Ruminating about life principles and my place in it all

Another Superbowl Sunday has come and gone now, yet brings to mind football's apparent symbolism. Common male attitude of the world was to get on a team of males, act with them to undermine other males; small contests within one's own male team to climb in status hierarchy within the team; and females will obediently mate with your team if it wins against other male teams, and the higher your ranking in your team, the better opportunities you have for mating.

Taking a wife is mostly like receiving a prize for success and how pretty she is controls some of your status in the male group hierarchy. And this all is to maximize the male's reproductive success,who then strives to continue that whole system of being. Having a wife who believes her success is totally from the success of her man, she will subsequently use her resources to strengthen her husband's successes.

The archetype is for males to strive to prevent other males from reproducing with the females, so as to force the females to be limited to you as their only mate.

This gets spread a bit when lots of males exist, and a single male can be subdued by a group of males; thus the changeover to being part of a team which then strives against other teams, and also easily wipes out lone males not in teams, so as to force the females to not have the option of mating with those lone males nor other team's members.

Early in college I got enthusiastic about the home games; rah rah for the home team and boos for the opponents. I was more aware of the intensity of the excitement of the fans in the stands, than I was for the playing going on down on the field, however.

My one experience in playing football was in college PE class, which gave one personal experience in football, baseball and basketball. I clearly was unable to be adequately aware of what the rest of my team was doing, and my part in it all; and even less so aware of what the opponent team was up to. And I just didn't "get" the part about being physically violent to other people, either. At best i could carry out the appearances of functioning on the team.

This had strange consequences at times, beside the inevitable misfortune ones. For example, when I was put in the place of a lineman on the football team, best I could figure out what to do was from my memories of seeing bullfights, where the bull strove to bash the opponent with his head. So when I was paired up with the largest - and roundest - member of the opponent team - me being quite scrawny and on the short side - when the play happened where I was told to "block" him, I dove at him to bump into him with my head. Well, this did not work very well and fortunately did not injure me - I think. But later when I was exploring a fraternity, and joined it - SAE - and one of them was the same large round young man, who promptly gave me the derisive nickname "Funk El Toro," the inept bull.

Skipping over my subsequent problems with low finances, Asperger's syndrome with no support, getting severe tinnitus in Freshman year, getting ADD and gluten intolerance problems unwittingly, dropping out of the Co-op program with White Sands Missile Range where I worked as an electronics technician, then finally dropping out of the Physics major and trying a Psych major for one semester then throwing in the towel re a formal degree; I just could not cope with the unceasing internal distractions to be able to learn anymore.

A friend sent me email re back when computers were changing over from use of vacuum tubes into using tansisors, and the playout of the above is apparent in my reply this morning, and so I will modify it a bit and put it here.

Apparently thoughts set off in my email talking about computer bits in memory and of when a bit required two vacuum tubes, a simple type called a triode, because it involved three basic parts: cathode with its heater to boil off electrons, plate to receive those electrons when it had a positive voltage applied relative to the cathode, and the grid, which was a sieve through which those electrons had to flow to to get to the plate, and the electrostatic field of the negative voltage applied to the grid, determined how easy it was for the electrons to find their way to the positive voltage plate.

Electrons have an inherent negative charge.

When transistors came along, they worked somewhat similarly, in that they were composed of three sections: the Emitter - which was similar to the vacuum tube's Cathode; the Collector - which was similar to the vacuum tubes Plate; and the Base - which was similar to the vacuum tube's Grid.

Thus transistors fit right in with the two vacuum tube triodes replaced in function by two transistors.

However, transistors were in many ways different from the vacuum tube triodes.

They operated at much lower voltages and power they used, was their main advantage at first.

But the huge racks of hot vacuum tubes along with the big air conditioning units to keep they cool enough, got replaced by transistors to save power and cooling, which got to be a big deal when huge numbers of the components were needed to do something, like in the computers of the time.

Also, the conduction of current within transistors was not limited to the electron flow, as were vacuum tubes, but also current could flow in the form of "holes" where an electron could be but wasn't. So transistors using this mode operated the opposite of the electron mode type.

These two kinds of transistors were identified by the voltage applied to each of their three sections, to make them work.

