Monday, September 30, 2019

Gammon-flake


Posting this was totally irresistible for a militant re-moaner like me.. i.e. making fun of the usual reaction of Brexiters when confronted with "facts" on social media..

Mesmerizing


Totally mesmerizing use of induction heating (hardening gears), for a rainy Monday...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Thought for the day


Something for all you churchgoers to ponder (nothing like a bit of toilet humour for a Sunday evening..)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday Smile


Seen at a bus stop in Brighton (from Twitter) - good to see a sense of inventive and rebellious mischief still lives in some of us Brits.. more of this please!

Shadow boxing


Interesting little video, this what happens when you "mess with nature" (in a good way) although the Spider might need a coffee and a couple of fat blue-bottles to calm down after that little adrenaline rush.. 

Friday Smirk


I often wonder if all people that heavily push "a PC" approach to life that seems to be prevalent these days fail to grasp some of the fundamentals of human existence, spend enough time with any angel and she will still get on your nerves and prompt irrational behaviour at some point; that's just the way we're wired in my experience. People just need to get a grip and learn how to let unimportant things wash over them a bit more, a good example of an over-reaction in my view can be seen here..

Emotion and ignorance


Wonderful video of an Earth-rise from the perspective of a satellite orbiting the Moon; made me think about what great heights our species can achieve when we work together and use reason and science; as opposed to how we also love to tear each other apart using emotion and ignorance (i.e. Brexit, nationalism, theocracy, tribalism, Trump etc.).

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Never had it so good


Spare a thought for this poor bugger. He lived somewhere between 1300 and 1430 AD in what is now Italy (Milan), and apparently died by being "broken on the wheel". In medieval times people who had been judged to have committed some types of crime or perhaps just looked different were sometimes conveniently accused of "spreading plague" (or similar) and the punishment was to have both arms and legs broken in order to be "threaded" through the spokes of a cart wheel. Once there they could be beaten, stabbed and generally pummeled until dead (ideally not too quickly) From the nature of injuries to his upper spine it seems as though this poor chap also suffered a botched beheading. 

This is what mob rule, tribalism, ignorance and fear looks like, the odds of dying a violent death back then was staggering, certainly in the multiple 100's per 100,000 of population whereas today it's less than one. Despite many conservative observers today is the safest time there has ever been to be living, violent death (even including the world wars) has been steadily decreasing for hundreds of years. No doubt there are many factors involved in this general increase in ethical behaviour, what is certain is that it's nothing to do with religion, enforced religiosity has steadily decreased over this same period with the rise of secular systems of Government. So, anyone who tries to convince you that we need religion to be moral needs to explain this apparent negative correlation with actual violence; a tough call.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lowest common denominator


I see that the Labour party is demeaning itself again by drinking from the well of the politics of envy, their recent party conference voted to abolish private schools if voted into power. Much like Brexit this is a move that's tantamount to shooting oneself in both feet and seems entirely driven by identity politics. There are currently around 610,000 children in the private system, even if it were physically possible (which it isn't) how would adding over half a million students to an already financially stressed public system help anyone? Would we see a situation where all the private land, buildings and property currently funded and owned by private organisations forcibly confiscated by the Government and handed over to the state, apparently that's their goal (good luck with that in the courts). In my view this is no different from the theft of billions from the public by greedy and reckless bankers and should be seen in the same light. Interestingly among Labour MP's nearly 20% attended private school, Diane Abbot even sent her own children to a private school, this party are a bunch of hypocrites, then again I guess under their form of socialism, some are more equal than others etc..

Removing charitable status from these organisations (i.e. treating them like businesses) would add around £700 million (Labour claim this is more) to the public purse but integrating these schools into the state system wipes this out. Adding 600,000 children into the state education system would cost around £4 billion extra and the Government would lose £5 billion in taxes paid by private schools and around 300,000 jobs. So remind me again how state school kids are going to benefit from this?

