Friday, November 21, 2008

an Update, with amazingly enough no photos...

Got to love 20% off sales at book stores and a Steady income. Unfortunately though six new books aren't going to last that long. 29 hours after having acquired them 2 are finished so 1270 pages read, thankfully work slows things down otherwise I'd probably have finished another one or two by now!

Anyway Hamilton's much the same as always though things have been getting decidedly warmer. The recent interest in Ginger beer has lead me to start experimenting with making my own, and the results seem reasonable though unfortunately I can't get the ginger flavour as strong as I like, still means theres plenty of experiment to do!

Work is somewhat more interesting than normal, mainly becuase there are a lot of major changes coming down the pipeline so I'm getting involved in helping sort out some aspects of that.

Have managed to visit a few places headed up to Auckland Labour weekend to visit various cousins and AR at some point (when I run out of books and computer games) I'll post a few photos from there. Also as those who're on facebook might have noticed headed over to Taurunga for an extended family gathering. It's good to catch up with Aunt's, Uncles and cousins you've not seen for years or ever before!

Apart from reading and playing around with the camera have been playing a few computer games recently, seeing this last quarter has been rather crazy for releases of good games (S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Skies, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Spore and soon the next NWN2 expack).

What's impressive though is to realise that in 4 weeks I'll be back in Chch for a briefly and then for a bit longer after christmas. Will be good to cya all

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An interesting little tool/form of Art

Found this tool today when I was looking something up Webpages as Graphs. Throw it your website address and it generates a rather pretty (if highly cpu intensive) graph of your site based on the html tags used to make it up!

Any way here is an example of what my site looks like!

What do your blogs/websites look like in it?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Yeah yeah I'm bored again...

Heck next time I'm bored you might even get some landscapes of Auckland or perhaps Taurunga, if I get around to looking through them, or maybe even some cute little dogs. :-)

As usual more at http://www.flickr.com/photos/eonsimia/

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Lilies

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And just for something different!
Bonfire Detail

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please don't Vote

Please don't vote
An open letter to the American populace.

Election day is coming up. That means that for months, you've been bombarded by all manner of forces encouraging you to vote.

I, on the other hand, would like to encourage you to do nothing of the sort. Quite the opposite in fact.

I'm not being sarcastic here. I'm not trying reverse psychology. What I'm saying is that I would like you to consider, seriously, the possibility of not voting in the coming election.
...


An interesting if somewhat long post, it's primarily with regards to the US election but applies equally well to our own. Any way have a read of it, as it's certainly interesting and once you've read it what do you think of it?

Do you agree or disagree and why?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Look he's bored again and the weathers nice...

Not to mention the new lens.

So another week gone and spring seems to have full arrived, in that it's raining one second sunny the next. Not that different from winter come to think of it, just about 5C warmer on average.
So any way hope you enjoy the photos and as usual there are more on my flickr page.
Amazingly I even managed to get what I think is a decent photo of AB, though he'll likely disagree pointing out it can't be a good image because he is in it (and R isn't).
Any way hope spring is treating you well down there in Chch, and I look forward to seeing people at Christmas and the events that follow shortly after.

Colour
Young Leaves

Old Metal
Old Wire

Old Paint
Edge

Buttercup

Dandelion



For our daily bug we give thanks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

heh, feel life a drink?

Does drinking alcohol shrink your brain? - CNN.com
People who drink alcohol -- even the moderate amounts that help prevent heart disease -- have a smaller brain volume than those who do not, according to a study in the Archives of Neurology


Not that you can really draw many conclusions from it but still...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Interesing article.

Clinton Democrats are to blame for the credit crunch | The Spectator
Clinton Democrats are to blame for the credit crunch

Interesting little article, not sure entirely how accurate it is though and even if it is perfectly on the ball, I highly doubt it was the sole cause of the current crisis.

The Problem with the sharemarket

Congrats if you manage to read the whole post I suspect it's not the easiest to do so, especially considering I didn't bother proof reading it, so effectively what your getting is a stream of thoughts, anyway with out further ado onto the actual post.

Something rather different.

I must say I'm finding the current financial crisis rather interesting and long over due. The modern sharemarkets to me have always seemed to be a crazy system, that does not create wealth but simply moves it from the unlucky and less intelligent members of Society to more intelligent and lucky members. It seems to rely on a couple of fundamental assumptions that are no longer valid, and is effectively a highly risky form of gambling that can have insanely far reaching consequences. As I see it the fundamental role of shares was to raise capital for a company allowing them to expand and grow there business, with the underlying promise that when the business had grown the company would either purchase the shares back at a somewhat high price than they issued them or offer dividends returning a small portion of there increased profit back to those who funded it. The sharemarket was then a way for those who had initial invested to pass there investments onto other groups if they needed access to the money they invested. The modern sharemarket seems entirely different though from the traditional, first companies issue ridiculous numbers of shares which they have no hope of ever buying back. These shares are then traded back and forth as traders speculate that they will be able to make money not off the company via it buying back the shares or issuing dividends but by selling those shares to people with less understanding who want to buy in to the "sharemarket" and there favorite companies, or simply the company of the moment. This leads to shares ending up with insanely inflated values which have no relationship to the companies actual ability to make a profit or distribute it to its share holders. This effectively raises the price of the shares to a point where no company can afford to buy back any significant number of it's shares, effectively ruling out one of the principle methods of a company delivering money to its shareholders. Dividends are also unpopular on as 10cents a share is nothing when you've just bought a thousand shares at a cost of $100,000 also it appears the company is frittering away it's profit rather than reinvesting it in it's self. The shareholder has just spent $100,000 on shares they're not ever going to get the money back from dividends and the company can't buy them back, so the only source of profit they can make is to sell the shares onto some other chap, to do this they want the share value to rise so they encourage the company to not pay a dividend and reinvest the money in it's self to increase it's future profit. Which will in turn increase the apparent value of there shares and allow them to offload them to some other poor sucker who can throw his money away. This effectively leads to a continuous cycle of share prices increasing.

The only way to make money off this cycle is to grab a share then sell it off when it's price increases enough but before it drops or crashes. Because when it eventually does some one has to be holding the can and as long as it's not you why would you care? After all doesn't matter to you that some chap spends his lifesavings to buy the shares off you thinking it's an investment only to have the value crash a week latter reducing his $110,000 to nothing. After all he knew the risk didn't he and the truth that the sharemarkets are a 'zero sum' game and a gamble that the majority do not understand and lose in.


Off course this doesn't even take into account things like Short selling, or naked short selling which are used by the rich and savvy to deliberately distort the market to make a quick profit. Or the whole securities market buying and selling things like mortgages.


As a quick note to those who might think that its fine enough to say all this but you've got nothing in it so shut up. I am some what effected by it due to the fact that a noticeable percentage (15% all up) of my salary goes into a superannuation scheme that has some exposure to the sharemarket. Though I did chose a cash heavy scheme based on my opinion of the sharemarket, and that I have no desire to profit of people who fail to realise that the sharemarket isn't an investment it's a gamble that they going to loss when going up against people who do it for a living!

