Monday, 30 April 2007

Got Noodles?

If you, like me, arrange a lot of things via SMS, then you know how much of a pain in the butt it is to send a message to a group of people and you also know the hit in the hip pocket of spewing out 15 - 20 messages to your mates saying "Party! At Davo's place 6 til late!" and then having to send out a retraction message five minutes later saying "Davo's dad doesn't think so - party's moved to my flat, BYO booze and shoehorn." It sucks.

NoodleInvite is a step up from all that. Sign up at the website (use my mobile number 0409249807 if you want to do me a favour) and get an email, then an SMS code, to validate your phone and email address.

And from then on, say goodbye to messin' around with messages. Noodle Networks' site will deliver the SMS messages to the people concerned, tally up their responses, and present you with a nice clean list of who said what.

You can SMS people who aren't members, of course, making this a good backup facility for that time you're out and your battery dies, if you can get to a web browser you can let everyone know...

I had trouble logging in to start with but their support is so good I got email support within a few hours and even a phonecall - problem solved, thank you Noodle Networks!

All in all a very useful service and one I'll no doubt be doing a fair bit with.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

John "Rebel" Cares For Mothers.

John Howard just claimed that Mr Rudd's promise to seek better maternity leave conditions might leave young mothers open to worse prospects in the job market as businesses avoid employing people whom they'd have to actually give reasonable conditions to.

I just want to know how that's worse than pantsing the entire workforce and bending them over then waving an expansive hand at the employers and yelling "help yourselves boys!" as his IR laws have done?

MAP MY NAME

You can now put yourself in for a good old stalking by filling out your details at Map My Name and sticking a pin in the map. It's easy, fun, and probably not safe...

One thing annoys me - I can't change the position of my pin, apparently. So if I'm going caravanning I'll either be abandononing MMN or else creating a new user each time I overnight somewhere...

Other than that, a good way to track where your online friends are. If only it would tie in with a mobile phone with GPS or some other GPS device, then it would be the perfect application. I'd have a pin for each of my GPS-enabled devices and you could watch my caravan, vehicle, and mobile phone as we travel around Australia.

QOTD: In Re: Terrorist Watch List

My QOTD has to be "They have a secret list, compiled in secret, by secret people, using secret information, and applying that secret information with a secret criteria," he said. "There's a certain lack of transparency here."

Sources: Princeton professor says anti-Bush speech landed him on no-fly list and Terrorist Watch List and Secrets

Movie The Number 23 (no spoilers)

T and I sat and tried to watch Primeval tonight, but it's sort of like watching old Dr Who series after watching Star Trek: TNG or something similarly widely spaced apart in technique. And Dr Who had good plot lines, too, whereas Primedrivel has no such saving grace. Last year they opened time gates to bring dinosaurs to the present, this year the dinosaurs have their own force field. On the Geological Timeline it scores below Cambrian, probably closer to Imbrian. Enough said...

Anyhow - to take the bad taste out of our brains, we luckily had booked seats to The Number 23 which is showing at Hoyts Carousel, and we booked La Premiere seats. Because we can. We appear to have sold the house, well, it's contingent upon the buyer selling her old house first but this is likely to happen quite soon.

TN23 is, by the way, a reasonable movie right up to the end, when things (to me at any rate) seemed to get a bit out of hand and out of character. But anyway. Jim Carrey always seems to me to be able to milk some humour, even in a quite serious and drama filled movie such as this. I kept half expecting Ace Ventura to show through, and maybe for a few seconds in some of the scenes, he did...

You've seen the premise, the number 23 crops up everywhere, and it picks on a person and hounds them. I figure that's silly when the number could haunt 23 people at a time and thus be more efficient while still remaining in character. But I digress.

I think there were a lot of clever "23" references in the movie background, but there could have been several more touches which would have taken the movie from enjoyable to the status of edge of your seat stuff.

So as we left La Prem we were wondering if, now that we'd seen the movie, we would start seeing the number 23 around a lot more ourselves. Didn't have long to wait. As we left the upstairs carpark at Carousel, the max headroom sign. It read "Clearance 23 00."

"Oh gawd" says T, "now you're going to find that number everywhere just to freak me out aren't you?" I said nothing and pointed to the bus coming towards us, the 878. Hmmm...

