It’s time we terraformed Mars and stopped poking it with a stick

April 20, 2014

I’ve just been watching “The Sky at Night” TV program.
People were very excited about their work investigating the nature of Mars and its History.
Problem is that Man’s interest in Mars and Marsology must be for the more pragmatic reason of being able to escape from Earth.
We need a lifeboat in case the Earth hits a metaphorical iceberg.
A single rock wiped out the dinosaurs, another one could do the same to us.
Setting up a bubble city on Mars will not be sufficient to preserve the species. We need to terraform Mars and populate it. We need a Mars capable of coming to our rescue and resuscitating our civilisation.
Our main opponents wiil be those Marsologists, who are presently exploring the planet.
The reason that they will oppose us, is that we will have to destroy the evidence of Mars’s past.
The explanation is simple: For Humans to live on Mars, it will need an atmosphere.
It’ll need an atmosphere to warm it up (Greenhouse effect) and to allow us and plants to breathe and walk about outdoors.
This is not presently possible, because Mars is too small. It is too small, because it’s gravity is too low to keep an atmosphere.   It has actually lost its atmosphere because its escape velocity is lower than the average speed of its “air” molecules. The only reason it still has any “air” is that it is too cold for the remaining molecules to escape the gravity field.
We need to increase its mass and warm it up.
Farther out from the Sun, there is the Asteroid belt. It is possible that we could push asteroids into a collision path with Mars.
As they smashed into Mars the energy released would melt and meld them into a new bigger planet. Mars would lose its identity and would be terraformed.
The process might take centuries but in the process, we would evolve into a space-going species, with new technologies such as the hypothised solar yachts.
We would have possibly extended exploration to terraforming some of Jupiter’s moons. Our understanding of nuclear fusion might evolve into a fusion rocket drive based on extracting fuel from the gas giants.
Long term, we need, as a species, to embrace such idea’s before we lose our chance.

The Caldera of yellowstone could destroy our civilisation next week. There could be big rock on its way, which doesn’t have an orbit in the Solar Ecliptic and so is effectively invisible. (we’re not looking in its direction and the Sun isn’t lighting it up).

There have be a number of mass extinctions on Earth, whose cause we have not identified. Life has persisted but it has had to re-evolve. It’s only this time around that we , as sentient beings, have evolved.
Stll I’ve only got another 15 years, or so, so it’s only an intellectual problem for me. It’s really a question for our descendants to ponder. Should they live for Today, or should they plan for Tomorrow and for their children.

why bother with searching for Earth like planets ?

April 18, 2014

Astronomers claim that they have found a planet, which could sustain life.

It’s slightly bigger than Earth but we could adapt, I suppose.

The only problem is it is too distant…….It’s 500 Light-years away.

Our moon rockets only travel at about 25,000 mph i.e. 11,200 m/s, or Earth escape velocity.
It would take such a rocket 1.3 million years to get there.

Such a rocket, if it achieved the journey would lose any atmosphere well before its arrival and assuming no major mishaps,  the spacedust, alone, would turn it into a shapeless sponge.

Within the realms of possibility/fantasy, we could achieve nuclear fusion, modify an asteroid, complete with biosphere, pick up some comets from the Oort cloud (ejectile matter and fuel) and accelerate/decelerate to maybe an average of 10% the speed of light. that’s still 5000 years, or 15,000 generations of in-breeding and social problems.

It’s not realistic to travel there, except as a Space-faring civilisation (sort of Space gypsy’s), who’d be unsuited to living on a planet. Such knowledge might then be useful to us in terms of raping the planet; as visualised in the film “Independence Day”

Suppose we had the UPSS Enterprise with forcefields, warp-drive and sub-space communications, if they existed!
At warp factor 10, it’d take 50 years to get there and 50 to get back. What would be the point? Any colonists would be stranded 50 years away from any help.

Why is this Newsworthy? Why are they searching for such planets?

If the planet had life and a sentient being had evolved and created a civilisation that had developed radio communications and was actively transmitting  messages, which we could receive, and was actively listening for replies and had receivers which could detect our transmissions, assuming they were strong enought to travel the distance without too much dispersion etc. etc.  Assuming all this what would they be likely to want to talk to us about?

Let’s see about trying to reach Mars and terraform that. That’ll keep us busy for a few centuries.

