Saturday, May 21, 2016

Philip K. Dick On Getting A Grip

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Philip K. Dick

A handy acid test, if you're ever in doubt.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Discernment Died

In the recent past some people thought it cool to listen to a nerd imitating a drum machine into a microphone. Can you believe it?

Discernment died, and no one attended her funeral. 


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Scales And Intent, reposted

C D E F G A B C, the standard scale we all learn first, the first building block, the first formal musical knowledge passed on. 


By starting the scale on the second note we change how it sounds, minor and bluesy. Same notes, same order, different stepping off point. Our ears relate back to the starting point, they hear D as the bass note and the rest in that context.


The same thing occurs when we start the scale on the next note, but the sound is minor and Arabicish. One can continue up the scale, whichever note we start on sounds like the bass, the root, home. Same notes, same order, different colour or flavour depending on where we start it.

The simplest things we learn are the most beautiful. We all learn to walk then decide where we want to go. We all learn to talk then decide what we want to say. We all learn the C scale then decide what we want to play. 

Where we go, what we say, what we do all start with intent, with an emotional decision to start. That intent is the bass note, the root, the context for all that follows. Intent flavours and colours everything. 

The joy of being human is that we can choose our own starting point. We are all pretty much the same, playing the same notes in the same order, but our intent makes us all different. 

Start the scale where you are feeling it. Start it with a strong sweet tone and every note that follows will sing truly of you. 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Art And Doubt

The artist who believes everything he makes is crap is usually right. The artist who believes everything he makes is brilliant is usually wrong.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The G.O.P. And The Old Testament

The Old Testament is full of stories that involve some people who use the name of their god for their own benefit being punished by some avenging terror. One might think that the Republican presidential candidates who claimed their bible as their guide to life should have been familiar with those stories, they claimed to follow the same god after all. Yet, somehow, they were all surprized by the terrible Trump. It's as if they'd never read their bible at all, and their god was punishing them.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Religion Has To Go

I used to have a live and let live approach to religion, as long as your faith didn't want to kill unbelievers like me, as so many have, I didn't care what place of worship you attended. I now find I have no tolerance for religion. I have no issue with your god, it's your religion I struggle with.

When I say the sky is blue, and you agree, neither of us know if the other is seeing the same color, if what we call blue is the same thing. When one person says the word god, who knows what everyone else sees?

I don't have any problem with a god, or gods, however people interpret the word. Whether you mean a supernatural individual or nature, whatever your god, that's your god and I have no interest in disputing that with you. Religions are not about god, they are cultural, political and financial institutions, and I do have a problem with them.

My main problem with religions is all the complete bullshit they expect their followers to swallow. Special hats, wing'ed horses, talking snakes, rules about body hair and diets and all the rest. So much bullshit. Stories declared as history, violence as service to a god, supernatural intervention, bullshit. 

As an example, Moses, received the commandments directly from his god, don't kill, then directed his general to kill all the Canaanites. Bullshit. Major religions are based on the life of Moses, his conversations with his god. How can this be?

The rest is history. Wherever religion goes idiocy and corruption follows. It's nothing to do with a god or gods, it's just humans exploiting the best nature of other humans, their desire for something higher, turning that to their own advantage. Religion turns the best of humanity into the worst. If you don't believe me, buy a newspaper, death and torture at the orders of religions appear every day. People being held in the chains of superstition and ignorance, brainwashed from birth, is less reported but equally rife.

The other major problem with religions is the way they are used to justify, even promote war. War is the worst of humanity, religion is often a cause of, or a justification for war. How can anyone follow any faith that has any part in this? 

Why do you need your religion? Isn't your god enough? Let religion go. Your support tacitly supports the violent extremists who claim the same faith, your support allows religions to control governments, by withdrawing your support you will be serving humanity, and probably your god too. An educated, 21st century adult can't possibly believe all the bullshit religions spout, so stop swallowing it. You know it's bullshit, let it go. 

If your god insists that all other gods are impostors, you have to ask yourself why your god created a world with so many gods? You already don't believe in lots of religions, what's one more? Of course your god didn't create lots of other gods, humans created gods, not the other way around, but if you believe a god or some gods really exist, surely that's enough? You don't need a self serving institution to reassure you, do you? 

I can no longer tolerate religions, they've proven themselves despicable, all of them. Your god or gods are your business, but your religion has to go. 

In 2016, for the love of your god, religion has to go.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Fast Buses, Not Fast Trains

Here in Australia there is talk of building a fast rail line between the two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney. To me this smells of the thinking of the past.

The development of electric engines, batteries and solar power leads me to believe that this is how public transport will be powered in the future. Combined with driverless vehicle technology I cannot see why we would build the old technology of vehicles on rails. 

A flat, straight road is quicker and cheaper to build than rail. There is no reason that driverless buses built for the purpose, on a dedicated road, should not travel at 300 kilometres per hour, a three hour trip between Melbourne and Sydney. Buses are more flexible than trains, a break down doesn't close the service. Instead of one train carrying a large number of passengers, a driverless bus could depart with a smaller number of passengers every minute. Buses can turn to conventional roads when required. Apart from maintenance they will cost nothing to run, fresh solar powered batteries installed after each trip. From one major dedicated bus road a network could easily be built to connect rural Australia, when driverless vehicles become the norm the same buses could also use conventional roads to more remote locations, at a lesser speed. 

When this dedicated fast bus road is built there is no reason private driverless limousines and buses couldn't share it, fees for private use could help reduce the cost of public services. 

For either rail or road some tunnelling under congested city traffic will be required. The flexibility of road vehicles, once the driverless variety are conventional, will allow fast buses to service different areas of the vast cities, so travel to a central station can be eliminated. Tunnels to the outskirts of the two cities may be long term projects, but once the main road is built the network can grow as it becomes financially viable.

A rapid ground transport option between Melbourne and Sydney makes sense. Air travel is expensive and inefficient, we spend more time getting to and from airports and dealing with security than we do flying. Ground transport that arrives in the centre of the city, with future options for arriving in many parts of the city, will often prove quicker and easier for many of us. Given comfortable seats, wifi and a clean bathroom I'd choose the bus every time.

Rail was great technology,for its time. Rapid ground transport is an excellent idea, we need to look to the future for the technology we choose.