This is old Labour up to it's old 1970's tricks again, bashing millions of people who (according to their arbitrary measure) have the identity label of "the privileged class", what a complete joke. This kind of Socialism/Marxism has been tried, many times before, and has failed many times before, it leads to misery of the worst kind for millions of people. Any system that promotes "quota" over "ability" or prioritizes an arbitrary identity over the individual will fail, always has, always will. Human beings simply don't respond well to having freedoms forcibly removed, freedoms to choose how they use the assets they have to best leverage private (legal) services they believe to offer the best opportunity for themselves and their children.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Logical fallacies


I was wondering the other day what the most common logical fallacy people commit in day-to-day life might be? Certainly in politics and media these days the "straw-man" seems very popular, in everyday discourse "confirmation bias" is a winner, however in business, I would put my money on "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" (with this, therefore because of this) or in more everyday language, correlation does not imply causation. I see this one all the time, it seems to stem from people being unable to work in the "abstract" or in other words be able to imagine all of the possible dimensions that might affect a particular system other than the ones they are able to measure. Another way to express this fallacy is in the saying "just because you can measure something, doesn't mean it's valuable", it's particularly common now that we have the illusion of control offered by pervasive and copious amounts of data about things, things like companies, people and products etc. The challenge isn't the acquisition of data any more but the completeness and accuracy of that data and it's fitness to answering certain categories of questions.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

160 generations


For Christian, Jewish and Islamic literalists it must be strange how, since Noah's flood 160 generations ago, all the brown skinned people have ended up in all the sunny places and all the pale skinned people in all the cooler places, weird?..

Zombie apocalypse


I met my daughter for lunch in town yesterday, she has a little Saturday job and we like to pop out at lunch time and grab a coffee and a bun. It was a glorious day with temperatures soaring. Whilst walking home I turned and looked back up the main street, it was empty, the thought of a zombie apocalypse crossed my mind but then I realised the rugby was on..

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cultural trajectory


I see that the clerical-military mullahs in Iran are getting excited at the prospect of slaughter again. What is it about these regressive "alpha" types that limits their vocabulary to expressions like "destroy", "mother of all battles", "obliterate any aggressor" etc. Don't these evolved primates know that the most valuable thing about life is the ability to live it freely without fear and not the ability or will to destroy others who choose to live differently. None of us is perfect of course, including Iranians, but this is primitive theocratic thinking, a backwards cultural trajectory and really sad that millions of otherwise intelligent, talented and friendly people have become it's unwitting serfs.

post hoc ergo propter hoc


Watching the current Justin Trudeau debacle with much perplexity. I would hazard a guess that Hitler never blacked up, neither has Farage and most probably Eugène Terre'Blanche ex-leader of an ultra (white) right wing nationalist militia in South Africa wasn't partial to a bit of slap on the old boat race. So maybe, post hoc ergo propter hoc, blackface isn't racist?

Friday, September 20, 2019

800 years


Had an interesting beer tonight, waiting for my daughter to come home from school and had a half of a beer called "Old Market Ale". Made by local brewers "Elusive" it was manufactured especially to celebrate the 800th anniversary of my town's market (Wokingham, Berkshire). It's a lovely traditional English bitter, plummy and rich with malt for days as old-skool as you like, well done Elusive!

Friday Smirk


"Where in America did your mum go?" 
"Juneau"
"I don't, that's why I asked" 
"Alaska" 
"Forget it, I'll ask her myself"

Thursday, September 19, 2019

There's always an upside


The story of John Chau is a salutary lesson for all of us who believe things in unhealthily unquestioning ways. In the Indian Ocean there are a small chain of Islands called the Andaman's, on one of these islands is a Sentinelese hunter-gatherer tribe who are largely un-contacted by the outside world at large, the tribe is only a few dozen people large. For years the Indian government has banned people landing on the island so that these people aren't exposed to external risks such as diseases they have no resistance to and potential exploitation. 

Enter John Chau who decided (along with Christian Missionary organisations he belonged to) that what these people needed was more "Jesus" in their lives! So, he payed local fishermen to land him on the island and in what to most of us would seem an obvious outcome he was immediately attacked and dragged away by men of the tribe. Predictably, and as was his want, Chau met his maker perhaps a little sooner than he'd banked on. You have to both marvel at the shear arrogance of the man and the power with which his indoctrination drove his actions, here is a man who thought of himself as the bringer of some perverted "truth" about a 2000 year old Jewish myth to these people, but, who in reality was simply being reckless and delusional! You could be forgiven for thinking that he perhaps even suffered from some kind of mental illness.

