I understand that the entire Courier industry evolved to support the needs of businesses for quick communication, but what about consumers?
I came across this editorial about the female bonding ritual of 'who would you do?'. It basically involves assessing how keen we are to shag someone. The criteria can sometimes be purely based on physical attractiveness, but can sometimes be tempered by other considerations ("Tom Cruise is hot, but he's just too weird with all that Scientology stuff", "Damn, he's married with four kids").
For some reason, this particular industrial accident has haunted my thoughts quite often. I've left out the most disturbing bits, but those of you who are squeamish might want to ignore this post. I first came across this accident in the book "Set Phasers on Stun". (I can recommend the book, incidentally, a quick, but thought-provoking read about poor equipment usability causing accidents and death. It also is definitely not for the squeamish).
So, what's going on in the middle east? I've been fairly ignorant about world affairs. I've been trying to educate myself recently, but if you know more about this than me, please enlighten me. What follows is my understanding of the ancient history of the Israel/Palestine conflict. I will add more in future.
I don't really like experiencing major life uncertainty. And I've been going through some lately, although pretty much vicariously. The uncertainty I have is only a pale shadow of the uncertainty my flatmate, Stephen, is experiencing, but I'd like to whinge anyway :)
My sister is getting married next March, and I am already sick of this whole damn wedding thing. I can't believe what an enormous, expensive rigmarole it is.
People getting married seem to think it's a lovely romantic thing to release butterflies at their wedding. I personally don't really see the relevance, but then, I can't really fathom all the mushy sentimental nonsense most people think passes for romance anyway, so maybe I'm not the best judge.
This is the 2nd installment in the Israel/Palestine series. We left the story in part 1 just after the Romans destroyed the second temple, kicked many Jews out of Jerusalem and renamed the area Syria Palaestina.
My family doesn't do Mother's day or Father's day. But for some reason I was thinking about my parents this morning. I realize that this sounds extremely arrogant, but I can't believe what a good job my parents did of raising my brother and sister and I :). Us kids certainly aren't perfect of course, but we have all turned out to be reasonably happy, healthy, well-adjusted, independent adults.
Nothing is more representative of the wedding ceremony than the white dress. It is pretty widely "known" that the white dress symbolises purity & virginity (even if today this is honoured more in the breach than the observance), right?
Extremism only gets you more extremism.
What do you think are the odds of the United States disuniting in our lifetimes?
Sorry people, I need to vent. This isn't aimed at anyone in particular (at least, nobody who reads this blog ;-).
When the lid blew off the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair, I supported Clinton. I believe that where he sticks his dick is between him, Hillary and other willing partners. Sure, cheating on a spouse is never a good thing, but it doesn't invalidate his presidential skills. Curiously, I'm not so forgiving towards Don Brash.
I wrote earlier about the talk by Jared Diamond on the subject of societies collapsing. I have some further thoughts about the book that I wrote months ago but never got around to actually publishing on here.
In 1776, the American people became so fed up with the injustices of their ruler, King George, that they decided to become independent and tell him to sod off. They felt it was a good idea to set out in writing their reasoning for this act, and so Thomas Jefferson drafted up a Declaration of Independence.
I don't generally go in for conspiracy theories, but one thing surrounding the 9/11 attacks has always bothered me.
I mean that literally. My siblings and I all seem to share a fascination for weapons. There's nothing in our childhood that would suggest such a thing, but we all went out and bought airguns when we were teenagers. I had a Glock competition model and my sister had a Walther PPK. I forget exactly what my brother had, but it might have been a Smith and Wesson.
"We are pressing Iraq's leaders to take bold measures to save their country. We're making it clear that America's patience is not unlimited," Mr Bush said (in the Herald today).
Not long to go now until the mid-term elections. Here's some predictions from Electoral Vote Predictor:
A while back, Ebs posted about how he used to be an American fanboy. I wouldn't put my feelings that strongly, but I've had a great respect for the principles on which America was founded. I suspect that this respect for America comes mainly from reading way too many Louis L'Amour cowboy books.
I am ultimately in favour of allowing gay people to marry. I can't see any reason to prohibit marriage to a group of people based on the shape of their partner's genitals. It seems as arbitrary to me as banning mixed-race marriage. I just think gay activists should focus on civil union first, then gay marriage after. It's a difference of opinion on tactics, not goals.
Like a lot of people, I indulge in escapist fantasies or daydreams every now and then. Depend on the mood I'm in, in my dream I might be fabulously rich and travelling the world, developing cool new user interfaces, exploring ancient underwater ruins, climbing Mount Everest or getting in on with sexy guys. The TMI label might clue you in to the fact that this post is mainly about the latter sort of dream. I don't really go into any lurid details here, but if you don't want to know who I have fantasies about, you probably don't want to read any further.
"Procrastination is like masturbation, you're only screwing yourself" -- Scott Adams
America appears to not be the only country where basic science education is lacking. I don't know how this could be faked, but I have a hard time believing people really are this stupid.
Some people make friends easily and have lots and lots of friends. They could probably spend every day with a different friend and not have to start recycling people for months. I'm not one of those people. I clearly missed the bit of female socialization that is supposed to make me good at talking about my feelings. I'm know I don't do a very good job of keeping in touch with my friends, or letting them know how important they are to me.
