Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

Archive for May 2012


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As I type this (despite being on multiple work deadlines), much of the world is in a fairly precarious position. There is no need for any expansion on that subject.

Well run businesses and households often have failsafe systems in place to protect against possible or unforeseen events. For example, a company whose existence and customers rely upon digital information (most today) ensure their data is backed up across physical hard drives and cloud services. In the event of a disaster at one end, the other can be relied upon to recover any lost information. Failure of all systems will only occur due to co-incidence or human error.

An example of data backup working was on 9/11. Whilst the loss of life was the key issue, the objective of the attackers (as they stated) was to damage the economy. It did no such thing. The data used by the financial institutions in the twin towers was safely backed up. Their physical presence did not reflect the location of the data their tenants relied upon.

Some families keep an inventory of their possessions and install smoke alarms. This ensures that whilst there can be no substitute for the loss life or personal effects, the odds of survival are increased and obtaining the correct amount of insurance compensation is made easier. Life can go on.

However, when it comes to the stability of society as a whole, currently, no widespread failsafe exists, meaning that if our source of income, warmth or sustenance is cut off, things can spiral of our control very quickly. I have always believed our complete reliance on the ‘middleman’ to be our Achilles heal because it not only allows us to be exploited by the less well intentioned but even well meaning arrangements put the lives of many in the hands of entities whose fate is uncertain.

Artists / graphic designers: I wanted to insert a picture of a toggle switch here – one position showing a power station, the other, the sun. Alas, unable to create it from scratch and cannot locate any top down view photos of a toggle switch to Photoshop. Anyone creative out there want to knock one up? Free Bottle Of on me!

Therefore, individual families and organisations need a built in system offering backup not reliant on the state or ‘grid’ based infrastructure.

  1. Local sustainable energy generators need to be installed on as many homes and businesses as possible. These should charge batteries that can be relied upon when the energy generators are not functioning or external grid based power is unavailable. The only way to make this viable is for a compact and efficient mass produced sustainable energy generation and storage system to be developed. This can be activated to keep core systems operational, such as computers and heating or air conditioning. (The latter until naturally ventilated buildings are commonplace.)
  2. More importantly, there needs to a backup food source. Here in Oxford, such a system is already well established in the form of the increasingly popular alotments. No, not a replacement for efficient ‘mass produced’ produce designed to feed the 7 billion of us, but a backup. Just as the mass produced produce system is a backup in case ones alotment is washed out by an overly wet period of weather.

Without wide-scale adoption of these two core components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, society will become too vulnerable (if it is not already) leading to scapegoating, civil unrest and even war.

Fight back club: a) Apply for that allotment. b) Entrepreneurs (including this one) need to bring mass produceable sustainable energy sources to the home and small businesses as quickly as possible. I have my own ideas on this and have been testing one on a small scale for a while now. Every little helps!

Update (Monday 21 May 2012):  Look what Mr. Clegg has to say on the matter.

Update 2 (29 March 2013): Cannot believe no one spotted the typo in bullet point 2 above, I spelled ‘feed’ as ‘feel’ by mistake. Well, I didn’t spot it either, but I am often in a hurry as explained in the about page of this blog. Sorry!


Written by Oflife

May 14, 2012 at 10:26 am

Posted in Energy, Infrastructure, Society, The Grid

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Vive La…. …What?

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Uh oh. The winner of the French elections, whilst correct to lambast the overly unethical financial institutions promised something else that is quite worrying. He will ‘invest’ millions to employ more in the public sector. You know what that means don’t you? More unskilled, aggressive self hating jobsworths who as per those here in the UK, will make life hell for those who want to live a more pro-active life. And we all know how unpleasant jobsworths from mainland Europe can be when hate and fiscal incentives are mixed together.

What would make a LOT more sense would be for one of the key pros of socialism to be adopted, namely, investment in the national infrastructure – to benefit the economy, create jobs and therefore hope and taxes that in turn can be used to pay for any ideological ventures such as renewable energy to replace ageing leaking nuclear reactors. (Yes, they leak.) France already has superb trains, but as per the UK and most other Western nations, it suffers from spotty broadband connections due to the failure of the private sector to get their act together thanks to a combination of greed (XXXXX% markup on text message fees etc) and total lack of vision. Hence, where I type this from, the Vodafone Edge connection on our mobile devices is SLOWER than dialup of 20 years ago and so totally unusable. And this is ripe across the UK, except in areas where you DON’T need a signal because you can use WiFi. Rediculous.

