You are viewing prof_null

11 August 2012 @ 08:17 am
I have been using a laptop every day during my commute and for no good reason that I can discern, this Blog refuses to load on it.

This is nuts: I probably spend more time on the net during those times than I do at home now, so in the interests of being able to post to my own blog I am moving to a Blogger blog of the same name. 
I am not happy about this: I will lose the friends page and the niceties of layout offered by LJ, but if nobody but me can read it and only on some computers that is just plain stupid.

Here is where you will find me in future.
See you over there.
According to this article, the drought in America may well lead to unrest in poorer countries dependent on that same US food supply.
This is the real scary world we live in: stockmarket speculators make a lot of money out of sending the global prices wacko.
Surely there is something that can be done to curb this madness?  . . and don't get me started on the whole "sending food to poor countries" thing: It's a real ugly can of worms too.
06 July 2012 @ 06:47 pm
Every day I take trains to and from work. Our local rail system is very good as far as I am concerned: we have double- decked trains that make the whole system much more efficient since the platforms are only so long, the trains must be about three minutes apart for safety and it always looked much better than the single deck trains in that other city south of here.
 . . . . but then along comes this report. . . .
"Fast, high-capacity, single-deck trains means we can move more people every hour than regular double-deck services"
I don't believe that. I just don't. It does not even sound credible to me. Even if the trains were faster, you still need to leave a safety gap between services, and i don't see where this would result in a greater number of people moved in that same time period.

Okay, maybe you could make a faster service: but this becomes in essence a completely new rail system, and why try and replace the existing one if it is only going to cost a huge amount for relatively small gain? Oh- and while I'm on the subject, why did we buy those trains from China when we could have made our own and had them running much sooner rather than the more than two years delay and extra cost for fixing up the dodgy sub-standard equipment we bought?

I'm not sure how to take it: first, as I mentioned above, to me double deck trains are logically more efficient than single deckers: why would anyone sane want to replace the whole system with an inferior one? Is this one of those "straw man" operations where the next government will save us all by dropping the stupid idea when (if) they get into office? Or is it all being paid for by some large car manufacture or car support/oil lobby? Yeah, that's probably it.
14 June 2012 @ 08:34 am
Check out this page at The Daily Beast, a review of the book The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust.
Author John Coates  points out how irrational human behaviour controlling things like the stock market makes trouble for everyone.
"Coates’s book argues that irrationality rules in times of boom and bust, and that in both cases the “masters of the universe,” as Tom Wolfe put it, whose trades dictate the whims of the market, get caught up in either irrational exuberance or irrational pessimism. That is, “investors during bubbles seem to come equipped with special eyewear that permits them to view all economic news as bullish.” On the other hand, in the wake of a severe downturn, when investors are buffeted by bad news and disastrous trades, they retreat into their shells, unable to take the action necessary to remediate things.

Both of these tendencies put the market—an therefore all of us—at risk, and neither jibes with the long-running theory that investors act rationally, that monetary policy can help steer us away from calamity through monetary policy. Under this view, faced with a bubble or a collapse, the Federal Reserve can alter interest rates to stabilize things, and investors will react rationally to the new resultant prices, putting the markets back on sound footing. But reality isn’t nearly so neat—the human brain and body get in the way. “Under the influence of pathologically elevated hormones,” Coates writes, “the trading community at the peak of a bubble or in the pit of a crash may effectively become a clinical population.”

It looks like a good book . . . . . not really news to me but the subject is a fundamental one, something that we should all be clearly aware of.
09 June 2012 @ 08:06 pm
Check this article out from today's SMH.
I do not believe it. I just don't.
Let me explain why: here is what it says in the article about this "new 3D TV technology":

"It did not require glasses or headsets or wraparound devices on film or television screens. And, unlike other 3D systems, it did not cause eye strain."

" . . . . . . uses a form of hologram compatible with broadcast signals.

''We've now perfected it so that it will cost nothing for consumers,'' he said. ''A conventional television set will be able to receive the images. The change is made to the signal format before transmission.''"

So it looks like according to the article, 3D television can be created using only a modified signal to your existing TV set.
Wow, that must be some signal, it can  do the impossible!

3D vision is accomplished by your two eyes seeing slightly different images. All the methods of 3D vision MUST somehow deliver different images to each eye or it ain't 3D. A normal telly will NOT EVER do that. Even so-called 3D tellies still need some way to get the different images to each eye, hence the glasses.

Well, either it looks like that, or he really doesn't have anything new at all - already you can buy a 3D capable telly that gets  the same pictures as regular TV, and your plain telly does not need any bells and whistles to view a "3D" signal, all it does is chop away half the pictures.

Don't send this guy any money folks, I'm really surprised that the hacks at the SMH got sucked in by this line. . . .  but they probably wanted to believe him.
( Hey, be sympathetic to the old guy, hes got a terminal disease ! )

Too bad they flunked physics and so cannot pick a Bullshit story from a real one.

This public service announcement provided for free, at my expense - I pay for this blog, ya know.

08 June 2012 @ 07:57 pm
Go here.
That is from the amazing Cyriak, who I have linked to in the past.(Page Here) Actually, I don't think it horrible, it's pretty neat !

Where "Smilies" come from . . .

This is from page 4 of Cyriak's animated GIFs, and it is what originally drove me to find Cyriak.
01 June 2012 @ 05:46 am
Maybe I posted this before but it is so good I'm posting the repost here.
Get it here.

