Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I was having a work conversation with Brenda.  Brenda supplied my department with various types of computer support.  We were talking about a Cindy, a co-worker who was one of my peers.  The conversation got around to sharing opinions regarding her single minded zeal to do her (my peer's) job in the best possible way.

Brenda said, "Cindy is an absolute, cold-hearted bitch once she gets an idea in her head."

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she heard herself and her "audience" snapped into focus.  You see, Brenda works for Cindy and Cindy was my peer.  Incidentally, the names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Brenda said, "I did not say that."

I said, "I heard you say that Cindy is as relentless as a pitbull in pursuing what she thinks is right."

Brenda said, "Yes!  That is what I said."

Fact vs Truth

I reflected back the truth in Brenda's observation, not the fact of Brenda's observation.

Most people make the (understandable) mistake of thinking Fact and Truth mean the same thing.

Let me clarify:  Aesop's fables are Truths, not Facts.  Consider the stories of the Lion and the Mouse.  In my favorite version, the lion forebears killing the mouse after the mouse pleads for his life.  Later, the mouse gnaws away the cords of the snare that had captured the lion.

Does anybody think this actually happened as written?

A video

In the video on the other end of this link, there is a Piece Of Something who is factually correct and truthfully wrong.

I regret to say that this video was sent to me by a nephew who commented, "I like his attitude."

The POS in the video gives a fine exposition on how to become a lightening rod for a Darwin Selection Event.  The POS is wrong (opposite of Truth, not Fact) is so many ways.
  • He is proud of his behaviors
  • He shares this video
  • He is so pathetically seeking attention and approval he reminds me of a Cocker Spaniel that pees on himself when petted....by the burglar.
  • He cynically throws out transparent lies, virtually taunting the cops
  • His display of attention seeking behavior will penalize everybody within lightening strike range of his smoldering corpse. 

The Julie Englehardt Shooting

Julie Englehardt was the first woman killed in the line of duty in Lansing, Michigan.

Officer Julie Englehardt was shot and killed after responding to a call from two boys who had reported a man had taken their sled away. When Officer Englehardt confronted the man he shot her. Officer Englehardt returned fire critically wounding the suspect.
The suspect was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed in a mental institution.
I had occasion to drink a cup of coffee with her partner 18 months after this incident.  He was still shaken by it.

Julie took the call.  Interviewed the two boys.  Then she followed the line of footprints in the snow that the boys pointed out.  It led toward the house the boys identified as the destination of the man.

Julie crossed a dip (parks are often placed in low areas that are inhospitable to development) and started climbing a gentle rise that the row of houses was built on.

The perpetrator opened fire from the doorway of the house, presumably without warning.  Julie sought cover behind a tree.

In the exchange of gunfire Julie was able to hit the perpetrator with a solid body shot (his hip if memory serves).  The perpetrator continued to return fire.  One of his shots hit her at the hair line and removed the top-rear of her head, killing her instantly.

Back-up arrived 20 minutes later.  Aid was rendered to the perpetrator, thereby saving him (barely) from bleeding to death.

The perpetrator's older brother was in the house the entire time.  By all accounts the older brother was the dominant personality.  The brother made no attempt to intervene.  The brother did not call 9-1-1.  The brother claimed to be sitting in the living room, separated from his brother firing a handgun by a simple stud-and-drywall partition, and claimed he did not hear anything.

So why am I sharing this story?

Six months after the shooting the house was burglarized and the older brother was shot and killed.  The crime remains unsolved.

Did the cops do it?


Simple Rules

A professor at a major university was interested in game theory and rule-sets.  He sought the simplest rule-set that was robust under the maximum range of games.  There are many rule-sets that work great....until the opposing team throws a screen pass.  The professor was seeking a simple rule-set that somehow captured the ability to learn and adapt.  He designed an on-line, interactive game to provide a Skinner Box so he could monitor autonomous people "in the wild".

His finding was that Tit-for-Tat, with a few caveats, was the winner by a very wide margin.

The caveat was that the player start on the high road and adds, by exception, to his playbook as he goes along.

If another player takes a certain kind of cheap shot, then that player made that type of cheap shot a "permissible" play.

Players who are confident of their power (let's call them adults) know that they can survive a certain number of unanticipated, cheap shots.

Players who feel fragile feel a need to be preemptive and "do" the other players before they are "done".

So what happened to the brother?

His house was broken into.  He had accepted homicide as a permissible play.  The whole world knew that.  He got "done."

And that is the Truth.

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