Tag Archives: Interweb

Don’t give a……

The weather continues colder than usual, and we’re getting out first decent bit of sunshine for a month, which is a relief. Don’t know what’s happening to the weather, but it’s definitely a lot cooler this year. Locally the flowers and tree blossoms are almost a month late. Farmers can’t plant yet and the temperature here in Victoria is decidedly chilly. Which is odd, considering all the prophesies of doom we’ve been fed over the years. I think we’d all welcome a little warming right now.

On the upside I’ve just bought a copy of Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle art of not giving a fuck’ which should be arriving tomorrow as an antidote to all the emotionally underdeveloped stuff happening online. Not that I actually do give a spit about the twatter hate mobs roaming the Interweb like weaponised teenage girl gangs. Which is really all they are.

Personally I tend to leave twatter to others. It’s too full of bitch fights and pubescent personalities. To be honest it’s outgrown any facility or worth as the hormone-crazed lunatics are well and truly running the asylum. See the little talk between Jordan Peterson and Johnathan Haidt below which rather neatly explains the current state of (anti) social media.

Does this point of view make me a Dinosaur? Maybe. But then I don’t really give a fuck about that. My weaponised apathy acts as an antidote to all the hate mobs online insanity.

Social death

Facebook is hurt. Badly hurt. 30 points down and falling as of 28th March.
See my screenshot taken on the 23rd, a mere five days ago.

Yes I know one is for over the last twelve months, the other for the last three, but neither paint a pretty picture. I have a feeling that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is just the tip of a very big problem-berg. Over the next few months I can see a larger loss en-route, as in shit, fan, incoming! Perhaps a complete collapse. Who knows? It’s like watching a run on a poorly funded bank.

While this is all very entertaining in the median term, it may blow over, it may not. Facebook may survive, but it is what I’d describe as a ‘Castle in the Air’ stock. Looks pretty, but has no real fiscal security, as like one of the fairy fortresses, the only thing that keeps Facebook going is the power of belief.

Elon Musk (To name but one) has pulled his companies out of Facebook and there’s a class action in the offing. As far as some of the other tech giants go, Alphabet, parent company of YouTube and Google is also suffering with a less drastic 4% fall after accusations of bias, which they strenuously deny, but a number of their users who have had their content demonetised and even deleted aren’t convinced. Amazon may be worth a punt though, as their share value has taken a hit. But they actually sell real things, so I’d view them as a fairly safe bet and treat the current downturn as a buying opportunity for their stock.

Facebook on the other hand, what do they have to sell, apart from their users data? Twitter likewise. Which begs another question. Where will all the Twatter outrage mobs go if the platform collapses? Will they suddenly find themselves suffering a form of electronic social death? Mmm. Couldn’t happen to a nastier bunch of people.

Talking of social death, the institutional antisemitism endemic within the UK Labour party has surfaced once again. This is no surprise to me, as every extreme left winger I’ve ever met has been a racist anti-Semite. Never understood it myself. I think the only half way sane reason must be that extreme left (and right) wingers are avidly pro big government and the Zionists are big on family. The family (A very human, grass roots institution) and big government (Big state, top down driven) are philosophically opposed. The big government people see the family as the biggest obstacle to their authoritarian utopian fantasies, so to their mind anyone who has a strong family as the basis of of their culture must be undermined and if need be, eliminated.

Well it makes sense to me.

Tool blaming

Watching the impassioned “March for Our Lives” anti-gun crusade currently hogging US headlines with vague amusement. According to the surprisingly well-funded and organised teenagers (Organised teenagers? wTF?), all guns are bad and the NRA is the scapegoat. As if an NRA member pulled the trigger. Or as if NRA members are responsible for the routine gang shootings in LA and Chicago. Or Vancouver BC, Canada.

What, Vancouver Canada? Oh, didn’t you know? In January and February 2018 there were eight (I think) fatal shootings in the Metro Vancouver area alone. And we have much tougher gun laws than anywhere in the USA. You do have to jump serious hoops to get a gun licence north of the 49th parallel, but it’s not impossible and any legal gun owner is heavily restricted on how any guns, especially handguns, are moved. However, it’s not the legal gun owners that are the problem.

In every mass shooting it’s always an unbalanced individual that does the killing with firearms that don’t belong to them. So simply banning a particular weapon will not reduce the risk of bloody murder, simply move it downstream to serial killer territory. The impulse to kill will still be there and cannot be removed simply by means of banning guns, or knives, or trucks. Or even large pointy rocks and sticks.  School shootings won’t be ended by banning guns.  The killers will simply use other means.

Or even banning online swearing. Like Microsoft will be doing across all their online platforms including Skype and Microsoft’s cloud services from May 1st. Which will be a bit of a bugger for people who write the dialogue for a number of popular TV shows where ‘Fuck’ gets said a lot. Oh, like Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire. No saying that Windows 10 is a bag of shite either. Even if it is.

Imagine a world where you can’t let off steam with a good swear-fest occasionally without being permanently banned from public discourse. Where you can’t call idiots out for the shitheads they are because that is ‘hate speech’. Well friends, it’s nearly here so you won’t have to tax your imagination that much.

Well, Tech stocks are tumbling and the only way is down. I’ll miss Skype. But there are other platforms up and coming which will do the trick. The genie is out of the bottle and the censorious will only damage themselves trying to put it back in.

Anyway, here’s a blast from the past about dystopian futures and swearing.

Oh dearie me

… I missed the pointless farce called ‘Earth Hour’ yet again. It’s still a bit parky outside, so switching off the heating wasn’t going to prove anything but the gullibility of the switchers off. Light a candle? I often do, but only for the ambiance. I’m not dumb enough to think that candle light is good enough to read by, or that shivering in the dark is a way of promoting responsible environmentalism.

