Random Thoughts Archive

  • <div id="attachment_1854" style="width: 282px" class="wp-caption alignright"><p class="wp-caption-text">P&O Pacific Dawn Cruise Route</p></div>
<p>I’m back from my Xmas and New Year break for a new year. Yay me!</p>
<p>This post is a collection of rather stream of consciousness notes I made during my cruise around New Caledonia and Vanuatu. I’m not promising any depth or profundity – just a bunch of thoughts that struck me at the time and were recorded thanks to the portability of tablet PCs.</p>
<p>Links to photos will be edited in as soon as I can knock them into some kind of shape.</p>
Day One – Leaving Brisbane
<p>Crowds, crowds, customs officers, crowds. I  […]</p>

    Pacific Dawn Cruise (5-12 Jan 2013)

    P&O Pacific Dawn Cruise Route

    I’m back from my Xmas and New Year break for a new year. Yay me!

    This post is a collection of rather stream of consciousness notes I made during my cruise around New Caledonia and Vanuatu. I’m not promising any depth or profundity – just a bunch of thoughts that struck me at the time and were recorded thanks to the portability of tablet PCs.

    Links to photos will be edited in as soon as I can knock them into some kind of shape.

    Day One – Leaving Brisbane

    Crowds, crowds, customs officers, crowds. I […]

  • In C. L. Wrenn‘s wonderful book The English Language (1949), I found this amazingly anthropocentric quotation.

    “The theory of the evolution of man as known to scientists, then, must find a place for the emergence of man as a possessor of language as distinct from the so-called ‘highest’ species of anthropoid apes whose varied cries are not language (which implies thought) but only very fully developed conditioned reflexes. The gap between the highest anthropoid ape and the most ‘primitive’ man has not yet been bridged from this point of view of the emergence of language in what may be called ‘homo loquens,’ which is really the same thing as the familiar ‘homo sapiens.’ The hypothesis of some kind of creative act, therefore, may still be tenable in default of a better considering the origin of language.”

    – Wrenn, p.6

There’s an instructive piece of circular logic here.

    Animal Brains and Ockham’s Razor

    In C. L. Wrenn‘s wonderful book The English Language (1949), I found this amazingly anthropocentric quotation. “The theory of the evolution of man as known to scientists, then, must find a place for the emergence of man as a possessor of language as distinct from the so-called ‘highest’ species of anthropoid apes whose varied cries are not language (which implies thought) but only very fully developed conditioned reflexes. The gap between the highest anthropoid ape and the most ‘primitive’ man has not yet been bridged from this point of view of the emergence of language in what may be called ‘homo loquens,’ which is really the same thing as the familiar ‘homo sapiens.’ The hypothesis of some kind of creative act, therefore, may still be tenable in default of a better considering the origin of language.” – Wrenn, p.6 There’s an instructive piece of circular logic here.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine is a vehicle for capitalist propaganda of the worst kind. The values it teaches children serve no one other than the evil 1% percent who rule society - until the revolution, of course. The program needs to be eradicated from our television screens for the sake of our children's future.

    Thomas the Capitalist Lackey

    Thomas the Tank Engine is a vehicle for capitalist propaganda of the worst kind. The values it teaches children serve no one other than the evil 1% percent who rule society - until the revolution, of course. The program needs to be eradicated from our television screens for the sake of our children's future.
  • <p>New Years resolutions are always broken within a couple of days. Why? Because they are essentially negative in outlook. They focus solely on what you are <strong>not</strong> going to do rather than what you <strong>intend</strong> to do. There’s also no way to means your degree of success other than counting the number of times your fail to achieve them. So rather than breaking your resolutions for 2012, try setting goals to be achieved by 2013.</p>
<p>For strarters, think about what’s important to you. It may be family, career or your hobbies. These topics will form paths you’ll be following in  […]</p>

    New Year’s Resolutions Waste My Time

    New Years resolutions are always broken within a couple of days. Why? Because they are essentially negative in outlook. They focus solely on what you are not going to do rather than what you intend to do. There’s also no way to means your degree of success other than counting the number of times your fail to achieve them. So rather than breaking your resolutions for 2012, try setting goals to be achieved by 2013.

    For strarters, think about what’s important to you. It may be family, career or your hobbies. These topics will form paths you’ll be following in […]

  • <p>What’s in store for my little corner of the internet this year? I don’t want to say more of the same because I’m not sure that’s right. I don’t want to say there’ll be massive changes either because there won’t be. Let’s say there will be a gentle focusing in on a couple of topic which forever hold the interest of not just me but the faceless masses who read this blog.</p>
<p><strong>Historical Fencing</strong>: This remains a point of focus as it’s such a dominant activity in my life. I’ll be concentrating on the cut-and-thrust single sword techniques in  […]</p>

    The Blogging Year Ahead 2012

    What’s in store for my little corner of the internet this year? I don’t want to say more of the same because I’m not sure that’s right. I don’t want to say there’ll be massive changes either because there won’t be. Let’s say there will be a gentle focusing in on a couple of topic which forever hold the interest of not just me but the faceless masses who read this blog.

