Friday, August 19, 2005

BBIAB

I'm off to Slovenia for 2 weeks. Might blog, might not... ;)

Missile Attack

Terrorists against freedom, democracy, yadda yadda. Oh, and US Navy ships.

One thing that struck me as I read this. This phrase:


Katyusha rockets were used in all three attacks, officials say.


Wikipedia says:


The term is now often used to describe small artillery rockets in general, whether they are Soviet-derived or originally built.


...which doesn't say much. But given the global "caution" against the US, the market forces present in the various guerrilla situations, and - perhaps most importantly - the constant disposition of large states and powers to see foreign countries as "extensions" of their own, and covertly provide finances, equipment and training to one side or another, are we actually completely (ok, mostly) misguided by seeing things in terms of "terrorists/freedom fighters" against armies?

What are the chances that, in terms of finance, motivation, and sheer persistence, the battles being fought in Aghanistan, in Iraq and in the news are just performances by puppets, largely controlled by shadowy remains of superpowers who obviously can't "fight capitalism" in public?


On another note, here's a pretty picture:


Alphabetti

Just Letters is amusing and intriguing, almost hypnotic. Sometimes, it's just as much fun to watch as it is to participate in.

Black Death - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fun things to think about after reading Wikipedia, #76234. The Black Death created capitalism.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Yang breeds yang...

Russia joins forces with China. "Analysts say China and Russia are signalling they are prepared to counter US dominance in international affairs."

This is a case of one show of might leading to another show of might, and lessons from the Cold War/most other wars teach us where this ends up. But on the other hand, the US has spent the last 60 years building up its global military force, and shows no sign of stopping as it continues to look spacewards. In the face of such hedonistic, idealistic arrogance, is this actually an unavoidable and necessary step towards maintaining some FUBAR status quo?

While many on the left would love to see the US taken down a peg or two, the scope that it restricts itself to is .. well, restrictive. For many, this is a war of words on words, and a battle of values against values. But he whole picture includes not just these (essential) grounds, but also an equally important level of support based on physical might. In other words, an army is something the left refuses to provide. Perhaps this is why many liberals are seen as "sympathisers" of the ruthless enemies of the Western World - terrorists and world leaders alike - and why the left will always be the first to question the difference between a "suicide bomber" and a "freedom fighter">

Meanwhile, the right understands firepower. It's simple. it's technical, it doesn't argue back. It acts as defence, but in two ways - defence against any marauding parties of course, but also defence against changing oneself - a tool to preserve the way of life and the values of the bearer. Better to fight than to change, et al.

How do we learn? From catastophe or crisis, usually. I wouldn't bet that it's any different this time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Britain == Business

Something to realise - the most important thing in Britain today, for those that "run" it - is money, which means big businesses are more important than small businesses, and business men/women are more important than anyone else.

Only official sponsors can mention certain Olympics-related keywords.

How great - "London/Britain" wins the Olympic Games, but then it's all kept out of the hands of the people who actually live here. (Anyone have any rough idea what rough "percentage" of business made out of the olympics will disppear into large multinationals?)

Is it any wonder that financial sectors are considered a target?

See also...

The 2012 marketing minefield

The Olympics and the need to make money

Why London won the Olympics

And if Michael Howard is right, being British means selling out anyone you know to scrape in the spondulies. You can't just "invent" an identity. Unless you're on the Internet :) And when he says "There are people, as we have seen recently, who are fundamentally hostile to the values of this country", perhaps we should take a moment to figure out how nice we are to each other first?

Maybe it's about time "we" start thinking about what's important to us - not what values politicians and marketing gumpf wants us to think. Step foward, ideas.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Cannabis cafe raided

While i'm on the Argus site, this one makes me laugh at times, but also makes me utterly depressed. Cannabis cafe raided:


[Police] said complaints from the public and council leaders had become more frequent over the last three months and they had been planning yesterday's operation for six weeks.


Unfortunately, nowhere in the article does it go into detail of these complaints. It only mentions...


One man ... said: "We see all types of people going in there to get drugs. You name it, there are mums with children and people with walking sticks and crutches."


Yeah, sounds like trouble to me. Better shut the place down. Damn pregnant woman - all hormonal, never know what they're going to do next. Might just flip out and go crazy.

A day in the knife

Never let it be said that Brighton isn't full of crazy people.