Oh and I am aware of thing like securities, insurance, government bonds, international cash, gold, coffee, oil and food options and futures but haven't commented on then because I either like them even less than the sharemarket or don't know enough about them or what they're currently doing.

Any way what are your thoughts about the sharemarket and how are you finding this current "crisis" (or overdue price corrective action ;-P).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More photos and facebook

Heh I see facebook appears to pick these posts up now. Rather useful!

Any way a couple more photos because I'm bored, and am interested to see if facebook picks them up as well!


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Flowers after Rain

Husk

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Christmas 08

Rather early but might as well mention it. I'll be back in Chch the 19th of December for the afternoon/evening then back again from the 26th December through to the 4th of Jan most likely (Christmas/Boxing Day and New Years fall excellently to maximize my holiday!). Might end up being there around a bit longer depending on what my company decides on with regards to shutting down over Christmas, seems unlikely but if they were kind enough to shut down for two weeks over Christmas I could be around till the 10th Jan.

Any way hopefully some of the Chch gang will be around in Christchurch for that period. Any one got any plans for New Years (Ok admittedly 3months before hand is probably a little too early to plan things but hey not got a lot else to do apart from work do I? ;-).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Good Weekend in Hamilton

Well another weekend gone quite a good one all up, first it was good to see J&J for a number of hours on Friday evening, hope the rest of your trip and the flight home went well.
Then Saturday dawned perfectly leading me to head into town to pick up an item the courier was having problems delivering (which makes it about the 4th item item I've had problems with now, why can't they deliver things after 4:30?). Any way thinking it wasn't too far from the city center I walked out to the courier depo (not really that far ~5km, took a lot longer than I was expecting though, damned hill) and then headed back past the Hamilton Lake.
With perfect weather and camera this resulted in me spending about 2 hours wandering around half the lake taking photos and trying to get a feel for using the camera to photograph a mix of birds, water and vegetation (expect a number of photos as I convert them from RAW format to something people can actually view, as usual plenty more images on my Flickr and Zooomr pages). Then Sunday (weather warm but overcast) after church headed along with A&R to see WALL E, which turned out quite awesome as you may have noticed from my previous post.

Any way here's my favorite photo (at least so far) from Saturday, more to come in a bit.

Spray

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Watch it!

Wall E that is, a brilliant movie. I can't think of any of you who wouldn't like it. Unless you are concealing a hidden hatred for all movies or animated movies make you physical sick!
Well worth the wait for it to show up over here. Must say I kind of want to watch it again as I'm pretty sure I missed a lot of background info and a number of jokes hidden in the trash at the beginning. Also the ending sketches/animation and bit versions of the characters during the final credits are awesome!

Oh and don't mess with EVE!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anonymous - A RL Stand Alone Complex?

If you've been following the goings on on the interweb over the last few years you may have noticed the odd thing attributed to "Anonymous" an apparent online group. Which has supposedly been involved in such things as, online raids against websites, hacking peoples Myspace pages, tacking Internet Predators, Protests against Scientology, Assaulting Epilepsy forums with images that cause attacks (though some claim that it was Scientology trying to ruin the Anonymous Rep, certainly possible), defacing hiphop sites and now hacking Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account (yes the current VP on the Us Republican ticket).( for more info see links at bottom)

What is interesting about this so called group is whether or not it actually exists and what we would commonly consider to be a group or whether it is an example of a "emergent" social behavior such as the one Theorized about in the Ghost in the Shell anime serie, Stand alone complex.

The Standalone complex is a phenomenon where unrelated individuals act in a similar manner which creates an appearance of a concerted effort. As in someone mentions something or does something that attracts the attention of others. With out communicating specifically with each other, they each act in a manner consistent with that of the original suggestion or action. This creates the appearance of a concerted effort even though the individuals are unrelated, there is no leader as such and no overall plan. A better explanation can be found here Wikipedia on The Standalone Complex.


Looking at this so called group "Anonymous" with the standalone complex in mind one would seriously wonder if it is actually a group as it has been described. To a certain degree, it seems to have originated (according to wikipedia at least) in a number of online forums, imageboards and websites, where "Anonymous" is the default name assigned to any post, by a person not using a login for that website or messageboard. Thus "Anonymous" is effectively anyone and every one who can't be bothered with a login or does not use one for some reason, yet is interested enough in what ever topic that they want to contribute.
So at it's very beginning Anonymous is a "group" of completely unrelated people who share common interests, yet for the most part never meet and do not communicate on a personal level. Is this even a group as such?
So any way you eventually end up with a "group" of people who utilise "Anonymous" as an identify, and some people do some stuff and then leave a message stating that they the group "Anonymous" were responsible.

So effectively we have a defined group with no specific "membership", no real leaders (though sub groups with in the so called "Anonymous" metagroup may), and no particular plan, managing to do stuff and having other stuff attributed to them. The stuff they've done is quite varied though it can kind of be split up into a couple of areas, Hacking and Protest/vigilante stuff.

What is kind of cool I guess is we have an apparent group that does stuff, and has stuff attributed to it when for all intents and purposes it doesn't exist, and is likely to be a simply a variety of people acting with common goals, with out a leader and with out specific plans.
Yet it is capable, or at least people are willing to assign it blame or responsibility for a range of impressive actions, some with potentially far reaching effects. A group which may or may not exist yet has/is being investigated by TV journalists, by the FBI and Secret Service...

The protests that were affiliated with it against Scientology were it's most interesting action so far and were rather impressive, have a look at the links to images at the bottom of the post, and have a read of there statement (bottom of the page) or watch the video of it. The most recent accredited action hacking the emails of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin (Wired on Anoynmous hacking Sarah Palins emails.) is very interesting and has potentially far reaching consequences, considering the election is soonish and it appears that she may have been using her personal email for government business. Some people seem to think this may have been an attempt to aviod the US information discolsure laws with regards to email, if so and should there be much of interest in the hacked data it could have a significant effect on the election.

Any way I'm rambling somewhat so here is a question:
What do you think of the "group" such as it is and it's apparent actions, and do you think it's an example of a standalone complex/emergent behavior?




Links

Anoynmous Declaration against Scientology

Hello, Scientology. We are Anonymous.

Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who trust you, who call you leader, has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.

You cannot hide; we are everywhere.

We cannot die; we are forever. We're getting bigger every day--and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many.

Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon's actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.

Gradually as we merge our pulse with that of your "Church", the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will wake, and see that salvation has no price. They will know that the stress, the frustration that they feel is not something that may be blamed upon Anonymous. No--they will see that it stems from a source far closer to each. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of the RTC.

Knowledge is free.

We are Anonymous.

We are Legion.

We do not forgive.

We do not forget.

Expect us.


Congrats if you made sense of this post...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nice Weather = Photos

We've amazingly had a week of decent weather up here so got a chance to head out with Camera + new lens and take a few photos.
As usual theres more images at the flickr page.


