It’s Dying

We all need distractions I guess and maybe laughing at the poor on the Jeremy Kyle show was one of those. It was a way to feel better about ourselves, a way of looking at people who suffer and try but ultimately are just a passing fad for those of us who are OK at the moment, thank you very much.

Perhaps that’s why people watch bollocks like Eastenders and other soap operas where everything happens to everyone because if everyone tried to get along and be nice to each other it wouldn’t be worth watching and it wouldn’t provide escapism.

I’m certainly clear in my head about why I like science fiction. It’s nerdy and requires a little science knowledge but space type stuff often provides a glorious distraction to the mundane. It gives me the chance to live elsewhere and think about the implications of travel and technology that won’t happen in my lifetime.

In reality it’s all fucked isn’t it? Brexit, politics, the planet, it’s fucked. It’s dying. The single GREATEST threat to the human population wherever you live at the moment is the fact that the world is on fire. It’s really depressing. I’m hoping I’m dead before the Water Wars start. They are going to be terrible.

All those politicians worried about maintaining power and trying to get your vote using short-term gains and short-term give-aways. Not one of them is standing up for the planet. We need RADICAL change to society and how everything works. We need to save this planet. I’m not normally pessimistic about things but the planet is dying through human abuse and it’s going to kick us the fuck back and quite rightly too.

I’m scared for the future of my children and the fears that they will face as they get older. I’m scared for my unborn descendants because it’s all going to be shit. Take a look around the world and see where the action is to provide a future for people on this planet. It’s not there. Consumption-capitalism is driving this world to ruin while at the same time killing those who are poor and have little. It’s disgusting. We should be promoting a social-environmental-capitalism. Governments need to incentivise social and environmental good-doing.

It’s not like this is new. We’ve known about climate change and carbon emissions for over forty years. NOT a thing has been done in my life time that will drastically alter the way the planet is going to react. It’s all a nightmare. I’m not sure humans are mature enough to do anything about it either. I’m hoping that the generation after me, once they assume power when the baby boomers and generation X die off can cope and end up being nice to each other and working to create an Earth for the future.

I see the newer generation of politicians kicking back against the obscene capitalism of the last one hundred years and are now talking about social responsibilities and they seem to be speaking a more gentle kind of politics trying to go after the aging fuckers who have taken everything they can and created personal wealth beyond necessity. Here’s hoping that people like AOC can start to change the world to actual care about each other.

In the mean time the Daily Mail and other institutions that gain their power from the want and blinkered view of the older generations print articles implying that solar farms are wrong and will ruin your view.

A "News" Article
A “News” Article

The headline should have been “locals fight planet saving solar farm (stupid cunts)”. But then the exact people fighting this farm and the ones who read the Mail because they are all old and white. Fuck the Mail.

More amusingly, in thirty years the Hardy countryside won’t look like that at all because the climate will have changed so much it’ll be barren and all the locals will have died of malaria.

HHOM

Just got back from a lovely weekend being trained in quite specific skills to do with a particular system. I was billeted at Halton House Officers’ Mess and I am glad the course changed from RAF Wittering to RAF Halton. I hadn’t stayed or seen Halton House before Friday and I was slightly worried I’d never get to see it as Halton might be shutting down.

Halton House Officers' Mess
Halton House Officers’ Mess

The light was pretty good when I arrived and you can see that in the picture. I try not to use filters as I think that’s cheating, unless there is a very specific effect you are going for. The above picture is filter-less, just aperture adjustments. I was given Room 8. This looked out over the main balcony.

The Salon
The Salon

The Salon, above, is the main hall but we don’t call halls halls anymore. In this particular picture my room was in the top right hand part of the balcony. It was such an amazing place to stay and I took photographs of every room.

The Staircase
The Staircase

The staircase has one of the best rise/step ratios I have seen and it is perfect for people in flowing dresses. I should have taken one with me and glided down this artifact. The house was bought by the air ministry after one of the Rothschilds didn’t want it and sold it at auction. It’s a lovely place and one I can tick off my list of great places to visit that are quite difficult as a member of the public.

The house has been used in numerous films, even a Bond film, and you can see a list on Wikipedia.

My Window
My Window is one of these

The Truth

It’s wrong to lie.

It’s your honour.

