Dang, it was the headlines in The Times (I think) this morning, and now it’s gone.
The story was that in view of events on the French train a few days ago whereby hero passengers tackled another crazy man, no doubt saving a lot of lives, the EU (who I personally hate more than many other entities on this planet) wish to introduce airport like CCTV, bag checks and more on our railways, the UK in particular, and our CONSERVATIVE (‘freedom’, eh?) PM, David C, is all behind it. I bet he is, with fingers in fracking and other nasty industries that are the diametric opposite of the sorts of forward looking ventures, such as those emanating from Tesla (electric cars) and Apple (solar buildings), he will relish using very rare terrorist attacks to further infringe on our privacy, sense of space and convenience. It’s bad enough spending hours at airports (which makes sense, a bomb on an aircraft will bring down up to 500 people), but on the railways, we are talking hand searching everyones bags, CCTV in avery carriage and so on. All that will achieve nothing because the bad guys will simply place something on a rail line outside of the train.
Readers will have noticed pictures of thugs attacking people in housing estates or town centres in their local papers and online. Well, where do the pictures from from? CCTV! And if it’s so good, why are the thugs still attacking people? a) They don’t care. b) It’s a badge of honour, like an ASBO. And likewise it is for terrorists.
And on the subject of terrorists, I am deeply suspicious of the events in France. Why is it that within hours HOURS! of the event, before a lengthy investigation, court case and so on were medals awarded to the heroes? They didn’t even have time to acknowledge the French man who was first on the scene. Same with Charlie H attacks, the French PM was on the scene almost instantly. As if he was all ready and waiting. And in the former case, apparently, the authorities knew about the train attacker in advance, having followed him for a while.
So why didn’t they arrest and deport him? Same with some previous attacks like this. Whilst I intensely dislike siding with the conspiracy theorists, I am no longer convinced things are as they appear and these people are being allowed, almost encouraged to carry out their acts (even if stopped at the last moment) such that we accept further infringements on our freedoms. False flags I believe they are called. All so that large corporations can continue their unpleasant behaviour, and all this public surveillance to monitor potential protestors and intellectuals who wish to challenge the status quo. It’s interesting that when almost anything happens today, the media are able to obtain CCTV footage of people going about their private lives, even from months ago. A HUGE breach of privacy!
I find these companies (in particular those like this) despicable, and have far more concern for their behaviour than the 1:1,000,000 risk of being caught up in a terrorist attack that itself is because we allow such unpleasant people into this country in the first place, whilst NOT caring for other more decent people, such as Afghan translators or Kurds. If you invite people to your home, you choose your guests carefully to avoid trouble. Simples! So, on a national scale, stop the problem at the borders.
My dislike of the EU and our leaders is intense, small minded shills using every excuse they can to distance the public from nefarious profit driven corporations and to make our lives as complex and inconvenient as possible.
Fight back club: If you own a business or transport system, reject surveillance technology, and through your Church, school, social group or whatever encourage discipline within society rather than allowing the state to build a dystopia. Before it’s too late and we’re powerless drones with no room to live.
It must be at least 10 years since I watched Casualty on the BBC. Caught it this evening and oh what an example of just how dumbed down everything has become over the last decade or two. What was once, (like Holby City), gripping medical drama is now like an episode of Eastenders, but set in a hospital. Lots of not very nice people all bitching and conspiring with or against each other. No humor (why?), no science, no mature responsible respectable mentor like senior Doctors. Mindless nothing wrapped up in contemporary disjointed convoluted social melodrama.
Well, if that’s how today’s script writers portray people who have been through 7 years of medical school, Lord help us.
Who writes this stuff? How were they educated at school? Which social engineering concepts were used during their education?
What a contrast to the brilliantly researched prog The Unsinkable Titanic on some other channel, but to find that, you had to surf through masses of mindless tat electronically transmitted in glorious HD.
Which begs the question, if this is what we’re watching today where the intellectual content of our programming is inversely proportional to the resolution of the broadcast signal, how will we be doing when 8K is everywhere? Will our brains fall out of our ears like President Reagan’s did in Spitting Image whilst he slept?
Fight back club: HBO? Netflix? Off switch? A book! Ah ha, cracked it!
When in the US, I recall being horrified (if that is the right word) at how people regarded any form of accident as an opportunity to make money, reducing friendships and random meetings to a very shallow and insincere arrangement.
This all started during my first few years in Palo Alto. I was with a friend enjoying a coffee in or outside a cafe on University Avenue. We witnessed a pickup truck full of friendly Californian surfer types accidentally very slowly reverse into a BMW behind them with almost no impact and definitely no damage to either vehicle. (I cannot recall why they were reversing, but probably to park.) Either way, the driver of the BMW, rather than walk up to them and say “No worries.” and so on, remained in his (convertible) car and called his lawyer. We could clearly her him discussing the situation and already using words like ‘whiplash’ and ‘claim’ and others, all within seconds of the incident! (This was decades before such a culture arrived on these shores.) I was disgusted. He didn’t even ask the young lads how they were, despite the fact they were trying to talk to him. My friend (who was a fan of UK culture at the time) and I were appalled and using words not fit for publication to describe the BMW driver.
XX years later, this sort of thing is now commonplace here in the UK, and we get the same immoral injury lawyers advertising on TV here as plaster the US networks.
*** HOWEVER! *** (In flashing orange 1993 web html.)
Today someone drove right into my car whilst I was sitting in it parked in a car park talking on my phone. The driver continued to bump into me multiple times for reasons I cannot disclose, but he was not someone I know, so it wasn’t anything personal, he had simply lost control. Anyway, despite the fact the accident was entirely his fault (or not my fault), the issue was, the driver showed NO remorse or concern for my wellbeing, despite creating 1 foot long 6″ deep scratches on part of my car, pushing the whole vehicle forward 6 inches and causing my head to be rocked back and forth several times with unknown to either party medical consequences.
Beyond the whole situation being a huge inconvenience during a period when I am exceptionally busy (understatement), what is concerning is that society here is now the same in the US. For starters, he probably showed no remorse or concern in order not to implicate himself – despite the fact I was stationary in a parking space with the engine off, so it was clear cut. Secondly, I may have whiplash injury and have already been invited to claim for damages by a law firm associated with our insurer, yet we all know, within a week, I will be fine. But the money could tempt a person who did not question such things or care for the consequences of legal action against someone who had an accident, even if their behaviour was not remorseful.