@FreeviewTV I like the new “movies for men” channel

April 18, 2014

I like the new movies for men channel.

The programs are mainly B and C rated films and some of them are almost amateurish but they are more watchable than much of what passes for entertainment on mainstream TV.

From 7:00 p.m. until 10 p.m. all we are fed is representations of what is claimed to be “Real Life”.

Soap opera’s full of screeching fish wives and wimpish, henpecked, idiot males. The cast all seemingly dressed as if on MP’s salaries (with fiddled expenses).

Reality shows, where C-list celebrities and/or chav’s are held up to ridicule as “good sports”.

Competitions, where more c-listers etc. are made to perform on successors to the Gong Show.

Quizzes where people on low wages are invited to show their ability to correctly guess at the answer’s to obscure area’s of knowledge and popular culture (see above TV progs) for ridiculously small amounts of cash. Sometimes the contestants are c-listers competing for charity (appearance fee’s not included), with suitably less arcane material.

After 10p.m., it’s News, program’s discussing the News and programs trying to find humour in the News, later, drifting into comedy, which relies mainly on exaggerated vocal tones to let the audience know that they are supposed to laugh.

Finally, it’s time for bed and last bit viewing, after a night out. Bits of rudery, mixed in with intellectual and other minority viewing. Sometimes a combination of all three.

The new channel is a welcome addition to my usual fare of football, Stargate, Startrek, Charmed, Big Bang Theory and other progs, which I’m catching sixth time around.

 

@Ed_Miliband: Could this be the future of our prison service (post-privatisation)?

April 16, 2014

I get regular e-mails from The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (aclu@aclu.org)

We seem to be modelling ourselves on America’s system of Government and the issues raised by the ACLU make depressing reading.

It seems that when American Politicians spout about Freedom, they don’t mean freedom from hunger, fear, persecution etc.

They mean freedom from Government interference  in those causing hunger, fear, persecution etc.

We’ve seen it with the destruction of the NHS and the trade agreement, with the EU, that will harmonise our privatised Health Service with that of Obamacare.

The email below gives an image of what a privatised Prison Service might look like:

Do you know the CCA?

No, not the dance from the 1980s by the group with the colorful outfits (that’s the YMCA)—I’m talking about the company formed in 1983 that now makes $1.7 billion in taxpayer money each year for imprisoning people. It’s the Corrections Corporation of America.

And because the United States puts more people in jail than any country on earth, business is booming.

Of course, it also helps their bottom line that many states have given the CCA sweetheart deals—such as contracts that force the government to pay extra money if prison beds are any less than 90% full. Even worse, many of the CCA’s filthy prisons are understaffed and plagued by horrific cases of prisoner abuse and neglect.

But right now, states from Texas to Kentucky are waking up to this injustice and canceling their contracts with these prison profiteers. So we’re going to turn up the heat and bring the fight to the state where the CCA makes its home: Tennessee.

Will you stand with thousands of ACLU activists and sign the petition calling on Tennessee Governor Haslam to cut ties with the CCA?

If we can chip away at the CCA’s public image and push Governor Haslam to end contracts with them in their home state, it will have a ripple effect across the country.

It won’t be an easy fight. The CCA spends millions each year in campaign contributions propping up politicians who support the for-profit prison industry. Many of these politicians have also supported legislation—such as “truth in sentencing” and “three strikes” laws—that helped fill private prisons with more bodies for longer sentences.

That’s our taxpayer money hard at work, ruining the lives of so many people, often for non-violent crimes.

But this Tax Day, we’re launching a major initiative to reveal the CCA for what it really is: a national disgrace. If thousands of ACLU supporters stand together right now, we have a real chance to deal a major blow to their dirty business

 

the present design for spectacles hampers breathing.

April 13, 2014

We(I) need a new design for spectacles.

I find that they pinch my nose and restrict my breathing.

Unfortunately I can’t envisage an alternative means of fixing them on.

I did toy with the notion of hanging them from piercings in my eyebrows but then they would swing away, as I looked down at something.

I tried pulling the nose rests off them and wrapping some wool around the bridge, so they rested on the central bone, but the wife complained that it looked stupid and wanted to leave the restaurant.
I actually use ready-spex but I use 3 different pairs.

