596 posts • joined 16 Aug 2012
Two weeks ago, feeling that something had to be done rather than just sitting around at home doing nothing, I sent out a chain letter to my friends, urging people to wear masks and to put pressure on the government to produce more test kits so that we could beat, not the virus itself, but the spread of the epidemic. I asked them to join me in volunteering to work for free for such an effort, and to forward this letter to as many people as possible.
This is what one of them sent me back in reply:
"There is a lot going on in the background which has made me very anxious.
So many factors that am not sure that I can be eloquent.
There is the rise of 5G and its introduction in Wuhan and whether there is an interaction with the virus. Either way 5G is very bad news indeed.
Bill Gates, Soros and maybe a few other billionaires with an agenda to bump off the elderly - is this part of New World Order, with open borders, Marxist, left wing dominance.
Chinese Communist Party is responsible for this virus either maliciously ie deliberately in a lab or accidentally in the crazy primitive wet markets or escaped from a lab .....in any case they suppressed info from rest of the world for 6 weeks or more thereby allowing the world to become infected.
Shanghai, Bejing etc hardly suffered at all.
China has very quickly recovered and now is buying cheap US and British shares and western economies are being decimated and personal livelihoods destroyed.
Deomcrats agenda to overthrow Trump - screwing up the economy was in their plans in January.
Thousands die every year from the flu, the numbers from this virus may be even less.
A better policy would have been to quarantine the over 70s or over 65s even plus all those younger with existing illnesses.
There is very much a left wing thinking that has been allowed to unduly influence both Boris and Trump.
Fear, panic and bullying police state has been drummed into us, unnaturally so.
There is indeed something going on ....."
Another friend said,"I've spoken to my husband, and while we would like to help you, we feel that..."
Needless to say, the chain letter didn't get very far, but at least I subsequently read that the UK government's policy is becoming increasingly aligned with my [unheard] recommendations.
The problem with China is that they are so good at what they do, that it's making us stop doing what we do and become dependent on them. Actually, that's our problem. Just because someone can do something complicated for half the price, possibly thanks to state subsidies, doesn't mean that we should give up doing it ourselves. Just because someone can produce some plastic tat for pennies in a sweatshop on the other side of the world, doesn't mean we should buy tons of it and shower it upon our children as presents, and upon our land and seas as waste. And just because a monolithic and wanton regime has eventually become very powerful and rich on the back of all these misguided transactions, doesn't mean that we should continually kiss their arse in the hope that some pennies will fall out to fill the pockets of our politicians and businessmen.
I agree that purely from a formal interpretation of my post, your corrections and explanations stand. But only if interpreting it from a strictly formal point of view.
I would like to answer your points as follows:
Does the fact that no crashes occur in a given year mean that you are safe? Or are you, effectively, "on a wing and a prayer", and betting on the statistical unlikeliness of an accident occurring, though should an accident occur, you're unlikely to survive it?
How safe, given the endless cost-cutting, do you think you are when flying in cramped conditions on a plane?
How much of a "dream" do you think you are living when you are going through the overall experience?
Conclusion: would it not be sensible to reduce the amount of times we fly in airplanes, at least a bit? The current attitude towards flying - that it is a normal part of life - is surely merely the outcome of massive marketing and advertising campaigns to induce us into adopting what some might contend are unnatural and unsustainable behaviours, in order to increase the profits of giant corporations.
Which leads me to:
2. When I refer to the civil aviation industry, I am not only addressing the airlines alone, but also the travel companies, hotels, tourism organisations, airport operators, the service providers to airlines and airports, including the providers of the security staff, suppliers of equipment, etc.
These days civil aviation has become a heavily standardised, say even industrialised process. passengers are squeezed and processed into flimsy flying tubes of aluminium wirh minimum levels of comfort and safety, in order for a chain of big corporations to achieve minimum costs and maximum profits.
There is also the dismal airport experience.
And now, this!
Is it really necessary to put ourselves through such a stressful experience on a regular basis? Or can we try to do without it, a bit?