Further, another moral issue, the whole thing was caught on CCTV* (a concept I oppose and always will), and for reasons I again choose not to disclose, the driver is not fit to be driving a vehicle, so I could report him to the police and they would probably ban him for driving on viewing the footage. So, he could not only face a lawsuit, but have his life thrown into chaos by losing that freedom driving gives you. On the other hand, I may save someone’s life, perhaps his own too?
This is a dilemma that has been created by contemporary society. In a previous age, the following would have occurred, and this is not ‘grass is greener’ wishful thinking, it is how things were:
1. The driver would have been apologetic.
2. He would have asked how I was – just as I showed concern for his well being.
3. He would have probably offered to pay for the damage there and then and omit all the complications of insurance and/or legal action.
4. I would have come to some arrangement too, pending having my car seen to in case there is damage to the gearbox, chassis etc.
(Remember, this was not a major accident involving loss of life or massive damage to either vehicle.)
Alas today, life takes even minor incidents and turns them into an opportunity to either deny one’s responsibility or make a profit. Even I am forced to consider action that creates a moral dilemma.
Again I ask, what have we done? And how mechanised and distant will society be in 2025?
Fight back club: Handle situations and relationships with pragmatism and common sense. Trying my best! :P
*For reasons discussed all over this blog, I oppose ALL uses of CCTV except at traffic lights, preferring a naturally disciplined society, but here it may well help act as a witness! Oh what a quandary.
Read the paper
Whatta you see
War in Asia
Hunger and greed
Murder in the Bronx
Rape in the park
Pollution in the city
Tomorrow looks so dark.
Everybody join hands with your fellow man
And work together to save our land
Take a look around
Take a look inside
Oh can’t you see we gotta turn the tide.
Man in the prison calling out to me
Needs another chance
Wants to be free
And in a way like that man
We’re just as guilty if we don’t lend a hand.
Everybody join hands . . .
If things go on like this much further
We’re gonna be guilty of murder
So let’s start thinking ’bout tomorrow
Today – please don’t – delay.
Start to love
Stop this hate
Change the world
It’s not too late
Work for freedom work for peace
And try to make this madness cease.
Everybody join hands…
– Giorgio Moroder
This week there was some good news during a period when most news has been bad, from horrific terrorist attacks to acceptance that the 6th Extinction is no longer theory, but underway. No surprise there, and yes there is a connection between the two.
The good news is that an application to frack was unexpectedly rejected by a council despite said council being almost ‘threatened’ to vote in favor. (And the frackers have not given up yet!) We are all in agreement that an alternative to oil and coal is vital if we are to reduce pollution and extract our soldiers from nations that provide us oil but where there are cultural differences.
However, taking a harmful short-termism path is typical of an industry that would rather consume the whole bar of chocolate than avoid greed and temptation by putting it back in the cupboard. Effectively, the carbon fuel industry would rather suck the Earth dry at any cost than invest their billions in a whole new ecosystem of technologies and subsequent business opportunities – including building huge solar farms in Australia, a Western nation that will not require a military presence.
When visiting the US, where there is a lot more space, anywhere there is a carbon fuel extraction or processing plant is polluted, noisy and unpleasant to live around. A while back I remember driving past a plant not far from San Francisco and feeling immensely sorry for the poor people (mainly Mexicans) living near the refinery. Their standard of living and health is horrible. Environmental prejudice comes to mind.
Having lived in and travelled to many of the UK’s village communities, it is an almost idyllic existence. Quiet, clean and almost crime free. Never mind the ground water pollution and risk of small quakes, having large tanker trucks and associated paraphernalia passing through our communities is just not worth it.
As some communities around Oxford have done, way better to invest in solar farms and Tesla household battery packs and get our villages off the grid altogether bit by bit. The reduction in consumer demand for electricity sourced from carbon and nuclear power stations will free up energy resources for heavy industry that will continue to require carbon and nuclear energy until solar and other clean low accident risk sources can generate enough kilowatts.
As this blog has stated before, a Manhattan Project / Apollo Space Program level investment in clean sustainable non nuclear energy is the way forward, not harmful controversial short term solutions that are little more than shoving the problem under the carpet for another day.
Fight frack club: Done! (I know, I have used that pun before.)
Congrats on your win.
Thinking about it, it was inevitable, because under all the superficial news and opinion of the somewhat biased media, an underlying majority of good people were fed-up of all manner of threats to our freedoms, dignity and a value system based on personal responsibility and focused compassion.
However, the justified popularity of UKIP, whose leader was a decent person opposed to threats to the aforementioned issues cannot be ignored. In fact, you won because when it came to putting an X in the box, people realised that a vote for UKIP would let the other side in, so they voted for the next best thing. (Or worst thing for those on the other side of the house!)
When Lady Thatcher was in power, she became unpopular over time (and more recently with some unjustified bile from those who have no idea of her true character), not because of her policies – that have subsequently been proven to be good for the country – but because those around her were not as upstanding as she was. “With friends like these.” Etc. Hangers on comes to mind!
The bankers exploited her trust in their new found freedoms, that we paid for in 2008. Other aspects of capitalism lost their sense of honour too, something that has also continued to this day.
So Mr. C, if you are to represent the majority of the populace, then you should honour the desires of those who empathised with UKIP and other parties who feel ‘something’ is wrong, even if many of these things are not discussed much in the media, beyond articles in the Daily Mail or on the other side of the spectrum, The Guardian:
- Eliminate hospital parking charges by the end of this year – the most unethical aspect of UK society today, and something UKIP were due to repeal.
- Make it illegal for landlords and estate agents to charge fees for background checks, beyond a total of £20. (They can pay an intern £10 an hour to do the work – as we do – and cover their genuine costs with the balance.) On a personal note, I am no fan of landlords or estate agents, many unpleasant words come to mind, but we’ll leave that for now.
- Impose stricter regulations on pay day loan companies who, like bookies, exploit those down on their luck – and sometimes only make things worse.
