Sunday, 30 June 2013

Interesting world in interesting times.

There is a saying "may you live in interesting times" it is allegedly a curse but may derive from the Chinese "It's better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period.". I'm pretty sure that any history of the world that actually gets written will conclude that from about the beginning of the industrial revolution to at least now has been interesting. I'm just not sure what in the future may seem the most interesting bits and which will be viewed as positive and which as negative, a future whose inhabitants share some of our aspirations and live in the future we want to create may will see this as an age of great growth and learning, those of what we would call a dystopia may will, as a society view this as a dark age, with the collapse of moral structure and order.
It is possible that our age will only exists in myth like the stories of Homer and King Arthur with the meaning of fragments of a story, argued over endlessly. What would the story of man's journey to the moon sound like when passed down verbally for a 100 generations.
Whilst our civilisations may fade and fall, like previous civilisations our buildings will leave deep marks on the land, the earth is covered in the welts and bruises inflicted by our quarries, further down are our mines and tunnels. There is a permanent mark in the layers of geology set down since July 16, 1945 when the Trinity tests blasted radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere and the rain pulled them down to earth.
If any civilisation should approach out technological level they may find the remains of some of our satellites still in orbit, those in low earth orbit will have long go as will those of in medium orbit, but unless interfered with those out at 35,786km in Geostationary orbits may still be there or there pummelled remains as the vehicles are dragged toward stable points on the orbits.
The remains on the moon will still be there in some form, likely in better condition than those on Mars as what slight atmosphere Mars has will work to corrode some of them whilst sand blasting. Everything else will be lost either in the immenseness of interstellar space or the only slightly smaller vast heart of the gas giants.
The most distant and longest lived human artefact will be the radio waves spreading outwards in a forlorn hope of catching the ever accelerating edge of the universe. The most power full of these signals will not contain any information other than to say we were here. They will not be the powerful signals of the early TV transmitters but the collected murmur from the a billion mobile handsets.
From that rise and fall of the signal over time they may be able to spot the signature of a 23 hour 56 minutes 10 second rotation, the 365 day orbit around the sun, and possibly the inclination of the ecliptic. Even when the Sun has swollen and swallowed the Earth this will be our everlasting mark on the fabric of the universe, at least anyone who hears it will know that they are not alone, or at least are not the only species to rise to technological sentience. Though perhaps they decide it is the lunch bell and pop over to eat us, in all likelihood we will be long gone as will the rest of our artefacts.
Mobile phones are our tickets to immortality, no wonder the prices are so high.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The journey is the way of getting there.

When there is a conflict between doing the things you want to do, and doing the things you need to do in order to achieve the things you want. It is no use deluding yourself that by sheer act of will and belief you can make your actions result in your desired outcome.
However there are no shortage of people who seem to be prepared to try and do this. I know I was one of them at age 12 but I gave up sometime after that. Sure I have also been mistaken, believing that the route to where I want to go is the same as the route I'm on.
Part of the reason for discussing plans is to make sure that your plan will achieve what you want or at least isn't guaranteed to achieve something else and never your goal.
You cannot want a better world while at the same time not wanting to change anything, but that is what most of the people seem to want. Something for nothing no pollution, no wind farms, no ill health, no medical research, no mining, no shortages, no farming, no hunger, no house building, no homeless, no fucking idea.

October 1954 the day the Silence died.

I'm sitting in a library, I have headphones on and a playing white noise through them at max volume, and can still hear the people 20 feet away talking, I do not want to hear him, I've come to the library for a bit of peace and quiet and to play on a different computer from the one I have at home.
I may spend too much time in quiet contemplation but the world has definitely become a noisier place in my life time, I'm not talking about the day to day background noise of people walking, but deliberately produced human noise whether it's talking on mobiles , blasting out songs from the ear phones left right and centre.
On a quiet day in the park you can no longer hear the level murmurer of people talking but are incessantly bombarded by people shouting or playing music loud.
It wasn't always this before the invention of the transistor the biggest noise you could make in public would have been the sound of the wind up gramophone, the radio would have been too big to carry any distance. In October 1954 the first transistor radio entered mass production. It had taken since 1947 for the transistor to move from discovery to begin the total destruction of silence but it had begun. From that point onward  things would slowly go downhill.
During the 1960s the portable tape player came to popularity, now day or night you could produce any sound you wanted at your command, though admittedly without the annoying inter music interludes fill with either tinny jingles or vacuous Ramblings of a disk jockey.
The tape became the Walkman, which gave us the CD Walkman followed the MP3 player, in the form of the iPod.
Modern life is impossible without one of these devices to block out the sound of everyone else, Even at the best of times just at the edge of your hearing will be some crap bass line from N-Dubz or the worse the 1812 overture, or some other classical nonsense.
Being classic and of course high art the twat responsible for that will think it fine to blast it out at a higher volume because it is edu-fucking-cational, no it fucking isn't it noise pollution. If you are really unlucky this will be accompanied by the jabbering of pseudo intellectual rubbish regarding the superior quality of classical music, and how it is "high art", which you will assume can only be spoken about in a totally nonsensical language made up of what sound like half remember phrases from a TV programme their mate once saw and told them about.
The only thing worse than having to hear the flacid tones of some 18th century syphilitic is to have to hear the flaccid tones of a 20th century twat playing something "middle of the road". If it was truly middle of the road it would be squashed by a 20tonne articulated lorry, what it is bottom of the midden music. More devoid of imagination than Donald Trump is of dignity.
The world will be a better place when people just spend their free time stoned out of  their mind entertaining themselves in the privacy of their own heads or then learn to walk about quietly.
So just shut the fuck up.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Educating Jake