Yes, I DID spell "incompetents" wrong originally !!!!!  (never said I was awesome, did I?)
18 May 2012 @ 06:21 pm
Recently I have not posted, mainly because I have become absorbed in the process of assembling my own computerised movie company.
I try to keep backups of everything - but somehow the backup system has not worked properly for a while now. My computer is not more than three years old and it does not have USB 3 but according to the tech "USB 3 is backward compatible" .
I now have two USB 3 drives each of 1 TB, both different makes and both do the same thing: at what seems a whim, they just stop being accessible. The Finder offers up the SBOD (Spinning Beachball 'O' Death) and only a restart will get things going again.
I have reformatted, messed around with files and so on but even without the SBOD, the darn things just won't let me shut down, which could be considered worse. One started shunting around stuff unrequested the other day so I figured it was time to wipe it and start again - but I must have backups so I bought another one - I could have saved the money.
Apple still does not have USB 3 supported equipment at this time AFAIK.

Note that USB 2 external drives are few and far between and when I looked into it today, you can get either a 1TB USB3 drive for $98 or a 320 Gb USB 2 for $93.
I have never had so many crashes since System 7 !

One  USB 3 drive may  be used for long term backing up, then disconnected for normal operation. The other will just have to wait until I get a new computer that will handle it (I hope).
15 April 2012 @ 08:24 am
Here is the link to the trailer for "Looper". Obtained from WIRED page here.
Folks who know me personally will know Time Travel is one of my favourite subjects, so this was an easy choice.
Can't wait to see it - except that it will probably not be seen down here for some time.

Weirdness dept: the video does not appear on my desktop machine but it works just fine on my laptop. Far as I know both have the same browser and both have the same plugins.
05 April 2012 @ 06:24 pm
From Club Orlov, fast becoming one of my favourite sites to visit :

"Do you know of any humans that are living sustainably, in complete balance with the natural world? Chances are, you don't, unless you are an anthropologist, and even then only if you are lucky. Such humans are by now quite thin on the ground. Most of them have been either murdered or herded into “civilized” (i.e., unsustainable) society. Sustainable humans are a difficult subject to study, because our history is the history of unsustainable living, and ignores long, undocumented periods of time during which nothing notable took place in a multitude of sparsely populated locations.
But had these nondescript humans been left alone, the result would have been largely the same. You see, groups that live sustainably, in balance with the natural environment, do not experience exponential population growth. And so the populations which did not exhibit the fatal traits that give rise to Dilworth's “predicament of mankind,” even if left unmolested, would have quickly found their numbers dwarfed by the initially tiny part of humanity that increased its numbers exponentially by consuming nonrenewable resources while degrading the natural environment. As with a yeast sample, population size doesn't matter; all that matters is that you have a few viable specimens of the right strain, to start a culture.
A spike and crash in human populations is not unprecedented: out of a population of humans living in homeostatic equilibrium within their constant environmental footprint a small group emerges that, through some technological development—stone-tipped spears useful for big game hunting, or a plow design useful for breaking sod for agriculture, or toxic fracking fluid cocktails useful for getting at the dregs of fossil fuel resources—gains access to a new energy resource. Made delirious by their newly-gained powers, they throw all caution to the wind. Their population soon starts to double, crowding out everyone else. In the process, they hunt the big game to extinction, turn prairie to desert and deplete reserves of fossil fuels. Once further investment of energy in exploiting their favorite resource begins to produce diminishing returns, the population dies back, and a new homeostatic equilibrium reemerges, at a lower population level than before, because of the lowered carrying capacity of the now degraded environment. What makes the current experiment in unsustainable growth different is that it has engulfed the entire planet, depleting not just some but all natural resources in tandem.
The human populations that can live in equilibrium with their environment for thousands of years, and those that destroy it in a hurry, are not different species; they are not even different subspecies. Evolution has precious little to do with their differences: it is a matter of culture, not genetics. The time scale on which these events take place is far too short for long-lived organisms like humans to evolve any traits as specific adaptations to them. There are a few adaptations that develop this quickly: darkening or lightening of skin in response to sunlight, which takes less than 10000 years; resistance to diseases, through attrition of individuals who lacked genetic resistance to specific pathogens; changes in body form, lanky and hairless to shed heat in hot climates, portly and hairy to conserve it in cold ones. Beyond that, humans exhibit remarkably little genetic variation.
Although “culture” is an easy label to apply, and although cultural differences do abound, what distinguishes a population that insists on looking seven generations back and seven generations into the future when making decisions from one that is mainly concerned about the quarterly revenue and the year-on-year growth and their effect on stock price is their different thought processes (or lack thereof), which are, in turn, determined by their different priorities. You see, the man who lives and dies by the quarterly earnings report is already living right at the brink of extinction, eating through nonrenewable resources faster and faster, riding the exponential curve on the way up. As soon as that ride stops, he might as well promptly drop dead, but he will usually want to give cannibalism a try first. Thinking about the remote future is just not an effective short-term survival strategy for him. Asking him to invest in a sustainable development strategy based on some medium to long-term projections is like asking a man who is being chased by other men armed with knives and forks—and feels that he is in immediate danger of being eaten—to stop and help you with a crossword puzzle.
And herein lies the conundrum: to preserve all that's worth preserving—which, to me, is all the culture that is actually worth the name—art, literature, music, science, philosophy and fine craftsmanship—and to carry it over into a sustainable, low-energy, low-impact way of life, requires access to resources, and that, in turn, takes substantial quantities of money. But money is controlled by people who are always busy running away from their competitors lest they be eaten, and who cannot see how investing in a scheme which will never “pay off” could possibly be to their personal advantage or benefit (which is all the poor fools seem able to think about). How can we make it so that “the fool and his money are soon parted”? I have some ideas, and I will take up this question up in the next post or two."

From "Kollapsnik" on ClubOrlov,

( Maybe if those Sustainable living types were far enough away from the Consumptivists they could survive? Perhaps New Zealand? Tierra del Fuego? Or am I just being overly optomistic? )