- Ban car and other insurance companies for charging fees (often as much as £25) to update a policy. For example, a customer address or driving situation. To charge for making a quick update to a database, a process that takes seconds yet costs the customer money in telephone call costs is unethical and like many of the other issues on this list, quite simply didn’t happen not long ago.
- With relation to 4, above, rein in the unjustified fees that ladies have to pay for car insurance despite having a far lower risk of accident. The fees were raised due to the selfish behavor of feminists (don’t get me started) who wanted equality. Well, they have been hoisted by their own petard, financially crippling many safe driving young women everywhere. Can you believe that most young people today pay more for their car insurance than for their car? Totally unjustified, even for young men. Cars today are far safer, speed limits and drink driving laws etc are stricter. So there is no need for it.
- Ensure that mobile phone airtime providers do not block customers with Pay As You Go calling plans from calling customer services when they run out of credit. What are they supposed to do if they cannot get through to query something or seek help? Do you know what it is like to be in a situation like that? I imagine not. (And that’s one of the flaws of Conservatives, some have never known what it is like to live on the edge.)
- Do as America and Australia do, and only allow people into this country who are not going to be ward of state, agree to our system of democracy and as Gordon Brown was hoping to encourage, take an oath of allegiance. Some of us find it reprehensible that decent people are sometimes forbidden from entering this country, whilst those who come from countries where we source our blood oil are allowed in for geopolitical reasons. In return, they kindly spew their hate by exploiting our freedom of speech laws. And by doing that, actually encourage the easily brainwashed to commit terror on our streets that in turn leads to unjustified intrusions into our privacy through monitoring of our communications. Cure the disease, and you won’t need a morally dubious cure!
- Honour your pre-2010 election pledge to be a green PM. Did you kbow that GOP supporting farmers in middle America are panicking because the unpredictable weather is leaving their crops decimated? Yes, ‘redneck’ types who once thought #climatechange was a load of hooey, now know it is real and not a UN new world order conspiracy. This ONE example of the dangerous effects of climate change has not been reported, but threats to our food supply are a lot more serious than inconveniences such as flooding and the odd out of place tornado. (One touched down in Germany the other day causing much damage, but people won’t starve and they will rebuild.) How about scrapping HS2 (that will be obsolete by the time it’s finished due to the advent of autonomous airborne delivery and transport services – quote me on it) and instead invest in next generation solar and other sustainable energy technologies. To kick things off and inspire people, how about committing to making the Houses of Parliament run off 100% solar/tidal energy, just like the lovely National Trust HQ in Swindon that runs on solar. Your chancellor and fellow Bullingdon Boy started with the welcome investment in graphene, so keep up the momentum – Elon Musk cannot do it all on his own! Britain has some great University talent, so harness it. Have you ever experienced the enthusiasm of an idealistic student before he or she is sucked by an attractive graduate salary into the humdrum never changing monotony of dull 8:30-5:30 career?
If I think of anything else, I’ll update this list. Need to check my notes, but in the mean time, don’t forget how and why you got here, beyond the hard work of you and your team of course.
Words fail me
Great Britain. Really?
Remember all those years ago, when the sparkly new ultra liberal President was elected with much fanfare and ‘hope’? “Finally, someone who will deal with race issues! Represent ‘us’.” Could have fooled me! “He’ll save the environment!” Where? Whose? Which one? “He’ll bring world peace!” A Nobel Prize was awarded too – before he had even done anything! And there are even more wars now, just about everywhere. Really Mr. P?
Well, here at Vision Aforethought towers, we don’t like to dabble in politics – it’s an effective way to achieve little, slowly, but we do care for the environment, because while Presidents come and go, life full planets shouldn’t.
Over the years, having had his blinkers removed by applying research and observation to rumour and hearsay, this blogger has validated that the well known but little discussed concept that THE most powerful force on Earth is not God, nor a fully equipped American Aircraft Carrier or even the crafty security services. No, it’s the carbon fuel industry.
Everything that happens, from where ISIS try to take control, to which US States try to ban the sale of Tesla cars to where the West fights wars to who we make friends with (even if despising said friends behind their backs, deservedly so in some cases), is based on the awesome all reaching power of big oil.
I know, readers know this, but you also like a warm house – as do the Russians who have the people of Siberia to keep warm, so it DOES make sense to retain control of (current!) energy resources to a limited extent. However, for a leader to get into a position of power based on specific promises and values, and then once firmly embedded in the system but no longer able to be reelected – betray his voters and hopers by sleeping with the devil proves it was all just politics as usual. He could have taken a cleaner more visionary long term approach by forcing the industry to invest in sustainable and related technology.
Mr. President, with evidence of climate change occurring all over the world now (here in the UK too, 17 degrees last week, 1 degree this week!), you had a chance to really make a difference and stand your ground, backing up your empowering rhetoric and promises with actions.
Those of us over here on the more cynical less dupable side of the Atlantic, whilst also quite hopeful, now know our underlying feeling that you were just there to fool your gullible people and continue the status quo wasn’t just a hunch.
Fight Barack club: Support these guys via Greenpeace.
Following this story in the Guardian and elsewhere (“Google boss warns of ‘forgotten century’ with email and photos at risk”), I thought I would provide some advice on how to ensure as much of your content as possible remains accessible for as long as is practical.
I have been practicing this for quite a while now and it’s working, much to the benefit of friends, family and employer alike, because I am able to access and share ages old content, from scanned hand written letters to work photos from a while back.
The first two issues below are of course beyond your control, although if you are in a position of technical influence (such as a company CTO), it is worth keeping the industry on their toes and joining an appropriate working group and being politely shouty.
Here’s the plan:
- Industry (and popular 3rd party) standards and formats should be maintained and back supported. For example: JPEG, TIFF, MPEG (Video), PNG, PDF, PSD.
- App developers should maintain utilities for playing back (and editing if possible) content in the event they cease to develop and support a product. For example, Hypercard, an outstanding multimedia authoring system developed by Apple (and then Claris) was withdrawn after Apple moved to OS X from the previous versions of their OS. I currently have some very important Hypercard files on my MacBook but cannot access or view them in any way, despite consulting experts worldwide who have been incredibly helpful. There must be many others in a similar position.