Jake Morrison
Here in Liverpool there is a minor storm in a teacup  centring on the behaviour interactions of 2 relatively young politicians. On one side Jake Morrison still only 19/20 and in his 3rd years as a City Councillor, on the other Luciana Berger 32 and in her 3rd year as MP for Liverpool Wavertree, the parliamentary constituency that includes Jakes council Wavertree ward.
Depending on which way you look at it is either
Jake forgets that he is only a big fish in a very small pond.
Or
Luciana (and her bag carrier) trying to bully a younger poltico.
Or
It is Jake, taking a principled stand, not to become an element in a homogenised political system.
Or
Luciana is trying to do what is needed to get her party into government, where it can have true influence.
Or
And enormous cluster fuck.

Jake has claimed he is unhappy to be offering what he sees as Tory lite to the people of Liverpool, this in some ways is unfortunate as the Lib-Dems, UKIP, BNP… all claim the same kind of things. He should also be worried that he has the man he defeated Mike Storey now praising him and applauding is integrity and principles, this even for a Storey is political expedience of the most vile nature.
Luciana is not an experienced MP but she has cut her teeth on one of the traditional routes into "adult" politics that is via student politics and think tanks, without ever having a real job, this is here career, she may think she can make a difference but her training is to keep in line, not rock the boat and get the party into power. Her naivety is, in some ways, of the same magnitude as Jake's but in different areas.
Jake is right about people being dissatisfied with politics and this kind of conflict between 2 members of a party should be part of the internal struggle of ideas within the party that ultimately gives rise to policy, if the AV system had been adopted Wavertree could have been offered them both, if you wanted to vote for Labour you picked the one you likes the sound of most and put them 1st choice and the other the second.
Instead it will likely end up with one of them being humiliated at the next election, if there was a "big beast" of Liverpool politics around it's not too late to bash heads, but it the heads of a lot more than these 2 that need bashing together.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

How to compare Apples and Oranges

The recent killing of a serving soldier on a street in London has stoked up several age old debates. One of which is what is terrorism, well for once I think UK law gets about right according to the Terrorism Act 2000 as modified, defines it as

Section 1.
(1) In this Act "terrorism" means the use or threat of action where-
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][2] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [, racial][3] or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.


(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

The US gets it wrong by saying it has to be performed by sub national groups or clandestine agents. Given that the definition of Nation is not very definitive it creates all sorts of problems but lets the USAF off the hook, though potentially not the CIA.
Now the government wants to spend a small fortune on increased intelligence and other measure that may or may not save lives in the future, they will definitely involve intruding on the freedom and privacy of a lot of innocent people and it will cost a fortune.
The hard monetary facts come down to lives saved per pound spent. Working out the numbers of people killed per year by "terrorism" is difficult because you have to work out when the cycle started but if we go from the 7th July bombs to today that is about 7 people per year.
In 2011 there were 1,901 deaths on the UK roads, now while some of them will be self inflicted and larger number will be innocent individuals in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fatal injuries at work in the same period 150, apparently 12,000 preventable hospital deaths and 640 Murders. Everyone one of them traumatic for the families involved. Each one of them with some connection to government policy.
Why should the particular murder of a serving soldier cause talk of changes to the law, legal intrusion into the lives of innocents and potentially massive government expense.
Is it that in some way a soldier's life is worth more than a civilian? Well if that's the case the equipment policy the MoD and its predecessors has been criminal for a very long time. Is it that the methods used were totally different to those used every before, again while it was unpleasant there have been plenty of more horrific murders.
It is neither of these, what annoys the government is that some foreign entity should want to kill its subjects, this is far more a challenge to the state's pride, than subjects killing each or other, or the agents of the state killing the subjects.
It is true that in several countries British Forces are engaged in action and that some people claim they are doing it for us. They aren't. They do it because the government told them to and they had agreed to do what the government told them. They are no more doing it for a large portion of the population than the killers of Drummer Rigby where doing it for the Muslim community. Simply being prepared or actually killing people to order is the problem, it can only ever be justified in self defence and then only if you do not deliberately put yourself in harms way.
The killing of drummer Rigby was done by people attempting to get a change in the way the UK acts, they were encouraged by those with far less respectable or open aims.
If they carry on killing us at this rate, they will not get anywhere as the population is fairly strong, what may make the public force the government to change, is if the government, in its pride, seeks to stop the murder of its subjects by foreign powers by such draconian measures that the people react and over throw it, that would be a genuine victory for those who encourage the murderers. A victory for the citizens of the UK would be if we stop the UK government doing unpleasant things in our name because we find its action in remote parts intolerable rather than the way it treats us.