— Bob-a-job-alog-a-roonie

I’ve been saying for a long time that there is a direct correlation between someone’s physical appearance (primarily their face) and their personality. I figured that it would never be proven in my lifetime, with personality being so subjective, and the subtle differences in looks perhaps being too small. But an easier study has been made, between attractiveness (testable by asking volunteers) and of course intelligence can be tested.

Researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) said that physically-attractive people have above-average IQs, with good-looking men around 13.6 points above the norm and attractive women 11.4 points above average.

The study involved 52,000 subjects, so it seems like a sound result.

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There’s a John Lennon doco (Imagine) where a dedicated fan is stalking Lennon’s home and Lennon, the pacifist, discusses his “meaningful lyrics” with the young chap. It’s an excellent insight into how an artist puts some words together and a fan thinks that those words are meaningful to them alone.

Having said that, my main man David Bowie has written some lyrics that seem peculiarly significant to me. As a science nerd and skeptic, I guess it is just random and insignificant. As a witch I figure it is meaningful.

Life on Mars

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds

Ibiza means nothing to me. But I did live in the Norfolk Broads while unable to be a citizen – despite being married to a pom.

Panic in Detroit

I asked for an autograph
jumped the silent cars that slept at traffic lights

The one time I met David Bowie, a Finnish girl and I rushed his limo (silent car) as it stopped at traffic lights. We asked for and got an autograph, a photo, and a handshake.

IMG_9946

Having scored a trillion dollars

My current professional mission is a trillion dollar idea. Even amongst the delusional, not many people aim for a trillion.

Always Crashing The Same Car

As I pushed my foot down to the floor
I was going round and round the hotel garage

The second time I crashed a car, I was having a mental meltdown about a girl. I was in a 1969 Triumph, parked in a pub carpark (hotel garage). I pressed down fully on the accelerator and put the steering on full lock. Crashed into a van that was driving by. No-one hurt but it took a year to pay off the repairs. The first time I crashed a car was the girl of my angst’s mum’s car. Different cars, same girl. No crashes since, no longer a teenager.

Five Years

It’s about the end of the world. I spearheaded a global end-of-the-world movement. I think that qualifies.

Kendrick Lamar

My favourite album of 2015 was also Bowie’s, given that he grafted the same jazz onto his last songs.

 

Of course Bowie wrote a lot of songs, and most of them are meaningless in relation to my life. I don’t dance, I’m not a DJ or a starman, I’m not a duke or a gravedigger.

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Just crossed my mind to tally up the books etc that I am part way through*. Until 2 years ago I allocated myself one novel per year, and the rest science non-fiction. Then came 3 hours a day on the train, so I’m getting through a fair bit.

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness. Finished today, in plenty of time for this month’s The Last Bookclub on Earth. Soon to be a hit movie series.
Feed – Mira Grant. Will easily finish in time for the next Last Bookclub on Earth meetup. Bloggers versus zombies.
More Notes of a Dirty Old Man – Charles Bukowski. I turn to Hank when I need a pick me up, and to his poetry when I need even more.

henry-charles-bukowski

The Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote. Short stories by K.J. Bishop, the Aussie genius who wrote The Etched City
Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos – H.P Lovecraft and others. Another short story collection to slowly work my way through
The Colour of Magic / The Light Fantastic – Terry Pratchett. Something light-hearted for when I need a break from dystopian fiction, dark fantasy and gothic horror.

Good (US magazine). “environmental issues, education, urban planning, design, politics, culture, technology, and health”
Mojo (magazine). I have kept all of my old music magazines in case one day I get so rich I can order any CD I want based on a 100 word review. Well that time has come, a.k.a Spotify.
MIT Technology Review (magazine). Serious but readable.
Regulation (magazine). About regulatory policy in the USA, but ultimately about libertarianism. A guilty pleasure.

devereux

The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia – Paul Devereux. Scholarly look at everyday tripping at the start of civilisation. Causality?
Dig Deeper: Seasonal sustainable Australian gardening. Hefty tome full of ideas as I slowly create a paradise at home.

Aside from train reading, these are also read over breakfast or lunch, or waiting at the pub at the agreed time while others dawdle. If I’m awake enough to read in bed, I should be working instead.

*part way through and readily findable. There are many, many more buried away somewhere, which means I clearly lost interest. Although it is rare for me to not finish a novel, the same as I can’t walk out of a stage play.