I use a 1 dioptre for viewing TV, 2.5 for my computer monitor and 3.5/4 for reading, depending on light conditions and font size.

I’d go for contacts, except that they only fit one lens power.

In that respect I’d like to check out holographic contacts. It’d be great if you could combine holographs of multiple focal length lenses into one set of contacts. I don’t really get how they work but assume it’s something like fresnel lenses. The fact that no-one has produced them presumably means that they are impractical rather than no-one else has thought of them. Pity!

politics is about sociopaths in power

April 13, 2014

Forget about politics in terms of stated creeds. It’s really about pathology.
Ranged from, on the left, we have world views arising from those who care about others, to those, on the right, who don’t.

Broadly speaking we have on the political Left, the empaths, who, in extremis, would follow Jesus’s advice to the Levite, and give away all their possessions.
On the Right we have the Sociopaths, who would sell their own mother for an extra piece of toffee.

We have a spectrum of pathologies between these extremes but with an overlay of nurture on what is basic nature.
I.e. We’ll have empaths, born into the Right Wing culture and, because of their empathy with those nearest and dearest, will try to justify and rationalise Right-Wing mind-sets. Sometimes more vociferous than the natural sociopaths, who understand the value of appearing philanthropic.
We’ll have the naturally sociopathic, reared amongst, Socialist idealists, emulating their sentiments but unable to actually appreciate from whence those sentiments arise and, possibly, calling for a fatwah on anyone, who appears to concede any concession contrary to their adopted creed. Typically they will “hate” fascists, homophobes, or anyone else, who dares question established left-wing / kaffee-klatch targets.

In the middle, we have, by definition, the majority of people; The Demos.
People, who just want to get on with life, without too much strife; a few laughs, a few tears, a comfy bed, a full belly, etc. People who want to live “boring” lives.

The big problem is that it is the sociopaths, who rise to the top of the pile.
They are the people, who are prepared to hurt other’s to get the power and money, which will satisfy their selfishness.
These are the people, who will rig the deck to ensure that they stay at the top of the heap.
These are the people, who destroy any Democratic structure and create the void, which makes it easy for the killers to achieve power.
My favoured example of this comes from Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, who allowed the Demos to live (relatively) comfortable lives, whilst laying the foundations for Caligula.

The American founding father’s attempted to prevent such slides into autocracy by formulating The American Constitution (The Magna Carta was meant to do this but was only intended to apply to the peerage).
It worked to an extent but didn’t allow for amendments being made by the people in power, when they should have made any amendments subject to a referendum and specific to a particular case.

This is the problem with all legislative acts, where case law supercedes and perverts the original intent.

Back in the 18th century, it was virtually impossible to seek the collective opinion and wisdom of the Demos and it was necessary to assign executive power to elected representatives. This is no longer true.
It is possible for specific issues to be raised, presented to the people and voted on, within a matter of months, sometimes weeks.

The only bar to setting up such a form of Government, is the present set of Sociopaths, in power.

So, we need a re-worked version of the American constitution, suited to the modern I.T. World, a revolution to oust the ruling class and an electronic voting system that can’t be hacked by criminals, the NSAA , or any other organisations of Sociopaths.

Political concept of charity is perverse.

April 10, 2014
I sent this to the Daily Express (3/4/14), after a piece on privatising the NHS. I didn’t really expect it to be published because many of our political commentatorswent to the same public schools and did the same PPE courses:
It puzzled me that the organisation calling for charges to be made for NHS services was stated to be a charity.
For the vast majority of people this does not sound either very charitable, or something that would issue from a charitable body of people.
The best accepted definition of charity is ” the provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.”
It has the same root as the word “care” and in Christianity it is synomynous with Love of God.
But not, apparently for our politicians.
Government has its own definition of Charity, which is the basis on which the Charity Commision awards organisations with charitable status.
At a stroke sanctifying the organisation and, at the same time, exempting it from taxation (ironic in the case of an organisation demanding a new form of taxation).
Apparently their definition of charity is that of “providing a public benefit”.
Such a flexible phrase, open to whatever interpretation is politically desirable.
 
Millionaire’s are member’s of the public and a benefit is anything that does them good.
 