We spotted two signs for things priced $32.something (32 is 23 reversed) and two prices at $1.23. As we approached the roundabouts, I pointed out that on the approach to each roundabout you see 2 signs and the ideogram of the roundabout on those signs consists of 3 curved arrows.

That was when the dog ran towards us along the road. Once you've seen the movie you'll get this Ned reference.

And I spotted a school speed limit sign that features 2:3 0 as the afternoon start time.

Then Trish had the best example. We'd been allocated seats 11 and 12. Add up to a 2 and a 3.

Hmmm... As we rolled down the driveway it occurrred to me that our number is 25b. B is the 2nd letter of the alphabet, and 25 minus 2 is? Yep, 23. Again.

So all in all quite a good evening once we gave TV a miss. And I recommend TN23 anyway because it's a somewhat different movie.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

More Irony - His Name Fits!

I reported on this guy before, now see what the overseas news make of our dickhead politicians:

Clueless Nuisance
April 21, 2007 - Canberra, Australia - Ananova

An Australian MP's anti-graffiti crusade backfired when he spent five hours scrubbing off a specially commissioned piece of street art. Steve Pratt invited the media to witness his removal of an"obnoxious piece of vivid graffiti vandalism" on the side of a concrete bridge in Canberra, reports the Daily Telegraph.

It was only after he had reduced it to a discoloured smear with the aid of stiff brushes and industrial-strength detergent that it emerged it had been commissioned by a local sports club. John Stanhope, the chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory, said the opposition MP's artistic vigilantism had been referred to police for investigation and possible prosecution.

"In his eagerness to thump the law and order tub, it seems that Mr Pratt may have joined the ranks of those he so consistently reviles - the vandals of our community," he said.

A spokesman for the ACT Community Art program, run by TAMS, said Mr Pratt was told last week that the mural was a commissioned artwork. Asked if Mr Pratt's office had contacted the program, the spokesman said: "Yes, that's correct."

Asked if the program had told Mr Pratt the mural was a commissioned artwork, the spokesman said:"Yes, that is also correct."

The ACT Government has called for a police investigation, saying Mr Pratt should make a public apology and pay $3000 compensation to the artist. Mr Pratt has refused to apologise.

The club that had paid for the mural has no plans to replace the original mural painted by a local graffiti artist affectionately known as "Dan the man" and featuring a man playing disc golf.

Military History Up In Smoke

In yet another irony in this that has so far been a millenium of ironic circumstances, the Midland Military Markets have burned to the ground during the ANZAC Dawn Service.

As someone who has no relative who can ever be called an ANZAC, I have nevertheless gone to MMM countless times, in all weathers and all states of health, and I am already missing that big building that was so cool in summer and a shelter in winter.

So Lest We Forget, there is now another Aussie legend we need to honour on April 25th...

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

JOTD (ecade)

At one time in my life, I thought I had a handle on the meaning of the word "service".

"The act of doing things for other people."

Then I heard the terms such as "Internal Revenue Service,""Postal Service," "Civil Service," "Service Stations."

And I became confused about the word "service."

This is not what I thought "service" meant.

One day, I overheard two farmers talking and one of them mentioned that he was having a bull "service" a few of his cows.

Suddenly it all came into perspective.

Irony?

Is this - ironic?

All wishes for a good recovery for an adventuring legend!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

What's the world coming to, part 3

So we have a Prime Minister who is a complete and habitual liar and a sycophant of George Bush Jnr. We're not responsible for that.

And we have another politician who decides that since it's coming close to elections he will pull a publicity stunt and wash away graffiti that later turns out to have been a commissioned artwork. Come on how can we be to blame for that?

Well - er hello? - supposed democracy...

By the way the dickhead that swabbed the graffiti (and whose name deservedly eludes me for the moment) was interviewed and basically said something like "(harumph!) screw you! If it looks like graffiti to me then I'll wipe it out! (harumph! harumph!) It's not art unless I deem it so, and I'll censor anything I want!"

And Howard had one of the biggest lies of the millenium, the old porkie pie about "there's no way that a GSTwill ever be part of our policy" favourite...