These are both slightly different ways of saying the same thing I think. We expect people to be honourable and largely I think that means that actions should match the words that people say. We expect people to essentially tell the truth, to speak words which are not false.

I’d considered this a lot over my life. What is “honour”? What does it mean to be honourable? How can we measure this aspect of life? I spent quite a while thinking about it from a religious point of view. People have died for what they say they believe. People have been tortured and not rescinded their stated views about which god or set of beliefs is theirs.

I don’t entirely understand that. I think that is because I have a level of un-belief beyond most. I don’t believe that god is real and therefore it doesn’t matter what you say about it. It doesn’t matter what magic spell you whisper before you go to bed, none of it will do a thing. If I was required to, I would lie about my belief to continue living, but ultimately I know that doesn’t matter. St. Peter isn’t going to be waiting for me to tell me I fucked up by lying about my belief.

However, we expect people to be honourable. We expect people to tell the truth. If we are to accept what people are then we need that level of trust that we see them how they really are. Which means the truth.

If you want to be in a relationship, whether friendship or romantic, then it’s likely there needs to be truth for the relationship to be trustworthy. For partner A to rely on B a level of trust needs to be developed, this requires actions to match up with words that are said [I think I’ve just sold the religion issue I mentioned earlier, I have to relationship with religion or god and so don’t care].

How can you trust someone who constantly lies or rebuts you with little lies?

[An aside on little lies – we all make little lies. Lying is a very early trait of humans that is learnt. People are remarkably good a lying. It’s why it’s hard to tell if someone is lying or not. NEWS ALERT – LIE DETECTORS DON’T WORK.]

So, lying. Little lies are things that make life a little more comfortable and seem to have few side effects. We use these constantly as people to make our lives a little easier each day. It’s easy. It’s learnt behaviour.

Proper lies are a different matter. How can you trust a person who lies about things that matter?

[Another aside – “things that matter” is a continuum and and the level of consequence will be different for different people.]

You can’t develop trust if someone lies about what they said or what their actions were or what happened. Without trust you don’t have a relationship. These had been my thoughts until about three years ago. I’d been bemused by the idea of honour because I thought about it mostly framed within the religion question.

So let’s talk about politicians.

We now have world leaders who lie. Blatantly.

We have always expected politicians to be slimy bastards. We have always know that politicians or other people in power are expected to do things and then try to explain what they did in the slipperiest terms so that the “spin” is that they look good. We have always expected politicians to not lie. I don’t think we expected them to tell the truth all the time but we don’t expect them to lie. We expect them to squirm their way around the issues and leave the question unanswered while they sit in the knowledge that they “got away with that one”.

We have always a vague level of honour amongst politicians that at least they wouldn’t outright lie. They might skirt the issue but, when pressed, they would be “honourable”. That’s why in the past politicians would resign straight away from their government post if they were caught lying. They would understand that the measure of trust has been reduced to zero with those lies. They would resign as a politician though, of course not, they’d still be selected by their local party because people are stupid.

Then you get tow main things in the western world.

TRUMP

BREXIT

The vote for Brexit was based on lies and influence from foreign agents. Even when caught out politicians like Gove and Johnson just carry on. They haven’t resigned. They haven’t apologised for the lies they told. They are still in their jobs and still in power. The level of trust between the public and those politicians and politicians in general has been eroded because of the lies told and still being told by the pro-Brexit groups.

Trump lies. All the time. Demonstrably. He’s also a racist, white supremacist. However, he lies. Constantly. How can there be a level of trust with this man? It doesn’t matter what he says because he’s lying or doubling down and his actions don’t match his words. There is still a massive industry of news in the USA and the world that hangs on his every word because of his position of power in the world. Yet, he lies. There can be no trust.

The way to hurt Trump the most would be to remove the press corps from him. To remove him entirely from the news cycle, except for Fox news I guess, that would hurt the narcissistic orange man-baby.

What’s worse is that his approval ratings are STILL HOVERING AT ABOUT 40%. It’s clear that some of the public don’t care about what he says or that he’s lying. They just know he’s “their man”. Fuck This Shit.

Also, those local party selection committees, for Gove and Johnson and all the others who have blatantly lied, they keep electing those lying arses to represent their constituency in parliament. Those people are selfish fuckers but I think I shall leave my derision for them for another day.

