pooping in the hallway, stealing your lunch and whatever other crazy things canines do. So, if there are two dogs, it will happen twice as often and be twice as chaotic each time. If there are three dogs, it will happen three times as often and be three times as chaotic. You get the idea.

Disclaimer: this equation is an average. Obviously, geriatric dogs will create less chaos and puppies are off the chart crazy. The breed of dog is a factor as well. (See figure X, schipperkes, and figure Y—as in “why?”—labs)

Figure X. Schipperke [Pronunciation: skip-it; origin: Dutch, meaning little s&$^%#–er, I mean, “little captain”] Noun: 1. a furry black dog of Belgian origin 2. trouble waiting to happen

Figure Y. As in, “why do people keep these things?” (attribution of photo unknown)

Take for example, our own pack of three (if you can believe that) schipperkes. They have the uncanny knack of lulling us into complete complacency. Then a chipmunk runs across the lawn and our former state of quietude is instantly transformed into the canine equivalent of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I’m sure insanity is zoonotic. You get it from your pets.

We also need to consider that there are limits to the human capability to distinguish between degrees of canine chaos. At some point, the saturation point is reached, and the perceived chaos is effectively infinite. Beyond this, addition of more dogs to the environment cannot inflict any measurably higher degree of pain. These limits may vary with the individual. I, for instance, have lived with multiple dogs for years and therefor have a higher threshold of tolerance than the average person. On the other hand, my wife is a veterinarian and is effectively immune. Our dogs could stage World War III on top of her head in the middle of the night, and she would sleep through it. [NOTE: Part B, the Law of Kid Chaos, coming soon in a future post.]

Text in the post ©2012 Mark Sackler

post

Now for something completely ridiculous

Okay. You were promised ridiculous as well as sublime, so here goes. But be forewarned: sublime posts are speculative; ridiculous ones are not.

The Millennium Conjectures are speculations, guesses, wild assumptions. The Sackler Laws are not. They are not conjectures. They are not theories, nor hypothesis, nor speculation, nor guesses.

They are absolutely immutable laws of the universe. So you have been warned, and with that I present Sackler Law #1:

The Law of Bumper Sticker Activism

A person with one political bumper sticker on their car is a person with a cause.

.

A person with two political bumper stickers on their car is an activist.

.

A person with three or more bumper stickers of any kind on their car is a complete nut case!

As previously stated, this law is absolute, immutable, and not open to debate. It matters not the persuasion: liberal, conservative, moderate, authoritarian, libertarian, religious, atheist, vegan, cannibalistic, tea party, green party, toga party. It’s all the same. I have spoken. End of discussion. Next question please! (For a complementary, but not competing view on the subject of bumper stickers, click here.) Text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

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