Monday, 28 August 2017
Friday, 25 August 2017
Monday, 21 August 2017
Saturday, 19 August 2017
There are some people that deserve it, but they were human too, with faults like the rest of us, they just pressed on with something and achieved more.
On the other hand, for historians, sculptures of individuals have shown us what public figures looked like. I just don't think we should worship them. It's God's little joke that pigeons poop on them ;)
Bill Henderson creative commons
"... The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with ...
I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging.
... For myself, if I caught a black actually killing my sheep, I would shoot him with as little remorse as I would a wild dog, but no consideration on earth would induce me to ride into a camp and fire on them indiscriminately, as is the custom whenever the smoke is seen. They [the Aborigines] will very shortly be extinct. It is impossible to say how many have been shot, but I am convinced that not less than 450 have been murdered altogether...". Gippsland squatter Henry Meyrick wrote in a letter home to his relatives in England in 30th April, 1846.
Much of the genocide of the Aboriginals, (and slavery of Torres Straits and other peoples up North) in Australia has been swept under the carpet , ignored in history books, and hidden by family historians. (A Scottish ancestor of mine was one of the original settlers of this district. I don't know if he was a member of McMillan's Highland band posse or not. He was a shipwright, which was needed, so I imagine too busy . ) We cannot criticise apartheid in South Africa, or slavery fought for by General Lee, without taking a good hard look at ourselves, and what we have erected in our public spaces. If it's a cairn to mark a significant route, then fine. If it aggrandises a racist bully, not fine.
If Angus McMillan's life choices were weighed by God and found not to be wanting, in the balance, then let's leave the memorials up as his route markers, being an explorer. However, having an electoral division, scout halls, streets and public schools etc named after him , as they are, might be due for reconsideration. Certainly I think the aboriginal community would appreciate it.
In 40,000 years, before white settlement, I don't think they put up any large figurative sculptures celebrating any particular persons. They also didn't destroy their environment. Who was more civilised, us, or them?
Friday, 18 August 2017
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Well after the excitement of taking off we were up in the clouds and then above them, it was surreal, so beautiful and somehow, heavenly, now I started to fiddle with the gadget in front of me, oh my god, I can watch many films, play music and go on the internet. I thought I would leave that one, so it was music and films all the way, interrupted by lunch,afternoon tea, dinner and a snack late in the evening, then some sleep. Next morning, it was breakfast, every meal was lovely and was enough to sustain you, the crew were incredible, and made sure that your every need was catered for. 18 hours, how on earth does a plane carry enough fuel and all those passengers and baggage, all that way and stay in the air, absolutely incredible!
By this time I was getting a bit restless, I was a bit fed up of sitting down, then we got the announcement that we were approaching Hong Kong. As we came down for landing the levels of excitement started to build again. Looking out the window I could see all the skyscrapers and buildings packed close together, we circled around the city and began our final descent, until touchdown. We were on terra firma.
We were guided from the plane into the entrance, I was looking around in excitement with the knowledge that this young lady was waiting for me, or at least I hoped she was, then it struck me, what if she wasn't? I had never given that a thought, still I could sort that if it happened. Entering the building, still looking around, I noticed a number of people standing with placards of passenger names. I did not take any notice as I knew where I was supposed to go to get my internal flight into the Centre of China, so I was looking for the channel to allow me to proceed to my next flight. Then my subconscious came into play and I was aware that I needed to look behind me. There it was , my name written on a placard being held by a pretty Chinese lady. I told her that I was the person she was looking for and she said we must hurry as my connecting flight was soon. So we ran through the crowds, rushed through a huge crowd of people waiting to go through security, my passport was quickly checked and through we went, out of breath. The poor girl was scarlet in colour, she told me to wait and went to her desk, a few minutes later she came back and apologised, as my plane had been delayed, and would be an hour late, well at least I was in the right place and did not have to wait in the queue at security.
So I joined the queue at the security point and waited my turn,, now only 3/4 of an hour late I was wondering if she would still be here waiting? My mind was working overtime, when I arrived at the booth to show my passport, the man in the booth looked at me. I smiled at him to try to encourage him to let me through, his gaze went to my passport and then his computer screen, he picked up his phone and within half a minute I had a soldier guiding me to a chair near some offices. He gestured me to sit, and stood by me as a guard, his manner was very professional and calm, and I felt no threat. I noticed how smart he was in his uniform, I waited for 15 minutes, and an official came out and gave me my passport and was very polite and apologised for the delay and that I could proceed on my journey. I was so impressed by the method of this process, so polite and professional.