Last night around ten, we’d just finished watching season 7 of Game of Thrones with it’s rather chilly finale when I picked up my Tablet and got a notification. “Oh, Earth hour? That foolishness.” I thought as I dismissed it. “Don’t they know all the big activist outrage is in gun control this week?” Some people, eh?

On the topic of Interweb money and gun control, YouTube is probably going to be the next stock to nosedive. Fortunately I’ve pulled all my investments out of those side of things, taken my profits and put the cash to work elsewhere. If, as seems likely, YouTube are going to delete any content and channels about guns and military stuff, it means they’ll delete whole channels and in the process leave nothing but funny cat video’s until the Animal Rights activists get round to denouncing those as ‘cruel’ and get them deleted and banned. Maybe YouTube are hoping all the faux-outrage will blow over and it will be business as usual by the start of April so the new guidelines won’t have to be implemented.

The fallout will be telling. I foresee YouTube and Google owner Alphabet’s stock price taking a big, big hit. They’ve already damaged their brand by going after even moderate content creators who are critical of certain policies. This should make many advertisers realise that YouTube is effectively becoming worthless as a platform. End result; fewer advertisers, less revenue, Youtube shrinks and all their flash corporate HQ offices go off into the electronic unknown with the content creators. Such is life.

Update: Well, as far as content is concerned I’ve signed up for Bitchute, which I will be using far more often.

An old favourite made new

I like Kent, his YouTube channel is well worth a look if you have the time. He does solid grub for outdoorsy folk to provide a warming welcome after a day out in the cold.

Essentially what his ‘mashed potato bombs’ are, apart from being ace comfort food, a different take on potato croquettes (See video below to ‘make from fresh’). Kids especially love them, and they’re a Sticker family Boxing Day favourite. Although don’t let that stop you preparing this treat any damn time of year.

Now I have an alternative method for the same thing which relies on the mashed potato being done British style. Firm, not all soft and creamy like the North Americans prefer. Nor the abomination that used to haunt 1970’s school dinners. When stirred, the British version (at least my preferred method does) tends to form a single mass rather than look like freshly made cake mix. The trick is to add a little butter while mashing so that the result becomes firm rather than sloppy. So you don’t have to use much, if any, flour. Which can leave a cloying aftertaste. Especially if your mash was made with one of the more floury varieties of spud.

So; starting with, say three and a bit cups of firm and slightly dry British style mash left to cool, crack an egg and whisk it properly with a fork so that the egg becomes a smooth yellow emulsion. Add about a half to your mashed spuds and mix thoroughly. Add a little salt and pepper if you like. I usually use a little more pepper because it gives the potato a bit more bite. You can even add a small pinch of cayenne if you like, but be careful.

Now if you’ve got it right, the mix, when stirred should tend to form one piece like a soft ball of dough. The ideal texture being not too firm but kneadable and not leave sticky trails when you roll it in your hands. Roll into balls, tip; bite size is best, leaving a little over half a cup of mash in the bowl. Make a dent in the ball. Add filling. Spring onions or Chives, a good strong cheese (A strong blue is particularly good) and bacon bits if you wish. A tiny smidgeon of sour cream or cream cheese will help to bind the filling, then use a little of the remaining mash to seal it all in each little ball. You don’t need much filling for each one or they will leak into the frying oil and the desired effect will be lost.

A quick side note; I’ve found alternative fillings like cream cheese and pre-cooked prawn or shrimp bits with Spring Onions or chives are excellent but honestly, the choice is down to your individual palate. Leftover Beef or burger bits, fine cut lamb leftovers in a tiny hint of mint sauce, chicken, whatever. Just so long as it is firm and not liquid. If you are that way inclined and your brand of vegetarianism allows egg as a binder, then even some heavily spiced Tofu can be used. If you’re a vegan, sorry, but you are missing out. It’s why very few people remain lifelong vegans. There is so much they miss out on, poor damned souls.

Now give each filled ball a quick (just enough to round it, no more) roll in flour and paint with the remaining egg mix, then roll in breadcrumbs. Heat oil in pan then gently lower each one of the stuffed potato balls in to cook. I prefer to deep fry mine as you don’t need to flip them as with shallow frying, which runs an added risk that your carefully crafted creations will split and ruin the whole thing, but the desired end result is the same; crispy outside, melt in your mouth detonation inside.

So if stuffing the balls sounds like too much fuss and palaver, there is an alternative. Simply mix your finely chopped chosen filling with the pre-mashed potato and omit the sour cream or cream cheese from the recipe before putting on the egg wash and breadcrumbs. Just as moreish, just as tasty and just as calorific. Which is why I won’t be making any for myself any more. Although I’m very, very tempted.

Yet if you’ve made too many to be consumed at one sitting, despair not my last remaining reader, simply allow to the finished item to cool, then stick in the freezer on a tray for twenty four hours to set before bagging for longer term freezer storage. After that, feel free to take out and deep fry a few every so often to repeat the experience, because good things should never be done just once.

Loneliness of the long distance twatterer

Reading the FT the other morning to find an article speculating upon how loneliness might be driving the very partisan and uncivil ideological war currently raging online. Well it’s hardly a revelation. But who is to blame? What is creating the loneliness of the long distance tweeter? Well the answer to that is a no-brainer – ‘Social media’. Let me explain…

Everywhere I go I see people riveted to their phone screens walking down the street, crossing the road, sitting on benches, eating, drinking. Plugged in to their little electronic blinkers filtering out what’s going on in the real world. Indeed, doing little to interact with their immediate surroundings, choosing instead to evade reality by living in another. I see these damned souls every time I’m out. Hiding in plain sight in the modern expression of the ‘safe space’. Connected, yet so terribly isolated but convinced they are living in the real world whilst stuck in their own tiny echo chambers. A sort of 21st century tribe of Lotus Eaters.