It’s only when things mess up that you realise just how good things were for you I think. I don’t think the Blair/Obama governments were perfect but it is quite clear that they were better than the world leaders we have today. Man, this world is depressing at the moment.

Being Dutiful

A short while back I finished watching the television series called “Tour Of Duty“. There were three seasons and I enjoyed all of them. I thought it was well acted and well written. It was a good series to watch. It also reminded me of watching it while I was at university but I doubt I watched the whole series back then.

I really did spend some time worrying about what to watch next. It seems weird to settle down in front of the television and not know what to watch and as I have got rid of all live decoding equipment I must have something that I intend to watch, I can’t just scan through the channels until I find something to numb the mind. I would probably find this an annoying waste. I try to make sure that my time is employed productively and staring at something I don’t care about would bug me.

I’ve got Brooklyn 99 on the go as a kind of filler, it’s about 25 minutes and so is easy to watch now and then when I want to fill some time. But I needed something serious to watch as well. I spent two years watching Babylon 5 and enjoyed it all. I’m kinda watching Star Trek Voyager on Netflix but only now and then when I want something else to watch. I might spend the next few years working through all of the Star Trek stuff, that should be fun.

While I was out for a run about a week ago I listened to Skeptics With A K, a Merseyside based podcast about science and skepticism, and Marsh mentioned the early 2000s series Farscape as an alternative to watch while Dr Who was off the air. Some other shows were mentioned but that struck a chord with me and I was desperate to remember that series to search for it once I got home.

Farscape reminds me of watching the television when I lived in Brentwood. I shared a house with some other reprobates and I think we got a digital TV box which was quite exciting back in the day. The actual house was horrible, there was a split down the entire front centre of the house and the windows in my bedroom didn’t shut properly which is fine in the summer but I had two duvets and extra blankets over me in the winter. I think I lived there just over a year before I moved back to Kent.

Anyway, when I remember Farscape I remember the lounge in that house and the people I lived with. Well, I can remember two of them particularly but some others I can’t even remember faces. I worked not far away in Brentwood at the time and our immediate neighbour was a pupil of mine.

Anyway, I have found Farscape on Amazon Prime and have started to work my way through that television series. I am enjoying it so far. When it premiered I remember it being hailed as an Australian series with Jim Henson puppets and the market was definitely there.

There are four seasons and a spin-off series I think. Let’s see how long it takes me to get through this!

Our Lady

So a church caught fire and burnt.

I have to say I watched and listened quite unpassionately. It seemed slightly sad that such a building could burn but then that is a risk with everything the human race has built. Fire is one of the greatest everyday risks to human life and property. It’s why we buy fire alarms. It’s where the poor go to live and then get caught up in greed:

I’m sickened by the speed at which there has been a rush to donate and offer help to a building built to honour a god that doesn’t exist when compared to the problems faced by poor scum and black people who lived and died in the tower at Grenfell.

The systematic oppression of people in this country is so advanced that we/they don’t even notice it. All through history the poor and workers have been abused by those with money to increase the amount of money the wealthy have. It’s such a process of oppression that we even love TV shows and films which reinforce the idea of status and place in society. If you aren’t angered by the donations to a fucking church then you lack empathy.

My current thesis about British society is that those who lack empathy tend to be tories and end up in power largely because they don’t care and can’t care about others because they lack empathy. You would think it’s not that hard to want to care for others and want to help those who are less fortunate than yourself but just look at the state of UK politics over the last thousand years. The people have fought for everything they have got and yet there is still so far to go.

The Vote. Workers’ rights. National minimum wage. Guaranteed holidays. Health care. Food.

All of these things were fought for. They weren’t given to the people. Those in charge don’t “give” things to us. We have to fight for them.

I am convinced it’s time for a new revolution. A new form of government to do the best for people. A new form of responsible capitalism that doesn’t ruin the planet and force mass consumerism. We are killing this planet and killing ourselves. They don’t care about the rest of us, they care about themselves.

I don’t care about the church. It’s fucked over so many people for its entire existence. I care about the people and looking after each other. Let’s put the money where it should be.

Aesthetic Perfection – O2 Islington

Last night I went to the O2 Academy in Islington with my niece to see Aesthetic Perfection. We drove into town as it just makes it easier to get home and not worry about running to get the last train. After arriving we had burritos for dinner and then headed to the venue.