    Historical Fencing: This remains a point of focus as it’s such a dominant activity in my life. I’ll be concentrating on the cut-and-thrust single sword techniques in […]

  • <p>There’s been a whole bunch of grunting from the pig pen of what passes for political debate in this country of late bemoaning the lack of separation between church and state. I’m and strong atheist and secular humanist and I’ve had enough of it.</p>
<p>Let’s start with the fundamentals – section 116 of the Constitution:</p>
<blockquote><p>The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.</p></blockquote> […]

    Separation of Church and State in Australia

    There’s been a whole bunch of grunting from the pig pen of what passes for political debate in this country of late bemoaning the lack of separation between church and state. I’m and strong atheist and secular humanist and I’ve had enough of it.

    Let’s start with the fundamentals – section 116 of the Constitution:

    The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

    […]
  • <p>I figured that since we’re at the end of the year I’d better have a look at how this little blog has performed. None of the stats about which posts and pages were the most popular match what I expected so see. Hmmm….. Perhaps I should change what I’m doing here.</p>
<p>The first surprise is the number of people who read my blog. On average, there’s 730 page views here per month with a daily average rising steadily from 20 per day in January to 35 per day in November. I must be doing something right even though it appears  […]</p>

    My Blog’s Year-in-Review

    I figured that since we’re at the end of the year I’d better have a look at how this little blog has performed. None of the stats about which posts and pages were the most popular match what I expected so see. Hmmm….. Perhaps I should change what I’m doing here.

    The first surprise is the number of people who read my blog. On average, there’s 730 page views here per month with a daily average rising steadily from 20 per day in January to 35 per day in November. I must be doing something right even though it appears […]

  • <p>Two months ago I tore the medial meniscus cartilage in my knee. Yesterday I had an arthroscopy operation to clean up the ragged bits in order to get me back to full activity. This post is a few notes on the experience which show that Einstein was right and that everything depends on the frame of reference of the observer.</p>
<p>The weirdest aspect of going in for surgery is the disconnect between the hospital and medical staff and me and I suppose other patients). This is not to say that I’m unhappy with my treatment – I’m very satisfied. The  […]</p>

    Anaesthetic and Time Travel

    Two months ago I tore the medial meniscus cartilage in my knee. Yesterday I had an arthroscopy operation to clean up the ragged bits in order to get me back to full activity. This post is a few notes on the experience which show that Einstein was right and that everything depends on the frame of reference of the observer.

    The weirdest aspect of going in for surgery is the disconnect between the hospital and medical staff and me and I suppose other patients). This is not to say that I’m unhappy with my treatment – I’m very satisfied. The […]

  • <p>When did the job I took because it paid the bills and gave me some cash to blow on books and movies turn into a career with goals and a five (or so) year plan? Is this something that happens to everyone as they age (I prefer the term ‘mature’) or am I the odd one out? Maybe this is just something that happens to you if you hang around the same field of endeavour for a long time. There are several events which could mark this change. One of them may hold the key to the mystery or they  […]</p>

    When Did My Job Become a Career?

    When did the job I took because it paid the bills and gave me some cash to blow on books and movies turn into a career with goals and a five (or so) year plan? Is this something that happens to everyone as they age (I prefer the term ‘mature’) or am I the odd one out? Maybe this is just something that happens to you if you hang around the same field of endeavour for a long time. There are several events which could mark this change. One of them may hold the key to the mystery or they […]

  • <p>Here’s what shits me about post-modernism and post-modernists:</p>
<strong>By de-privileging grand narratives, all narratives are privileged, even the inherently stupid ones.</strong>
<p>I get the notion of the arbitrariness of privilege and the cultural, class, gender, etc specificity of any particular grand narrative. I really do. But just because that may be true, it doesn’t follow that anything you have to say is worth listening to. Only under the notion of all points of view being equally valid can, say, creation science or climate change denial, get a look in. If science is just another narrative no different from any other  […]</p>

    Post-Modernism: I Refute It Thus

    Here’s what shits me about post-modernism and post-modernists:

    By de-privileging grand narratives, all narratives are privileged, even the inherently stupid ones.