Mini cones

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Foraging

Sunset Vertical Section

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Update + photos

Finally got my primary laptop repaired and so have had a chance to edit some photos taken over the last couple of weekends.

It's surprising to realize I've been up here about one week off three months. Church wise I've been wandering along to the nearby baptist, seeing it's only a 5min walk, unfortunately it doesn't have alot of people in there 20's going there, though the few who are are friendly enough. Work wise it's far to easy and fairly boring, still it pays and after I've gathered some experience I can start looking for more interesting positions. Have been biking too and from work, seeing it's about 5km a little too far to walk especially in Hamilton where it seems to be nearly constantly raining. I don't think I've yet to manage to get to and from work for a week with out getting wet, it's blasted depressing!
I am hoping to get back down to Chch for a while over Christmas/New Years, will have to see though, as the department I'm in doesn't always shut down for long, if theres plenty of work, or may join the family in heading over to Aus for a week around Christmas.
The company is currently running a Health and Wellfare program where those interested were provided with pedometers and formed teams which then record how many steps every one makes in a week and the resulting value is used in a virtual race around the country. Currently the team I'm in is coming about 5th though hopefully that will improve. My weekly step counts have climbed from ~62,000 through 70,000 and should hopefully hit around 80,000 this week, and will hopefully increase to about 90,000 a week as I start heading along to the local Akidio dojo.
Noting that my step is approximately 1 meter it appears I'm doing an equivalent of about 60km+ a week (actually cover a greater distance but cycling gets converted to 1000 per 10mins, which is a lot lower than it would be if I walked to work ~10,000 a day).

Any way hope people are having fun down in Chch and were ever else you currently might be in the world, and that you can make some sense of this rather chaotic post. Hopefully I'll see some of you later this year, how ever in the mean time here are some photos that hopefully aren't too bad. The first three are from a trip to the Hamilton Gardens, while the second two are from playing around in my backyard with a new lens just after dusk. Feel free to leave comments about stuff! :-)


Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden

Italian Arches
Arches in the Italian Garden.

The Italian Garden
Italian Garden

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Grapefruit

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cards and Books

I seem to be acquiring cards that I need to stick in my wallet at a rather fast rate:
Dymocks, Real Groovy, Christchurch Library (Quiet don't mention I don't, live there any more), Hamilton Library, ACC, DCI, BusIT!, One card, LIC Security(Though this one needs to be on my belt not wallet) as well as the usual Drivers, Eftpos, Credit etc
All in all it's far to many bits of somewhat useful plastic and Cardboard.

Other bad news :-P is that regular pay + bookstores is a bad mix if one wants to save as much money as possible, Gaming stores don't help either but at least there It's things I want that aren't out yet rather than a couple of hundred books I want that are either instore or can be delivered in a week.

Still some good books, "Toll the Hounds" (Steven Erikson) and "Red Seas Under Red Skies" (Scott Lynch) soon to be joined by "The Lies of Locke Lamora" (Scott Lynch), "Inda", "Fox" and "King's Shield" (Sherwood Smith).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cooking == Intelligence?

For those of you interested in the Raw Food movement you may find these articles of interest.
Cooking and Cognition: How Humans Got So Smart

Metabolic changes in schizophrenia and human brain evolution

The Raw Food Diet: A Raw Deal

The first two (the Second is a paper I'll read properly late and likely comment on a bit more then) suggest that there may have been a link between the discovery of Cooking and the development of Human intelligence as it made more energy available for use by the brain.
The Second has a quick look at the Raw food diet and points out a couple of problems with it. When considered together it makes for an interesting look at human cognition and the possible effects that changes in diet can have.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Some Awesome Olympics Photos

A few awesome photos taken during the Olympics open ceremony! They're awesome! Overall I thought the ceremony was decent and had some bits of brilliance but didn't quite have the same overall impact as the Athens opening.

Olympics 2008 Opening Ceremony

Thursday, August 07, 2008

'Virophage' suggests viruses are alive

Most of you who have ever studied Biology at any level are probably somewhat aware of the debate on with regards to whether viruses are living or not. In a tangentially related bit of news that provides some slight support for the "they are alive" argument scientists have recently discovered a virus which effectively infects another virus :-). For more details have a look at the link.

Virophage

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A few pics

A few Images from a weekend spent at Waihi Beach. All from the Sunday as Saturday was when the storm hit.

Waihi Beach, Winter, NZ

Dropping by for a Drink

Waihi Beach, Northen Headland

Monday, July 21, 2008

Free Ebooks, Wallpapers

Tor.com / Science fiction and fantasy / Blog posts / Freebies Bonanza

Tor (a big American SF publisher) are allowing free download of a number of there ebooks until the 27th July. They've also stuck up wallpaper versions of a cover art from a variety of of books and older SF mags.
It's well worth a look for some good wall paper and some good reading material.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dragon Age!

BioWare : Dragon Age : Home

Dragon Age is looking awesome from the early screenshots and videos released, the website has some info as well these days so if you like RPG's have a look at it!

Monday, July 07, 2008

IT consumerization

Analysis: IT consumerization and the future of work

An interesting article hypothesizing that consumers are replacing Enterprise and Governments as the main driver for modern computer technology with a suggestion that this could eventually lead to BYO computer workplaces, as companies struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing and diversifying software and hardware ecosystem.

What do you people think? Or are you already there (Matt?)?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Playing about with Photography

Finally some finer weather allowing me to play a bit with a recent purchase. Nothing amazing just getting used to all the options that are now available, and the higher image quality.

Update2:
Apparently the images only look bad when I viewing them from Windows Vista. Still rather than put them back up I'm sticking up a couple of other more recent ones I prefer more!


House Sparrow

DSC00478

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yeah so...

4 Weeks, kinda surprising to realise I've now been working full time for 4 weeks up here and that in a couple of days I'll have spent my first full month up here. Hamilton's winter seems to finely have hit if you call ~14c and rain winter, it seems to have an annoying habit of switching between sunshine and rainstorms at a rapid pace. There will be a gap in the clouds for 15mins with plenty of sunshine every where and then boom, it's pouring like crazy and will continue to do so for 30-40mins before you get another bunch of sunshine for 15-30mins, repeat ad infinitum. Makes for annoying biking weather when you live a 20-30min ride away from work, which means you end up wearing wet weather gear while biking home directly into the blazing sun.

Have also moved into a flat, it's a bit of a student flat, 3 other christian guys 20-21 which takes some adjusting too (they all go to a New life style church as well), it's about 4k's closer to work than where I was boarding which is nice cutting, 15mins or so off my bike to work. Should be a reasonable place to stay until around Christmas/NY at which point I should hopefully have gotten to know a few people and can look at finding a better flat.

Work is okay, hardly the most exciting job but that's to be expected for a testing lab, hopefully at some point I'll be able to work on some of the R&D stuff they do there as well as the standard testing stuff. Apparently things will get a little crazy once the calving season starts off and every second farmer wants us to test his calves. The people are interesting, in the group where I work they're mainly gals, 4 or 5 guys in a team of ~24.