Mind you there's always an upside to every story, in Chau's case, in case he's watching us all from some ethereal realm, he can at least console himself that he won a Darwin award. These awards are given out to people who most successfully remove themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacular (and stupid) ways. If ever there was a perfect example of this, Chau certainly provided it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It's all for us..


Another triumph of tongue-in-cheek from J&M. I think about this level of insignificance and then imagine what that might feel like if we find out that we actually live in a multiverse rather than a single universe, either puts our parochial struggles and fantasies into a true perspective.

Don't talk to me about life..


This story caught my eye today, it's about a boy who went for a swim in a Californian hot spring and two weeks later was dead. The cause of his demise was a "brain-eating" Amoeba that he ingested whilst swimming in the warm water which quite literally attacked his brain causing swelling and death. Apparently this amoeba is known to science and, although very rare indeed, there have been around 40 cases in the last 10 years. Fortunately there seems to be an effective treatment if caught early but it involves administering a cancer drug and inducing medical hypothermia, i.e. cooling the body down to slow the critters reproductive cycle whilst the drug kills them. Nature is certainly red in tooth and claw, sometimes it seems that existential threats emerge from the most unlikely places. No wonder our ancestors invented supernatural agents to explain stuff like this, even with modern science it's difficult to believe how tightly life in our biosphere is interlinked.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Shades of screwed


I've been watching and listening with interest about the ongoing trial of our Prime Minister. The Supreme Court is deciding if he mislead (a.k.a. lied to) the Monarch in advising her to prorogue Parliament at the precise time he did and his motivations for doing so. It's all very reassuring (not!) to see men in very expensive suits talking in very plummy accents about interpretations of conventions that should really have been settled in a written constitution hundreds of years ago. I can't help thinking that this is going to end in a very unsatisfactory way, either we're screwed and it's all illegal or we're screwed and it's all perfectly fine, I bet we'll all be glad we were able to sort that one out.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Rolling up to the bar


Dropped into the Mikkeller bar in Shoreditch on Sunday after an afternoon of "vintage clothes" shopping with my Son. He was 18 years old last week and I promised him a weekend in town to celebrate the event and to spoil him rotten, I think we achieved both to his satisfaction. The bar is part owned by 80s pop star Rick Astley and so on each table is a little brass plate with the name of one of his songs engraved into it, the picture above shows the one we had... nice touch I thought.

Management reality


Did some management training last week, some of it made me cringe quit a bit, our instructor made all kinds of analogies to urban-myths and incorrect or pseudo-science in order to justify certain aspects of the particular mantra in question. Saw this cartoon today, immediately wished I'd had it to hand in the class in order to level-set some of the more flimsy "psychology" oriented stuff back to reality. For those of us that were on the course and who care about what's true, no, mitosis doesn't occur because "cells get too big", just in case you were still wondering :)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Smirk


J&M showing how most non-believers feel about all religions but it's always amusing to hear a religious person slagging off another religion using this exact same logic. There are tens of thousands of religions in the world, all perfect and true to the people that believe them and yet all different.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rake Kill


I was out for my regular daily constitutional walk yesterday when I came across a rather unusual bit of road-kill. I often see dead critters by the side of the road while out walking, things like rabbits, birds, cats and the like, I even spotted a butterfly that had been hit by a train once, however, I'd never seen a mangled piece of gardening equipment until yesterday. As you can see from the picture it's a rake with a run-over handle! Trying to imagine the sequence of events that delivered this image was quite a challenge, probably the most likely was that the rake was sitting on top a pile of garden waste in the back of an open truck of some kind and it bounced into the road? Maybe, but it's quite difficult to see how it was just the handle that suffered damage, perhaps it was launched onto the pavement early in it's bid for freedom and only had a couple of hits? Anyway, I'm sure the rake part is serviceable and, now that Freddy Starr is dead, might be useful to a burgeoning Hitler impersonator perhaps?

Ponder 18


On the 18th anniversary of that terrible day in 2001 we can all ponder what may or may not have been different if (any) religion had not existed in our world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Box-sets


This is our family when we get a new box-set of something tasty... (like House, Breaking Bad, Sopranos etc.)

