Category Archives: lifestyle

Goodbye Western Civilisation


ISIS is winning.

Just as they are losing the battles on the ground they are about to win the battles of the minds.

We pesky Westerners have been free-thinking, free-speaking and free-voting people for two or three centuries. ISIS represents a re-evolved world-view where religious correctness supersedes political freedom eerily reminiscent of the Catholic Inquisition of the Middle Ages.

By playing on our supposed fears, by using random terror attacks, they have given our political leaders the freedom to curtail all our freedoms and impose a political and security regime which matches the wishes of those leading ISIS. Hate speech is also to be banned.

Therese May, Donald Trump and now Malcolm Turnbull are all promoting a scheme which will see Social Media, in all its forms, responsible for removing any content which relates to terrorists and their actions. Good! I hear you say. Terrorists should not be able to plan their attacks on the internet. Maybe not, but we should be aware of the unintended consequences.

Our leaders are calling for greater regulation and transparency on the internet. This is code for opening sites like Tor to Government inspection. Algorithms will be developed and the privacy of terrorists will be compromised. To find those terrorists, ALL the internet will need to be open to inspection. That includes all our internet dealings. Those passwords we use to do our banking, Our private dealings on the internet. All our opinions as expressed on the internet. And while we may not plan a terrorist attack, how long will it be before hate speech is re-defined to suit those in power?

That may all be good because we will eventually overcome the terror threat. Yet what is the definition of a terror threat? What is the definition of hate speech? That can be widened at some time in the future, possibly the near future, to include overthrowing an unpopular Government. Campaigning against a sitting Government. Legally overthrowing a Government. At the ballot box. Anyone campaigning against their previously elected Government could be accused of a form of terrorism or of hate speech. Leaders of Nations do not like losing their power.

That is where this move to regulate the internet and open it to Government inspection will inevitably lead. The algorithm will be tweaked to include this movement and then that movement and then the other movement. It is the creation of the algorithm in the first place which will set all this in motion.

Satirists, commentators, meme-makers, cartoonists will all be in the firing line, regardless of their political affiliations. Freedom will be lost. And those in charge of ISIS will cheer because they will have won.

Even then there is yet another inevitable danger. Every Government collection of the data of our lives has been hacked by criminals. Normally after they have gained access to secret Governmental data-mining programs. How much of the data collected from the soon to be ‘transparent’ internet will remain in Government hands?

How soon will that transparency be in the hands of those who wish us ill?

 

TRAVEL PLANS FOR 2016/17


travel-01I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Kahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Kahoots with someone.

I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.capture

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport. You have to be driven there. I have made several trips there thanks to my children, friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable. I go there more often as I’m getting older.

One of my favourite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent, but I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

Our Inner Caveman


I’ve always been puzzled by the way humanity at large have tended to ignore warnings about smoking, about excess sugar in their diet, about global climate change.

It seems it may be that our evolution has led us to worry about today and to leave tomorrow to itself.

An opinion piece in The Scientist by João Pedro de Magalhães throws some light on this human habit.

Here are the final three paragraphs of that article.

For those lower on the social ladder, fitting in with the ancestral group may have been the safest strategy. Fear of embarrassment, disapproval, and rejection is another human tendency that is likely rooted in this tribal need for belonging. ‘This instinct to seek social acceptance may explain why most people are uncomfortable speaking in public. Fear of public embarrassment and disapproval, while once beneficial in a small group where acceptance was essential to one’s survival, can surface today even when dealing with complete strangers we will never meet again. The deep-rooted drive to fit in, a legacy of our tribal past, is already exploited by modern commercial markets. In our information-rich, decision-overloaded environment, companies take advantage of our instinctive behaviors by using celebrity endorsements or claims of popularity to promote products.

Perhaps the most obvious trace of humans’ primordial past is our persistent shortsightedness. We respond quickly to clear and present dangers, but not so rapidly to unclear and future ones. Far more people die of type 2 diabetes than from terrorism; far more people die of skin cancer than from shark bites. But terrorism and shark attacks could kill you tomorrow, so they garner much more of our attention. Short-termism is also why convincing people to act on issues like global warming—which will most significantly affect those in the future, with poorly defined consequences—is so difficult.

Our tribal-era instincts are still very much a part of who we are. Studying the social and physical environments that shaped human evolution, then, could help us better understand the modern human psyche. Acknowledging our own tribal instincts can also help us overcome these obsolete behaviors in our daily lives.

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Keep Calm


Monday

Great Grandpa’s Life


The Minox Riga, the first true, sub-minature spy camera that saw actual use for espionage throughout the WWII and the cold war.

Invented in 1936 by Walter Zapp, it was the first to use 8x11mm film (a little smaller than your pinky’s fingernail), making it tiny enough to hide in the palm of your hand, but powerful enough to take high resolution photographs of your enemy’s top secret documents.

If Great Grandpa used one of these he would never be able to talk about it!

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Great Grandpa’s Life


Back in the 1920’s you had to keep your car looking good.

And the saddlery store had to stay in business.

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From The Port Lincoln Times (South Australia) 13th April, 1928

Great Grandma’s Life


A bit of 1930’s bling

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From the Australian Women’s Weekly, 16 Sept. 1933