My reaction is generally ambivalent and my only irritation with these slow motion creatures is their lack of consideration to their fellow humans when they won’t get out of the bleeding way. As I’ve written before, the zombie apocalypse is here and now, and they’re all plugged into their own bit of erratically cyber-policed anti-social media. Determined to hear nothing that challenges their narrow little world view, or getting all riled up enough to shout down an opposing faction. Useful note; shutting people up that you disagree with is not an argument. Calling strangers names is not debating.

Which is one of the many reasons these cell phone addicts look so deeply unhappy. Seriously, not a smile in a trainload. Some studies indicate that the little screen in your hand is actually robbing you of any happiness life might throw under your feet. Not to mention actively reducing your functioning intelligence. Ergo the tribalism. People are slowly stopping thinking for themselves, courtesy of that oh so handy four or five inch screen. Which has the additional downside of being about as secure as leaving your wallet on the sidewalk.

Which is why I have decided today not to buy another cellphone. I’m not in on-call tech support any more and I certainly do not want to be a mindless Google or twatter drone, which is all these social media addicts are. Anyone who knows me can get in touch any time via email or my home phone. If I’m out, then anyone who desires to hear my dulcet tones (I’m often told I have a nice voice) wafting into their ears will have to leave a message on my home phone. Maybe I’ll call them back. I’ve got other things to do first. Besides, I’ll be saving fifty bucks a month, or put more succinctly, six hundred bucks a year. Plus the cost of a phone, that’s well over nine hundred. Hell, I can almost buy two laptops for that. Or a few cases of decent wine. Which will give me far more pleasure.

As for being ‘out of the loop’ and therefore vulnerable to some great public harm, I respond thus; there is no messaging system that will save us in the event of a cataclysm. If say a nuclear war is declared, regardless of whether we own a cell phone or not we’ll be casualties, because if you’re too busy watching funny cat videos or a slappy video message from someone you met last year and can’t seem to get rid of, it’s lights out either way. I cite the old nuclear air raid sirens I grew up with during the cold war. Four minute warning? Four minutes only if you were lucky and had any time to do more than indulge in three minutes and fifty nine seconds of blind existential panic. In the recent Tusnami alert we could hear the sirens going off from three kilometres away and besides, our home is built on a decent bit of solid rock, we’re way above the Tsunami line. And if old Spoonbanger does manage to drop a big one on Seattle, hey we’re all toast anyway.

So I’ll leave Twatter and Farcebook alone. They’re nothing but vacuous echo chambers anyway. I have no use for them. Apart from something to point at and go WTF? occasionally.

Am I just being anti-social? An embittered old blogger railing against smarter (Guffaw), prettier people? Perhaps I’m simply expressing a preference for real life human contact, which, at least I think it is, far more conducive to improving my quality of life.

Bunyips

There is a mythical monster in Australia, one that is even feared by the biggest killer of humans, the Estuarine Crocodile or ‘Saltie’. I write of course of the Bunyip, that terror of tourists, ravager of ‘Roos and consumer of the cutest Koalas. The name appears to have devolved into slang, where having ‘a case of the Bunyips’ is a minor but undefinable health inconvenience akin to being a bit upset or nervous about something.

On that subject; Mrs S woke me the other morning while we were staying in a pleasant little off the beaten track B&B to confess that she had felt a ‘presence’ which had disturbed her otherwise unblemished repose the previous night. I knew what she meant, as I’d felt the same thing too, as a vague sense of unease, a sense of something not quite right drifting across the room. She characterised it as an unhappy feeling with no material stimulus of connection that clouded her consciousness. For myself I had a sense of a disturbance in the unseen just as I was drifting off. Then it was gone. All sins forgiven.

Rather like the Interweb being on the fritz across Southeastern Australia. Which has something to do with lightning strikes over the last few nights, so we’re told. Lots of fried routers, or should that be routers with fries. Thanks Telstra. Mobile phones seem to be working though. At least they haven’t succumbed to the heat and rain. Although our recent heat wave has apparently been ‘boiling’ Fruit bats alive not far from our current location. Someone should have told them about drinking plenty of fluids staying in the shade and slapping on the SPF 50 sun cream.

Oh yes, we actually had rain yesterday afternoon en route to last nights picturesque little lodging. First big drop hit our windscreen like a paintball round with a loud ‘Spack!” Then another and another for twenty seconds until it was like automatic fire. After about a minute this bombardment settled down to regular rain which the windscreen wipers could cope with. That lasted about thirty minutes then everything dried up again until the evening when the wind it blew and the rain it did fall, but by then we’d consumed a couple of bottles of a very quaffable Savignon (Not Sauvignon, it’s a hybrid grape) and couldn’t have cared less. Temperatures have now returned to the mid to high twenties Celsius. So the Fruit bats will be back to their normal habit of shitting out of the trees instead of falling out of them.

In the wake of the recent brief heat wave have come brief but very intense storms flooding over the Blue Mountains, which is where we rest our weary heads this very eve. Thunder, lightning, high winds and torrential rain have paraded past our windows in the last three hours. In the wake of these storms followed an almost ethereal sunset and a single truncated pillar of a rainbow.

The local Aboriginal peoples claim this land has magical powers, and after the last few hours, I’m inclined to believe them.

BTW: There is nothing ‘intrepid’ about this trip. Indeed I have gone to great lengths to avoid any hint of derring-do, knight errantry or bravery against hostile elements of any shape, form or substance. Indeed, we have employed all the magical arts of modern techno-magery such as air conditioning, bug repellent, booking websites and the financial assistance of Mister Mastercard to avoid having to be even slightly courageous or resourceful. Courage is a fine thing and a useful tool, but should be kept in reserve for those occasions when you cannot help but need it. Let it be known that if the Bunyips come calling again I will have made strenuous efforts not to be there when they arrive.