Monday, September 09, 2019

Political slogans


Surely this has to be the perfect slogan and "bus-poster" for both Labour and the Lib Dems at the next general election? 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Train adventures


Visited an old friend yesterday who lives in Hindhead in Surrey, we planned to meet up at the Haslemere Beer Festival which was going on a couple of miles away from his house. I didn't want to drive for obvious reasons so I hopped on the train and switched at Guildford to the Portsmouth line. It was a really smooth trip, only took an hour or so. We had a great day sampling various ales and catching up on gossip, for once the weather was cooperative and as you can see from the picture of the home-bound platform at Haslemere station the evening was lovely. Being a couple of old gits, as we both are now, we were very restrained viz. drinking beer to such an extent that we started the session with a coffee and even finished it with one, just living the dream :)..

Friday, September 06, 2019

Its in the can..


Here's a picture of my Son and I enjoying a 7Bone burger last week in town (tremendous burgers if you ever get the chance but beware, the calorie hit is quite something!) I was pleased to see some of my local brewery (Siren) beers on sale there in cans, not only do the label designs look gorgeous it appeared that the popularity of them in the restaurant was pretty much running at full steam, as I gazed around there wasn't a table that didn't have a stack of empties. All this bodes well for my modest investment in this brewery, keep going Siren!

Friday Smirk


Some people have a very different definition of "evidence" than others, suffice to say across religious, political and cultural divides, standards will vary (a hell of a lot!)..

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Brexit humour


No, I'm not going to take the piss out of Jacob-Rees Mogg for disrespecting our most cherished institution by slouching around like some indolent teenager, instead here's a cheery song about why Spanish people hate us, and to be honest, I can see their point.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Tuesday Titter



A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted: "'Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am". The man below replied "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude".

"You must be a technician." said the balloonist. "I am" replied the man "how did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you have told me is probably technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is, I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip with your talk."

The man below responded, "You must be in management". "I am" replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the man "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my f*cking fault!

Highway to hell


2016: "Sunlit uplands, I see no downsides to Brexit, only a considerable upside"
2019: "There will be adequate body bags"...

Off-ramp or death...


I propose we have a name and shame competition for the stretch of UK road that contains the highest density of over aggressive drivers; publish a "road-rage" heat-map if you like. I'd nominate the A329M between Reading and Bracknell, I have to drive it every day and it's terrifying! A maelstrom of ridiculously overpowered Jag's, Audi's and BMW's whose drivers are all desperately flexing their adrenaline fueled ego's in an attempt to intimidate other road users. This is usually achieved by repeatedly accelerating to 3 millimeters from the rear bumper of the car in front of them or swerving from lane to lane attempting to weave their way into some imaginary leading position. What on earth must some of these people (male and female) think they see when they look at themselves in their bathroom mirrors? We can only speculate. All of this stress and angst is for nowt of course, the roads in the UK are all so busy that progress is solely in the mind of the beholder, you might as well relax turn up the radio or enjoy the moment in quiet contemplation, you ain't going anywhere fast and let's face it getting to your off-ramp 30 seconds quicker isn't worth dying for..

Monday, September 02, 2019

Selling pencils from a cup


Funny article in the Guardian today about the Pastor/Father of a school in America removing all the Harry Potter books from the library because they contain dangerous and "real" spells and curses. Now this isn't some fringe loony-tunes sect it's just a Catholic school and apparently this cleric had consulted with Vatican "exorcists" previously on this matter. Of course we all know that Harry potter is a series of children's books (and films) about a boy wizard who battles with his nemesis (he who cannot be named) eventually vanquishing the "dark-lord" in a spectacular show-down in the final episode, it's harmless fantasy as opposed to the Catholic church which, although also fantasy, is in no way harmless. It's difficult to take such decisions or indeed such organisations seriously until you realise what power,  wealth and influence they possess, someone who should clearly be selling pencils from a cup is in fact having a real impact upon the cultural development and education of future generations. No wonder America is such a freakish outlier when it comes to first-world religiosity, although, I'm sure if Harry Potter had been authored by an American, brandished a M-16 and been swathed in the stars and stripes this decision would have been very different.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Veracity


Had someone knock on my door yesterday (Saturday) flogging Jesus.. We had a conversation about the veracity of the Bible, it was very polite however it never ceases to amaze me what some people can be convinced to believe, gullible doesn't even start to cover it..