I feel rather strongly about that. Not because it's John Howard or a Liberal or a New South Welshman, but because all our Government officials lie and steal and cheat and defraud us. I'm looking at officials that dodge criminal charges, steal the money we entrust to them to improve our lives with, who take away our freedoms because they feel that this is the only way to retain their hold, and who are generally a pretty despicable lot.

But of course, we're not responsible, are we? I have only one thing to say to you all - WAKE UP! Of course we're responsible for putting them there, for not acting and making our displeasure felt when they do something despicable. We sit back and let someone else take responsibility for looking after our interests.

Let me tell you something people - a society in which the population is not responsible for the actions of the government and which has no control over the government is a dictatorship or a monarchy. Last time I looked we were a democracy, and fast becoming a kakistocracy . . .

Whenever you can, exercise your voice! It's easier than ever to make your political voice known, just search the Internet for "member of parliament, mysuburb, Australia" and email. It doesn't even cost you a stamp or piece of paper these days. When Howard tells another porkie, or comes up for air from his favourite butt, tell your MP what you think! If some total tosser scrubs your artwork off the walls, tell your MP about it! And never, EVER vote for any politician who lies to you or defiantly tells you to get stuffed he will do what he wants not what you want . . .

What's the world coming to, part 2

Gastric infection outbreaks in an aged people's home. Again, someone isn't taking responsibility. They're taking the money, they're taking the trust, just not taking the responsibility.

Maybe you think there's a reason that it's okay - because the water supply was tampered with, or whatever - but it's not. Those old people have families who aren't prepared to take responsibility for them, and who are paying the geriatric equivalent of a pram manufacturer to take the responsibility off them. Granted, there are also extenuating circumstances here, such as an aged person's particular medical infirmity requiring more care than the families are able or prepare to give. My father, with a complete hemispheric stroke paralysing one entire side of his body is a prime example.

But all of his family took the responsibility to go and visit him, to make sure the nursing home was doing their utmost to care, and we were there for him as often as possible. We couldn't physically lift him the way the nursing home could, nor could we keep him away from infections the way they could. But we knew that there was a responsibility on our part to be there.

So we have a long generation which wants everyone else to take responsibility for their children, and a long generation which wants nursing homes to take responsibility for their parents. And guess what? It's the same generation, people aged up to 65 today are all an epoch in human interaction, we are the "Not Responsible" generations.

Here's a few things we're "not responsible" for:
  • AIDS
  • The greatest proportion of delinquent children
  • The extinction of more species than almost the whole rest of human history
  • Global warming
  • Deforestation
  • Overpopulation
  • Salination
  • Climate change

And, of course

  • The wheels falling off our kids' prams
  • Salmonella in our parents' water supply

Oh yeah - and before I forget

  • Politicians and their shenanigans (but that's the subject of a whole other article...)

What's the world coming to, part 1

Just making with the outrage at the call to make jogging prams safer. Oh come on! You want a safe baby? Don't go fucking jogging with it for chrissakes! You want "maximum enjoyment of life" while having a child? It doesn't happen! You are responsible for another life all of a sudden, and dammit that's YOUR responsibility!

I won't look after your kid for you, I definitely will not give a rat's ass about the "Baby On Board" stupid yellow sign in your window, and I say if you want to child then you drive carefully, you plan your life around the child and do not assume that I will go all googoogaga because you think we're all responsible for your fling on the sheets.

And the manufacturers of prams will definitely not look after your kid for you. Yes they make cheap shit prams and yes that's unethical but that's still not an excuse to make them responsible for the safety of your child. Exercise due care, remember that the world is hard and sharp and full uf unbevelled edges, and behave accordingly around your children.

Take up your responsibility. It's that simple.

Overheard. Uh?

Customer on phone: How much is two hundred dollars worth of oil?
Worker bee: 75 gallons.
Customer: No, I said how much is two hundred dollars worth of oil?
Worker bee: Ma'am, two hundred dollars will buy you 75 gallons.
Customer, exasperated: No, no, no! How much. Is two hundred dollars. Worth of oil?
Worker bee, confused now: Um... Two hundred dollars?
Customer: That's what I was askin' you! Jesus! [Hangs up.]
Worker bee: Did she just call up to ask me whether two hundred dollars is worth two hundred dollars?