That’s all for now. Back in Sydney to begin our last week in the Fabled land of Oz tomorrow. So perhaps we’ll have a more reliable Interweb connection by then.

Not your average French Fry

One of the things I’ve been trying to do of late is reduce the amount of carbohydrates (And therefore calories) in our diet whilst retaining variety and taste. To this end, while burrowing around the Internet I found out about the uses of Celeriac or Celery root. At simplest it turns out that you can fry Celeriac like potatoes to make a slightly nutty tasting form of French fry or chips.

Now to look at, Celeriac looks like something dreamed up by a Dr Who scriptwriter with all it’s gnarly tight packed roots and rough skin. You could even be forgiven for thinking it’s some strange sessile alien creature awaiting it’s chance to leap out of the vegetable bin and burrow it’s way into what remains of an unsuspecting cooks brain. But this is not so. This sci-fi looking root vegetable has a firm texture like turnip, without the risk of horror filled school dinner flashbacks caused by mashed Swede or ‘Rutabaga’.

If asked to describe the taste, I’d say it was a mild form of Parsnip with a hint of hazelnut and Crimini mushroom. Actually quite pleasant when you get past the first shock of the unfamiliar, yet definitely superior in flavour and texture to the mouth cloying fries most Canadians are offered in ‘Casual’ dining outlets. There’s no starchiness, and definitely none of that horrible floury aftertaste so many commercially produced French fries leave in the mouth.

Right: Onto the method. Not much to it. Peel Celeriac root and carve off extraneous alien looking tendrils with a knife. Do use a sharp knife unless your vegetable peeling tool is really robust, remembering not to carve off your delicate little pinkies. I refer you to rule 1 of peeling and cutting. Fingers behind the blade edge children. Either that or invest in Bandaid futures.

Once peeled, cut into 12-15mm (About 3/8ths to 1/2 of an inch seems to be optimal) square sections for traditional English style. Put a pint of cooking oil into your oldest and deepest sacrificial saucepan or no more than a third full and put over a medium high heat. Why only a third? It’s very simple, filling less than half your cooking vessel will spare you kitchen fires if you’re called away for five minutes to tell someone on the Interweb that they are categorically in the wrong and you just have to tell them so.

Once your oil goes on the heat, in another pan, boil some salted water and dump your cut Celeriac pieces in. Take off heat immediately you’ve brought them back to the boil and leave for five minutes. Drain Celeriac chip shapes and pat them dry using paper or cloth towels. Check oil temperature periodically by chucking in a tiny piece of Celeriac. If it foams and sizzles immediately, your oil is hot enough for deep frying. If not, patience. All good things come to those who prepare carefully.

When first piece foams and froths in the hot oil, put in as many pieces of cut Celeriac as will fit in one layer floating in the oil and fry for five minutes. Then using a slotted spoon or similar haul them out onto paper towels or into a sieve and wait two minutes for the oil to reheat. Now chuck in the next batch. Follow the same procedure. Let the oil get back up to temperature then put in the first batch again until most frothing and foaming has subsided and the fries are a light browny gold. If you aren’t sure, nick a chip out of the hot oil (Not with your fingers, dimwit!), drain it, dry it off, and when cool enough to eat, taste for desired texture.

At this point it might be a good idea to heat up a serving dish, dry thoroughly and line with paper towels. As each batch of fries becomes ready, drain and decant into this lined bowl or dish to keep them drained and warm. When all batches of fries are done and in the bowl, switch off the stove and serve with Mayonnaise. Or Ketchup. Or Brown Sauce, in fact whatever you want as a dip. Be adventurous. Cook naked if you want (But this blog advises a decent cooks apron, because even a small spot of hot oil on your important little places can really put a painful crimp in the whole experience).

Now serve. Remember, this is a very adult taste, and those under 25 should not bother unless they are as sophisticated as wot you obviously are.

Talking of adventure and I haven’t done this yet, but it’s next on the list; try oven cooking these chips. Instead of deep frying them, after boiling and drying off, roll the cut pieces of Celeriac in a little olive (or any other cooking) oil, dust with dry seasoning of choice, be it salt, salt and pepper, garlic powder, a light sprinkling of curry powder or Chinese five spice, or even a hint (And I do mean only a hint) of Cayenne pepper. Whatever you fancy, but it has to be dry. Then bake, just like you would Oven chips at 220°C/ 425°F for around 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.

Oh yes, a word of warning about Cayenne pepper. Wash hands immediately after handling, just in case you feel the need to rub your eyes. Trust me, you do not want Cayenne in your eyes. Not unless you’re into heavily swollen eyelids and not being able to see properly for a few hours. Cayenne has the same effect as Pepper spray. It stings. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Farcebook rides again

Driving downtown yesterday. Mrs S and I were idly chattering about this and that when she dropped the bombshell that Farcebook have been asking users to send their nude pictures to Farcebook so that they can ‘Police’ the images off their platform. Which statement drew a loud bark of laughter from me. Apparently they want to get rid of ‘revenge porn’. “Are these people serious?” I enquired after my initial ‘WTF’.
“Oh yes.” She chuckled back at me.
“Oh my giddy aunt.” I responded. “That’s going to work, isn’t it?” We shared another laugh.
“Glad I don’t use it any more.” She said.
“I’ve tried to delete mine twice and it still comes back. Bloody thing. Worse than Zombies.” I replied.
“Eldest and Youngest use Whatsapp and Instagram anyway. So they’re not affected by this idiocy.” She said. The last Facebook post we saw from either of them was back when we lived in Nanaimo. And that was over four years ago. Even back in 2011 our family regarded Facebook as somewhat passé.