I recounted my experience at school with the project and wanted to see a tea garden while I was here, also I had been told of some negative things about the food and the animal care here, but I was going to keep an open mind and judge what I experience. So passport safely stowed away, baggage in hand, or at least being pulled behind me off I went to the arrivals lounge.
Sorry next instalment soon, must eat !
China, what an amazing place! I was captivated when I was at school, probably the only subject that inspired me, like another contributor here, my life at school sucked, to use a modern term, but it was no good for me, that can be another story later.
One of the things I was required to do was a project involving a manufacturing process, we had 3 weeks in which to complete it, it started slow, like my brain, just could not think of a subject that I had knowledge of. The teacher was not best pleased that at the end of the allotted time I got zero marks, had no work, but he did show his appreciation, he gave me 500 lines as a gift, and a ruler across the knuckles five times,, this of course spurred me into activity, Mum wanted to know how I got the injury, and why I had 500 lines. ( Those that don't know what 500 lines are,, you have to write out a sentence related to your crime 500 times ).
I was a little nervous seeing him for my next lesson, but he was really nice and encouraged me to try my project again, I think it was a ploy to occupy me while the rest of the class progressed onto other work that baffled me, so I went to the library and found this book on China, and was mesmerised, and spent hours trying to read it, no not in Chinese, in English, my reading ability and maths was shocking for a boy of 14. However this book had my attention and I produced a project based on China tea, it was mainly a large sheet of cardboard with a pictorial display of the tea growing process, with a scribble which I told them was writing, that interest gave me a impetus to start to discover other educational needs.
Along comes the Summer of 2010 and I felt like a holiday. The house had been plastered and alot of other things had been completed, and I needed a break. I had my computer up and running and was searching for a holiday destination. While I had forgotten about China, it did not occur to me to look that far away until I saw an advert for a dating site for Chinese women. So I am a man, I was curious, so in I went and looked, " umm tasty" I thought, but it was obvious that it was a bit of a scam. Not deterred, I chose another site, and thought I would leave a profile. After 14 years living alone, I thought I could combine a holiday and a date at the same time. I met a delightful lady, and we seemed to have much in common, so no commitment, off I went to China.
Sunday, 13 August 2017
Robots may never take all our jobs
The potential of foresight
What is a robot? Wikipedia defines it as “a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically”. Robots have existed for decades. They’ve been evolving for decades and they will continue to evolve for decades. The only limitation is the complexity of the actions that the robots are able to complete.
It doesn’t take a futurist, a technologist or even a journalist to work out that robots are getting smarter and more able-bodied every year. They’re also doing so a heck of a lot faster than we are.
That last sentence is probably the most worrying part. Think about it. It’s 2070. Your grandson wants to replace his iPhone, except your grandson’s IQ is 140, while his phone’s IQ is over 500 and it was running several hundred apps in the background while it sat the test. It’s a safe bet that his phone will be replacing him, not the other way around.
It might not happen overnight but if his phone can produce reports, negotiate contractual terms, mow the lawn and stimulate his girlfriend faster and more effectively than he can, a certain amount of replacement is bound to take place.One of the most powerful arguments against the world’s police forces becoming Robocop and the world’s dancers becoming Roboboogie is that humans will simply find other things to do. If for example, your robot housekeeper has an argument with your robot toaster, you might be required to weigh in and settle the dispute, not because you have the best answer or understand the language that the two are speaking but simply because you’re the homeowner and it’s ultimately the quality of your toast that is being argued over. How do we know that it will still be our toast though? What’s to stop robots buying our houses and using our food as a fuel source?
Humans are currently capable of anticipating and preparing for almost all aspects of the future better than robots. This means that in theory, as we increasingly anticipate a machine takeover, we will still have plenty of time to legislate against any excessive use of unemployment-creating robotics before our existing way of life is destroyed. There may still be task-specific and even industry-specific unemployment in the short-term as emerging technologies replace certain jobs but we will have the opportunity to create laws and organisations that protect against the obsolescence of the entire national labour force. Will we take that opportunity?
When looking for an indication of how humanity handles the macro issues that threaten it, environmental damage is an example that we might turn to. We have known about the possible implications of greenhouse gasses and resource depletion for generations and yet the general consensus seems to be that not enough is being done to combat the threat. Many scientists are worried that because large bodies of water and ice take centuries to respond to changes in temperature, the effects of our current actions may be devastating, yet hard to forecast and even harder to stop, yet we are taking action. We are innovating.