Anyone can allege that something didn't happen, and people will start believing it: for instance, the Apollo Moon landings, the Holocaust.
It's difficult to debunk a conspiracy theory. You cannot simply say: "oh yes it did happen". That's just not enough. It's the equivalent of the conspiracy theorist's gambit, in reverse.
However, I believe that if you go about it rationally, you can have a shot at it.
You have to ask yourself, on the balance of probabilities, given the connected elements that are NOT CHALLENGED by the conspiracy theory (in the case of moon landings: a huge rocket as tall as a skyscraper rising up into the air with a massive fiery burst, a lack of denial of the Apollo Moon landings by even the enemies of the United States at the time and to this very day, a lack of recanting by any of the astronauts, even 50 years after the landings, lots of satellites orbiting the planet in space, lots of smaller rockets that launch satellites and that send travellers into orbit, Kepler's rules, the figures for the distance between the Earth and the Moon) and then tangential elements to establish context and scale (such as the huge number of silvery tubes with wings that fly between cities on earth at untold speeds, conveying hundreds of people over thousands of miles in a matter of hours, the incredible technologies that enable miniaturisation of electronics to the point that we can each carry the equivalent of a 1970s supercomputer in our pockets, the terrible power of atomic bombs, that can reduce entire cities to rubble, etc.), whether you think it is believable that mankind could have pulled off such a feat.
I think on the balance of probabilities, based on such an analysis, it is.
If the conspiracy theory denies ALL directly linked and tangential elements, then you have to ask yourself whether their position is realistic or constitutes bad faith or a delusion.
There's a saying that goes like this: "The more you deny reality, the more mad you are." Not necessarily wrong, but mad - i.e. imbued with an alternative interpretation of the world relative to the general world view.
"Kind of like asking a cockroach to conceive the notion of flight".
Believe me, there are places in this world where giant cockroaches HAVE come to terms with the notion of flight in a rather dramatic way. I used to live in one of these places.
I have a relatively new computer, and every few weeks it seems, the thing updates itself peremptorily, and every time I shudder about what the consenquences will be for the usability of my computer and my applications.
What will it do, this time? I ask myself. After the last update, which was a few weeks ago, it took smooth scrolling away from my Word for Windows 2003 program (which I keep using because of massive investment in VBA applications that would take me hundreds of hours to convert). It used to scroll properly, now it's all jittery and almost unusable in this respect.
It also has a tendency to restart on its own volition "for updating", sometimes while I am in the middle of a session, or have popped to the kitchen or bathroom, and I lose my data.
Every time I back up onto hard drives, it crashes with a BSOD, and now it doesn't just crash right after the backing up, but it *chooses* when to do so - e.g. 4 hours later, so that I am completely unprepared and lose more work.
This is a terrible OS, and, frankly, the attitude behind it feels like an insult.
The airplane crashes? People are scared to go on it? Airlines don't want to buy it as a result?
1. recall the aircraft...in the sense of calling it by a new name = a brand new aircraft after each crash!
2. Airlines rebadge the new plane
3. Passengers relaxed.
4. Share price up, investors happy.
The very point of companies like uber and amazon is to use extensive capital to ransack an economic sector by pricing services below cost, in order to pump up the shares and, having redistributed wealth from the ransacked sector to the initial investors, to enrich them at everyone else's expense. It is pure greed and legal robbery.
The big problem is this: regardless of what all these companies say, safety is, at best, the last of the airlines' concerns, far behind fuel efficiency, cutting costs, being able to cram more mugs aboard each aircraft, being able to monetise more services and features previously provided free of charge and taken for granted. At worst, it is merely optional, as demonstrated by the revelations that several safety features are offered as optional extras.