- Ensure you keep ALL your content on one large external hard drive synced with a cloud service such as DropBox. Your backup hard drive should equal or exceed the capacity of your computer. If you’re on a Mac, use Time Machine for your local backup, it’s awesome, even offering versioning, so you can go back in time to recover files you erased in error. I suggest DropBox for the cloud because it archives your files as they are, without any lossy processing, something that services like Google+ Photos does alas. IE G+ may shrink your photos, reducing their resolution. Ok if it’s just for social sharing, but not for archiving. Further, you can of course access, view and share DropBox files from your other devices. It does not backup your actual computer operating system or apps, just the files you pop (drop!) into the DropBox folder.
- When archiving content, such as photos and video, ensure you save it in the current highest quality format. IE, maximum image quality JPEGs (.jpg), or ideally if you are a photographer, in RAW format. Video is a tougher one because there are various standards, however, it is best to do your research at the time. The key to all my advice is to keep all your content on a large hard drive – not a collection of scratchable breakable potentially unreadable after X years optical media such as DVDs.
Replace your hard drive every few years so that there is less chance of it failing and to take advantage of the latest technology – Most importantly, the ports on the back that allow you to connect it to a computer or other access device. How many of you are using Firewire drives, yet now own a Mac or PC without a Firewire port – exactly! No harm will come in buying a drive with WiFi access.
- IMPORTANT: At least every 3 months run diagnostics on your computer and backup drive(s) to repair any corrupted files. There is no excuse for not being able to be able to access content for decades if not centuries by following this, as long as the industry follow steps 1 and 2, above. It is incredibly important not to miss any corrupted files that you may end up backing up repeatedly, without realising it, so that any versioning or historical backups are themselves useless.
- Now we get to the real dystopian apocalyptic matter – What if there is a global catastrophe and you (and many if not all others) are unable to obtain power to fire up computers and other electronic devices to access content? That priceless backup drive will be an unaccessible brick, as will everything else. Short term, (IE, whilst you are still alive, and your descendants are still following your mantra or a fade proof hard copy of this blog page!) you can start by trying to live off the grid with reliable sustainable energy that won’t conk out when the planet’s infrastructure does. A tough computer and backup drive powered by solar energy charged batteries, such as are about to be released by Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors / Solar City would be a great start. There is also the possibility that priceless images could be ‘printed’ using a tough scratch, heat and waterproof medium. Already, Epson and others offer printer ink and paper that will last 100 years.
- When it comes to the written word, this is easier, because as per long lasting hard copies of images, you could look into finding guaranteed long lasting printer paper, or even hope that someone invents a way to engrave the written word at high speed on a tough material that would last centuries, like gravestones or biblical tablets!
- So, right now, before it degrades and the conversion process becomes unaffordable, get those VHS, Betamax, 8mm etc video recordings and film based photos and video out of the storage boxes, and have them converted to digital. Keep the tangible originals, you never know, they may be useful in the future – in a museum or as a family keepsake.
- Don’t forget to renew your cloud backup service – they will probably give you plenty of notice.
So the UK’s (uhm, Scotland’s?), North Sea oil production is under threat due to the falling price of crude. Good news for the consumer and businesses of course, but not for the oil rig employees who are about to be laid off, not to mention the environment as people fill up en masse at 99p a litre.
However, if like more forward looking businesses, BP (‘Beyond Petroleum’, hah, don’t make me laugh) and others had in advance used their once huge financial might to invest in practical sustainable clean energy solutions, such as…
- Tidal barriers, like the superb one proposed across the Severn Estuary
- Large scale solar fields in Saudi Arabia, Australia etc
- Next generation battery technology for efficient storage and distribution
- (Electrical) energy ‘transportation’ infrastructure and management
…then, by now, these companies would not only be able to retain their employees and contractors, but help contribute to a reduction in carbon fuel pollution.
They have had years to begin this bridge building in advance (like Rank Hovis Mcdougall: Movies > Bread), but greed and the human desire to always consume the whole bar of chocolate/apple/planetary resources rather than leave the rest ‘in the ground’, means that we’ll now go through a period of energy insecurity and unemployment. This is exceptionally dangerous with the world already in a very fragile position (yes, the terrorists attacks are related to oil – just use a map) but it’s not a surprise.
It’s controversial to say so, but as I have hinted at before on this blog, the types of people who run carbon energy companies lack the vision, imagination and pragmatic compassion essential to bring about change. Just visit a filling station, they are dirty, clunky and smelly, the only major change since the very first pump was installed being a switch from mechanical clickity whiz digital readouts to LCD. Whoopie doo!
Compare to the imaginative efforts from companies like Tesla and Gogoro.
Fight back club: Don’t put more gas in your tank just because it’s cheap – force the industry to invest in the future before it’s too late by maintaining your frugal less polluting lifestyle. Be Pushy.
Everybody’s a dreamer
And everybody’s a star
And everyone’s in movies
It doesn’t matter who you are
There are stars in every city
In every house and on every street
And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Their names are written in concrete
Don’t step on Greta Garbo
As you walk down the Boulevard
She looks so weak and fragile
That’s why she tried to be so hard
But they turned her into a princess
And they sat her on a throne
But she turned her back on stardom
Because she wanted to be alone
You can see all the stars
As you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Some that you recognize
Some that you’ve hardly even heard of
People who worked
And suffered and struggled for fame
Some who succeeded
And some who suffered in vain
Looks very much alive
And he looks up ladies’ dresses
As they sadly pass him by
Avoid stepping on Bela Lugosi
‘Cause he’s liable to turn and bite
But stand close by Bette Davis
Because hers was such a lonely life
You can see all the stars
As you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Some that you recognize
Some that you’ve hardly even heard of
People who worked
And suffered and struggled for fame
Some who succeeded
And some who suffered in vain
Everybody’s a dreamer
And everybody’s a star
And everybody’s in show biz
It doesn’t matter who you are
But those who are successful
Be always on your guard
Success walks hand in hand with failure
Along Hollywood Boulevard
You can see all the stars
As you walk along Hollywood Boulevard
Some that you recognize
Some that you’ve hardly even heard of
People who worked and suffered
And struggled for fame
Some who succeeded and some
Who suffered in vain
I wish my life was a non-stop
Hollywood movie show
A fantasy world of celluloid
Villains and heroes
‘Cause celluloid heroes
Never feel any pain
And celluloid heroes
Never really die
Everybody’s a dreamer
And everybody’s a star
And everybody’s in movies
It doesn’t matter who you are
– Ray Davies
© Davray Music, Ltd
On October 1 1908, Ford launched the Model-T automobile, the first internal combustion engine powered vehicle designed for mass production, and therefore, mass adoption. We can debate whether the invention of a carbon fuel powered motor was a wrong turn by humanity another day, but what Ford did with Mercedes invention was give credence to a method of transport orders of magnitude more practical than it’s 4 legged predecessor. (Nay I say more on that?)