According to reports a pilot of this scheme is being rolled out in Australia. A ‘send us your nude pics just in case an ex has posted them. We’ll delete them -honestly.’ Then Facebook members of staff get to have their brains fried by overdosing on personal porn or perve off on the quiet because they’ve had ‘special training’ to view the stuff that the algorithms are supposed to dredge up. However, a much more studied perspective exposes the flaws in this plan. Which would tempt anyone with more than two functioning brain cells to express a big Oh. My God.

This is yet another Farcebook PR disaster. Which leaves me soo tempted to short their shares. From where I stand they’re a classic financial bubble in the making because real people are actually leaving the platform, which will ultimately leave it as a half forgotten digital wasteland strewn with diehard digital addicts and ‘bots. What’s that Sooty? Won’t happen? Remember Myspace.com? Oh. Right.

As for posting ‘revenge porn’, I mean seriously? There are even dedicated platforms for that sort of thing. You are more likely to find ‘revenge porn’ posted to Tinder (Which has Spotify and Facebook integration) or Tumblr. I’d argue that only the most Interweb-naive people will use Farcebook for posting any form of porn because it hurts both parties. Why? Because once your bedroom antics are public, there’s no going back. Your, and by the same token their inadequacies, are now subject to public ridicule and multiple reposting. Anything short of physical perfection will rebound on both parties. As a matter of interest, a quick pootle around many dedicated porn sites (The things we must do, eh?) will turn up Facebook and Twitter integration buttons. As well as huge archives of amateur porn pics and pictures. Which aren’t on Farcebook, so Farcebook can’t delete them.

Anyway. That discussion concluded, we turned right from Blanshard into View Street, noting that all the fancy painted pedestrian crossings at that intersection had been dug up after less than a year. No doubt more taxpayer dollars will be wasted there and on Victoria’s network of seldom-used bicycle lanes. Not that a lot of bicycle users know how to use them properly. Or that the fancy painting does anything to improve pedestrian safety or driver awareness.

Hey-ho. No skin off my nose. We don’t need to go downtown more than twice a month anyway. Like with Facebook, there’s not much of interest to us down there.

It’s okay

…To be ‘White’. Or ‘Asian’ (Indian, Chinese or variants thereof, whatever) or ‘Black’ (all the many shades) or simply a man or a woman or whatever in between. Honestly, if anyone can be bothered to ask, I belong to the it’s ‘okay to be a biped hominid’ faction. Which is a pretty broad church.

What it’s not okay to be is an arsehole. Indeed, all leftist Social Activists are definitively arseholes because they’re the ones saying you can’t be friends, or at least cordial acquaintances with people not of your skin colour or sex. They’re the ones stirring up all the race hate and sexual paranoia because they want to keep the minorities (And many women) on de ol’ plantation a-votin for de ol’ lefty massa. Just like LBJ’s infamous quote about keeping a certain section of the population voting Democrat. Not that I’ve got time for the extreme right either but come on guys this is so transparent it’s made of glass. Badly made distorting glass, but glass nonetheless.

However, the epic trolling of SJW’s on an Alberta college campus recently has made some of those noisy lefty heads explode with the ‘it’s okay to be white’ meme. And it’s an obvious meme (Definition 2), a gag, a practical joke, a complete piss take on racist ‘diversity’ politics. Because the authors of the meme understand that ‘diversity’ identity politics isn’t diverse at all. Indeed it’s divisive and poisonous. Identity politics seeks to play favourites by saying; “If you are A then you must be hated by B because of X, therefore A is bad. Let us help you hate them, even though we are actually A.” Even if X was over a long, long time ago and the ghosts of grudges had settled down, raised kids, retired, died and been Requiescat in pace for a number of years. The current tranche of such grudges are revenants of zombies that should have been laid to rest years ago. However, without them the activists wouldn’t have anything to do, poor lambs.

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Which is proven because proponents of ‘diverse’ identity politics just lurrve to dig up ancient grudges and hang them on the fence, then use the resulting mistrust to generate support and ride those coat tails to political power. Which is all they really want. Power to bring about their utopian nightmares, as all utopias become because they are a narrow clique’s dream, not anyone else’s. Like the religious freaks from various ‘Churches’ who turn up on doorsteps. They too peddle their own utopian visions and are, like the political activists, not to be trusted.

As a note for reference I always apply this simple rule; if it has to be peddled door to door, it ain’t worth the price. The Claymore mines, Punji sticks, man traps and moat of hungry crocodiles in the front yard Chez Sticker should be seen as part of my customer-don’t-bloody-care-pal-sod-off service to such people. Although of course these are automatically disarmed for deliveries and welcome guests. The rest have to run that gauntlet then face the ‘No Soliciting’ sign on the door which dares them to sully my doorbell and face my well-honed sarcasm.

While we’re on that topic, another target for sarcasm is Martha Lane-Fox, late of lastminute.com (Hint; Tripadvisor or Expedia are much better), now the House of Lords. How by the moonlit glow of Satan’s left testicle did she get there? According to The Register she wants all reputable web sites to wear some sort of virtue-signalling ‘Fair’ badge. I can reassure my last remaining reader that this blog will not be falling in line. Apparently Ms Lane-Fox is one of those miffed about Pepe the Frog memes. Fortunately we were able to contact Pepe for comment on this issue, and although not a big talker, his sotto voce response to Ms Fox and those who get their panties in a bunch over him can be viewed here.

What this blog would like to offer as an alternative to the divisiveness of SJW’s is this; Be whoever you are. It’s okay. It’s fine. No worries. Relax. Life is too short for their crap. Fancy a beer? You’re paying.

The future of transport

There’s a lot of political motion about transport at the present moment. First there’s the ban on sales of Internal Combustion Engine powered vehicles from 2040, which California looks like replicating in order to ‘save the planet’. These impending bans to reduce air pollution due to ICE powered vehicles are all well intentioned but one is tempted to ask, what will said proscriptions actually achieve?