(Link looks temporary, will try to remember to update tomorrow...)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Morning Walk notes

For the self

1. We can think of our perception of ourself in the same way as we perceive others, i.e. actions that we perceive (our own motions, or anything in others) are echoes of intent buried deeper in the "mind". (This is basically intention vs awareness.)

2. In order to explore where this intention comes from and what it "looks like", we need to stop thinking and merely observe. Active thinking gets in the way of observing.

3. Intention is intrinsically linked to sensorial data, but usually the amount of incoming data is too huge to be able to observe fully (like watching an unfiltered packet log). Therefore, start out small - block out certain senses and concentrate on environments that focus on one sense at a time (e.g. closing your eyes while a clock ticks, or a quiet room with a moving light).

(4. Sidenote: Realising that there is no such thing as "free will" (as most people would like to define it) is the first step to creating simulative models of thought?)

For society and evolution

4. Societies are emegent aggregations of individuals. Is the "optimum" individual to be in that society, then, that which is closest to the idea of an "avergae" individual? If so, are societies self-regulatory, naturally imposing forces upon individuals to keep to that average? Furthermore, is this a generic rule for any system made up of "individuals" or nodes? Are there "forces" placed on, say, neural nodes that naturally weed out nodes that are inherently different? If so, are all these systems "survival seeking" by nature? (Stability isn't just an evolutionary advantage - it's required for something to exist in the first place, and non-stability (aka normalisation) = non-existence.) If so, are humans and animals just one (tiny?) system that naturally - i.e. by it's nature of existing - have a want/need/pre-requirement to maintain themselves, but which only we call "survival" for some reason?

5. If 4, does this place altruism vs self-interest in a different realm of understanding? If everything is a fractal series of "survival system" layers, then self-interest could be considered of necessity to any particular "lower layer" (i.e. the individual in a group, a node in a brain, etc) and altruism could be considered of necessity to the upper layer (i.e. a pull towards the larger "entity/system").

6. How, then, do groups evolve? And if individuals are groups, can we scale up the factors that evolve individuals to apply to groups too? This would weigh, it seems, on the idea of how we can create "larger", more stable groups, e.g. on a global scale (but also on a local scale too). Understanding the factors that lead to evolution of any system mean that our actions are morely likely to take effect. Practically speaking, this means we should stop trying to come up with ideas for "progress" merely on the ideas merits, and instead come up with ideas based on how well they'll work. Become an "effectiveness-oriented" thinker.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

UK petrol prices hit new record

BBC News: UK petrol prices hit new record

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable says:


"I think it's quite likely that prices will continue to rise in the short and medium term - by that I mean weeks and months ... But there is a sort of basic law here that what goes up must come down. High prices lead to low prices and I think too many people are assuming that this period of very high prices is going to continue indefinitely, and it won't."


Now, I have some faith in economic cycles etc, but surely it's a little remiss to claim that, in the long term, prices will flatten out and we'll all be happy little drivers...

The other interesting thing, for me, is how this relates to the various market swings as influenced by the interest rates. The balance between production and debt is pretty fine these days, but both are hit pretty hard if the price of oil and petrol go up - twicefold, as consumers pay both for their own usage, and for that used in the production of stuff they buy, while businesses pay in the production stage, and indirectly as consumers have less money to buy their stuff.

In other words, are we being squeezed yet?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Licensing Search v0.0.1

Very soft launching, as I need a small number of testers. Have knocked up an attempt at letting people search through alcohol and entertainment license applications, in light of the August 6th deadline to apply for extended hours.

There are 2 aspects to this testing:

1. Accessibility/browser testing - I don't have anything other than Firefox and Konqueror. (OK, and Lynx.)
2. Content accuracy - I've parsed some PDFs, but only looked up a few pubs that I know.

Here it is if you want to try it out: Brighton and Hove Licensing Search

Release Notes:

1. The original documents have very bad formatting (no commas, etc) so I've done some rough cleaning. Addresses still appear without commas though - something I hope to address soon.

2. The data covers applications up to the 24th, so there are still a fair few pubs and venues not in there. The Council are supposed to be releasing the latest lot "soon"...

3. Also hopiing to add more links for information, etc.

Any feedback, feel free to leave comments here, on the news item there, or via e-mail to beerfind [at] exmosis [dot] net.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

London bombers 'used hair bleach'

I hereby call for Bleach and alarm clocks to be banned!