Tonight the Large Hadron Collider had a beam all the way around for the first time. Some nutjobs are apparently afraid that this might destroy the world. But someone has conveniently put up a web site to let you check: http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/ The LHC is the world's largest particle accelerator. Buried under the Franco-Swiss border, at 27km long, it is the largest machine in the world. The plan is to have beams of protons (a type of hadron) or lead nuclei splat into each other at very high speeds (99.999999% of the speed of light) and with very high energies. This allows physicists to test various aspects of the Standard Model of particle physics, including hopefully observing the predicted Higgs boson for the first time. Stephen Hawking has apparently bet $100 that we won't see a Higgs boson using the LHC.
Scott Adams is the guy who writes the Dilbert cartoons. He also has a very entertaining (and sometimes thought-provoking) blog and has written some very funny and interesting books (which I'll write about some other time). This is just a random collection of some of his soundbites that I enjoy the most:
Corrections Minister Phil Goff announced today that he'd keep an eye on the South Australian trial of banning gang membership. He said that if it works, "then I'm 100 per cent in favour of it".
Some people are apparently taking this LHC thing destroying the world thing quite seriously. I've personally spoken to some quite intelligent people who say that of course, they don't really think the world is going to end when the LHC is switched on, but they are worried anyway. They can't really explain why they are worried either, just that they have somehow been imbued with the sense that this thing is risky and dangerous. Who needs Osama bin Laden when the media is that good at generating fear over nothing? Nothing bad happened when they switched on the 400GeV Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN from 1981. Nor did the world implode when they flipped the switch on the 1TeV Tevatron in 1983. Even the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) didn't create a black hole to swallow the earth when it went live in 2000. Interestingly, the same people protesting that LHC might make black holes or strangelets made exactly the same claims about the RHIC 10 years ago. You'd have thought they'd have found a new fruit loop theory to get excited about since then.
Galveston, Texas was where Hurricane Ike made landfall on the US this weekend. Galveston is just south of Houston, and was one of the places Stephen and I visited when we did a tour of Texas last year. The fact that I've actually been to the places that you see on the news makes this natural disaster much more real to me than previous ones. It's probably just my fondness for island and coastlines, but I really enjoyed visiting that part of Texas. We stayed in Seabrook, just north of Clear Lake and northwest of Kemah. We stayed there a couple of days, and spent just a day in Galveston itself.
I am a procrastinator. Always have been. And not just with my thesis – with just about everything. I’ve been reading “The Procrastinators Guide to Getting Things Done”, which describes different kinds of procrastinators. It turns out I’m not a pleasure procrastinator or a disorganised procrastinator. I’m a self-doubt procrastinator and a binge worker.
I'm a person who is struggling with the idea of how to be happy, productive and successful in life. It's not that I'm unhappy with my life right now, it's just that I have a distinct feeling that it could be better.
I’m pretty convinced that health has got to be one of the foundations of a good life. Nothing is good when I’m sick, I just want to crawl into bed and die. The only positive I can take from it is that it reminds me to appreciate it when I am healthy. I have a tendency to take not-being-sick for granted, when I think it is something I should be grateful for.
Everyone says money doesn’t buy happiness, but it clearly has something to do with it. You can’t be very happy if you’re deeply in debt and about to lose your house because you don’t have enough money to make the mortgage payments, for instance. So some money is necessary, but it does have diminishing returns. Once you have all your basic needs met, and have enough to make yourself comfortable and do the things you enjoy, getting more money doesn’t really help an awful lot.
I think family is one major component of most people’s lives, albeit one that we are stuck with and can’t change. I think I’m relatively lucky in this regard that I get on well with my parents and siblings and most of my extended family.
Having good friends is very important to my well-being, even if I have a tendency to be anti-social at times. I’m naturally introverted, so I don’t find it very easy to make friends, but I really enjoy the time I do spend with my friends.
There are seven billion people on this planet. It's not even possible to comprehend such a enormous number - there are more people than our minds are capable of imagining. Each of us is just one of those 7 billion. Although humans are quite variable in many degrees of freedom, it is pretty certain that there are millions of people who share any given trait with us. And there are probably hundreds of people who share the majority of our traits. We are not unique.
My grandmother always said that voting was our duty as citizens. If we couldn't be bothered making the minimal effort to choose our representatives for the next three years, then we had no right to complain about anything the politicians did.
It was inevitable that Edward Snowden's leaked document would eventually reveal that New Zealand too is involved in mass spying on civilians. As more and more came to light about the extent of spying by the NSA and their UK counterpart GCHQ, it would have been very surprising if as one of the 'five eyes' nations, we hadn't also joined in.
I have never believed in any gods. The correct term for a lack of belief in gods is atheist, and I've been happy to apply that term to myself for the past two decades. In New Zealand, Australia and most of western Europe, identifying as an atheist is not particularly problematic. Religion is no longer a major force in society and most people are not religious. Religion is generally considered a private matter, and religion or lack of it is not necessarily associated with any set of political or social beliefs.
A few years ago I decided I should become better informed about NZ politics, and so I started following a number of New Zealand blogs, both right wing and left wing. I think I managed about three days of reading Whale Oil before I couldn't stand it anymore. There was no information, no analysis, no insight: it read like playground bully hurling insults at all and sundry when the teacher was out of earshot. There were insults directed at people's names, looks, clothes, mannerisms but almost no mention of any policies or ideas. And the comment section was even worse. It looked very much like naked tribalism - much like some sports fans will demonize and even attack supporters of opposing teams for no other reason than the arbitrary choice of a team to cheer for.