Apart from work not been doing a lot, hung out with Brehaut a bit (his flat is a few min walk away), seen Ruth once, read a book or two, watched anime, and SF (brehaut's flatmates hold a SciFi night during the week which is rather awesome!) and played a fair bit of Mass Effect. Also tried playing around with a recent acquisition (a new camera), but Hamilton's apparent idea of a winter has put a dampener on that, quite literally. Have visited a few churches, (1 bapo, Flatmates, and a Brethen (by far the best)) still got to visit B&R's church and the local baptist which is hopefully better than the previous one I looked at. Which was very excited about contributing ~18% of it's budget to missions, which is rather pathetic compared to Westchurch's 70%+ to missions/community, still I may be doing them a disservice possibly they contribute more to local community stuff. Of course seeing I'm not exactly sure that missions, is what we should really be spending money on rather than actively helping people, I'm not sure why it annoyed me so much. Other than possibly I think that missions spending is a sign of a health church that has a decent focus rather than one that's more interested in a big building etc.


Any way if you made sense of all that and are still reading I'm impressed, not sure when I'll next be back in Chch, maybe Christmas/NY depending on what my parents are doing. In the mean time though I'm planning to visit Auckland, New Plymouth and Tauranga to see relatives, though the lack of long weekends in the second half of the year is rather annoying!

Any way hope your all doing well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hamilton, Photos

A few pics from the Hamilton Gardens. Visited them a couple of times as they're on my route to work, though I've not managed to explorer them properly yet. In other news I've finished my first week and moved from a 10month contract to a permanent one, and had my first bike tire puncture 5 days after starting biking, blasted annoying especially seeing I didn't have a single puncture in 6 years in Chch! Work is fairly interesting lots to learn, though undoubtedly it may start getting a bit repetitive once I've got must of the stuff memorized. Planning to spend a bit of time exploring the city this weekend which should be fun/interesting.

Altar?
Altar


Red Tree's.
Red Trees


The River
The River, Hamilton

Monday, June 02, 2008

Well...

I'm in Hamilton, arrived 1:35pm on Sunday after getting stuck in a holding pattern for 35mins, due to fog.
Was given a quick tikky tour of the CBD and the route to work that afternoon, Monday was spent getting a bike, bus cards, maps, biking back to where I'm staying etc. Then biking out to the work site and back again to determine how long it would take, on a quite road looks to be 25-30mins may be a bit slower on a work day...
Both bike trips took little detoures to look first at the lake and later at the river and gardens. Some quite pretty bits in the sections of the garden I looked at, unfortuantely my camera seems to have died so no photos (still I was planning on buying a new one any way so will just have to do it a bit more quickly now).

Any way based on what I've seen of Hamilton so far seems to be an odd place compared to Chch, Napier/Hastings etc the city appears to be built a hilly section of a highland, with the river running in it's own little gorge through the city.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quote: You do not exist!

A Quote from the God Delusion

Steve Grand points out that you and
I are more like waves than permanent 'things'. He invites his reader
to think . . .

. . . of an experience from your childhood. Something you
remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even
smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were
there at the time, weren't you? How else would you
remember it? But here is the bombshell: you weren't there.
Not a single atom that is in your body today was there
when that event took place . . . Matter flows from place
to place and momentarily comes together to be you.
Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of
which you are made. If that doesn't make the hair stand
up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does,
because it is important.


I've read some SF where stuff like this has been mentioned a little in passing but never as clearly put! A really fun idea to consider that to a certain degree is correct. While some parts of the body are still there many are no longer and have been swapped out to the environment. This means that to a certain degree your simply a traveling informational lifeform that has conveniently managed to piggy back it's self on to a clump of matter that it then rearranges according to a set of rules. :-) Like software in a certain manner you do not physically exist!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mara Triangle Wildlife Park Africa Blog/Photos

Mara Triangle
A blog run by a Ranger in one of the African wildlife parks, some lovely photos and an interesting insight into the sorts of things that go own in the wildlife parks, and the animals that inhabit them.

The flickr photostream associated with the blog can be found here.
Kimojuno's Photostream A nice collection of animal photos.

An example of some of the photos!


Cheetah AND Hyaena face off
Originally uploaded by Kimojino

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cost of the Occupation of Iraq

Charlie's Diary: Alternative boondoggles
The direct cost to the US government of the war and occupation of Iraq — counting only funds appropriated by Congress — so far runs to roughly $523Bn.


A look at the money that's been spent on the occupation of Iraq and a look at alternative things that could have been done with such an insanely large amount of money!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Neurotech

A brief look at the growing Neurotechnology industry, more focused on the economic side than the science but still of interest. Worth reading if your interesting in drugs targeting the brain as both cures and boosters.

Analysis of Neurotech Industry - National Business News - Portfolio.com
The neurotech industry is engaged in a $2 trillion race to fix your brain. Many players will fail, but the payoff will be huge for those who succeed.

For those using Valerian...

This may be of interest it's the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) fact sheet for the herb. Probably well worth a look if you are or are considering using it.
Valerian Fact Sheet (NIH)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Snow Crash

If you've not read it you should, It's a cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. It plays around with a lot of interesting ideas related to linguistics, informational and biological viruses, Sumerian mythology, the rise of civilization and Christianity or Religion. While it's a work of fiction the ideas utilised and the real world implications of some of the ideas are a fascinating alternate view of Civilisation and Religion.

Any way Snow Crash is well worth reading and I'd highly recommend it to those who find such ideas interesting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To quote:

Metaplanetary by Tony Daniel:
I repeat for all prospective despots, kings, saviors, democratic freedom fighters, and the like: Frequent rummage sales . You never know but you might pick up the secret of universal domination at one, and at a sweet price.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

God Delusion Again

Yes yes, of course the troubles in Northern Ireland are political. There really has been economic and political oppression of one group by another, and it goes back centuries. There really are genuine grievances and injustices, and these seem to have little to do with religion; except that - and this is important and widely overlooked - without religion there would be no labels by which to decide whom to oppress and whom to avenge.


Does any one else think this is a load of bollocks? They simply would have come up with a new label of some form or another.

Any way apart from that I thought the sections on memes, the origins of religion, religion as a by product and cargo cults to be interesting and well written. Possibly because these sections had more of an academic or scientific focus rather than being directly part of the authors argument against religion, and as a result somewhat more factual rather than heavily opinionated unlike many of his other sections.

Aging: Lifestyle or Genes?


An interesting article looking at the recent aging research, well worth a read if your interesting in Science, Biology, Aging etc.

Lifestyle or Genes? The Health Secrets of a 114-Year Old Man

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Evolution Controversial?


Evolution: what's the real controversy?
An interesting article covering some of the topics that are supposed to be controversial in evolution. It's mainly focused on what the US Intelligent Design lobby has been trying to use in there effects to alter how biology is taught in US schools.

Worth a read if your interested in ID or Evolution.

OO.org 3.0beta


First look: OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta a big step forward
Finally native OSX support for those of you utilizing that system, so no more need for X11.