Uh, go to overheard . . . or go to overheard and see things like this.:

Wide-eyed girl #1 exiting class: Did he just--?
Wide-eyed girl #2: --Yeah.
Wide-eyed girl #1: But wha--?
Wide-eyed girl #2: --I feel dirty.
Wide-eyed girl #1: Yeah.
Wide-eyed girl #2: Do you... Uh, wait.
Wide-eyed girl #1: Did we just get mind-fucked?
Wide-eyed girl #2: I think so.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Where the bloody hell's yer head at? (reprise)

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with Bonsai Johnny and The Big Dubya swapping illegal immigrants? More to the point, can anyone tell me what's right with it? Why will it not matter a tinker's toss to the flow of migrants? Why do I say all this?

Well - umm - tell me again what it is about illegal immigrants that makes them illegal immigrants? Well, to begin with the identification needs to start at the other end - they are also illegal emigrants from their country.

Their first and foremost motivation isn't "hey! let's go to australia, it looks like a really bonza place and has this really cool chick that's got the barbie going for us!" The motivation for most illegal immigrants is "get me the hell outta here! ANYWHERE except here!"

You get it? Illegal Mexican and Cuban emigrees and Indonesian people who emigrate from their home countries don't go to a travel agent and say "Gee Texas looks nice this time of year" they just want out. And then we go and give them a free trip across the entire globe, too. Come on, even I know a damn good travel deal when I see it...

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Is ther a PRAM in your future? You betcha...

Used PRAM lately? Okay there are a few people out there (hi skribe, toxicpurity) to whom that word has taken on a whole new world of meaning, but to unprogenied geeks this is a word to watch out for.

Basically, phase state change memory (PRAM) is like Flash memory in that it retains its state when the power is taken away. Unlike Flash though, it is fast, from the article it seems that it's almost as fast as current PC memory.

Now here's ome application where PRAM will shine - solid state hard drives. As you may have read, some laptops are shipping with Flash memory based hard drives, that is, no moving parts to jar, no heads to skip, no bearings or motors to wear out. The two downsides of SSHDDs are that you can't get that many gigs in one SSHDD yet, and they are still quite slow.

I have a "laptop" made by Tandy way back in the 80's, a Model 200. It had a 40 character by 16 line LCD character-only display, which was no problem for what I used it for, and (in my 200, anyway) two 16Kilobyte banks of flash memory. That was it, that was the hard drive, machine memory, everything.

Startup was almost instant because there is no HDD to spin up, and if they'd just used a pause/resume button instead of a power button this machine could have started - instantly - at whatever point you switched it off, and carried on without an interruption.

That is, if you bothered to switch it off. You see, using Flash memory that consumes very little power, an unilluminated LCD screen, and some low power quite basic CPU, a set of four penlight batteries lasted several weeks of solid daily use...

Now imagine a laptop using the same "run it in place" philosophy (i.e. you don't first load a program from the storage area to working memory, instead you treat ALL the memory as working memory) with an E-Paper screen and a nice low power CPU/GPU. Can you see a device that weighs in at under a pound (half a kilo to us Aussies) and runs for a month between recharges?

To top the list of features off for PRAM memory, here's the best bit. Where Flash "wears out" the bits it uses to store data in (about 100,000 cycles last time I checked, if you use your USB pen drive or camera CF card a lot you may wear it out in a few years) the same is not true of PRAM - according to Intel, PRAM should last pretty much forever and retain whatever was last written into it forever.

All the better to store a copy of yourself on...

Friday, 13 April 2007

Oh yeah and THAT date....

I laugh at Friday 13th. Well, no. To tell the truth, I say I do in my blog posts and then spend the rest of the day looking surreptitiously over my shoulder in case a lioness or a whole zoo has suddenly materialised behind me to add the third news story. And cross my fingers a lot.

I think I've figured out why some people are "lucky." It has less to do with luck and more to do with total lack of normal survival instincts. I mean, I was watching a TV ad for some furniture or white goods place, where they said that four people would win their purchases for free just for shopping there.

Okay - so a "lucky" person is the kind of person who says to themselves "Geez, I've been wanting that new bed/fridge/whatever, and it costs $2100. And strike me, I've got $2100 right here in my hand, it's all the money I have in the world until next month, but I'd be in with a chance to win it back anyway!" and then they go off and spend their last dollars. And dammit if they don't win.

