Sunday, July 03, 2016

Seven billion egos rubbing against each other.

Seven billion is an exageration.

Before the internet, the step from ones opinion being something only those around one were exposed to being a matter of public record was quite a large one; to attain a wider audience requires publication in a newspaper or some other public media.  Even then, a letter in the newspaper was usually ephemeral, memoral mainly to the parties involved; unless uttered by a celebrity, the currency that the average person's expressed opinion would likely make on the world was limited.  The space between the pub or college debating team and being Morrissey or Bill Clinton was vaste.  And, mostly, it still is.

But does it feel like that to the average citizen of the internet? 

I can now publish my opinion on a medium that is potentially accessible to most people.  Yes, the chances are that two people are reading this blog post, but potentially, with-out any further publication, it could reach billions. You don't even need to understand English; the internet will translate it for you.  You don't even need to be able to read (though it helps); the internet can find it for you and then read it to you.  But, mostly, that won't happen.


Well.  Before the internet, I think that we perhaps had a better sense of our scale in the scheme of things.  If I said something in my local pub, the ripples it made were unlikely to extend beyond irritation at the surrounding tables.  Now, one can find oneself pilloried around the world.  And possibly agreed with and adored, though more likely pilloried.

And we're all aware of it.

Perhaps this has gone to our collective heads.  My opinion on what some-one on the other side of the world writes suddenly matters.  Suddenly, one person can make a difference.  One has to press the like button on posts I agree with.  One has to public chastise persons with an unacceptable point of view.

There's a subtle pressure to have, and express, an opinion on everything.

Perhaps it's given us performance anxiety.

In this world of near universal access to so many of our expressed thoughts, good manners, perhaps, are more important than ever.  Somebody out there is saying something that I think is wrong, or stupid; is my saying so likely to make them think again, or likely to make them angry?  Is it necessary that we agree on everything? Those are questions more than opinions.

Peace out, brothers and sisters.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Japan! Rocks!

I may have mentioned this from time to time.

This is a shrine, in a cave in Fujiyama.

You can go down the caves.

And see ice.

There are also lumps of two hundred and something year old rock lying around.

Exploding drones.

This is not an original thought.

I found myself lying in bed, thinking about malicious minds controlling drones, packed woith explosives, sending them to an arena.

Drones with guns attached.

Or, less chillingly, drones with cameras, peeking in windows.  Private moments posted online by strangers.

I read an article in the Guardian about crashed drones around a prison, being used to deliver drugs and mobiles.

We're at the point now where folk can use these things to anonymously transport goods, and anonymously record in places where one would hitherto have had an expectation of privacy.

It's only a matter of times before they are used for something serious.

Of course, they already are being used for war, but I'm not talking about those. That's a whole other nightmare.

There's no simple solution. Ban commercial sale? Compulsory registration? Good luck with that. Criminals won't have much trouble bypassing such controls.  Green lasers are illegal in Sweden, yet I've personally seen them in a action; in fact, been attacked with one.  Teenagers have used them on bus and tram drivers.  Though controls might limit abuse to canny criminals, and the more technologically aware prankster.

Physical impediments? Anti drone technology?  Drone police?  Sounds tricky.  Sounds like something that could turn into 1984.

But doing nothing essentially invites disaster.

Drones might save Amazon some money, but they have potentially very large consequences for all of us.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Way too early.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The starving hoards of...

The internet can be a bountiful place.

A few years ago, I discovered American radio episodes of The Saint
from the 1950s,
available for free download.  I've been listening to them lately, and they're interesting.

Besides being entertaining, they're like time capsules.  Most obviously, they reflect the social attitudes of the time; the men are unapologetical womanisers, for example.  The drinking, the casual violence... well, it is fiction.

But most interesting for me is the messages at the end.

At the end of most episodes, the starring actor, usually Vincent Price, will give voice to a social message.

One of these is an appeal for money to send food packages to undernourished families in Europe.

How quickly we forget. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

By Shinto!

As I used to say a lot in my childhood, with no idea what it meant.  War comics were still very popular when I was growing up.

Lucy lead us to a lot of shrines when were in Japan. Some were massive.  Some contained museums.  Several were hundreds of years old.  We saw shrines with hundreds of Tori gates,

one had Tori gates out a sea...

But this one was a bit different.

It was mentioned in Lucy's guide book, tucked away on a back street in Tokyo.  So small that it took us a while to realise that this is what we were searching for.


In Japan, even the manhole covers are cool.

I should have taken photographs of more of these.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A couple of thoughts.

Sometimes, one has probably hair-brained ideas that one lacks an effective forum for. If one happens to be me, they end up here. I saw a documentary on T.V. a few years ago called "Änglar med skit på vingarna." ("Angels with shit on their wings"; it's in Norwegian).

It is about how eagles are killed by wind turbines along the Norwegian coast; they can't see them.

And I wondered why they don't surround them with a thin wire mesh. Not enough to block the wind, enough to block the birds.

And I have read and listened to a lot of criticism about hydroelectric power.

They wipe of fish; on one major river in Sweden, less than 0.1% of some species survive the journey through the four power stations along it's course.

Plus, rotting vegetation that is a result of flooding caused by the dams can create serious levels of carbon emissions, depending on location; in Brazil, it can take decades for the dams to create enough power to make up for the damage they cause.

Plus, they are made less effective by rivers freezing in the Winter, when power is needed the most.

And I though, why not build smaller turbines, micro-turbines, again with meshing, along the bed of the river? They'd be relatively difficult to maintain, what with silting, but, no dead fish, year round power, no need for dams.

As I said, probably hair-brained. But i don't know who to send them to in order to be ridiculed publicly. So you get to read them. Lucky you! :p