Platypus Genome


Platypus genome as distinctive as its owner

An interesting animal with an interesting genome.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Iron Man

Any one interested in going to see the Iron Man movie sometime this week/weekend?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Peak Water

Peak Water: Aquifers and Rivers Are Running Dry. How Three Regions Are Coping

That the news is familiar makes it no less alarming: 1.1 billion people, about one-sixth of the world's population, lack access to safe drinking water. Aquifers under Beijing, Delhi, Bangkok, and dozens of other rapidly growing urban areas are drying up. The rivers Ganges, Jordan, Nile, and Yangtze — all dwindle to a trickle for much of the year. In the former Soviet Union, the Aral Sea has shrunk to a quarter of its former size, leaving behind a salt-crusted waste.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mind Enhancing Drugs and Software

Two interesting articles in a similar field from wired.com this time.

First up and the less likely to be controversial of the two is "Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm", it's a fascinating read, so if you've got some spare time have a look at it.
The article covers supermeamo a memory enhancement software package and it's creator. A software package that utilises research on optimal memorisation strategies to provide a system that can boost your ability to memorise material. The system apparently works by determining the optimal periods at which to refresh the material you want to memorise. It then sticks up a reminder with the info at the point were you should be just starting forget the information. Seeing apparently if the optimal time is targeted regularly the average time between needing a reminder increases and the quicker it gets committed to "longterm" memory. If it works, it sounds like a rather useful system for extending/increasing your ability to memorise material in an optimal manner. The second part of the article looks at the creator of the algorithms used, a man who's so convinced about the software that he allows it to run his life, choosing what he wants prioritised and then letting the software, take what he wants to read and learn and sticking it into this system.
The writer makes some interesting comments that the future of computer boosted IQ for humans, may not be using the computer to store the information for you but instead using them to optimise the manner in which you learn it. The software is available commercial for windows and is apparently considered brilliant for learning languages, free alternatives that use slightly different algorithms are available for both windows and Linux.

Secondly we move on to an article on Brain-Enhancing Drug Regimens where people are using mind enhancing drugs, originally designed to help with sleeping "disorders", ADHD and other disorders to boost their mental performance for work, tests and assignments. The article provides a brief overview and then dives into examples of drug regimens used by readers of the magazine in their daily life. The Drugs act to promote alertness, and boost the users focus, ability to ignore distractions and rate of memorisation. What is also interesting is that the US department of defense is funding research into such drugs for a variety of uses by military personnel.


Together both articles are rather interesting look at the field of human mental self experimentation, as people try to boost there mental rather than physical capabilities with various strategies and drugs. I suspect such things will increase as we move further and further into an information saturated society. One where we are permanently connected to various information sources and our friends and colleagues, and have to deal with the associated information overload. Seeing we've done pretty well so far considering we're a group of evolved hunter gather scavengers, who are an increasingly long way away from the plains and deserts that we spent millions of years wondering and that our minds and bodies were "optimised" (yeah, yeah I know Evolution and optimisation don't go together but give me a break, you know what I mean) for.

Give Your Intellect a Boost — Just Say Yes to Doing the Right Drugs!
Now if you've read the second article have a look at this quick page, which lists a varity of the drugs, their effects, side effects and possible modes of action.

Any way what do you people think, would you be interested or consider utilising either system? Or do you consider such systems to either not work or to be actively dangerous to ones health?

Is the Wii a Toy or a Gaming System?

A VERY interesting interview with the heads of Bioware (you know the company responsible for a few small games like, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic etc).

Interview: BioWare On Narrative, Wii Gaming, Mainstream Press, MMOs & More

It's well worth reading, they discuss such things as is the Wii a gaming platform or a toy platform, and what the differences between those are, along with the various other things mentioned in the title.

I think I'd agree with the view that at the moment the Wii is more of a toy than a gaming system in that do you play the gmae for the game (storyline etc) or do you play with it to have fun with your friends?

Sound and Fury, Signifying ...?

An interesting little article by the SF Author Richard K Morgan, on the angst and some of the other issues in SF & Fantasy. It was written as a guest editorial for an SF anthology, but was never used as consider somewhat too negative. Any way he's decided to stick it up on his website and it's an interesting read and those of you interested in SF & Fantasy or writing little bits may find it worth reading.


Sound and Fury, Signifying ...?

...
Here's a quote:

"[T]hey're really a bunch of self-righteous condescending arrogant little pricks who are more than happy to ignore history and scientific facts when it suites [sic] them ... a bunch of goddammed fucking militant, humorless, and annoying asshats for whom beatings are way too good."
...
Trawl back through the short history of SF and you can see the exact same bitching and lekking oneupmanship set loose time and time again. New Wave writers lambast and laugh at their predecessors from the so-called Golden Age. Individual authors ally or square up to each other with ludicrous intensity. Lots of furious lit. crit. goes flying this way and that. Splat! Pow! Blood on the dancefloor. Oh, but the times, they are a-changing -- here comes the hard-SF revival to "take back" the genre, to barricade themselves in the genre cabin with their technophilic faith and new frontier spirit and hold off the weirdos for a while. Then cyberpunk kicks down the door all over again, proclaims itself dangerous and subversive (but over here, in this corner, some New Wave purists scoff).
...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The God Delusion Ch 2-4

A few more thoughts from my sporadic (in time rather than order) read through the book. This time it's less of a comment and more a few pet hates.


Darwinian Consciousness Rising

The first one I can't stand is Dawkins use of the idea/term "Darwinian Consciousness rising" and it's variants. Where, he appears to assume a correct understanding and agreement with Darwinian evolution some how gives you this amazing new "Super" mindset (or at least that's the way it appears based on how he uses it in his book). It's almost as if understanding Darwinian evolution is enough to somehow raise your level of consciousness to a step above the majority of humanity (and especially religious people...). A view I highly disagree with. An understanding of evolution may help make considering some ideas easier, as it provides you with a language and framework within which to work, however it does not raise or place you in some elevated mindset. I personally suspect that he's taken a certain type of mindset that handles such scientific and abstract ideas well, and is able to link them to physical reality then, at least in my reading of his use of the term, seemed to suggest that one of the ideas that such a mindset might produce, evolution, is responsible for creating the mindset.


Simplicity

Another thing that annoys me is his discussion of simplicity and why it makes the concept of God impossibly improbable. He decides to contrast this to multiuniverse/metauniverse (or my preference to hijack cosmos, and push it's definition out to include every thing that can or might exist) theory (both parallel and serial theories). The multiverse theory he then declares to be simple, because theoretically if it does exist it could theoretically be derived from a "few" "simple" laws and a form of cosmic evolution. God he then declares is obviously, and could only be, irreversibly complex (thus theoretically failing some cosmic form of KISS/Occam's Razor). Seeing as he's already explained previously in the book, complex things don't just come into existence, and evolution is the only currently known way to for a simple system to increase in complexity (non-chaotic complexity obviously). So while he's quite happy to take a theory that explains an increase in complexity in a biological system, and possibly a means of converting nonliving inorganic to living organics and apply it to the development of a "simple" multiverse/metaverse, he is not even at all willing to trying think of anything outside the box for how a "God" like being might come into existence. Instead he's quite happy to stay inside the box described God by traditional religious views...