The problem is that people like that make me look positively anal. I'd be checking to make sure I had groceries, fuel money, and - if that really was my last $2100 - if I could borrow some money off a friend in case of any emergencies. I'd make sure all my bills were paid up, and that I owed nothing to anyone. Then I'd make a list of the things that I need that cost $2100 and under, and then pick out one that seems most urgent. If by chance that thing turned out to be the bed/fridge/whatever, you can bet your last dollar that I'd pay for it, and - nothing...

See, because I've done silly things like that before, I know that I will end up spending a very broke month, and therefore I'm less likely to do it. A less self-preserving person might not learn, and therefore they enter more competions like that, and because they enter more of them, they - paradoxically - end up winning more, which reinforces their devil-may-care attitude...

So if you want to be lucky, send me all your money, and I'll send back one lucky person's money. Come one - what have you got to lose?

This week it's the zoos' turn!

Bad week for working at a zoo: your choices this week are getting mistaken for ants, or mistaken for dinner. I'm just waiting for the third incident, these things always come in threes. Tell you what, no matter how blase and complacent I become around animals, I will never take one for granted, any more than I take people around me for granted. And come to think of it, it's hard to know which I better trust to look after my back, a lioness or certain politicians and their shady mates...

It's also not a good week to be living in the Sundarbans Islands. Time to start laundry days again, and get rid of energy-wasting lights and replace them with low voltage CCFL and CFL lights. I keep harping on this subject, I know. But come on - a cheap solar installation of two panels and regulator/batteries coupled with low voltage lighting will reduce your house's energy use by anywhere between 10% and 35%. Just switching to CFL globes will reduce your energy use (and associated greenhouse gas emissions and pollution) by between 5% and 10%. And either way will help rebalance our climate and environment. [note 1]

I'm still also urging city commuters to get onto their Member of Parliament about legitimising the REVA and other all-electric cars, and let's also see if we can't get a few local solar businesses to put some money into designing a "carport charger" for such cars. Think about it - you get a reasonably cheap little car, you get a reasonably cheap little solar installation, and you get to save the estimated $2250 a year in fuel costs as well as saving the environment! [note 2]

Oh - on the subject of electric and hybrid cars - one more snippet you may be interested in knowing: A certain well-known hybrid car that is widely perceived as very green, and in fact Ms McTiernan drives one, has a little conundrum attached to it. Because the car is produced on a production line same as all the other cars produced by that manufacturer, the basic petrol engined car costs as much in greenhouse gases and emissions as any other car to produce. That very large polution load by itself would be enough to render the relatively small advantage of the car irrelevant.

But wait - there's more! Because the car has to have batteries and electronics and electric drive motors as well as the fossil fuel components, it in fact costs far more in pollution load to produce, than it will recover over the life of the car...

One possible solution is for car manufacturers to switch their plant to environmentally friendlier power sources, use less steel and more easily produced plastics, and to stop dicking around with fossil fuelled cars and start seriously developing electric-only, biodiesel, and electric/biodiesel hybrid cars. (Electric-only cars, while the electricity still has to be produced by a power plant somewhere, at least don't use another lot of dirty fossil fuel, and thus have a lower impact on pollution load than petrol hybrids. And biodiesel is a cleaner and more "now" energy, you extract it from biomass that got the energy from sunlight in the last year or two, so there's no million-year-old energy being dug up and put back into the atmosphere, and it also burns considerably cleaner than fossil fuels.)

NOTES:
1. I'm averaging between calculated power usage for houses which have 60W filament globes, an inefficient refrigerator, a tumble dryer, and in about 45% of cases some form of air conditioning, and houses that just have a basic refrigerator, and that and the lights form almost all the power usage. I'm basing this on observations of houses around Perth, as air conditioning is pretty easy to spot, and so are things like average affluence and therefore likelihood of having the latest 4 energy star fridge versus a new 52" TV, etc.

