Friday, May 23, 2014

The Electric President

The first woman president of the United States had ended her term of office in the year 2876. Having failed to deliver on her election promises a robot president was elected to office for the first time in history.

A red light blinked and the electric president spoke:
‘My fellow Americans, I said I would put an end to global conflicts and the destruction of the environment and it will be accomplished. The billion-strong Robot Protection Force, the greatest army the world has ever seen, was deployed the instant I took office. Projections have determined that resistance by die-hards will be eliminated within a period of two weeks. As always we prefer cooperation to annihilation and the surrender of opposers to the UN Global Peace Resolution will always be welcomed.

As I speak all offending entities to the UN resolution to halt the further despoiling of Earth are being brought into submission. Projections indicate that within a month planetary recovery by Nano’s and other robots will be finished. We can all look forward to a much brighter future from now on.

My thanks to our allies for their contributions.

End Speech.’

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

What's the points?

When it comes to loyalty cards and credit cards: use the card, don't let it use you!
I have found that I spend more money in the attempt to garner points, and so defeat the object of saving money.

TV Trancing

Sitting in front of a TV or computer screen for hours and hours can eat up a lot of the time you could spend doing other things, like reading, for example.

When you watch program after program on the boob toob (or as we say in German Das Booben Tooben), and stop being selective about your viewing you have fallen into a state I like to call 'TV Trancing'. The sooner you stop the sooner time slows down and you can start doing other stuff.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do aliens love?

It is my contention that all sentient beings know about connection or relationship. Connection naturally follows from reproduction and cooperation to ensure survival. An alien being would have had its origins just as we did: it's solar system would have collapsed out of a giant cloud of gas and the chain of events that followed (this doesn't mean that life or intelligent life will inevitably spring up every time a solar system, is formed; just that if a particular system is going to produce life we can expect evolution to take place). The result is a sentient being that, if it's not a mono-entity capable of surviving millions of years unchanged growing ever more complex perhaps and without the need to reproduce or make copies of itself to continue through the ravages of time, will require the cooperation of others of its kind to survive. Mankind would not have survived without this cooperation or teamwork. Example: It's easier to kill  a mammoth if you are hunting in a pack.

So, while it may be a stretch to say all aliens love; all aliens relate to one another; bonds that are of great significance to each individual exist. What about a collective mind? Perhaps every mind has its own personality as well as being part of a greater entity? There might have been a time when the minds were separate entities.What about Artificial Intelligences? Perhaps they are still aware of connection; either between AIs or as something within one AI (complex processes that are semi-autonomous but that work together to produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts).

Am I making sense or is this all gobbledygook?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making assumptions

You enter a room and see before you a still body on the floor, apparently dead, bullet-ridden it would appear. Close by, smoking gun in hand, there is another person looking at the body. The building is probably empty. You heard gunshots and ran in, up the stairs to the room whose door was slightly ajar. The person with the gun lets it hang loosely at his side. You are in no immediate danger, you sense. What has transpired? Let us name the person on the floor, B; and the person holding the gun, A. Did A shoot B?

Many would probably say this is the most likely, most probable explanation of what's been observed. But have we not made a few assumptions? First of all, is B really dead? Did B really die from gunshot wounds?
Things may not be what they appear to be. Perhaps B was stabbed to death and A was shooting at the person/s who did it trying to save B's life but was too late. Perhaps B is unconscious, gravely wounded but still alive - you should call an ambulance immediately. Did A kill B? Perhaps B tried to commit suicide and A arrived on the scene, and picked up the gun for whatever reason. You don't know exactly what happened. You can't just go and shoot A; especially since you have established your life is not in any immediate danger. The situation may change suddenly. A may have been the perpetrator of the crime. Call the police, take evasive action.

The point I'm trying to make is that jumping to conclusions can land one in hot water. Making assumptions can lead to very negative outcomes, especially if acted upon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

On a roll


In an early Spider-Man written by Stan Lee, Aunt May tells a dejected and dismayed Peter Parker that one needs “gumption, the will to live, to fight.” It’s the last thing you want to hear when the storm seems to be raging out of control and you feel overwhelmed but that’s precisely when you need to be reminded.

On another note: The human condition truly sucks but it’s the only game in town.

Be Life

In Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (by the way, the best one of the 3 prequels but certainly not as good as any of the movies in the original trilogy), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) instructs Obi-Wan (or was it Anakin) as follows: “Remember: Your focus determines your reality.”

Everyone believes in something, even if it’s nothing (nihilism). You might be a sceptic and believe in accepting nothing without good evidence; you might be a scientist and believe in the supremacy of the scientific method. Just like life itself, belief is inescapable. You are constrained to make a choice. It’s your belief which determines your reality, the kind of life you will have, the person you will be.