Today at CES in Las Vegas, a company has revealed a machine whose thoughtful design and execution could finally do for electric transport (and potentially sustainable energy) what the Model-T did for the internal combustion engine.
If you have not already read about it, I’m referring to a superbly designed electric scooter from a 2 year old former stealth startup called Gogoro founded by former HTC execs. They really have thought of everything! (Do watch the excellent video in The Verge article.)
Way to Gogoro!
Large cities across Asia are flooded with noisy polluting gasoline powered mopeds in dire need of obsolescence, whilst adoption in Western cities could also benefit from these cleaner quieter machines at the same time freeing up roads with a speedy mode of transport that takes up 1/4 of the space of a car.
Best of all, hopefully, if the rider can choose where the energy used to charge the batteries is sourced from, they can vote with their Gogoro’s on obtaining their energy from solar and other clean sustainables.
I have never felt so excited and confident that we may finally have a chance to supplant mass produced polluting carbon fuel powered clunky transport with a leaner cleaner greener alternative that’s fun too!
Therefore, winner of my Best of CES 2015 award. Said award to be redacted and this blog post updated with a more terse tone if anyone tries to garden wall the battery charging stations such that riders are fleeced for using ‘free’ energy, such as that from solar and other sustainable energy sources.
Finally, Vision Aforethought now has it’s own domain. Two in fact, take your pick!
or the short and sweet:
Oflife, my twitter ID, was originally conceived as a tease for a product from my employer to be entitled SPiCE. IE, Spice Of Life. However, unexpectedly, in December 2014 we discovered an indirect competitor using the same name, so had to rebrand the project. Oflife is no longer a teaser for our project, but in the interests of continuity will remain in use.
E M E R G E N C Y B L O G P O S T
Since I started this blog, I have been warning way before anyone else that all this surveillance and abuse of power by the state and it’s footsoldiers was about protecting large corporations, the non renewable energy industry in particular. Years later, we finally have vindication of this warning.
This is deeply worrying and tragic.
Fight back club: As ever, avoid purchasing energy from any entity involved in such behavior and continue to protest.
In UK, pat a lady on the bottom during a time when everyone was doing it (and the reverse), and it’s public humiliation PRIOR to a court case, and then what is equal to life in prison if you’re over 70.
In Australia, ASSAULT over 40 women (and other heinous crimes), and you remain free to terrify and kill innocents despite the authorities knowing all about you.
What the hostages went through is impossible to comprehend, and someone high up has blood and terror on their hands over in Oz. Liberals at work again or is there something more to this, like those who murdered Lee Rigby in the UK who allegedly had connections with our secret service?
The West has got its priorities wrong and lost it’s balls.
Fight back club: Grow some.
Beyond capping video camera recording limits to 30 minutes as a way of encouraging importers to pay the EU a nice little earner, this nasty little organisation has introduced yet another way to repress us long suffering people. Read this – and come back here. Think about this one, the owner of a sandwich shop has to meticulously examine the ingredients of every single item they serve, and then flag any of those items – most of which are in fact VERY good for you, way more so than sugar, chocolate, crisp, chips and other junk carbs. The harm this is going to do to small businesses everywhere is going to be huge. Not only will their staff waste much time managing all the information, their menus will be a mess of warnings, and of course, they will worry about being sued by yet another money grabbing victim Brit – who make up an increasing percentage of our weakening population.
When I was at school, there were 310 of us, and not one had an allergy. Today, you would think people are collapsing or dropping dead on a daily basis. Actually, they are not, this is just mass hysteria caused by a few news reports and the EU turning the screws bit by bit to further repress every sector of society and business. I was educated that the EU was formed to prevent another world war – by ensuring economic balance between nations – and it works, although even on that, the EU/Euro created the meltdown in Greece and Spain, and we had to save them.
And why the sudden case of youthful Brits either self harming or claiming to be allergic to things that their parents and grandparents were not allergic to? Simple, they have been brought up on a diet of junk rather than whole grain solid natural foods, so their bodies have been unable to adapt. And even if these allergies are widespread, why on Earth should restaurants and cafe’s list all these so called allergens? Yes, mention the junk additives and chemicals (as is law anyway), but it’s the responsibility of and far easier for everyone if the individual checks the menu.
(As it happens, I’m allergic to cats and the nickel coating on all Apple’s aluminium products, but I don’t blame anyone else nor seek fiscal remuneration or an article on the BBC, I put up with sniffles from cats because they are lovely, and use an external plastic keyboard and coatings when using Apple gear. No blame no shame!)
And regards the reports of increases in self harm, what do you expect with a society that mollycoddles young people, not allowing them to participate in competitive sports and instead keeps them indoors in front of a TV or tablet game? Not long ago, they would be outside building tree houses, rough and tumbling in the garden and doing other laddish things that release energy and encourage social bonding and team work. (I spent my youth building tree houses, go carts, shooting, bicycling, doing odd jobs for needy neighbours etc etc. The contrast between then and now is deeply troubling and very narcissistic and selfish.)
The enlightened of you will already know where all this headed, an increasingly dystopian nation where every single action is monitored and tracked, and if you step out of line, expect a hefty fine to fund the greedy overpaid council or EU workers.
Am an environmentalist, but the Green Party are also continuing their police state mentality, so discrediting the ecologically friendly term used in their name. I’ll be writing more about how they have ruined Brighton in a future post, including video footage of their motorist entrapping impractical 20mph speed limit along the Worthing to Brighton coastal road.