CebtaAnd yeah, TV shows these days… Designated Survivor, Black Mirror, and   Central

 

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Think of an skinny R2D2 with arms. The arms become legs for getting up and down stairs and over obstacles.

Fetchr has a primary mission of finding and fetching things for you. He can also:

  • hand you tools while you are fixing the car
  • vacuum using an attachment that he attaches himself
  • fetch canned or bottled drinks from his own special fridge
  • bring in the mail or newspaper
  • tidy up (for example any clothes found on the floor go to the laundry basket)

In other words an un-fancy robot that everybody has a use for.

But here’s the innovation – Fetchr learns from you via your AR glasses. When you are at home, while wearing the glasses you explain what you are doing and identify items. Just like speech recognition software, it will take a while initially to train it. Beyond that, just wearing the glasses at home means that Fetchr sees what you see. He knows when you last mowed the lawns. He knows what a hammer is and the last time you used it, and where it was last seen.

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Aaaah, the sweet spot. The place where magic happens because all of the planets align  - but typically those planets are called drugs, effort, alcohol and desire.

pool

For me it has manifested itself the most when playing pool. Many pool players have experienced the sweet spot, and strive to achieve it every time they play. It is a time when they can do no wrong, and unfortunately it doesn’t last long. I’d say 10-15 minutes tops.

While I can see how the abstinent and the stoners could have a similar sweet spot, I believe it predominantly belongs to the drinkers. It is hard to strike a ball smoothly when stuck in sober reality, but as the beers or more kick in so does the smoothness and confidence. Before long you are in a league of your own, and shortly after that you have peaked and fail quite terribly.

As, I said, it is a well-known phenomenon in pool, but perhaps it is a universal principle that can be applied to a wide variety of situations?

I mentioned a combination of  drugs, effort, alcohol and desire.. If theoretically drugs, alcohol and effort were limitless, I suggest that desire wanes.

To take it a step further, perhaps desire is allocated according to long-term returns? If you are thinking of winning a game or a tournament, your desire might wane quite soon. If you are fixated on being the world snooker champion, then your desire might last longer.

Desire is most associated with romance, and I’d like to think that they who desire for love last longer than those who wish to win a game of pool or two.

[and I figure that all desire comes from a base of wanting to be loved]

Example: Gary Numan. He had the tunes to some degree, but was lacking looks or a voice. Normally all three are required. Not for Numan, because his desire to succeed rode over all barriers.

Live musical performance is a ritual, and rituals feed the flames of desire. I suggest that one-hit-wonders are just that because they tend not to tour, and have no ritual.

Yep, it is all just in your head.

 

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(so please be kind. I have the ideas, just unsure if I can get them down in a likeable way).

Here be 3 beginnings to the same story, streamed out to loud music, wine and soon whisky, in an hour or so. Literature it isn’t. The genre is thriller / horror. If anyone was to actually read these, I’d take votes.

1A

I left the whisky bottle until last because it wasn’t going to fit, and it didn’t. I crawled out of the tent, which I was also leaving behind. Out of space and out of time. Time to flee.

Kookaburras hooted and hollered from close by. They sounded like a crowd at a comedy festival, but these days you avoid crowds and nothing is funny any more. And I knew it took just two to make such a noise. You’d think knowing the bush should give me a strategic advantage, but not really. It’s not exactly a jungle. You can’t really hide. Knowing which direction I was running, that’s my advantage.

I could hear voices as well. Just loud organising, commands. Not close enough to see me, and they don’t even know I’m here so I figure they are walking. Men, walking. A number of men. Their need is anyone’s guess, but to be out here my guess is that they have heard about my cache. Good luck finding that, and good luck to whoever told them.

I ran hard, zigging and zagging around gum trees every so often, but mostly in a straight line. My phone alerted again, so I would have just triggered another of my sensors. My life-savers. As much as I have been leading a primal life, technology is keeping me alive.

1B

Dreams let me go, and sirens from my phone took over. A perimeter breech. My shaking hand silenced it. Dawn light through the nylon tent walls showed my go bag, an empty whisky bottle, a half-full whisky bottle, clothing, my boots and the heavy blanket I was under. I was facing the wrong way, so that took a moment to get my head around. Then I was dressing, lacing, deciding. No time to pull down the tent. The tent would inspire them. I fled.

The triggered sensor was up hill. I ran down hill. Australian bush is sparse, and easy to run through. But downhill, in leaves, at pace, I had to be careful to stay on my feet. A sprain could kill me.