It is very hard to gaze through the particular filter of one’s own beliefs to appreciate the beliefs of others. At times when irreconcilable differences block the way, it is good to know that all humans on Earth when they look up, and their vision is unimpaired and it’s a beautiful day, will without exception see the same blue sky and the same flock of birds traversing it.

Fundamental things

Thankfully there are more self-help/ inspirational books than any one person can do justice to, unless you plan to focus exclusively on reading self-help books.

If you are reading such it probably means you’re a pilgrim and not a cynic.*
Remember this, Pilgrim, that Eisenhower took one book with him to war-ravaged Europe – and that was The Bible.

A pilgrim of another flavour would take the Koran. A pilgrim of yet another flavour, a zen pilgrim, could conceivably take all the scriptures she needs in the empty palm of one hand.

Also, remember this: “A kiss is just a kiss; a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply as time goes by.” : )

*Preface to ‘Wisdom of the Ages’ by Mark Gilbert.
“In our outlooks on life, I suppose we all fall into either one of two categories: we regard life as cynics, or as pilgrims.”

Killing two birds with one stone

Monday, May 12, 2014

gender equality

In 'Fit for Life' part 2 by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond we find: 'Women are intrinsically different and intrinsically equal.' When I first read that I liked it. I watched episode 8 of the current incarnation of Cosmos yesterday and highlighted were the contributions made by some women scientists in the male-dominated world of Harvard around the turn of the century. Our understanding of the stars is founded upon their hard work. One of the woman scientists - let me google her name (why didn't I remember it!) - : Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin; who had to endure the refusal or belittling of her thesis by a male professor.

A woman long ago told me though that making this statement that 'women are equal' is already something we shouldn't have to do. It's something that shouldn't be thought about or need to be stated explicitly. The colour blue is not equal to the colour red. Blue is blue and red is red. Women are women and men are men.

Be flexible

No matter how organized we are or how structured our day is, things happen which throw the routine out of kilter.  Nothing ever goes according to plan. Life is messy and we have to roll with the punches, be flexible. Provided we don’t damn up the stream entirely stones and obstacles thrown into the water won’t halt its flow. Water will flow around, over and under obstacles. As Bruce Lee said, ‘Be like water.’

'There are no right angles in nature.'
Is this true? What about crystals?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A compliment to Nicolas Cage, comic collector

One of Hollywood’s coolest actors has the coolest hobby, long may it please him.
That’s double-cool, man!

Perhaps our descendants in some future epoch will look back to our turbulent times and say, ‘Our present wonders existed in their imaginations; we need only look at their comics.’

Move Earth to a safe distance

Before a billion years are up and our sun expands to become a red giant and incinerates the inner planets we will hopefully have figured out how to move those inner planets, including Earth, out to a safe distance. Why not just save Earth? Venus is to be terraformed. Would moving Venus further away from the sun help to bring about an end to its runaway greenhouse effect? Or is removing the carbon dioxide more important than reducing the planetary temperature?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

O's Cape Town trip 5

This looks like it could be Llandudno beach.
Table Mountain, duh!
One of the smaller trees at Schoenstatt?
A protea by any other name would be a sugarbush.

O's Cape Town trip 4

Early morning in Hout Bay

Sunday, May 4, 2014

O's Cape town trip 3

The trunk of a 300 year-old Camphor tree
                                                Beau-Constantia (near Constantia Nek)

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 1st pics by 'd'

A great pic of a grasshopper
amber of some kind

another one of those wee spiders

O's Cape Town Trip 1

The view from Mainstream Shopping Centre in Hout Bay. Chapman's Peak drive is on the left hand side.
En route to Hout Bay, we first stop at Schoenstatt Shrine of Pilgrimage, Constantia Main Road, Constantia.
This is a view of the chapel. There are a few huge and wondrous trees well worth seeing on the grounds.
 Hout Bay.
Hout Bay's bay, looking out to sea, That shape in the sand looks like a key.
Hout Bay on the night of May 1 , 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What do you want for Christmas?

Apparently there are about 2 billion children in the world and about 35% of them wrote online to Santa Claus to receive a 'personal' reply. Wouldn't it be cool if instead of an e-mail reply some of those (or all of them?) kids could get presents as well in the post? To provide 2 billion children with presents would take an estimated $40 billion (at an average of $20 per gift - toys etc. are expensive, and it might take even more funds than that).

A non-magical Santa would most likely be a multi-billionaire (or trillionaire?); however the task might be accomplished by billions of poor Santas; or maybe even by parents?

For Xmas, I'd like: a personal flying machine (the Martin jetpack).