For practical purposes not much, because the nature of logistics within cities is already changing. But the future does not lie with self driving electric cars. Nor electric cars or any variant thereof. Except on an extremely limited scale. For reasons as discussed here. The changes that are coming are more far reaching than a simple change in how tin boxes are powered and controlled. For a given value of ‘simple’. Which has already turned into a whole different, and over-subsidised bunch of complicated.

For example; both Mrs S and I ‘telecommute’ every day using video and other online messaging services, rarely needing to physically visit clients or sites more than once a year. Up until ten years ago our jobs didn’t, couldn’t exist. But thanks to the dear old Interweb, we earn a reasonable crust and pay our way in the world without too much drama. Yes, we have a car, and in the next five years this will have to be replaced and a motorcycle added to our means of getting about two or three times a week. But we don’t need to commute every day. Which adds hours to our productive working days. Which means we can pick our time of day to go out to enjoy a bit of a drive. As well as keep things up to snuff at home without losing precious ‘us’ time. And there’s a growing number like us who don’t have to turn up at the office to put in a (very) full day’s work. We’re also contractors, so we don’t show up in public employment stats. Like the people who run small businesses off a laptop over a coffee shops wi-fi link and cell phone. There’s part of the future, and it’s already here.

The coming changes will be as radical as the migration of methods between travel by horse and the first steam powered railways and they are right on our doorstep. Indeed, delivery companies and start-ups are already experimenting with what was up until recently merely a toy. Especially in heavily congested areas. Particularly for small, highly specialised manufacturers and distributors. Amazon have been running trials and there are a bunch of other startups which recognise that where drones will really come into their own is in the short run courier business, at first as an adjunct to, then as a replacement for, inner city bicycle and motorcycle couriers. Point to point small packages, high speed and high security with the capability to home in on a mobile phone or tablet so that no matter where the recipient is within a given radius, they will be able to receive a physical document or critical replacement part at exactly the time the text or component are required. Or medical supplies on a Just in time basis.

As for personal transport, no matter how it is powered, as the ability to deliver to a precise location at an exact time improves, the need for someone to physically get in a car and drive across town to an appointment or to hire an expensive courier will slowly decrease, therefore so will the road congestion of the inner cities. In short, we’ll stop needing to drive everywhere quite so much. That’s where the future lies. Not Electric Self driving cars. Batteries will never be that good, but they will be good enough to transport small packages a hundred miles or so. Like John Hopkins Medicine managed with this trial, beating Team Roadrunners previous 97 mile record, set in May 2017. In the UK, Centrica have run trials for remote inspection of production sites out in Morecambe bay. And that’s only three examples.

This is the way real change for the better begins. Not with governments, but with people utilising an idea in new ways.

Now there is a major impediment. Legislation. Whether lawmakers fail or succeed to address the benefits of point to point lightweight deliveries. From a purely safety perspective, Drones with semi-autonomous Artificial Intelligence packages can be made to navigate crowded airspace to and from sensitive locations, but this must be mandated by clear laws that lay down a simple legal framework for the new technology to operate within. Simply banning their use does nothing but stave off the inevitable.

Of course, early adopters will (and probably do) already include your friendly local illicit substance provider and smuggler. A drone that can fly more than twenty plus kilometres carrying a kilo or two of whatever substance the market demands is no more detectable than a bird. The only real risks to drones being the territorial instincts of large birds, such as with Wedge Tailed Eagles in Australia, or the French and Dutch Police training Bald Eagles to take down unauthorised UAV’s.

On the topic of drone interdiction, Mr Trumps much vaunted border wall is no more use than the proverbial chocolate teapot at preventing cross border drug trafficking by drone. Short of shooting at everything that crosses a certain line, and that would be simply impractical. For example, two people with backpack sized controls and half a dozen drones could run rings around any number of border guards, eliminating the risks and expense of human ‘mules’ and couriers across say, the US-Mexican or US-Canadian borders. Who is to say this is not already happening. Because it already is.

Thus far, even prison walls have proved little use against drones, like with this smuggling operation into a prison. Although contrariwise, Enforcement monitoring Drones will be, (are and have been) used to remotely monitor and detect illegal activity so that flying squads of border agents can home in and make arrests. However, so far these drones are of the larger, military types and have so far proven uneconomic, but as quadcopter technology improves, the cost per enforcement unit will decrease. For example; Los Angeles Police Department is even experimenting with smaller drones.

What overall effect this technology may have on cities is covered in this interesting little TED talk by Julio Gil (See below). And he’s right. The technology is almost with us. In fact it’s so close early adopters are already using much of it. The rest is trying methodologies until we find one that really works.

I particularly like his idea of the mobile drone delivery platform. Post office or delivery van pootles down suburban or rural road while a squadron of drones busily drop mail and small packages off on doorsteps leaving the driver (and maybe a helper for the heavier stuff) free to concentrate on dropping off the bigger packages. Maybe even some form of pickup device could be provided to save on postal delivery people having to traipse around emptying mailboxes. Drone picks up your mail, reads a printed address bar code or number and pre-sorts it before the delivery van even arrives back at the distribution hub.

While much of the above may be conjecture one thing is certain; the future is almost here, and that future contains Drones.

Update:  You know that naughty man (Well, most of the lamestream pundits say he is) who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC?  Well, kiddies, he’s just signed an executive order enabling the testing of Drone Technology for deliveries and the FAA has just given CNN a waiver for camera drone flights to take place over crowds.  So yes, the future is closer than we think.  Cool.

On the nature of trolls

Every so often in the Scriblerus group we get various types of trolling attacks. Which some justify with the WW2 derived dictum; “If you’re taking flak, you must be over the target.” Yes, we occasionally get abuse, which is why many of us have some form of moderation on our comments section because without it we’d be forever chasing our tails deleting dozens off topic comments intended to drag a discussion thread into a morass of a given trolls own unhinged obsessions. Whatever those might be.

