Friday, September 28, 2012

Wherever it is, I'm not going there

The pic comes direct from Macworld's website.  'nuff said.

I have had my own trials with the iPhone recently: the main thing I use it or is playing music while I travel  - but it started cutting out on me for no apparent reason. After some fiddling I guessed that the earphone leads were dodgy (it gets plugged and unplugged at least twice every day) - so I shelled out $35 for a new pair. . . . . Except that it made no difference. The problem only happens sometimes and it comes and goes but it remains a mystery. Each time I must pull the plug, stop the music, plug back in so that it registers and then press play again. I note that this only seems to have started happening after an update to iOS. Also after the update sometimes my phone just won't connect to the internet: the one other use I have for it is as link from my laptop to the net while travelling on trains. This has never been terribly good, to be honest: in the morning it connects fine but every afternoon it's a gamble wether it will even connect.  I blame it on all those people tapping away on Twitter and facebook, both of which now come with iOS6 along with something called "passbook" which currently offers only crap from a radio station. 
Did I say I hate FB?
When I was trying to get my phone to work properly I wiped it and reinstalled everything I actually needed . . . and FB is not one of the "apps" I need.  I'm waiting for it to die but someone must be paying big to prop it up: it is "free" but the server end of things must be costing plenty, so where is the money coming from?
The only person I have contacted so far on FB appears to be dodgy. I loaned him some money as he was an old aquaintance  - but he has since disappeared and for someone who claims to be a Linux geek he really isn't on the net at all. I suspect that he lied to me about everything just to scrounge a few quid.  tragic really, I have moved on, climbed out of the hole of poverty but it seems that most of the people I knew back in the poor, crazy times have not.
'nuff said.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's too hard, don't bother

Read here a great little piece on space travel. The analogy is a good one.
Thanks, Discovery News.

I don't know if the 100 year project is workable but any project that gets humans looking outside their backyard has got to be an improvement on things.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

About Capitalism

This is in reference to "The Implosion of Capitalism".
I agree partly with the author: the rape of the Earth by selfish lunatics is too much and we are all  paying for it.
(Aside: Down here we are arguing over a "supertrawler" that has come down to stripmine our fish stocks. I can't see what the issue is: why should we let them? Where are our navy subs and torpedoes when we really need them? ;)

My problem with it is the glorification of "spirituality" animism and mysticism.

Yes, we do need to fix some very, very bad things in our society, but to go back to the attitudes of the tribal mind is not the answer: are we to discard the power of rational thinking and scientific analysis and replace it with old wive's tales and healing by witchdoctor? No,  and No again.  What I see as failing us all is the failure of modern man to distinguish between the primaeval urges of greed, fear, desire and envy  - and rational thought and action.

The emotional forces are still  distorting rational thought in almost all of humanity and it won't be fixed unless we overcome those stupid medieval mentalities and scrambled thoughts  - especially in those who are in positions of power.

Rational people would not make war or strip mine their own lands and oceans. A rational society would not put its failed members in little concrete boxes: it would work out how to restore or heal these members to good status. A rational society does not need repressive laws or a "Strong Leader": everyone knows what is right because they learn morality and ethics in school without any religious coloration to it.

We probably won't ever be able to remove those things from ourselves, but we can learn to overcome them: I see it every day. Walk into a shop and see a shop assistant being friendly and helpful to a person they might  not like the look of (or even despise if they knew more about them): it can be done, and is done every day by people, so why can't we train each other more in this task of being more rational regardless of emotional shite?
Maybe it is because there is a huge machinery of marketing and advertising that depends on it to sell us more crap that we really don't need.
Add to that the mound of mystic mumbo jumbo called religion and "spirituality" (whatever that means) and we are not getting better any time soon.  Sure, life is full of mysteries and things we really don't understand  - but doing stupid things you don't understand does not solve the unknowing  - nonsense is still nonsense.

It seems to me that maybe if there were enough truly rational people in a nation they might be able to move things more toward that direction, but therein is the problem: where does this growth of rationalism come from?  Furthermore, little rational thought is going to occur in people who are tired, overworked, under threat of eviction, sick or hungry: in short, the resources need to be there first, and we are globally moving toward a situation where almost everyone will be hungry and poor. I hope it doesn't get that bad, but you get my point.

Mad capitalism, the practice of usury or getting more money for nothing more than the loaning out of money, is not wise.  There is no free lunch - if you are eating a "free" lunch, someone else is actually paying for it. The big scam of this age is to spread the "lunch bill" among everyone else who isn't getting any even though they have no choice in the matter. . . . . but because pretty much no-one is looking at it and there is no specific person getting stiffed, they keep getting away with it. What is really amazing is that when Bear Stearns etc. went down and Uncle Sam had to bail them all out, there it was, clear as day: All the US tax payers were footing the bill for a handful of robbers . . . and they did NOTHING to fix it.


Something new to me: Cellulose Nanocrystals made from wood.  These are supposedly stronger and cheaper than Kevlar or carbon fibre.  Assuming they can seal it against water penetration (and I am betting they will) this stuff would become the basic construction material for vehicles, houses and airplanes . . . . and use up whole forests worth of trees as a result.
 Is this a great thing or a catastrophe ?  Probably a combination of both, right?
Also,  everyone will know by now that Apple has brought out the iPhone 5. It has a different size taller screen than the old models: round here, there seems to be an endless series of shops or stalls peddling phone covers of every size and style  - so there will be millions or probably billions of plastic and rubber phone covers heading for the dump.
Oh, don't forget that it also has a new dock plug: so all those gadgets with the old dock connectors will be junk too. Apparently there will be an adapter available from Apple (but probably not cheap!)
Finally, maybe we can make "force sheilds" so favoured of the Sci-fi writers for space travel.

Junk DNA? Really?

Here in this article at the NY Times you can read about how 440 scientists in 32 labs have been working to understand what all those mysterious bits of DNA in our chromosomes do.
They make a point of as if it were a discovery, but of course there is no "junk" DNA : all of it is useful and does things, we just didn't know what it did before.

I found it hard to understand why anyone would think DNA had lots of "unused bits".  ( It also makes me wonder what other areas of knowledge are being ignored because "nobody thought there was anything much there".  Any ideas, dear reader? )
This group of discoveries will bring big changes in future to the medical and health area. Big changes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More about the madness of the stock market

In this article courtesy of WIRED, you can read the detail of how computerised trading has made the stock markets essentially uncontrollable by human operators: it all happens much too fast for anyone to see what is going on apart from later forensic examination.
I could carry on about how this is all too crazy- but just read it for yourself.