Machine Rox were playing, this was a slight surprise as they weren’t on the bill as far as I knew but we watched them anyway.

Machine Rox
Machine Rox

I didn’t mind them. The singer owned the dress she was wearing and that was excellent. I couldn’t understand what she was singing though and that seems to be a bit of a flaw. The drummer doesn’t really do much and the guitarist is pretty cool in his silver outfit and lights on his head. They were OK.

Next up was Amelia Arsenic. I hadn’t heard of her before this series of concerts and so was curious. She came on stage and explained that her band were stuck in Cincinnati and she’d been hit by a car the day before. She had a computer set up to play the music and her performance was really good. I could understand what she was singing and really enjoyed the show.

Amelia Arsenic
Amelia Arsenic

I can’t remember how many tracks she sang but I was impressed. On my next pay day I think I’ll be buying some of her work. I don’t think there are enough female artists in this genre and it’s good to see more. She had a wonderful confidence and even came and sang the last verse in the crowd.

Priest were up next. I’m still not sure what to make of this band. I enjoyed it for a while and his signing impressed me but the songs didn’t vary much and were built around his seemingly classically trained voice. I thought I detected a slight French accent but I may have been wrong there. Apart from the outfits there didn’t seem to be much going on stage.

Priest
Priest

I’ve just checked and the band are from Sweden, so that explains why I thought they were French. I did like that the singer called themselves:

The Cybernetic Trinity known as Priest

It was a nice touch. I don’t think I’d need to see more of them though.

The headliners were Aesthetic Perfection. I’ve seen this band a few times and have always enjoyed the show. They were the second EBM type band that I started listening to and so are one of my original favourites along with Combichrist. Also, now that Joe Letz plays with AP I think that means I have seen him perform more times than any other musician.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

I was curious to see how the band handled the new guitar influences on the new album but the keyboardist played the guitar on two songs and I think it worked. I like the new album a lot and so to hear the songs live was very exciting.

The band played a solid set and it was very enjoyable. It’s nice to be part of a crowd that really sings along and joins in. These guys are excellent showmen and the addition of Joe Letz brings the album sounds to life. I always think that live drummers add more to the sound than they cost. I really like it when electronic bands do that.

Classic Guitar Pose
Classic Guitar Pose

This gig was good fun and I enjoyed it immensely. AP are still one of my favourite bands and I will continue to see them when they come over. A good solid evening of music.

Under Siege

I found this communication in my drafts and I hadn’t written any of the text in it, however you can see it was drafted in January 2017.

[Correction – WordPress has published this as 2019, however when I found it in my drafts it was listed in the 2017 section of the website

Under Siege Revisions
Under Siege Revisions

The picture shows that my first draft was January 6th 2017]

I seem to remember wanting to write a film review about the film Under Siege when I watched it in 2017 but I never did. It is now April 2019 and I have just re-discovered this draft.

I’m curious because two days ago I watched Under Siege again and I still thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. So much so that I write about it in a film review I did for Pet Sematary. When I publish this communication I think it will appear in the Jan 2017 block. This means that I am writing this in April 2019 as though I had traveled back in time to 2017 whereas in reality the time travel has been the other way around!

Soulless

I went for a walk through Maidstone yesterday and happened to have a cup of tea at the cafe in the House Of Fraser store at one end of the Fremlin Walk shopping experience. The following photograph was taken through a window while sitting and drinking.

Fremlin Walk
Fremlin Walk

Upon initial inspection the place seems nice and pretty but when you gaze for longer you can see how horrible and soulless the design is. All the buildings are the same, the colours are all pastel shades meant to compliment each other and the trees are evenly spaced. The place has no soul. It has no organic-randomness. It’s a designed space and I think it looks horrible.

Towns are organic growing places where new buildings should have purpose and style along with individuality. We shouldn’t have everything looking the same, it should be interesting and varied. Too much order is a bad thing, although you could argue it is very efficient but at the same time it lacks a certain quality.

Places like this don’t looked lived-in. They look forced. I shall go and find some contrasting pictures over the next week to continue my thesis. I’ve got some ideas of where to go.

Sky
Sky

This view was quite nice [note the lack of buildings though] although I missed getting the best symmetry. Maybe I should return to try again?