For me this isn’t a problem, as I tend to have a rather simple ‘delete and ban’ policy toward provocateurs and police my WordPress spam filter assiduously. Theres also a handy feature in WordPress that blocks some anonymous proxies which I make use of to keep out the unwanted. My comments policy for this blog lays down some very simple rules which boil down to the following: if you’ve something to say and are willing to be civil, no problem. If you’re just abusively trolling just to see if I’ll bite, don’t even bother. You’ll waste your time and energy, not mine.

But what makes a troll? I’d call it a behaviour rather than a person. Someone who disagrees with me might indulge in a trollish attack, which in footballing terms would be called ‘playing the man, not the ball’ or if you prefer, foul play or underhand tactics. Lurking under bridges, attacking the unwary. Attacking the person, not addressing their arguments. Now that’s being a troll.

You can’t call someone Troll either simply for voicing an alternative or simply criticising a given point of view, as has been described by many of the more thin-skinned commentators out there. To them, any opposition is the work of ‘Internet Trolls’. Which isn’t true. At worst it’s heckling. A heckler openly tells you you’re being an idiot. A troll is the person who tries to push a speaker off their soapbox, throws rocks or tries to shut them up using the power of social media. Indeed, the Twitter and Facebook hate mobs who infest those benighted platforms are being trolls if they ‘go after’ someone for simply holding an opinion they don’t like, costing someone their job or damaging any other part of their social life. Which isn’t fair play by anyone’s standards.

In the words of Gomez Addams;

As for the Scriblerus group of bloggers, one thing we do when under attack is co-operate, acting as a mutual support group where an outside threat is trying to disrupt one or more of the contributors. This is a purely informal arrangement, but seeing as certain of our members have extensive experience of Interweb related stuff and a great deal of real-life experience, it works quite well. For any would be attacker I would point out that nothing on the internet is truly anonymous, just as there’s no such thing as a burglar proof house. There are only degrees of difficulty in tracking. So don’t be surprised if your nastiness comes back to bite you.

This is not to say that we in the Scriblerus group agree on everything (or anything), far from it, we might not fight like cats in a sack, but we can disagree without it turning into a mudslinging bitch-fest, regardless of style or content. It’s called maturity. We’re grown-ups (mostly). And we’ve retained our own individual senses of fun. With the emphasis on ‘our own’. So a little light ribbing between members does not lead to meltdowns or petty vendettas. Because we’re all (I think) about freedom of speech and opinion, in varying degrees. So long as it’s not destructive or abusive.

As for those taking umbrage at any point of view espoused within our loose coalition I’d say; “Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t make you right.”

Of course, this blog only reflects my personal view, you’d have to ask the other members of Scriblerus for theirs.

Television etcetera..

The mainstream media is “a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite.”

Nicked from this list of quotes from episode 19 Season 4 of Babylon 5. Superior TV Sci-Fi from the keyboard of J Michael Straczynski.

We’ve just sent a weekend guest home singing the praises of our household for the all around standard of food and hospitality we maintain. When our guest arrived on Friday however, all she wanted to do was regurgitate mainstream hate about Trump all over us. Something I put a quick stop to by staunchly labelling all politicians as liars and thieves, despite Mrs S’s objection.   There are some topics that are not welcome in the Sticker household.

Now I hold no brief for the current US president, save that he amuses me with his ability for reducing the lamestream media into screaming incoherent petulance with what I consider some rather deft Twatter news management.  CNN really hate him and it shows in their output. Unfortunately this results in sweet little old ladies without a political thought in their head being turned into culture warrior drones when they arrive on our doorstep.  Fortunately we have no television in the house, no adverts, no CNN or Fox News telling us what to think, so we had a pleasant long weekend reading, basking on the deck, drinking good wine and generally avoiding the subject of US politics altogether.

From which I derive this gospel; life is better without Television.

As an illustration of this statement I’ve spent the last hour reading the ‘Google memo’ and found no ‘hate speech’ whatsoever. Not like the TV talking heads have been labelling it. The conclusion I came to was that Google just fired a Senior Engineer for nothing. If you believe some of the more panties-in-a-bunch versions in the mainstream media, the author was a racist, sexist, whateverophobe bigot spewing hatred and bile willy-nilly upon every minority. What I actually read was a carefully qualified critique of ‘diversity culture’. Nothing extreme. Nothing hateful, just a plain statement of point by point difficulties that relentlessly pursuing diversity at the expense of real egalitarianism has created within Google amongst many other corporate entities. The Ex-Senior Engineer shouldn’t have put it in writing of course, doesn’t matter that it was mostly true, but it has cost him his job.  Gizmodo has the full text here.  Nothing like the version being spun out  on TV.

But just in case you can’t be bothered, here’s a sample of the memo without comment;
On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

  • They’re universal across human cultures
  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
  • The underlying traits are highly heritable
  • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective

All of which is broadly reasonable and cannot be rationally refuted.  Reading the same article, I also note that Google are currently fighting the findings of a Wage Discrimination Investigation by the US Department of Labor (sic) ‘for routinely paying women less than men in comparable roles’. So maybe that’s the motivation behind all the media fuss.

Looks like Google are doing a little news management of their own, hoping that the rabid SJW’s and media types will ignore the real sexism of Google’s internal wages policy and leave them alone. See Psychologist Jordan B Peterson’s interview with the generator of all the furore and also the author of the memo. Full version below.

Aand we’re off!

Interweb connections have been far and few between over the past few days. At present I’m writing this off line for a quick post and paste when connections allow. Mrs S and I are having a forty eight hour chill out on the edge of Mount Robson National park with an excellent view of Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rocky mountains which looks like a peak shaped layer cake below brilliant blue skies.