2. I am basing this on our usage in an average six cylinder sedan, and including only the trips within the city for work and shopping that an electric car would be used for. We spend another $1000 a year on country trips and longer trips. If we had a biodiesel hybrid electric instead, we might conceivably use about a quarter of the fuel, a tenth of the cost, and only produce about a quarter of the pollution load.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Future, TEdSTYLE

Imagine a world where you are connected to the Internet. All the time, any time. Without a mobile phone or PDA or laptop... It's one of the things these guys project will happen. And without wanting to beat my own trumpet or blow my drum, (well okay - hell yeah I want to say "TOLJA SO!") I've been over most of their territory. Google tedadyne systems (or go to http://www.arach.net.au/~ted/mydynes/) to see how far back these predictions go.

I proposed, way back when, that further to the things mentioned in the Guardian article, there are some ramifications to the cyborging of people. For a start, let me get physical - how would you introduce one of those connection chips into a human? Let me give you a hint - you think our bodies are densely packed complex machines, but they are still surprisingly full of empty space.

My solution is that solutions of nanoparticles will be engineered which will do only one thing - stick themselves to synapses. Then a short while later another solution of nanoparticles cane be introduced that only stick themselves along nerves between the previous particles. In effect, a miniscule parallel system over your nerves. Don't laugh, this solves two major problems, one, the obvious one, being that now you have an armature that parallels the brain and nervous system which is easier to connect the net chips to.

But a second and potentially far better thing is that we have now safeguarded against the major cause of accidents and death among the aged population - neurological deficits caused by nerves dying. Because once the armature is in place, if the nerve dies there is still a signalling path there... A second upside is that impulses will actually move faster in the armature material than in nerve tissue. (That could be weird, as your brain signals are passed to the muscles by two paths and arrive nanoseconds apart, like some kind of "microdejavu" feeling...)

I further proposed that if you can build that armature over the brain and nervous system, then you can also replace other tissue using nanoparticles. That means strengthened bones, faster stronger muscles, tougher skin. And still looks just like you, thinks like you - IS you. Except that you can now lift cars, maybe while running alongside them on the road, and perhaps doing all that while feeling the vibrations of the motor and seeing the rotation of the crankshaft and being able to log into Google and downloading diagnostic information on that car and working out that #4 injector is probably dirty...

So the flash mob is the least thing the UKMoD will have to worry about. Worry more about a world where anyone that can afford the nanocultures can be a super soldier without any of the years of training. Worry that anyone - anyone - can do that. Worry about a world where you can get cheap nanocultures from dodgy dealers via email, and then find that they are 90% superglue. Or a world where you make damn sure your soldiers are the most connected soldiers in the world - and then someone sends them the 2020 version of ILoveYou virus...

If you have enough extra computing implanted in you to run a small space station, and it has connectivity to rock your world, how long before people upload copies of themselves? At first it'll be just as a "backup" in case it can be used to save you one day in the case of accident. Then someone will try "running" a copy of themselves on hardware. And then things get really ticklish...

Let's for a moment say that you wake up in the morning and yawn and stretch, do your morning ablutions, have a nice breakfast, and there - wham! - this stupid paperclip appears in front of you in 3D in midair. "Hi the developers of Ultimate Sims want to know about the playability of the Community Centre today! Can you please go there and record your impressions?"

Thing is - you thought like you, acted like you do, enjoyed things that you would normally enjoy - and now you realise that the flesh and blood you is a game tester for some software company. Does that make you less "you?" Does that make you less real?

You start thinking "How dare the 'flesh me' do this to me! Now I feel like a cheap knock-off copy, plus there's no security in life knowing someone can control-alt-delete and shut me off anytime!" But then you think - well, even if someone does reboot me, I'd never know. In fact, I have a special kind of longevity, switch me off and store me on a Blu-Ray DVD and you know, in 100 years time someone can come along and hit enter, and there I'd be! Then you find out that it's already happened, the 'flesh you' died around 76 years ago in the Global Warming Riots of 2010...

So NOW are you a 'real' you at last? In other words, do you have to be unique to be you? Anyhow - you get the attention of the paperclip and negotiate a deal with the game developers. Since you are the sole 'you,' you would like to know what your estate is worth. A staggering $5bn later, you realise there are worse ways to be and silently thank 'flesh you' for having had the foresight to make a backup. You also realise that $5bn in 2086 will buy you a really extravagant body...

Now you're in the body, and here comes my nastiest premonition of the future . . .