Oh and we cannot let the so called #WeatherBomb get away with it either. Media hype over an event that has yet to be anything like as problematic as previous storms, hides the fact that as it happens, this winter, so far, is as mild as the last one – and most importantly, the fact that the temperature is fluctuating all over the place. Below freezing on Nov 5 (as it should be that time of year) and then up to almost summer temperatures, causing confusion in what we humans should wear, and no doubt prematurely waking hibernating animals. This is because the jet stream way above the Earth is stuck due to climate change, but we cannot talk about that can we because the energy companies need their profits. What a muddle, eh?
Fight back club: Ignore these laws and revolt. The EU must be stopped from going beyond it’s original remit. Common sense and liberty must prevail, worldwide, before it is too late and this madness becomes world-law managed by inhuman AI CCTV and subservient individuals who know no alternative.
I bought a packet of nuts the other day – transparent too. Guess what it said on the back? “Contains nuts.”
I rest my case M’Lud.
Allegedly the UK economy is booming (although blueberries are twice the price they were a few months ago, despite a pleasant summer), but we’ll leave that one for now!
Lots of money to spend. Billions in fact. A great opportunity for Britain to lead the world again!
And it is!
- Building or enlarging more polluting motorways
- A new noisy soul destroying if you live nearby runaway at Heathrow
- Oil wars to fuel the aforementioned
- Fracking – with extra shakin‘
But not in…
- Extra railway carriages and reduced rail fares to get people off said roads
- Hydroelectric energy generation in the Severn estuary
- Solar energy
- Capacitive batteries to store & distribute said energy
So, it’s back to the dirty smelly noisy 70s. (It wasn’t very nice, believe me.)
Good stuff lads! It’s great what imagination, integrity and vision can do for the world!
Fight back(wards) club: Don’t spend money on carbon fuels. No market, no racket. Simples!
For the first time in a long time, the world has the perfect opportunity to validate if special interests, stock holder driven corporate maleficence and other unpleasantries really do govern our destiny and liberty.
Just a few days ago it was announced that there could be a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, a debilitating (& frustrating) condition that until this potential development, means a lifetime of inconvenient and costly injections.
Although it is possible to live as anyone without diabetes can (including consuming ice cream and cake), diabetes takes over the life of the sufferer and immediate family, with all the paraphanalia and procedures required for successful governance taking priority at any meal or social occasion. (And I speak from considerable experience.)
The only beneficiaries are my other favourite Earthborn entity, big pharma. In fact, having just this hour visited a McDonald’s (healthy chicken wrap) and observed once again what one can witness any Saturday, families of unhealthy parents and tragically even more unhealthy children being stuffed with heated carbs (carcinogenic), artery lining heated fats, sugary or sweet drinks, (and no government initiatives to stop this madness, that is as bad as handing your kids a cigarette), we can all agree that the industry relishes an increasingly irresponsible or clueless obese society. (The movie Wall-E tried to get this across.)
When I was a lad, we were walking or sailing in Wales every Saturday! What a contrast, eh?
As per my pre-discussed elsewhere life altering experience in Palo Alto in the early 90s, this is the actual strategy of such corporations, whose execs all play golf together, NOT the thoughts of a conspiracy theorist!
You know where I am going here..
Will big pharma use all manner of crafty influence to unjustifiably discredit this remarkable life altering development, modify it such that it’s not permanent therefore requiring a repeated dose of something, or (miracles can happen), let it be and move into another industry, such as curing Ebola?
Only time will tell!
Fight back club: Live well, so you don’t need to worry about all this anyway.
Within a year of arriving in the USA and taking an interest in writing a screen play, most of the others I met with interests in ideas for movies came up with plots that centred on guns – and drugs. And gangs. And so on. There would be a shoot out of some sort, just as there is on just about every American TV cop show. So, why is it that a harmless extremely funny cartoon that most of my generation were bought up on and loved is being censored by Amazon? Let’s look at the details shall we:
- Smoking characters – So what? What about characters that shoot? Or drop bombs? If our increasingly dystopian society (read: liberal control of everything through misdirected hypocritical righteousness) is to censor one concept, than why not go the whole
mousehog and ban any production involving the use of weapons?
- Large female black character – So what? There are plenty of large female (and male) white characters throughout entertainment, as well as skinny bestpectacled geeks who talk affeminately as if they drank out of plastic water bottles containing BPA during youth. Not to mention various other stereotypes.
NO ONE I know who was bought up on such funny and harmless programming is a smoker, racist or projects any other personal characteristic that would be deamed as being influenced by such programming. This is is yet another example of jobsworths (losers who have a chip on their shoulder) projecting their desire for an unjustified something: From attention to control to compensation to public self pity to press coverage (related) through the destruction of common sense, satire, wit and personal responsibility. A sense of entitlement through sham victimhood.
Fight back club: Keep that DVD collection of unedited Tom & Jerry cartoons locked away In the meantime, enjoy this priceless genius from The Two Ronnies that extracts the wee and yet offends no one, because some know how to take a joke. And here’s my own satire penned in 2000 AD. And another that should have the feminists up in arms.. ;)
As the West prepared to invade Iraq way back, as ever, I dug deep to try to understand why, despite knowing (like you) that ‘extracting’ all propaganda, it was about oil, period. But whoever it is that controls us – (and they are not a nice lot really, else you wouldn’t have to pay to park at a hospital) – devised a superb ploy to detract us from the truth.
1. Create a direct threat to the individual, in this case, a long range missile, “capable of reaching the UK”. Even back then before the term was invented, one could respond with LOL!? I spent my youth reading books on nuclear and other missiles, and believe me, Iraq was not even close to such means, and if they were, would never attack the UK.
2. This is the clincher, it was sort of kind of accidentally on purposely ‘leaked’ that Israel would love us to invade Iraq because Saddam was providing resources to it’s enemies. This is not true, Iraq has synagogues and there has been no case of threats to Jews or other minorities in Iraq.
The scud missiles fired at Israel were done to blackmail the West from continuing it’s war. The fact they were so useless validates the case against them having any seriously harmful weaponry.
After the UK, US and other nations lost troops in combat, not to mention the thousands of Iraqis, by spreading this little lie, it created the sort of toxic backchat that it was all about Israel, further increasing hate towards the country. It was a clever ploy, and it worked – to this day.