1C

Dawn breaking and snores catching, Barry was waking anyway. Crashing early and stinking of whisky were signs of a solitary life. The phone alarmed and Barry struggled to find it, he had turned around in his sleep, or maybe he had just felt like a change. There aren’t many opportunities to randomise out here.

Sunlight made the tent feel like being inside a paper lantern. Phone silenced. Blanket rolled and strapped. He struggled into his pack and crawled out through the flap, leaving it unzipped and flapping in the breeze. The kookaburras that woke him were quiet now. Just leaves tinkling softly. Eucalyptus in the air. And a man barking orders at the limits of his hearing. Unmistakably human, and the first human voice he had heard in months. Barry fled.

The forest barely got in the way, narrow tree trunks with high branches and metres apart. Like a guppy escaping a shark net was Barry and he sped downhill at a steady pace that could last him an hour. Don’t leave any trace, and don’t slip and fall in the leaves. That was all he thought about until the next thought: where to next?

The cache won’t be found, and he can return. The Henrys should be warned, but he won’t fight with them. The highway is truly a throw of the dice, and the bush is relentlessly the same for the next 30 miles in the other direction.

Panting heavily, Barry found the door ajar and the Henrys’ house was abandoned. A few worthy items lingered, signalling a hasty exit.

Paths left and right led away from the house but Barry took the stream, slowly, careful not to leave a trace. He took it for a kilometre and then took off his boots and tiptoed across a grassy glade, for several hundred meters and around a corner. The retreat of Mr and Mrs Henry that only he knew about.

Don Henry was aiming his rifle behind and beyond Barry, and saying hey. Exhaustedly saying hey, as if after all the preparation and the years he was ready to surrender to the bone dry grass and rising sun in his sights.

 

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A new NASA sponsored study is looking into the feasibility of spacecraft that rotate all the way to Mars which could simulate partial or full Earth gravity – a little like the craft in the movie Elysium, but more utilitarian and with fewer billionaires.

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, which nurtures and experiments with ideas that are beyond the agency’s current mission “horizon” planning has just pumped another $500,000 into developing the first proof of concept systems, based on a concept called tensegrity. However, if all of the funding was in place today then lead principal investigator Robert Skelton has said he could have a prototype in low-Earth orbit in about three to four years.
Source

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youtube-kids

Autoplay is fine on Facebook, it is an active response to your scrolling through the feed. It wastes bandwidth, but provides additional revenue for Facebook, which means there is at least some value for someone attached to it. But is stops when you stop.

The story is quite different for YouTube, which these days plays the next video immediately after the one you chose to watch. Yes, there is value for Google, but when people stop watching, often the videos keep streaming.

While many grown ups might leave YouTube videos running in a browser tab, the chief culprit is children and Apple TV / ChromeCast. Children (and half of the adults out there) think that turning off the TV stops the streaming of the media they are watching. It doesn’t – the iPod, iPad or smartphone that is feeding ChromeCast keeps streaming youTube, even while the screen is off. For hours and days. When the TV is switched back on, the child is pleased that YouTube is still running, saves them a few steps.

Prediction: Internet providers will create advertisements pleading people to stop their app instead of switching off their TV.

 

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On two fronts, video games and pop music, it is being proven in Japan that you don’t need real live humans any more. And this is presumably where the rest of the world is heading, to some degree.

Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop princess with a #1 single and sell-out live shows. But her voice and image are computer-generated, and her “live” shows feature a holograph that the fans seem to enjoy as much as a real performer:

And now video games are providing the same level of soft porn as rap videos. Just watch this and ask yourself why young men will really be buying Dead or Alive: Paradise

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When I say we, I don’t mean in war-torn africa, but rather the western world. And by relatively I mean compared to seemingly any other time in human existence.

According to  Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking, 2011):

“Violent deaths of all kinds have declined, from around 500 per 100,000 people per year in prestate societies to around 50 in the Middle Ages, to around six to eight today worldwide, and fewer than one in most of Europe.”

You can thank the upper class:

“Beginning in the 11th or 12th [century] and maturing in the 17th and 18th, Europeans increasingly inhibited their impulses, anticipated the long-term consequences of their actions, and took other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. A culture of honor—the readiness to take revenge—gave way to a culture of dignity—the readiness to control one’s emotions. These ideals originated in explicit instructions that cultural arbiters gave to aristocrats and noblemen, allowing them to differentiate themselves from the villains and boors. But they were then absorbed into the socialization of younger and younger children until they became second nature.”

In the USA murders are rending towards recorded lows:

homicide_offending_by_race

 

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