Well it’s been an interesting trip so far as we hurtle through the sunny back country of BC toward the other side of Canada. Six black bear sightings, the first sitting ten metres back from the road on highway 24, head moving back and forth as if counting the traffic. Maybe he was doing his Green Cross Code, or perhaps was even a member of that secret cabal the Tufty club, doing his best Policeman Badger impersonation, who knows? Another camera shy counterpart was sighted ambling up a hillside on Highway 5 as a couple driving a rented camper van focused their long lenses upon him. Then there’s the rocks, the trees, some more rocks and OMG! Is that a Douglas Fir? Surely not. Maybe a Birch, Maple or dare I say it, Spruce. Four other fine looking Ursines were spotted doing their own personal photoshoots while we were passing through Jasper National Park.

May is truly the finest month to visit the Rockies. In the latter half of the month the lowland snow is mostly gone and most of the parks are open. There’s new growth everywhere, the alpine meadows look gorgeous and the mountains are decked out in the purest white. Can I say that or is it “Racist”? Don’t know, care even less. I don’t think the scenery cares what a lot of student activists say either.

In some ways I’m a little spectaculared out already. You can only take so much awesome in a day before you need a serious lie down and a nice cup of tea. At the moment I’m sitting twenty metres from one of the prettiest mountain streams I’ve ever encountered. It looks like someone learned how to make glass run like water. Oh and there’s Elk and a mother bear with two cubs in the neighbourhood so our very nice hosts tell us. As well as a forest fire being doused by helicopters working in shifts (And very pretty they look, too).

Yes, and I learned a fascinating new word in Chinese (Cantonese) this week; “Baizuo” to describe that pestilential plague of whiny SJW’s who are always banging on about how unfair everything is (Yes. And….) and how it would all be sooo much better if the rest of us gave our worldly wealth unto the ever rapacious big state. Then confess our ‘white guilt’ before handing over everything the Western world has ever built over to those who didn’t help build it. Then shut up and don our chains like good little zombies to be lorded over by the ‘white left’. Just because we other mere mortals are all so racist, sexist, islamophobic or whatever. Even if we’re not. By the way, “Baizuo” is not a compliment. Quite the opposite. Yes, and if someone calls you “Sheng-mu” they’re not being very kind, either. But if the cap fits, wear it.

Posting will be somewhat erratic (As if anyone cared – heartfelt sob) as I’m breaking in a new laptop ‘pooter. So excuse prease and watch this space. In the meantime we’re off traversing the ice fields tomorrow. Cheery-bye.

A sea change

The tides of my fortune have undergone a welcome sea change. To be honest I haven’t quite let it sink in yet. Busily patting myself on the back today. New Stand / Sit desk and full length dining table have been ordered. Debts paid in full with quite a bit left over, so I’m feeling fairly chipper. I’ve also bought half a dozen bottles of assorted single malt whiskey. Mostly 10 and 12 year old. Auchtentoshan, Talisker, Aberlour, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Singleton. Nothing too fancy but these are my personal favourites. I also picked up a bottle of Famous Grouse smokey black, which is for day to day unwinding.

Mrs S is in London at the moment with Youngest, so I’m rattling around the homestead on my lonesome planning our Canadian Summer road trip and Christmas in Australia and New Zealand. Which is nice because I get to slob out a bit, get some beers in, leave the toilet seat up, all that guy stuff. That and binge watching Boardwalk Empire when I’m not working or planning.

I’m not with Mrs S this trip because I don’t really like London or big cities that much. Why? Because I get a bit fretful if I can’t see the horizon from time to time. Not really a people person either. So cities have always left me feeling a bit ‘Meh’. They’re okay to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there full time. Even the ‘burbs out where we live sometimes feel a bit confining.

Anyway, it’s at times like these I’m reminded of Ariel’s song from from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.

So it seems with the Sea change on the Interweb. Hunters are becoming hunted. Twitter stormers who ‘go after’ people they don’t agree with are being caught in a digital tornado of their own making. Why? Because the nerds have now weaponised their autism and are expressing their disdain for censorship in all its forms. See Sargon of Akkads video on 4Chan/pol.

One of 4Chan’s chief targets is Antifa, that bunch of black clad haters who want to shut down the free discussion of ideas. Antifa are violent. Antifa are totalitarian, Fascist by the most concrete definition of the word, even though they are really a bunch of loser Communist agitators founded by Leon Trotsky. This is the Leon Trotsky who was murdered on the orders of his fellow communists you understand. And I’m not surprised. He was an unpleasant shit. Clever, but still a shit. The Ice Pick in the head was well-deserved.

Now Antifa and their mates have good reason to be quaking in their little black painted sneakers because they are finding out what it’s like on the receiving end. I hear they’re deleting their Farcebook and Twatter accounts so 4Chan can’t find them. Which won’t help. In this digital day and age you can find loads out about people in seconds without going anywhere near their social media accounts.

Anyway, it’s their own silly fault, they’ve been prodding a bear through the cage bars, now the bears have just strolled around the end of the fence to take issue with the dickheads who have been trying to mind their business for them, the opposition is widespread. From the ultra-right faction known as the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ who actively walk into Antifa squats around Vancouver and elsewhere, cleaning up graffiti and taunting lefties, to some of the geekier gamer basement dwellers inhabiting forums like 4Chan, who are unleashing their focused Autism on the injustices perpetrated against freedom (and gaming), as well as helping target the odd terrorist training camp. Performing some epic trolling in the process. It is even rumoured that they may even break the jolly old Interweb. See Tim Pool’s analysis below;

Personally I think the real World War Z has already started, but the zombies are waking up to how few they actually have on their side. Now I’ve topped up my whiskey supply I am really going to have to go get a bigger popcorn maker. Canadian Tire, here I come.