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Friday, September 30, 2005

90% True » I Am A Terrorist

90% True » I Am A Terrorist

Who knows if this actually happened, but it's an excellent story - should be titled: "How being a smartass can get you in trouble"

Science wins in Australia

Commentary, September 30, 2005

Australian children will not be subjected to the content-free ramblings of Intelligent Design in Science Class any time soon.

This is what happens when a real scientist (Dr Nelson is a GP by training) is put in charge of education, science and training.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sifting through the Loads of Crap

The Swinging Gate: Media Lecture I: Sifting through the Loads of Crap

A good read on the importance of critical thinking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Five for fighting - Superman

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird…I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd…but don’t be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede
Even Heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away…away from me
Well it’s all right…You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy…or anything

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
inside of me ...... inside of me

I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
I’m only a man looking for my dream
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet

It’s not easy
It’s not easy to be me

When I take over the world – Part 1

You thought I was kidding about that, didn’t you?

Fact is I’ve put a lot of thought into it. In my mind I’ve drawn up plans for a virtually utopian society where all mundane tasks and decisions are taken care of on your behalf, thus allowing you the opportunity to spend your time and mental bandwidth on truly worthwhile pursuits like art, philosophy or science.

One of the ways I’ll accomplish this is through automation. I’ll replace all public servants (with the exception of teachers and some police personnel) with an enormous Computer.

I’ll go into more details about that in a later post, this post is about one particular function that computer will carry out: arranged marriages.

This Computer will contain a comprehensive amount of information about every single person on the planet – not just gender and date of birth – it’ll include the results of every test you took at school, the names of all your classmates, the URL of every website you’ve ever visited, the email address of every person you’ve ever made contact with, your medical history and genetic profile and so on… far more information than any dating website has.

When you reach the age of 21 (or whatever predetermined age I decide on) the Computer runs a complex, carefully designed algorithm comparing your personal history with everyone else’s. This process will eventually result in the selection of one candidate who is ideally suited to you. The Computer will register the marriage, and reassign both of you to the same residential unit. (yeah, my new society will be roughly Communist, nobody will actually own any property. Living quarters will be assigned to each person by the Computer according to their requirements)

I should imagine that part of the algorithm will ensure that the two of you have met and had correspondence before, so you won’t be shacking up with a complete stranger. I should think that common friends and experiences would make for a stronger match… but I’m no expert. I’ll leave that decision until I have the advice of an expert to consult.

I reckon that’s a way better way of doing it. Eliminating all the guess-work from relationships seems like a brilliant plan. No more awkward first-dates, no more trying to decide who makes the first move, no more divorces… everyone can just relax and let the Computer take care of it.

Now, doesn’t that sound cool?

I would appreciate some opinions about all this… it’ll help me refine my plans.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Will we merge with machines?

Transhumanistically this is all very exciting. Medical technology going beyond simply repairing deficiencies, but actually granting us extra abilities.

The stem-cell sperm idea is also an intersting one. I'm no geneticist, but I wonder if it would be possible to use stem-cells from a female to create sperm, thus giving lesbian couples the ability to bear their own genetic offspring. If the reverse is also true - using stem-cells from a male to build an egg - and by combining this with artifical womb technology also under development, it would allow male homosexual couples the same ability.

I also like the idea of installing a chip in my brain to enhance my memory... of course that means a whole new aspect to my IT upgrade budget.

Resistance may not be futile, but it may be way less fun.

Displacement

Our business unit moved to this building almost a year ago. Since then, my team and I have had our little spot – a section of an open-plan office that belonged to us. We’ve been shunted up and down a little, but we’ve always been more-or-less in the same spot.

For the last week or so, the rest of my team have been out on respective sites. I’ve remained alone in the office because all my work at the moment is done online, so I don’t need to be physically close to systems or users.

On Friday afternoon, the manager of another department came up to me and informed me that she had arranged with my new manager that her department were taking over our section of the office, and we had to move to another section as of Monday morning.

Perhaps it’s because of my state of mind at the moment due to my current personal situation, but I’ve taken particular exception to this.