The one that used electron flow mainly was called the "NPN" type, and the type that used the flow of "holes" was called "PNP" - "N" stood for Negative voltage, and "P" stood for Positive voltage.

And the sequence NPN or PNP referred to the emitter - base - collector sections of the transistor.

The NPN and PNP designation still persists to this day, as well as does NPN vs PNP transistors.

And thus the motivation to do the conversion between vacuum tubes to transistors which you spoke of.

Another part of all this is the reason why two triodes or two transistors were needed to create one bit of data.

They were paired in a circuit called a flip-flop, which was a circuit contrived such that when one transistor was conducting current, the other was prevented from conducting current, by the other transistor.

But an outside-sourced signal could cause the pair of transistors or vacuum tube triodes, to swap states, whatever one that had been conducting before, turned off and the previously non-conducting one turned on.

And stayed that way until it got another external signal causing it to flip back to the other state.

One triode or transistor being on was a "1" for the bit; or if the other triode or transistor was on, the state of the flip-flop was a "0" for the bit.

Other types of transistors were developed too, which would change the kind of circuitry.

Particularly the FET or Field Effect Transistor, which was even more like the vacuum tube triode than the regular transistor, and also needed less power to operate, and thus has become what is mostly used in complex circuitry that needs to draw low power and stay cool.

When the need to minimize mass- weight - when launching spacecraft came along, Integrated Circuits were invented, to greatly reduce the weight and power consumption of the flip-flops in it.

Yet these flip flops were still of the transistor types NPN, PNP or FET, just made very tiny and included the resistors and capacitors that were part of each flip-flop.

My friend had written some recollections of her participation in the early days of computers.

And also of the interactions between the other males involved, how they squabbled amongst each other during routine times, to show who was "better" than someone else, yet they switched to the cooperative mode when the fortunes of all of them went up or down depending on how well they all produced as a harmonious team.

My life as a technician is now more understandable, since I did not know how to squabble and thus was always the low man in any group, yet I was also quite competent in my work, which did not jibe with being low man in the group.

Supervisors would usually then set me aside to take on some loner job that required special competence to do.

But sometimes my high skill level, yet low man status, since it did not support the "competitive" nature of their world, I would be put on a loner task that was thought to not be possible for one person to do alone - apparently to break me - but I did not know that - and sometimes I was able to do it, which must have upset them a lot, in their ego ruled games on the job, now that I think of it.

But usually it turned out that managers appreciated my excellent solutions, and despite my lowest-man group status, I got promotions anyway.

It all irritated my peers of course and sometimes they retaliated.

They did not accept me as a peer, probably because my psychetype was the opposite normally had by a technician, and people prefer to buddy up with same type of psychetype+gender. (My psychetype was more appropriate for work as a teacher or writer, than as a hands-on manipulator of the physical world.)

What my fellow techs did not understand, was that I had been quite bright in high school and got a college grounding both self-taught and in first classes in physics in college, before I got hit by the severe tinnitus, gluten digestive system damage, and ADD, which had suddenly changed me from my prior reading rate of 750 wpm with comprehension, to not being able to remember what I had just read on the previous page. Very hard to study and learn that way.

And also that when working in the FAA, I went through their electronics training that was the equivalent of what an electronics engineer would learn in college; but it was not accredited and thus was unrecognized by employers, but peers did not understand my competency - which was part of their compulsive need to align in a hierarchy that supposedly was based on competency.

But that electronics education was back in the vacuum tube era, and I had to self-teach and take a correspondence course to learn about the early transistors.

And all the rest re Integrated Circuits, computers and lasers etc I learned on my own, often so as to do my work on the job - much as I had learned much of what I knew when graduating from High School - I was disappointed when I was denied college chemistry because college entrance testing showed that I already knew more chemistry than would someone who took basic college chemistry, for example.

My early jobs in electronics involved all-male co-workers.

It wasn't until my middle years in private industry jobs, that women became part of the work groups, first as "wire girls" for their craftsmanship in building things; and in the 1980s some women were showing up as engineers in the groups.

In my retired years this mostly self-taught transistorized electronics knowledge enables me to create such things as on my page

In some of those IC's are many hundreds of transistors, making it lots easier for me to design and build such things.

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