    I get the notion of the arbitrariness of privilege and the cultural, class, gender, etc specificity of any particular grand narrative. I really do. But just because that may be true, it doesn’t follow that anything you have to say is worth listening to. Only under the notion of all points of view being equally valid can, say, creation science or climate change denial, get a look in. If science is just another narrative no different from any other […]

  • <p>…</p>
<p> […]</p>

    gmail contacts wont sync on android phone

    […]

  • <p>It’s well known to all Australian that after five years 85% of immigrants to this country are still on welfare and two thirds are still unemployed. And like all well-known statistics, it’s bunk.</p>
<p>Where does this figure come from? The only sources I could find was the Daily Telegraph tabloid newspaper and the StormFront neo-nazi website – both reporting on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship report “Settlement Outcomes of New Arrivals 2010“.</p>
<p>The study selected a random sample of 20,000 immigrants who have been in the country between 12 to 60 months. So, from the get-go, none of the  […]</p>

    Australian Immigration Statistics

    It’s well known to all Australian that after five years 85% of immigrants to this country are still on welfare and two thirds are still unemployed. And like all well-known statistics, it’s bunk.

    Where does this figure come from? The only sources I could find was the Daily Telegraph tabloid newspaper and the StormFront neo-nazi website – both reporting on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship report “Settlement Outcomes of New Arrivals 2010“.

    The study selected a random sample of 20,000 immigrants who have been in the country between 12 to 60 months. So, from the get-go, none of the […]

  • <p>I’ve a gravel bed down the side of the house that is always threatening to overgrow with weeds and grass. I’m sick of weeding. Herbicides don’t seem to work. Oh sure, they kill the grass and weeds but – not as advertised – the weeds grow back in other spots. What to do?</p>
<p><em>“Carthago delenda est!”</em></p>
<p>History to the rescue! At the end of the Third Punic War, the Roman Senate decided they were fed up on knocking Carthage to its knees only to have it get up again and start another war. This time, they pulled down all the  […]</p>

    What Rome Did To Carthage

    I’ve a gravel bed down the side of the house that is always threatening to overgrow with weeds and grass. I’m sick of weeding. Herbicides don’t seem to work. Oh sure, they kill the grass and weeds but – not as advertised – the weeds grow back in other spots. What to do?

    “Carthago delenda est!”

    History to the rescue! At the end of the Third Punic War, the Roman Senate decided they were fed up on knocking Carthage to its knees only to have it get up again and start another war. This time, they pulled down all the […]

  • <p>I was reading Galileo‘s On Motion (1590), as one does, and came across this gem.</p>
<blockquote><p>Some superifical observations have been made as, for instance, that the free motion of a heavy falling body is continuously accelerated. But to just what extent this acceleration occurs has not yet been announced. For so far as I know, no one has yet pointed out the distances traversed during equal intervals of time by a body falling from rest stand to one another in the same ratio as the odd numbers beginning with unity.</p></blockquote>
<p>It struck me that this is easy to check using  […]</p>

    Galileo: On Motion

    I was reading Galileo‘s On Motion (1590), as one does, and came across this gem.

    Some superifical observations have been made as, for instance, that the free motion of a heavy falling body is continuously accelerated. But to just what extent this acceleration occurs has not yet been announced. For so far as I know, no one has yet pointed out the distances traversed during equal intervals of time by a body falling from rest stand to one another in the same ratio as the odd numbers beginning with unity.

    It struck me that this is easy to check using […]

  • <p>It’s not just Australia. Of the 195 countries recognised by the UN 29 eat their national animals. That’s a little under 15% or one in seven. Here’s the list.</p>
<ul>
<li>Bahamas – Blue Marlin</li>
<li>Bangladesh – Hilsa (a type of fish)</li>
<li>Bolivia – Alpaca</li>
<li>Costa Rica – White-tailed Deer</li>
<li>Denmark – Swan</li>
<li>East Timor – Crocodile</li>
<li>Eritrea – Camel</li>
<li>Finland – Brown Bear, Whooper Swan, European Perch (they eat all three of their national animals)</li>
<li>Japan – Green Pheasant</li>
<li>Kuwait – Camel</li>
<li>Macedonia – Ohrid Trout (My personal favourite fish name “I’d like some ‘orrid trout, please”)</li>
<li>Maldives – Yellow-fin Tuna</li></ul> […]

    Eating National Animals

    It’s not just Australia. Of the 195 countries recognised by the UN 29 eat their national animals. That’s a little under 15% or one in seven. Here’s the list.

    • Bahamas – Blue Marlin
    • Bangladesh – Hilsa (a type of fish)
    • Bolivia – Alpaca
    • Costa Rica – White-tailed Deer
    • Denmark – Swan
    • East Timor – Crocodile
    • Eritrea – Camel
    • Finland – Brown Bear, Whooper Swan, European Perch (they eat all three of their national animals)
    • Japan – Green Pheasant
    • Kuwait – Camel
    • Macedonia – Ohrid Trout (My personal favourite fish name “I’d like some ‘orrid trout, please”)
    • Maldives – Yellow-fin Tuna
    […]