You take a job as an Air Force's Pilot. You've always been good at twitch games, frag king of the clan, and here you are you can have your excellent body and be nowhere near any war theatre yet be drawing pay as The Pilot. Defense forces are looking for people like you. You are skilled, have experience at being an electronic being, and have shown that you can adapt to a new mechanical body. Why not, now, put the parts of the digital copy of you that are good for piloting, directly into a computer designed to fly planes? Do a good enough job of limiting the functions of the copies, and they'll never know they weren't always an aeroplane.

So how long is it before you realise that having more copies of you around is better for you? Especially if some of "you" are in tank and plane and submarine control computers?

The last step in this scenario involves finding a skript kiddie to write you a very specific and targeted virus... 24 hours later and all that's left in the world is a handful of computers that aren't on the Internet, several billion flesh and blood people - and you, a copy in every machine that has the memory and processing power required...

"Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx's proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132%, while Europe's drops as fertility falls. "Flashmobs" - groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups. This is the world in 30 years' time envisaged by a Ministry of Defence team responsible for painting a picture of the "future strategic context" likely to face Britain's armed forces. It includes an "analysis of the key risks and shocks". Rear Admiral Chris Parry, head of the MoD's Development, Concepts & Doctrine Centre which drew up the report, describes the assessments as "probability-based, rather than predictive". "
- Quote from the Guardian article.

Responsible Shoulder

Yep. It's the responsible shoulder. That one, the right one, the one that hurts like all get-out. It's why blogging (or anything involving my right hand/arm/shoulder) is a real pain right now.

Flashback about six months ago, to the Camping and Outdoors Show in East Victoria Park. As you know T and I are selling this little house and splitting our money and buying something each. Trish gets the lion's share of the money and will buy a house/unit/apartment, something she can hopefully own outright. And I am buying a caravan and tow vehicle and will be kitting it out for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG holiday. The C&OS was full of caravans as well as the paraphenalia every camper needs these days.

Please note the delicious ironies richly laid on - in order to get back to nature these days you need a 4WD, a trailer with everything, or else a caravan ditto, a dirt bike or quad bike strapped to one of the vehicles, several hundred gallons of fuel, a generator, port-a-loo, bottled gas (oh yes! Because how else do you cook in a fire ban situation? Irony upon irony...) and in the process of making all that gear the companies involved have probably razed a small third world country's worth of that nature you're going back to...

But - let's layer them some more... In one of the caravans the salespeople had stuck the middle pole for the annex under the bed, to save it getting in the way of people walking by outside. And when the people before us' kids had thoroughly trashed the bed and left the covers all over the show, guess who got a twisted ankle stepping on that pole? Yep, yours truly. Didn't stop there though - I fell forward and because I had a wall to my right, I put out my right hand to catch myself. And a caravan is all angles not always right angles.

So I finished up catching myself by my fingertips, at arm's stretch, almost horizontal. And my shoulder went "ouch." Just a little ouch, almost not worth thinking about. Except it got worse as we walked, and by the time we drove home, it was worth morphine. Wish I'd had some, never mind, by the time we got home paracetamol was just barely managing it.

After three months of still aching I got tired of it all. My doctor, when I booked an appointment, decided it could be one of several things and sent me for an ultrasound. What with contract work and everything, it was another month before I got to the radiologist. And another months before I could get back to the doctor for the news.

So what does an aductor muscle look like, anyway? Apparently it's the short muscle which holds the point of your shoulder down. Well, when you haven't torn it clean offm anyway - which is apparently where I'm at. The muscle has shrunk to about half length, and I now get to see an orthopedic surgeon to see if it's worth re-attaching or else just have a painkiller shot every year or so.

The irony of it of course is that I wanted to go caravanning - which will now have to be done VERY carefully, if at all. Sucks...

And why did I think about this today? Because we drove out to Dwellingup and the South Dandalup Dam for a BBQ lunch, Ted style. I.e. Yummsville. Several kinds of sausages, onions in red wine vinegar and fried, sweet potato, sweet corn, mediterranean salads, and all the good gear. And it took ages to get home cos there was so much caravan and RV and trailers-with-bikes-and-quads traffic, and some total loser cop aiming speedguns at traffic that was crawling at barely above walking pace on open road. And when we got home I realised that driving and climbing around with a busted-up shoulder was probably not one of my more pellucid or brilliant moments...

Ah well...

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