Not A Neo Con

I found an advert which, I think, lies! I was looking through the newspaper that my parents read and I found the advert below. Now, let me first explain that I do not agree with the “news”paper that my parents read and given my personal politics it stresses me that they still get this heap of shit delivered to their door. I have offered to pay for a different paper but they have refused. I’m not sure why they still read the Express but it is a vile piece of work.

What A Con
What A Con

This advert is along the lines of what started me into this skeptical hole in the first place. Originally my father gave me a magnet that surround the fuel line in a car and then magically makes the car engine more efficient. I’ve written about it here. At first glance it seems reasonable that something might increase the fuel efficiency of an engine, but if it’s that simple don’t you think the manufacturers would do it anyway?

I wrote about a fuel chip I saw advertised in a motorcycle magazine here. It seems that this device is making very similar claims. Notice that if you want, you can get your money back if you aren’t happy with the results. This is a classic scam because no-one cares enough to ask for their money back.

Having looked at the website in this advert and the one for tank chip they both are in association with the same company.

Hamilton Direct

This company is based in Paignton in Devon. They seem to peddle a lot of bullshit. Don’t buy anything from them.

The bike insurance people Bennetts did a proper testing regime on the tank chip and they found it makes no difference. You can see their results here: Bennetts.

If the product seems to good to be true then the chances are that it is.

Mutability

A few summers ago my project was to build an ADS-B receiver and use the data collected to upload to an aircraft tracking website. If you want to see what I see then go to:

360 Radar

I don’t remember the details about how I found this but the project was good fun and I got the Raspberry Pi in the loft with a decent aerial, filter and pre-amp, and it was all working fine. I was using a lovely piece of software called Virtual Radar Server and was able to use this as a web server and people could see the aircraft on web pages served by the Pi.

360 Radar is good because it using multi-lateration to detect the positions on military aircraft. This is pretty handy for spotters like me and it also works well when I take cadets to RAF Wittering for some Air Experience Flying, I can see where my cadets are in the air.

Over the last few months I’d been receiving outage warnings from the 360 guys. It would appear that my Pi had stopped sending them data and while I live in a flight-busy area of the country and there’s plenty of contributors here every little helps. I had the occasional outage and this seemed to be when the router reset and the Pi wouldn’t re-find the existing wi-fi network. I just had to power cycle the Pi and everything worked fine. The outages seemed to be occurring more over the last while with the Pi stopping feeding every few days.

At first I thought it was a wi-fi issue so I bought some new ethernet-over-power adapters and linked the system into the route via a wired connection. This also meant I could ssh in to the Pi even if wifi was the original problem. I tried to work out how to turn the wifi connection off entirely but just ended up changing the SSID the Pi looked for as a simle way of ensuring the wired connection took preference.

After a week of testing I was still getting outages and my initial thought was that the VRS software was making the Pi work too much. I’m not sure why I thought that but I looked up ways to remove VRS. This was not the easiest as I had installed it years ago and couldn’t remember how it ran within the OS. I eventually managed to remove the Mono service and this stopped VRS running.

It was at this point I worked out how to use the log file of the MLAT client and I could see that all the software seemed to be working fine it was the Dump1090 program that didn’t seem to be sending data internally. I figured that Dump1090 had somehow stopped receiving the signal from the aerial. It all worked fine after a reboot and so I decided to replace the USB dongle that was decoding the ADS-B signals. I ordered a FlightAware USB stick and at the same time decided I would rebuild the Pi OS from scratch to have a “clean” build.

Once the new USB stick arrived I turned off all the systems and followed the excellent instructions from the 360 Radar guys to rebuild the OS of the Pi and just run a lite version of what I had been doing before. This took a while as I mistakenly thought the Pi wasn’t uploading to 360 because I was looking at the wrong server details. After an email to the support chaps it turned out I was contributing and a couple of hours of troubleshooting by me hadn’t been worth it!

So, the Pi sits in the loft, chugging away supplying data to 360 Radar, in return for which I get free access to their excellent tracking site. I’m running dump1090-mutability along with the MLAT-Client from 360. I’d really like to be able to allow you all to see the output of this but Mutability doesn’t have an external feed and I am not opening up my 80 port for the world.

Output of dump1090-mutability
Output of dump1090-mutability