Fortunately, the onset of our substitution with the inhuman cast of the Transformers movies is likely to be more rapid and more obvious than climate change. It may be more comparable to the development of nuclear weapons or genetic engineering. Easy to spot. Relatively straightforward to outlaw. Potentially devastating and hard to completely insure against but so was SARS and humanity seized control of the disease relatively quickly.
Will robots take all our jobs? Maybe but maybe not. We’ll see them coming. In fact, we’ve already started thinking about it.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
Set a limit to the number of toilet rolls you can blow your nose on while weeping. One for every year you've been together should be more than enough, and stick to it.
If you're tempted to cheat and use soft tissues to make your nose less sore and crusty, this is not acceptable as it will only encourage more weeping, and discomfort and vanity are strong deterrents that can be used to good effect in your quest to stop blubbing.
Buy an A4 pad and write down all his faults. These can range from licking his plate in restaurants, to wearing his socks until they crack. If you run out of paper (don't worry this is normal) just reread what you've written and consider the merits of buying another pad, or possibly reassessing just how broken hearted you really should be?
Leave one sheet of your A4 pad to list his good qualities. If you run out of space, (this isn't normal) you're delusional enough to start toying with a glorious revenge plan, which is much easier than trying to think of any more nice things, and far more fun. This will also flood the pleasure receptors in your brain and have those tears of yearning turn to twinkles of evil glee before you know it.
If your revenge plan is likely to get you locked up, read your Fault List again and ask yourself if it's really worth it. Chances are you'll decide it still is, but have a cream bun and focus on the likelihood of sweet treat rations in high security isolation wards probably being as rare as a man hoovering.
Which brings me nicely on to just how much less mess you'll now have to clear up. His toilet trashing, towel hanging hang ups, empty loo roll lapses, muddy boot bonanzas, bread crumb blindness and dust level delusions will all be a thing of the past.
All this extra time you'll have due to not arguing about housework, can now be devoted to self improvement, self indulgence, or self loathing. It's your choice, but if you opt for self loathing, make a video of yourself sobbing and snorting in self pity and watch it back to see how attractive you look and sound. This might prompt you into a bit of self discovery and make you far keener on opting for self improvement or at the very least self indulgence.
This being the case, cream buns can be extended to treacle toffee pudding or even death by chocolate cake, just don't take it too literally. Alcohol of any kind will enhance your self indulgent binge no end, but if you get down to the sherry bottle and are torn between knocking it back or saving it to make Aunt Tillys Christmas trifle, do the right thing........I'm sure she'll understand.
Having gorged yourself into a coma and or hangover (or as I like to call it a Comaover) you may feel like weeping again, and I highly recommend ramping up the experience by seeking out some rogue clothing he's left under the bed to inhale his god like musky molecules. Hopefully it'll be a sock that's hardened into a piece of old cheese that will jolt you out of your pathetic pining, but if it's a t-shirt fragrant with his favourite aftershave or just has that special him smell, don't worry, this is an ideal opportunity to use the one cheat you're allowed in my plan and go ahead and blow your nose on it.
Purged of his personal artefacts that you'll ever want to sob over or into again, you can now turn your attention to your treasure tin containing all those precious little gifts and love notes he sent you. This is a tricky dilemma because if they were gorgeous and clever and witty or indeed valuable, you may want to keep them, because remember you did inspire him to write them. As for any valuables, well you can get a good price for melted gold and or precious stones, and if he has by some miracle managed to nail your taste by giving you something you actually like, think of it as an heirloom you can pass on to the children of your future husband. This may sound outrageous right now, but trust me in 50 years time it's value will far outweigh its history and no one will care.
Moving on to a future boyfriend or husband, which of course is impossible to imagine right now, were it not for the fact that you just can't stop imagining it.......
This is the ideal time to dilute your broken hearted misery, by signing up to a keep fit club so you can cry over the disgusting state of your body instead. The benefits will not be immediate as this additional humiliation may make you feel suicidal, but hang on in there, and the pain of your aching heart will quickly be replaced by that of your aching muscles, and you'll have a much better chance of bagging a new man the longer you stick at it.
So having passed the half way mark and embraced your living hell of aloneness by accepting you simply must make an effort not to be, your mind may turn to a new pair of shoes and or a top. This will involve a hideous mooch round the shops and you may well be harbouring a very real dread of bumping into anyone you know, or indeed him.