(What if "God" is an evolved pan/metaverse Intelligence? An intelligence with an interest in other intelligences, sure it leaves a problem with communication and a few other things but hey least we're now also thinking out side the box...)

Underlying fear?


One vibe I'm starting to pick up more and more through out the book seems to be that part of his dislike for religion and a possible reason for his rather aggressive view point is that idea that Religion and Faith, kill Science and Reason. He appears to hate the viewpoint that goes "ohh I don't understand that, so obviously it's God at work, so I don't need to study that!", something I can completely understand such a view is naive, annoying and foolish, and is undoubtedly present in many Christian groups. However I fail to see how converting the world to Atheism would help with eradicating that mindset. Instead I suspect the reason given would simply change from "God at work" to "It's boring", "It's irrelevant", "Why should I care", "it's too much work" and similar. Such a mindset is not a religious mindset, it's a very common human mindset, that is present in the vast majority of the population (Try explaining just about any research that doesn't have instant gratification to most people and you'll see how quickly they lose interest (unless they're trying to be polite for some reason)).

Religion is Bad, It's just bad

Nothing specific in the book has really bought this thought to mind (except maybe a couple of bits in the first chapter, and the "feel" of some sections). But the first part of this comes to mind now and then when reading the book:

Religion is bad, because religious people do bad things in it's name.


Which brings to mind the similar:

Science is bad, because people use it to do bad things.



So there you go a few thoughts after finishing chapter 4.


Hmm 400th post, yawn :-P.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Got to Love it...

When older windows games run better on Linux via WINE than they do in Vista (and XP to a certain degree).
BG, BGII, IWD, IWD2, PST I choose you!

Any way time for some IWD2 Heart of Fury Mode, where level 1 Goblins have 40 health, do 200% more damage, and can wipe out your entire party of level 1 characters with out even lossing half there HP, if your not careful.





Amazing I even remebered to save my party from the last time I played ~1 year ago, heck I might even finish the game this time if I'm not careful. Go you level 26 Party!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The God Delusion Chapter 1

A few thoughts after having read the first chapter of the God Delusion.

His comments on the undeserved respect the religions seem to get, I certainly agree with for the most part. I think most religions expect this when they don't really deserve it, sure they've all done some stuff that's deserving of respect and continue to do so. However nothing they may have or will do qualifies them for some sort of exalted pedestal, from which they can stand and hurl abuse down at others with out receiving it back. And nothing pardons killing or threaten others who ignore or reject elements of your religion.

The bit on theist and deist was interesting and using those definitions It would seem likely I'm somewhere between the two. ;-)

His initial comments on a world with out religion and how it would or might be lacking things such as the crusades, 9/11, Irish troubles and many other "nasty" things I highly disagree with. It's a shallow statement that completely ignores reality and provides no argument at all. Skipping a head a bit I see he mentions some more on this so hopefully he'll actually make some sort of argument or two rather listing a whole lot of nasty stuff then saying it's all religiously motivated.

Highly enjoyed the bits on Einstein and various other scientists "God" and the wonder of nature. This quoted quote especially:

Carl Sagan, in Pale Blue Dot, wrote:
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant'? Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

HP2133, compeition for the eeepc

HP 2133 Mini-Note Review
HP 2133 Mini-Note Review
Just when you thought you'd never find the perfect small form factor notebook for less than $1,000, HP comes to the table with the all new 2133 Mini-Note. This ultra mobile subnotebook features an impressive 8.9-inch screen, a remarkably large keyboard, a full-sized notebook hard drive, and plenty of impressive specs. Is this the perfect road warrior machine? Let's take a closer look and find out.




So the eeepc finally has some serious and somewhat more expensive compeition, certainly a nice looking laptop though it's a pitty that the CPU seems even more underpowered than expected. Will be interesting to see if they upgrade it to the new via cpu that's coming out soon, seeing apparently it's pin compatible but offers similar preformance to a core 2 duo. Will all so be interesting to see if some one picks it up to sell in NZ and what the local price will be.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One advantage at least and a mini RANT

Well there's at least one advantage to having nothing to do while looking for a Job, it leaves you with plenty of time to make nice stuff for lunch. Hmm homemade minipizza.





On a completely different note I'd like to say Apple's "Software Update for Windows" is a piece of annoying crap, it sticks a large window right in the middle of your screen, it provides no obvious way to disable it, it wants to download the full version of the program it's trying to update rather than a delta and finally it trys to install by default Safari, an entire new application as an update which is simply WRONG!
Windows update is by comparison is amazingly good it uses a tiny icon in the system tray, it only auto selects updates for you existing software (new stuff is not selected by default) it generally updates with delta's (or subcomponents) and it is highly configurable you can decide when and how often it runs and what it does each time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Exciting Times...

Project Virgle

YouTube - projectvirgle's Channel

Google and Virgin announce there plan to colonise Mars :)


The Register on IBM's VirtualHuman Project

And many many others if you look carefully.

It's that day again ...

Where you need to check the local time for anything you read on the internet in the next ~24 hours.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Study = Language not Facts

Study is not important for the facts it teaches you, what it is important for is that it provides you with a language and framework you can use to think about what you see and want to do. A framework and language with which to communicate your intentions and desires with regards to a specific field to others.


When I hear others discussing mathematics or I try some my self or utilize statistics, other than the basics I'm left unable comprehend, not because I'm incapable of understanding what is being discussed, but because the words used MEAN absolutely NOTHING to me. I might as well be listening to the singing of birds or the barking of Dogs.


More and more I regret not continuing to study mathematics at university, a choice that was made not because I didn't enjoy and understand Math, but because there were too many things I found interesting. Which made a 12point paper impractical to fit into my schedule.

I don't suppose any one knows of any good resources for mathematics that start around Newtonian Algebra and build from there to cover more advanced and modern forms of mathematics, or provide a theoretical basis for stats? Any of the first year mathematics text's worth looking at as a way to reintroduce ones self to mathematics, any one got one lying around from uni they no longer want?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Games

Hmm just had a look at all the computer games I've bought over the last 11 years, a rather decent pile. Any way set them all out on the floor in roughly the order I bought them and decided might be cool (Geeky) to take a photo so here you are most of the games I've bought, It's not all the games I own though some are only electronic downloads and others game free on gaming magazine cd's.



Excuse the quick paint job on the background couldn't be bothered doing it any better.

Some of these games are rather amazing others are just average.

The Best Games by Genre:

FPS/RPG: (In order of preference)
Deus Ex (Best Game EVER)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R

FPS:
Knights of the Old Republic 2 (in the Starwars game pack)
Unreal Tournament original and 2004 (sure no story but fun none the less)
Deus Ex II (sucked compared to the first still reasonable though)
BIOSHOCK (NOT! what are people on it's just a linear shooter with a somewhat better than average story?)