On several occasions, including here, this blog stated that it was vital for the West’s economy that consistent speedy wireless and fixed line broadband was made available across all areas of a nation, from city centres to the wildest countryside. A far better investment of state resources than repressive self destructive socialism which unless done right, doesn’t work. No pun intended!

Fight back club: No idea. How do you force a government to do something like this if they are too thick to get it? We do really need a nice Earthy mix of creative capitalism and socialism. Pick-n-mix?

BTW, the Germans have proven that enlightened apprenticeship based capitalism works. No austerity or riots there, and Audi & BMW are doing very well thank you.

Police St Giles Oxford May 8 2012

Bonjour Bonjour Mr. Motorist. Days after I write this post, I witness 8 or 9 Oxford police pulling over motorists, including a taxi full of passengers. I asked the most senior looking officer what was going on. He stated it was a speed awareness program to alert drivers to the 20mph speed limit throughout the city, but only those doing over 30mph were being fined. Either way, just around the corner in Jericho, drug dealers and others are ruining the area, whilst crime is rampant across the city, from laptop thefts from private homes to almost continuous bike theft just about everywhere. Anyone on Planet Earth can visit St. Giles and it is not an area where people drive too fast due to the nature of the road. The income earned by fining hard working responsible people is a great way to keep state employees in their jobs. Oh, the irony of it all! And you freedom loving citizen are paying for it and having your driving record ruined in the process (£60 + 3 points) – a punishment that does not reflect the crime. Incidentally, when I try to drive 20mph in my car in 3rd gear, the car almost stalls or jerks. If I shift down into 2nd, the engine revs so using up a lot of fuel in the process. Fine for passing a school, but not everywhere within a city! It is all so petty, wasteful and dishonest. This is for profit law and order, and it is only going to get worse. I urge those of you who do not comprehend what I am getting at should spend some time away from the UK for some enlightenment. Note that the economies of less repressive nations are doing better. People cannot earn a living and pay taxes if they are constantly dealing with and paying for matters like this.
(The problem is not the police who are following orders, it is the council.) 

Written by Oflife

May 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Invention disclosure

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Thought readers may find this interesting.

Submitted to my patent attorney in California in 1999…


File opened: March 20, 1999

Updated: January 25, 1999

Conceived / Invented by Alex Blok in 1997 while living at College Avenue, Palo Alto, California, USA.


System for using Neutrinos as a communications medium.


Currently, wireless communications systems are dependent on radio signals selected from a spectrum of frequencies. By their nature, radio signals suffer from many limitations making the development of true long-distance high-bandwidth communications networks expensive and a significant technical challenge. This is because radio frequencies suffer from loss due to atmospheric and physical barriers. As an example, for a mobile telephone user to place a call to another mobile phone user, a series of transmission towers are required in order to maintain signal strength. Furthermore, to provide a high bandwidth link between any two communications points of presence requires the costly laying of cables or fiber — sometimes in conjunction with space born satellites that suffer from high launch costs and reliability problems. Another limitation of radio frequency technology is that it requires advanced digital multiplexing to support a large number of communicating entities, such as people or networked devices.

It would be a significant improvement if a method could be devised that allowed direct communication between any two or more devices — without the need for a supporting external network.

The invention disclosed here pertains to using Neutrinos as a method for transmitting information using digital and other coded formats. The advantages of a Neutrino based system over radio frequency systems are significant, and pending feasibility studies, could render all current radio frequency communications systems obsolete–overnight.

Neutrinos have three major advantages over radio frequencies:

a) They are able to penetrate large physical objects, including buildings, and even planets.

b) They travel over vast distances at nearly the speed of light.

c) Multiple Neutrino streams do not interfere with each other.

As an example of how practical and effective a Neutrino Communication System could be, it would be possible for all electronic (and bio-electric) devices to communicate with each other directly, in real-time, no matter their proximity. Furthermore, the ‘bandwidth’ would be potentially unlimited making it possible–for example–for a person carrying a portable HDTV (high definition television) camera to beam high quality live video direct to another person carrying a portable video transceiver anywhere in the world, or even in space a long distance away. In addition, a Neutrino Communication System would allow the concept of an ‘always on’ high bandwidth multi-casting network to be realized. This would mean that pending the development of an new communications protocol, it would be possible for a person to hold real-time high definition teleconferencing ‘calls’ with as many people as they wish. Technically, it would be possible for everyone on Earth to simultaneously communicate in real-time.