And yet safety should be the main concern. By all means sell cheaper versions of aircraft with less fuel-efficient engines, or less efficient stacking of the seats in them. But let ALL the aircraft have every proven safety feature as standard. And let people, who have come to regard air travel as a kind of glorified bus service, see to their safety and clamour for it, or stop using this means of transportation. It may be touted as the safest way of travelling, but when something goes wrong, or someone decides to cut the slightest corner, which they seem to be doing rather liberally, these days, your life as a passenger is forfeit.
I agree that Windows is getting worse and worse in many respects and that Windows 10 is simply a study in alienation for tech-savvy people.
But, as a near-beginner, I keep having problems working with Linux.
Every time I try to install Linux (other than in a VM), I cannot get the wifi to work. It works fine with wired internet, but nothing I do, whether by intuition, common sense or following posts on the Internet, solves the issue. It also tends to freeze half the time when recovering from sleep mode, and I have to reboot the machine. And also there seems to be no way to get some applications (Firefox, etc.) to have bigger text in their menus - the content is fine. The main application UI is all microscopic squiggles. Other than that, I would gladly work in Linux only and dunk Windows. Especially for programming purposes...
“Add that to the fact that significant money has been spent on two carriers, two very large carriers - there is a very strong commitment to having those carriers available or at least one of those carriers available at all times"
> "A whole carrier available, at all times - are you sure that's feasible for only £6.5 billion?"
"OK - maybe not a whole carrier, but at least half of one of those carriers...or a quarter...or a percentage of one of those carriers comprised between the said quarter and 0%, available at all times."
> "Ah, now that sounds more realistic!"
The problem is - there are a select group of nouveau-riche multi-billionnaires around whose businesses are so successful, they are despoiling all the value from local businesses in many countries, and effectively redistributing income / profits from neighbourhoods, communities, and cities, to mega-rich invididuals and powerful shareholders. Amazon (one of the best examples of a monolithic business destroying small local businesses, high streets and pushing down wages); uber (destroying the livelihood of thousands of hard-working professionals by offering cheaper services and paying rubbish wages). All these companies offer extreme convenience to the consumer, much improved over wht existed before, and therefore it is almost impossible for most people to resist the temptation to use their services. But this is like the devil's temptation: at the end of the day, most consumers must earn their living too, and such companies will eventually threaten that livelihood, and plunge them into poverty, making them unable to afford much convenience. And I have not even touched upon Google (near monopoly of online advertising, with ability to make or break struggling small businesses through 'keywords' buying, frightening perceived monopoly on truth, destroyer of libraries...) and Facebook (with its huge, illicit stores of personal data and near monopoly of human interactions among certain stratas of society - the most vulnerable ones unfortunately).
This may be termed progress, but it's happened before, and the results aren't very progressive for the vast majority of people affected.
What you say is only correct because the defenders use standard processes that are predictable: "common practice". Once you depart from this predictability, an attack becomes much harder and potentially less effective.
Nobody will EVER give you such answers. Instead they'll refer you to pure maths papers or lectures, in which abstract mathematical concepts are discussed. But implementation? Means, methods? Practical info? No chance. After all, quantum computing is homeopathic IT.
I was once called by a student from my old UK college. She said she was part of a new programme to connect students to old alumnuses (or whatever the blighters are called) and asked me for "advice" about life, given that I was an older, more experienced man.
I took the bait like a complete mug, not realising that I was falling for a classic hook and line trick.
Here I was, waxing lyrical about the meaning of life, and she drawing me out further and further, when she turned the conversation smoothly round and said something along the lines of "you know, we want everybody to have the same opportunities as you've had. To achieve this, he college wants to build a theatre and drama centre. Can you make a contribution?".
At this point, you know you've been played a fool, and to avoid feeling ridicule, you would normally offer to make a contribution, and the call being recorded, it would be a firm commitment.
A firm commitment to an academic institution that happens to have an endowment of £250,000,000, not including the priceless grounds, buildings and possessions of the college itself. From someone struggling to make ends meet. For building a "drama centre".