RPGs:
Baldur's Gate II + xpack (at up to 250hrs it's the longest game I own, 2nd best game)
Oblivion
NWN2 + xpack
Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2
Fallout 1 and 2 (though admittedly never managed to finish 2 yet)
NWN, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale 1 and 2

Strategy:
Age of Kings and Age of Empires + xpacks (by amount of time spent playing it)
Total Annihilation (it's still fun to play after 10 years)
Star Craft (Best RTS campaign)
Sins of a Solar Empire

SIMS:
Starlancer (But it's so insanely hard with out in mission saves)
Independence war II Edge of Chaos

Any way how many of these have you played? What do you think?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

PC game Piracy

A rather interesting post by the semi indie game studio Stardock about Piracy and PC games, about how it can be painful buts not the end of the world for game development. They've just published the rather popular game "Sins of a Solar Empire" a RTS 4x strategy game.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Google/Privacy :-)

Hmm with regards to the previous post and google and privacy it's good to see that doing a search for my name provides very little useful information and no link to this blog or most of my other web related stuff.

How about the rest of you? Does searching for your real name drag up your blog, facebook/bebo, photos of you or other information your'd rather it didn't?

A quick update:

Well I finally got back my results for my MSc (Biochemistry) ~8months after handing in the thesis, as expected I passed with average grades (which considering how things went is acceptable...). Which of course means I need to start putting serious effort into the annoying process of trying to find and apply for jobs. So far I've currently been keeping an eye on seek.co.nz and the newspaper (which never has anything of interest), does any one know of any other good sites or resources for looking for jobs especially those in the scientific field?

Also I'd welcome any tips or suggeststions on how to produce a decent cover letter and CV :-), seeing I find they're both a major pain to deal with.

Heh any way so after 6 years of study I can finally use: Aeonsim (no I'm not going to stick my real name on the blog, especially not when applying for jobs), BSc (Biochemistry), MSc (Biochemistry).

A New Biology for a New Century??

A New Biology for a New Century
Carl R. Woese

Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Biology today is at a crossroads. The molecular paradigm, which so successfully guided the discipline throughout most of the 20th century, is no longer a reliable guide. Its vision of biology now realized, the molecular paradigm has run its course. Biology, therefore, has a choice to make, between the comfortable path of continuing to follow molecular biology's lead or the more invigorating one of seeking a new and inspiring vision of the living world, one that addresses the major problems in biology that 20th century biology, molecular biology, could not handle and, so, avoided. The former course, though highly productive, is certain to turn biology into an engineering discipline. The latter holds the promise of making biology an even more fundamental science, one that, along with physics, probes and defines the nature of reality. This is a choice between a biology that solely does society's bidding and a biology that is society's teacher.


The entire paper is available for free from here: A New Biology for a New Century

An interesting paper from a few years back arguing that the way we understand and study biology needs to change focus, shifting from a molecular focus and a reductionist view of organisms to a wider view (which the author does not actually define). Any way if this sort of thing interests you I'd suggest reading it, and I would be interested in your opinion.

Monday, March 10, 2008

EEE PC The future

Well it looks like the EEE PC has some interesting changes coming up in the near future.
Bigger screen (1024x600), more storage (8GB, 12GB, 20GB), a change in CPU (Intel Atom), quick battery recharging, longer battery life (up to 8hours) etc

This could make things rather interesting, If they manage to get one out with 4+ hours battery, and an Atom CPU I think I'll be picking one up rather quickly!

For more info Eee PC to Get Intel’s Diamondville, Hard Drives, and Fashion Forward Style.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Aikido AKA "The Art of Becoming One with the Mat"

Well a somewhat more serious post this time, as some people managed to workout or asked about the "Art of Becoming One with the Mat" is Aikidoa defensively focused Martial art. It relies more on using your opponent's attacks against them rather than attacking it's self. Seeing one of the ideas underlying it is that if they're not attacking you don't need to be fighting them.

As a result it's an art that tends towards flexibility rather raw strength. Anyway in addition to learning means to defend your self, it's a good way to get fit.

If your interested there are 3 Basic classes a week Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting at 6pm and going through to ~7:15, where new comers are welcome. Once you learn how to fall properly there are general classes at a range of times including 6am-7:30am for the early birds.

Any way first Lesson is free, and after that it's usually 40 a month for which you can go to as many classes as you like (~20 running a week).

If you are interested in going along I'm going to all three basics classes at the moment (6pm Mon, Wed, Fri).

Any way if your interested in heading along let me know :-).
The dojo is on Clyde Rd, about a 15min bike ride from most peoples flats.

For more info have a look here Aikido Christchurch.

PS: they also do weapons training a few nights each week which is alot of fun!

PPS: Gals are welcome as well and make up ~30% of some classes, and hey Gals surely learning to throw Guys around the Mat is at least somewhat tempting :)

PPPS: The source of The Art of Becoming One with the Mat

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Misperceptions meet state of the art in evolution research

Misperceptions meet state of the art in evolution research

A short article covering some talks on the state of current Evolutionary theory from the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wedding Photographs up

A number of photos from Mike and Kelly's wedding have been added to Speculum. As usual the blog is password protected so if you can't view it and think you should contact me or leave a comment and I'll add you.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Art of becoming One with the mat

So recently I've started to study the "Art of becoming one with the mat" (mat as in floor covering NOT as in Matt W or P) and in the furtherance of this art have been going to lessons 2-3 times a week. I'm wandering if any one else might be interested in learning this art.

A typical lesson begins with us greeting the mat and the one who will help us become one with the mat. We then prepare our bodies for the activities required to become one with the mat, this takes some time and can be somewhat uncomfortable (ouch splits).
After preparation we practice the various correct methods which we will utilise to safely become closer to the mat. Once that is done the lesson moves onto the next section where we are shown a variety of "ritual moves" by those who are closer to becoming one with the mat than we are. Once the demonstrations of oneness are complete, we the seekers of oneness pair up and attempt to use the "ritual moves" to help each other become closer to being one with the mat. And thus the lesson proceeds as we learn a variety of "ritual moves" and practice them ad nauseam, or until we run out of time.
Once the lesson is done we thank the one who has meet the mat many many more times than we have and thus has acquired a certain oneness with it. We then farewell the mat and return home to recover until once again it is time to seek oneness with the mat.

So who will be the first to decipher the true meaning and name of this art :-).
Any way once you have determined what it is that I have refereed to, and should you be interested in joining the study of "oneness with the mat" there are basics classes 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), starting at around 6pm and lasting for ~1.5 hours. Currently I'm attempting to attend all three classes each week. If your interested in also coming along leave a comment and I'll let you know the details. The first lesson is free, so no reason not to attend once and see if your'd find it interesting.
"Becoming one with the mat" is an interesting and enjoyable way to get some exercise and learn some new useful stuff. Also the art welcomes both Male and Female with one of the most senior instructors being female, along with a decent number of the students, so your gender is not an acceptable excuse :-).