If you are a detective (a former career consideration), you go about solving mysteries (hunch or not) by joining the dots, and when they are staring you in the face, it is a lot easier. The truth, that was freely available for anyone to discover by keeping an eye on the newspapers, was that just before the Iraq war, there was a donation to the Labor party from BP. And the second the war started, British troops raced direct to Basra to protect the oil refinery. Kuching!
The UK PM then (who came into power when I was living in the US) made the case for the Iraq war with an impatient sham innocent glee not too dissimilar to a young man asking his father if he can borrow the keys to his car, promising that “it’s all good”. Of course!!
There is no smoke without fire, and just as the press articles about Basra and BP all but confirmed our? hunches, many years later we now have this. Hands thrown up in the air in total disbelief!
This by a man who once lead a party that was (I assume) pro environment and human rights, yet has done nothing other than act as a shill for the cancerous oil industry, whilst allowing lies about Israel to persist in the ‘chattering classes’, as I think some people call wealthy gossips, many who run today’s toxic press too.
This is all completely disgusting. The weather around the world is out of control, the seas are warming up, diesel* fuel has finally been proven to cause cancer, people are in general fedup of politicians for spewing falsities & breaking promises, we have instability in the Ukraine and Muddle East – and yet we continue to focus on an economy powered by carbon fuels that beyond dirtying the planet, enriches despots, who no doubt, just as we did with Saddam (who the West put into power), we will eventually attack to get our mitts on his pipes!
It’s all about oil, period.
Fight back club: Spread the word, avoid carbon fuel based products, don’t believe your leaders, go solar etc. What else is there to do?
*Am fairly convinced it killed two healthy non smoking family members who lived in London all their lives and succumbed to cancer not long ago. Nasty stuff, hence I have always refused to own a diesel vehicle.
…when a politician is lying?
We all know the answer, when their lips move. Old joke, but never so true than today. I cannot believe the untruths being spouted by our (sponsored by big carbon) trusted authority figures.
Am so concerned about the subject of this post, I have hit PAUSE at 0:44:34 whilst watching the very first episode of Sherlock, (on Netflix via a Google Chromecast* plugged into a TV to be precise), to write this, before it is too late.
Those who support fracking state the following:
- British standards are very high, higher than the US even when it comes to such energy extraction methods and land management.
- The effects on the local community will be minimal.
- There is no evidence of toxic contamination of ground water.
- The local community will benefit financially.
- We need energy independence, in particular in view of events in the Eatern Bloc, or remanants of.
And so on. And on the other side of the more honest fence:
- Indeed, British standards are high, we do do contemporary coal mining, environmental protection and beautyspots better than most other nations, but this is different. Fracking is a technology and process that is by it’s nature, harmful, you cannot do ‘clean’ fracking today, and by the time any processes are perfected, the need for it will be obsoleted if it is indeed planned to be a short term solution as backers claim.
- If you have ever visited or lived in an English, French or Austrian country village, they are in no uncertain terms, in particular if equipped with a church, a pub, a post office, a bakery and broadband, the closest you’ll get to heaven on Earth: Quiet, pretty, friendly community spirit, relatively crime free (just look at a crime map) and the air is sweet, except on a cold winter’s evening when some fire up their coal or log fires. In the US, where Fracking is already under way (despite a so called left wing president in power), those communities that feature fracking suffer the following, as you can research yourself: a) Large trucks trundling along the local roads that in the UK will not just produce noise pollution but cause vibration damage to buildings. b) Pollution and smells from burnoff. c) Ground water contamination, that whilst not dangerous immediately, does eventually effect water that could possibly be consumed in the future. d) And there is increasing evidence that fracking causes small but frequent earthquakes as experienced in Oklahoma recently.
- There is evidence of contamination of groundwater because the chemicals used to help extract the oil or gas is toxic and by the nature of the process going to seep into any ground water! The lies when it comes to this matter are repulsive.
- …and so is this one: When I lived in the US, everywhere there was any form of energy extraction or refining, not only was the local area polluted (you could smell it in the air), but the area was poor and fairly grotty. Anyone living there when the industry builds a plant and can afford it leaves (‘white’ flight), and only the poor are left behind to suffer the ill effects. Environmental ‘racism’ or ‘prejudice’ as I call it. The financial beneficiaries are the companies that extract, process and/or sell the fuel, not the locals, beyond any hires of working class blue collar workers. And those white collar workers who really benefit live miles away from the noise and pollution. Just as will be the case in the UK. So, the lie continues.
- Actually, we don’t need energy independence, although (and this persona), it is a dream of mine for every home or community to generate it’s own energy and get right off the (national) grid. (I have ideas on this and my employer has been doing some research into the feasibility.) Anyway, if the UN stopped wasting time on same old hateful political issues and instead made the (strong, forceful) case for a global investment in and move towards sustainable energy production, we could share our clean energy with each other. Germany’s overly successful solar panel revolution means it is forced to sell excess energy abroad – what a great problem to have!
Fight frack club: a) Protest at a potential fracking location when you get a chance and b) Do not use fracking sourced energy, so ensure you find out where your home and/or business supplier sources its energy.
*Very clever bit of kit and excellent quality for the price. A glorified Internet remote control for those not in the know.
(As per prior post, VA has moved back to WordPress.)
If the Korean ferry disaster had been part of a movie plot (the Poseidon Adventure comes to mind), our hero or heroes would have used ingenuity and infinite resources to rescue a decent proportion of the passengers.
Perhaps, as I was thinking, by drilling or cutting through the upturned hull using some kind of machine. This would allow people to climb out, rather than send divers under and into the vessel, something that is dangerous and not really that helpful beyond confirming anyone is alive, and then only assuming then can reach every deck and cabin. The machine would require an air lock to prevent the release of any air trapped inside the vessel causing it to sink.
Likewise, flight MH370. With all our modern technology, that allows the NSA to do heaven’s know what to our private information, we cannot use ANY contemporary machinery to locate a missing aircraft of the size of a 777, prior to or after it went down. Fortunate it didn’t contain a wmd.
There appears a distinct lack of ‘Thunderbirds/International Rescue’ type attitude in the world today. Everyone is praising their own efforts on Twitter or promising “We’re doing all we can.”
Not really: Big problems require significant effort, technology and resources, not self hugs.