I used to have compuserve back in 1995, and people used to come over and beg me to use it. For some reason, they found it captivating. I remember one bloke who visited me with a very nice looking young lady after a date, around 11pm. He left her sitting on the sofa and after asking me if he could use the service, sat down at the computer, absolutely fixated, for hours, while I flirted with the girl and eventually committed acts of entirely consensual sexual harassment upon her, less than 1 metre away from him--and HE DIDN'T BAT AN EYELID!
In other news...
Joe Clogs, a senior executive of Google, was yesterday appointed to head the ICO's policy unit. "He will not leave Google, he will be here on a 20 year sabbatical to help us adjust our procedures to the requirements of the modern world" said the head of the ICO in a press release.
Why are you all so worried about the text of the T&Cs or contractual terms?
Have you ever thought what might happen in case of a dispute with one of these multi-million or multi-billion companies?
Have any of you ever taken a dispute to court in a bid to enforce your rights against one of these multi-corps?
I did it, once. The case, supposedly before the "small claims court"*, concerned a blatant, brazen theft of artwork from a poor artist by a huge multinational hotel chain (whose name starts with an "H" and ends with "att", there being a "y" in between, and which shall therefore remain anonymous here for all intents and purposes).
The hotel chain hired a huge, dodgy UK law firm to fight us (the artist and me, her representative, not a lawyer). Their entire approach consisted of legal trickery and provocative insults, the case being clear-cut.
At the hearing, the judge turned to the artist and said: "you know you could lose your home if you go to court and you lose the case?"
She then dismissed our claim, but mercifully didn't allow costs, basically telling the other side "I know you're lying and being dishonest".
Given that she was closely related to me, and the loss of her family's home or any part thereof would have been a disaster, I was RELIEVED to lose the case and get off so lightly.
Good bye, courts! As one honourable commentard pointed out above, the legal system is for the poor or the rich & powerful. Anybody else NEEDN'T APPLY.
* It turns out there's no such thing as a Small Claims Court in the UK; it's just branding for "crown court case involving a small claim", especially if your opponent decides to hire lawyers.
"we never surrender the freedoms we have won, and that terrorists are so determined to take away"
Are the terrorists really so keen to get us to surrender our freedoms? Frankly, I don't think it's the terrorists' number one concern. In what way would it benefit them? On the other hand, there is indeed someone who, throughout history, has sought to get us to surrender our freedoms: the government.
The question everyone is asking is, when are all these fancy non-degrading solid-state memory technologies we keep hearing of going to reach the market? I mean, at the moment, we have a deficient technology (Flash), which we're mass-producing, and in a bid to cut costs and maximise productivity, we're making it more and more defective (MLC...), and spending enormous resources and ingenuity working around the severe flaws.
This business of US Marines lending aircraft to the UK carriers for the first few years, and F35 aircraft being bought from the US under strict T&Cs as to how they should be used and where they may be serviced, plus all the other political developments in recent years, with the UK "fighting" in Afghanistan, Irak and wherever else her US masters dictate, and joining in on the "terrorism" bandwagon so wholeheartedly, reminds me of the film The Fly, in which the apparently normal scientist*, who has just had a whirl in his teleporting machine without realising that there was a fly inside one of the pods, gradually loses his teeth, then bits of his face, and then all the other human bits, and transforms into...a fly.
Sorry but I was once nabbed by police for trying to buy a travelcard in Charing Cross station AFTER travelling on the train, Reason: i had a meeting with my father in town and jumped on the train, not wanting him to wait half an hour for me until the next train. I had refused to give my addtess to the train company jobsworth who performed a citizen's arrest on me for 'trying to evade a fare', never mind that I was trying to buy a ticket from the excess fares booth at the time. Coppers were duly called, and threatened to arrest me on terrorism charges if I didn't cooperate and give my address. So I 'cooperated' like a good baby and gave them my address of course. it's easy to pontificate about cooperation with the forces of law and order from your plush armchair somewhere seemingly safe in middle class suburbia, but when this kind of thing happens to you, your love and admiration for the system and 'our boys in blue' or whatever colour they affect might take a bit of a hit.
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