Free online storage for back up and file sharing

Well Micro$oft now offers 5GB of online file storage to any one with a @hotmail @msn or @live account and while it is unfortunately M$ 5GB of free online storage for backing up data and sharing material between computers and people is certainly worth considering.

Windows Live SkyDrive launches, but needs a touch of paint

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Privacy in the US of A?


The Anonymity Experiment | Popular Science
The Anonymity Experiment


An interesting article looking at some of the privacy concerns in the US, I just hope NZ isn't quite that far down the road!

CO2 too Petrol?


Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline - New York Times
Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline


Certainly a possibility but the hug energy requirements for such a system would be rather dauting to overcome.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

Origin of the Japanese


Japanese Roots | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine
Just who are the Japanese? Where did they come from and when? The answers are difficult to come by, though not impossible—the real problem is that the Japanese themselves may not want to know.


An interesting article on the origin of the modern Japanese by Jared Diamond. Well worth reading if your interested, in human origins and the spread of cultures and languages.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Current Desktop Theme

Finally got around to clearing out all my old gnome, and thunderbird settings (canning all the old pop mail in thunderbird and moving to IMAP saved 1GB of HD space) today, and changed the default theme for my desktop. Have moved to a Dark grey theme which works rather well except that it looks a little odd in thunderbird and on some Internet sites in firefox. As seeing firefox uses the system theme colours and widgets you end up having dark grey data boxes on a white page and a few other minor things like that.

Desktop



Odd appearance of Google.co.nz, with a dark theme.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is a highly efficent minicar the end of the world?

It's a car that does close to 20km's per Liter of fuel which is approximately twice the distance my familys current rather ordinary cars do (~10kmL). Yet some call it an environmental nightmare, and others say it's nothing unsual.


Does A $2,500 Tata Nano in India Mean Higher Gas Prices and More CO2 Everywhere Else?

When poor people pollute - the Tata Nano and eco-crime

Spore and Mass Effect Releases Dates/Info

Looks like todays a big day for gaming announcements.

First we have the release date for Spore on all three platforms:


GameSpy: Spore Release Date Announced

Spore for PC, Mac, DS

Then next we have info that Mass Effect for PC will be arriving in May:

Mass Effect for PC


Looks like it's going to be a good year for pc gaming.

So finally a release date for what could be one of the most interesting games ever made.
Who's looking forward too it? I certainly am.

Also Mass effect will be rather awesome as well!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You may wish to Rethink those Diet Drinks


Can Sugar Substitutes Make You Fat? - TIME


Looks like your body isn't as easily fooled as you might hope for dieting, apparently the body expects calories to go with sweet foods, and when they don't it tries to make up for it. So when you eat food with artificial sweeteners you may end up eating more food as your body tries to acquire the calories it expects to go with the sweet taste.

The experiments described in the article were carried out on animals but the results fit data from other experiments on humans, suggesting it's likely that the animal results apply to humans as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More foolishness in the name of Religion


Female Muslim medics 'disobey hygiene rules' - Telegraph

Muslim medical students are refusing to obey hygiene rules brought in to stop the spread of deadly superbugs, because they say it is against their religion.
Women training in several hospitals in England have raised objections to removing their arm coverings in theatre and to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands, because it is regarded as immodest in Islam.


Nice to know that it's apparently better to risk infecting someone with a deadly superbug than to be immodest.

With regards to incest

As people may have noticed in Andrews Theo Geek: Jesus and the apostles on homosexuality post the discussion got onto such topics as incest and it was sort of suggested that with out the bible the problems with incest would be hard to spot, thus why would rpimative non christian societies consider it wrong. Well the truth is they're not that hard to spot and enough frist cousin marriages can make such problems evident as can be seen in the following article.

BBC NEWS | UK | Birth defects warning sparks row


When such problems can be observed in marriages with first cousins then it's going to become even more blatantly obvious in marriages between direct family.

More on Anonymous vs Scientology


Scientology protests start across Australia | NEWS.com.au


Nick Cohen: Why Tom Cruise would love our courts | Comment is free | The Observer

Apparently the "Church" belives such protests are "religious hate crimes", seeing the tactics aren't that far removed and are less damaging than the "church's" own tactics against instigating groups or people who disagree with them I think it's a case of the "pot calling the kettle black".

In a statement released this afternoon, the Church of Scientology's Oceania branch condemned the actions of Anonymous and described the group as "cyber-terrorists".
"Anonymous is perpetrating religious hate crimes against Churches of Scientology and individual Scientologists for no reason other than religious bigotry," the statement said.


If you want a look at some of the tactic the church uses have a look at this: The BBC's Panorama documentary on the church made a year or too back.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anon Protest


Flickr: Scientology If you keep an eye on some of the more popular internet/community sites you may have noticed a group called Anonymous declaration of "War" on scientology, the publishing and sharing of there copy righted religious texts and various anti-scientology papers/articles. Any way it looks like they've moved a step further with Anon protests against Scientology starting. The link shows a set of photo's showing an Anon protest in Sydney.

So what do you think off this "war" on scientology?
Is it good, bad or irrelavent?

Interesting Research

This looks like and interesting research project, and one I'll look forward to seeing results for!

Blue Brain Project It's an attempt to model/simulate the brain, producing a computing model that corresponds to what is observed experimentally that can then be used to gain a greater understanding of how the brain works.
They plainly state that it isn't an Artificial Intelligence/Sentience though I personally suspect that to generate a AI/AS that is human recognisable/derived may require a similar project, one that would likely have to model the brain from the Atomic/Quantum mechanics level upwards.

Nuclear Power Myths


Ten myths about nuclear power | spiked
Ten myths about nuclear power



I think I mentioned this to some one recently, any way it's an interesting though undoubtedly bias (but then everything/one is so to bad) look at some common nuclear myths.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn

The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn.

A decent article on things that environmental groups should keep in mind. I'm not entirely sure I fully agree with some of the points especially the example for point 8, just because an organic farm might use twice the land doesn't necessarily mean it's worse for the environment than using half the land with heavy fertilizer and pesticide use.

Point 4 though "It is unreasonable to expect the general public will accept major reductions in living standards or comfort and convenience" is certainly worth considering though, and rather accurate I think!

Any way what do you people think of the list?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mac getting Spore


Coming to the Mac in 2008: 'Spore' | CNET News.com. Well it looks like you Mac Fanboys will be getting the odd interesting game for OSX this year, though I see they're using Transgaming's wine derivative rather than a native port of the engine.

Looking for somehing to Read?

If your looking for some decent fiction/SF then might be worth having a look at this list of Current SF authors, fav books for 2007 and what they're looking forward too in 2008!


Fantasy Book Critic: Fantasy Book Critic’s 2007 Review/2008 Preview: A Writer’s Perspective

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

BEWARE of MAGIC: The Gathering™


Beware of Magic: The Gathering Always nice to know that Magic the Gathering is of the devil as is Dungeons and Dragons!