Prior Art

There exist a few Neutrino generation and detection experiments around the world, including the Super K in Japan. There are no communications systems based upon Neutrinos.

Summary of the invention (See Fig 1)

A Neutrino emitter (A) will emit pulses of neutrinos (B). The pulses will be detected by a Neutrino receptor (C) and decoded into standard digital signals.


1. A system for communicating using Neutrinos, comprising:

a) A transmitter that converts digital* information into Neutrino pulses;

b) A Neutrino detector and parser;

c) A decoder to convert the Neutrinos back into digital* form;

2. The system of claim 1, wherein…

*Digital is used here as an example format, however, other information coding and modulation techniques could be used.

Conceived and invented by Alex Blok. (C) Alex Blok 1997-2000.

Super K Neutrino Detector being filled with water

A pocket version would be useful

…and then abandoned after I discovered prior art in the form of a system proposed by a science fiction author, hence the text comes to an abrupt halt during the Claims.

Written by Oflife

May 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Why America works

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“So,” (to quote the very first words of most high tech entrepreneurs when they are interviewed on TechCrunch), we have chaos at Heathrow Airport. I wonder why?

In software design, we use a priceless process known as a ‘Use Case’ (or use case scenario) to design and test the operation of software and systems such as the usability of a cash machine/ATM.

I’ll provide two simple use cases that highlight the differences between applying for entry to the UK and the USA. Note: After winning the green card lottery in approx 1992, I flew all the way from California specially to visit the US Embassy in London where I was put through the fairly gruelling process that weeds out those who it may not be of mutual benefit to emigrate to the USA. Due to the number of people applying and possibly as an attempt to sort the men from the boys, I recall clearly a young man bursting into tears, getting up and leaving. No doubt, he was about to run away, but decided after some deep thought to abandon his quest. It was somewhat moving.


Unlike my US use case, this is based on research and reading only, NOT a real world experience being I’m already a UK citizen.

  1. Arrive at airport or embassy
  2. Present papers
  3. If EU citizen, enter, assuming the computer does not throw up a red flag.
  4. If not a citizen of the EU, explain why you are entering the country:
    1. “To visit family”, (genuinely) “Escape genocide.” etc.
    2. If of dubious intent, fake your intent with the intention of running away from criminal activity and/or to exploit the UK’s overly generous welfare system.
  5. If 4.2, appeal to the left leaning immigration policies, get in and be a burden on the tax payer and so on.


  1. Arrive at airport or embassy
  2. Present papers
  3. Agree to the following:
    1. Take a test to check for AIDS
    2. Have not been a member of the Communist or Nazi parties
    3. Provide evidence that you can exist without dependency on the state
  4. Receive appropriate VISA
  5. Return to/enter the USA and earn your keep, pay taxes
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”

Ever noticed that here in the UK, most of the scientists at Universities that announce major developments are white? Whilst in the US, there is a fine balance between white and immigrant. This is because in the US, they choose carefully who they allow into their house, and benefit accordingly. Here, there are political motives. The former government made no effort to be selective, instead, allowing uneducated or criminal types in so they could get the vote! Absolutely ridiculous, highly unethical and unfair on the honest majority to be frank.

The fact the UK home secretary is being hung out to dry is unfair. It is not her fault. The people responsible for the chaos at the airports, our national debt and (some of the) other problems afflicting this nation lie entirely with the previous government who really did lay the foundations for today’s chaos and uncertainty. Name one other nation that applies such policies that is economically viable, has a low crime rate and a decent standard of living for those who work for it? And when I say crime, I mean crime against innocent citizens by white and blue collar criminals, NOT, crime between gangs and/or drug dealers that exists everywhere.

Fight back club: Don’t encourage them.

The other pros and cons of our two nations has been discussed by many over the decades, this post focuses on one issue. It would be heavenly if there was NO border control anywhere and we could all freely move to and fro between nations like butterflies. However, until the world is such that this would be possible without risk, it isn’t going to happen. This post is about disciplined ethical immigration and sound economics. What is done with the money made from tax payers is another discussion.

Written by Oflife

May 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Immigration, Society

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