In this new section there aren’t enough vacant desks for all of us. Sure, I’m the only one here right now, but what happens in a month or two when everyone else comes back? Where will they sit? Or are they assuming that enough of us will resign by then so it won’t be a problem?

And thanks a million to our new manager… so far I haven’t been impressed with her. I’ve had two exchanges with her since she took over: first she pussyfooted around approving my leave for next month, and now she sold us out without even informing us herself! As if it wasn’t disturbing enough to hear last week that our former boss is being shipped home to the UK, now we’ve lost our space as well?

This spot sucks – no nice chickies to look at, no window with a spectacular view, the desks here are smaller, there aren’t enough network points, all the chairs here are broken – are they trying to tell us something?

Okay, so it’s closer to the coffee machine, but still not close enough for me to see when a fresh pot is being made. It just means I get less exercise taking my hourly stroll to the pause area.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Java Jive

My only real vice is coffee.

My parents didn’t buy into the urban myth that coffee stunts children’s growth, which resulted in my having a morning cup of coffee every day of my life as long as I can remember. (at 1.94 meters tall, I think we can consider that myth “busted”)

Once I moved out of my parents’ house it got a little more complicated since I had to make my own coffee, but at least I could live on the stuff at work.

I’m not a total caffeine junkie – I watch my intake carefully. I’m sure to keep it below an average of 700mg per day, which is the limit recommended by the FDA (that equates to about three cups of filter coffee, seven espressos, twenty cokes, seventy chocolate bars and so on).

My habit has hit a further snag in recent months, however: for some reason I don’t understand, I am no longer able to tolerate instant coffee.

At first it was just the cheapo brands that have more chicory in them than actual coffee. The good instant stuff was still adequate.

But now even Nescafe Select and Ciro don’t do it for me anymore. Just the thought of that swill sends shivers up my spine.

So it would seem that it’s filter coffee for me from now on. Not only am I an addict, but now I’m a coffee snob too. I’ll have to buy a coffee machine for the farm.

Monday, September 12, 2005

My African farm


Here it is: my farm.

Okay, so it’s not a whole farm, it’s just a farm-house on someone else’s game-farm, but it’s mine.

Okay, it’s not only mine, it belongs to my sisters and my father as well, but it’s partially mine.

It’s frikken sweet though -- six bedrooms, two bathrooms, trees, antelope, stars, running water, electricity – the works!

I can’t wait to start using this bad boy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Another promotion!

I received this email today

To: Commander Owen Swart, Second Officer, USS Dauntless, NCC-74214
From: Fleet Captain Tom Donohoe, Commanding Officer, USS Dauntless,
NCC-74214

Owen Swart you are hereby requested and required to repair forthwith and assume the post of Executive Officer, USS Dauntless, NCC-74214. Please report to the Commanding Officer to assume your post


For the uninitiated, 'Executive Officer' is another name for 'First Officer'
- second in command of the ship!

I've only been SO for a couple of months, and I'm already moving up again! How cool is that?

All I need to do is complete my Command qualifications, and it'll all be official.

I suppose this means I'd better start watching my language. need to set an example and all that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Go Gene!

"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will--and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."
- Gene Roddenberry

What I think Gene overlooked here was the pseudoscientific/pseudoreligious faction like Sitchin who merely substitute the word "prophet" with "expert". They too are playing on followers' igorance to make a quick buck. Just as idiotic and just contemptible.

Nokia - Nokia 6280 Phone

Nokia - Nokia 6280 Phone

I'm 6 months away from my next upgrade, so I'm starting to shop for a new phone.

So far, this is the front-runner.

It's a beaut - 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth, USB, MiniSD, 2 cameras and flash, Series 40 OS... I like what I see.

I've only ever had "candy-bar" shape phones before, and I'm a little sceptical about the idea of a phone that has moving parts. But they seem quite popular at the moment, and I since it was designed by Nokia, I trust it.

I'm going to miss the little joystick thingi on the 6600. I was sceptical about that too, at first, but I've really come to rely on it.

But I'm not going to miss the 6600's unstable Series 60 operating system and the restrictive 32mb memory card.