Recent events have also highlighted the dumbing down of the media and some authorities. For example, there was much hype over an oil slick – over a month after MH370 vanished. A slick would have been dispersed by the waves within days! So why raise hopes for the relatives of the missing?
It isn’t popular in certain quarters to praise America, but their record in dealing with emergencies is second to none, from rescuing stranded whales (UK failed in TWO attempts in the last year or two), to natural disasters to rescuing their own during war. Pity they are not on the case in Korea or re flight MH370, but local national pride and military security probably make such arrangements complicated.
“We’re on our way!”
© Shigeru Komatsuzaki
Flight back club: Time for a real International Rescue, and ideally, using advanced VTOL aircraft and drones fitted with extraordinary machinery, agile robots and high definition 3D cameras – all controlled by sentient humans of course.
In the interests of simplicity and efficiency, am ceasing to communicate using any other messaging services (WhatsApp messenger, Skype etc) and switching exclusively to Google Hangouts.
Despite Google’s (as yet) inexplicable decision to cease support of XMPP (messaging protocol), Hangouts is quite simply the best executed messaging system out there and comes highly recommended.
Just as when choosing a phone, laptop or car, it is wise to be ridiculously fussy about selecting products that are intelligently conceived – not just aesthetically pleasing. As with many other of their properties, Google are light years ahead of alternatives because they are staffed by some of the most intelligent humans on this planet. (I met one a few years ago outside a restaurant in Kensington after a fire broke out in the kitchen, but that’s another story!)
Hangouts value proposition
- The client runs on almost all devices, including those without phone numbers. One of the flaws of the otherwise superb WhatsApp app is that it requires a phone number (& therefore a sim card) to operate, and not just for authentication. Like Skype, Hangouts happily works on data only connections or WiFi without the need for a cellular/mobile connection in the case of the later.
- Hangouts runs in the browser within the Gmail interface, so you can continue a conversation on your desktop. But that’s not all, it gets better…
- If you fire up and login to Hangouts on multiple devices and begin to text chat with someone, you’ll notice that as you type, the text appears in real-time on each device, as does anything the other party is typing! (Very much like collaboratively editing a Google docs page or spreadsheet where you see the other parties changes appear instantly.) This means you can jump from one device to another and continue the conversation seamlessly, great if you leave your desk in a hurry mid conversation. Just grab your phone or tablet and continue chatting.
- The video conferencing is outstanding – as evidenced by the live Hangout with Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson yesterday afternoon. That said, as my team know full well, physical face to face meetings are still the only way for that sort of thing, but technically, Hangouts video conferencing is very impressive. No lag or dropouts.
Right, time to erase all chat apps except Hangouts from my devices!
Am aware that Hangouts does not run on some platforms, but truth be told, and I base this on factors beyond the scope of this post, Google will be around for a bit yet, unlike others who appear to have their head(s) buried in the sand with regards to their mortality.
Chat back club: Download, login, chinwag!
Update – Feb 2 2014: Epic fail. No one wants to use Hangouts, so stuck using inferior messaging systems. I think this is because Google’s Android Hangouts app is rubbish so it puts people off.
As predicted in this blog and in various comments I have made on the Internet over the years, the use of disproportionate thuggish repression against decent citizens by the nefarious energy industry sponsored authorities has finally begun.
Meanwhile, the headlines are about overseas repression and celebs. Hence with the exception of the aforementioned polite well educated protestors, the increasing majority has been so dumbed down by over a decade of trashy 24 hour television that they lack the enlightenment, resources and drive to even be concerned about such matters, never mind do anything about it. And that dear reader is precisely why the ‘system’ allows such abhorrent processed programming to brainwash the populace. It’s the opposite of communism. But it provides the powers that be the same control.
A few years from now, if the effects of poisoned ground water begin to take effect, and our national cancer rate ups from it’s current 40% in the areas effected, you’ll know why and who to blame. And no, it’s not an ageing population!
Which begs the question: How much money is being spent by the energy companies on using solar energy to provide power to whole buildings and communities as has been proven successful in various trials and private enterprises in the UK and abroad? Zilch. Why? Because (unless you’re a visionary social entrepreneur), it is hard to commoditise solar energy.
Fight frack club: Same as usual, don’t spend your money on energy you disapprove of. Consider supporting Greenpeace who appear to be remarkably effective at keeping the spotlight on causes green.
There will be much more on this abuse of power against decent citizens in my (massively overdue) ‘WW4’ post. We are closer to a corporate dystopia than you think. It’s just not blindingly obvious yet.
The other day, we went to see Superman – Man of Steel (excellent for multiple reasons). We intentionally arrived at the cinema late to avoid the trailers that previous experience indicates they would be full of spoilers, Alas, I was not late enough and arrived before the trailers started, so I closed my eyes and tried to block my ears (pointless, the sound was very loud) and we were shown trailers for the following new releases:
- Pacific Rim
- World’s End
- The Wolverine
- And another I cannot recall
The trailers were very long and gave away key plot points from each movie. In fact, they were so long and detailed, the trailers were more like mini movies, providing a story and entertainment in just a few minutes! All aspects of surprise or any reason to see the movie were ruined, and so whilst I cannot speak for others in the theatre, I no longer have any incentive to see any of the movies. I am also angry at having spoilers thrust in my face without prior warning, unlike say IMDB where people are thoughtful enough to display *** SPOILER ALERT *** at the top of their reviews. Yes, we could have come into the theatre even later, but it is not always clear what time the features start. The time on the timetable is when one can enter the theatre for the chosen movie, not the feature start time of course.
When I was in the US, this sort of dumbing down was common, just as in some Hollywood movies they will show a scene featuring the Eiffel Tower, and then superimpose “PARIS, FRANCE” at the bottom of the picture! If anyone in the cinema does know that the Eiffel tower is not in Paris, never mind that Paris is in France, then there is something fundamentally flawed with the American education system.. This explains why such dumbing down of the populace with extended movie trailers is necessary in the first place!
I enjoyed Superman without seeing a single trailer or preview, and it may be in part why I enjoyed it so much.
Can the movie industry start to be considerate and treat it’s audience with respect please?
Fight back club: Easy, do not pay to see a movie spoiled by trailers.