This is perfectly normal, but the longer you leave it the more shoe sales you'll miss, so ring a friend for moral support and get to it. Of course if you have no friends because you dropped them all in favour of him, you might feel the need to go a bit incognito.
If it's summer, dark glasses and a very large brimmed floppy hat are perfectly acceptable, however in winter, sun glasses will never do teamed up with a woolly bobble hat, so you may want to consider a burka, balaclava, or crash helmet (Amazon do loads online) However, you'll probably be high on sugar or hungover enough (but lets face it probably both) not to care, and have quite a few stress spots to help in your disguise, which will thankfully deter anyone from wanting to speak to you anyway.
Once you're out and about, even if you've been brazen enough to go for a crash helmet free look and been blessed with a spotless complexion, you will still feel like you have a sign over your head saying Just Dumped Because I'm Worthless.
It isn't imaginary, and everyone does of course know this due to your ridiculous rants on Facebook after polishing off Aunt Tilly's trifle sherry, but those who don't avoid you like a dose of Small Pox for fear of knowing who he'sseeing now, and or how pathetic you are, will possibly be real friends and it's a good Litmus Test for sorting out future liaisons. They may also have some dishy male friends or brothers and be riddled with sympathy to the point of asking you to their next house party.
So having bagged yourself an invite to what could be the answer to your dream come true meeting with the future love of your life, you will be feeling almost euphoric, which is just the right time to kiss your new bezzy mates goodbye, trot round the corner and bump into him. Yes, he will be smiling and gorgeous and of course he will be arm in arm with a new her.
I did mention crash helmets, balaclavas or burkas, so you only have yourself to blame. You will now need to get home asap because having watched that video of yourself in your self loathing phase, you'll be very keen not to scatter the public with a repeat performance outside TopShop or indeed on the bus.
I suggest a taxi because the drivers are used to delirious women and will probably just turn the music up to drown out your agonised snorts and stifled snuffles.
You may get a sympathetic ear for 2 minutes, but be warned it will turn into a 'I can top that just listen to my tale of woe', so try and remain stoic by focusing on the nine times table, or how many bottoms you have to go with your new shoes n top until you get home.
Once safely there, you can fall into a stupendous sobbing session made far worse by your earlier decision to throw away all his artefacts that you now want to inhale or rip to shreds.
In their absence why not pop on some really depressing music and if the two of you had aspecial song, all the better. Put it on repeat and wallow in agonised memories of sublime happiness, topped only by how much you now want to find out who she is. Magnifying her every physical defect and convincing yourself that her bland prettiness will just be making up for her penchant for saying Babes a lot and being as annoying as a gnat will help. Unfortunately Facebook has yet to conquer scorched memory recognition into their arsenal of making acquaintances, so you'll just have to rely on 'someone will be almost spontaneously combusting to tell you' syndrome, and trust me, this won't take long.
Recovering from the Mother of all Comaovers and having accepted that killing yourself to blight their happiness with guilt would unfortunately involve you dying, you are now at the perfect turning point to start refocusing on those new shoes and or top, and the fact that you have a party to go to. Besides which, your toilet rolls are running perilously low, and you need to get a grip!
HERES MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE
If you don't want to look like a hay fever sufferer who's run into a exploding bag of pollen, stick some cucumber on your eyes and a dollop of E45 cream on your tomato like nose, and lay back and listen to a self help tape about 'Success Being The Greatest Revenge', or better still 'Whatever Doesn't Kill You Had Better Start Running'.
Buoyed up on bullshit and feeling like a cross between Boudicca, and Beyoncé belting out 'All The Single Ladies', you can now start the long painstaking process of getting ready toPartay!
So YOU HAVE SURVIVED. There is no pain or humiliation left to conquer. You are Ready To Rumble, and hell bent on making the most of your Single And About To Mingle status.
The day long preparation beginning with your keep fit class, topped off with your tastefully low key fake tan, followed by four hours of batheing, grooming, preening and primping have left you feeling like a butterfly emerging from a putrid old grub. You even splashed out on an awesome pair of skin tight black jeans to go with your shoes n top, and as you stare back at your reflection in the mirror you actually feel pretty damn good.
While you wait for your taxi, (hoping it's a different driver from the one who rescued from your mortifying sob fest) you just have enough time to stick on 'Its Raining Men' and smile in anticipation of the great night to come. There's a beep outside and you grab your bag to go.......
You've made it through girl, you're amazing and it's the start of 'Things Can Only Get Better!'
Just DO NOT pick up that phone as you walk out the door.......!