In theory anyone donating money to a political party could claim to be a charity.
Eton public school could claim to be a charity.
Anyone providing hospitality suites for public servants, at major sporting/cultural events, could claim charitable status.
Is there any hope that we may, one day, have a Government, who not only notice this anomaly but also realise that is the public that has the right definition and, then, re-organise the charter of the Charity Commission to use a definition more consonant with that accepted by the rest of The World.

 

Banks and Gov’t paying millions to Microsoft for extended XP support, instead of switching to Linux.

April 10, 2014
Sent to Daily Express (8/4/14)
Most people in this country use Microsoft platforms, because they were taught computing on them, at school.
We have committed to Microsoft, as a nation.
I persist with Microsoft, merely because most of the population does, even although, it creates a drain on our personal and National resources.
There are other platforms out there, along with programs such as Open Office.
I find it depressing that The Government has taken the easy option to throw £5.5 million at Microsoft, simply to continue providing support for Windows XP.
Every Windows platform needs patch, upon patch, upon patch, with constant shutdowns and re-starts to instal them.
By now those NHS computers using XP must be so slow as to send their users to sleep.
It would be wonderful, if our Government could invest in a scheme to switch all school computers to Linux and Open Office.
There’d be no need for some costly revamping exercise in State run facilities etc., because, as with Microsoft, as people come out of school into industry/ Government, using these free and continuously evolving systems, the rest of the Nation will adapt.
There’d be an end to these hugely expensive licences, the need to update other software and hardware, which will no longer run (forced obsolence) and best, there’d be less hacking by criminals exploiting the trapdoors etc. that Microsoft artificially embeds in their software.

more EU nonsense

April 10, 2014
Another letter to the Daily Express, arising from an article today (10/4/14)
Is this story, about car registration plates, genuine?
The fact that it has been brought to our notice by Tory MEP’s, who have also “vowed” to oppose it, suggests that it may be a scandal of the same nature as the “Yes, Minister” James Hacker sausage issue.
The problem is that this nonsense is entirely believeable, as it has been a matter of public derision since before the first airing of the “Yes, Minsister” series in 1980.
EU harmonisation has continued for so long that it is quite possible that Eurocrats have lost sight of their own dream of modelling Europe on the USA, forgetting that U.S. plates actually carry state emblems, for easier identification.
The U.S. doesn’t feel the need to incorporate “Old Glory” on its registration plates. Their people actually voted for Union and would be proud to display the symbols of their unity.
We didn’t get to vote for union and, for us, the EU flag holds less respect than McDonalds golden arches.

Supermarkets need to note that the customer’s are having to be better shopper’s

April 10, 2014
I sent this in to the Daily Express after seeing a piece on Aldi.
If the likes of Asda etc. really want to know why they are losing custom to the likes of Aldi, they need to bear in mind that we are in the midst of an austerity regime. Fewer shoppers are in the same financial bracket as their CEO’s, our MP’s, or the likes of Stephen Fry, who famously quoted that he shopped at Waitrose “to avoid the riff-raff”.
Many of us are Baby-boomers, on a pension, with memories of our mother’s shopping in post-war Britain.
Admittedly, matters aren’t so dire as to resort to an Oxo cube and crackers for the meal of the day; however we did learn to look at the ingredients of our food and compare prices.
We didn’t buy ready meals and as more people are made redundant, or forced into lower paid employment, the likes of horsemeat lasagne are likely to disappear from shopping trolleys of the present generation.
A specific example of how Aldi has taken over can be gleaned from considering sausages, the basis of many a cheap homecooked meal.
For years our sausages have become more and more adulterated. They haven’t fallen to the depths of the chipshop sausage, eaten by drunks and smothered in curry, or ketchup, to disguise the rusk content. T
hey have come pretty close.
Until relatively recently, you could cook a sausage and on attempting to cut it, the cooked “meat” might squidge out of the ends of its impenetrateable skin.
Last Bonfire night, Aldi ran a promotion of a pack of sausages for £1 containing 72% pork. This at a time when the Big Supermarkets were still presenting us with similar sized packs at over twice the price and an industry standard 42% pork. The Aldi sausage may well have been pork rind , or whatever, but when you bit into it, your teeth “cut” through its contents.
They have, since, been selling sausages with 57% pork and a slightly more plastic skin, at £1.09.
Amazingly Asda seems to have noticed this and began stocking the same sausages but at about £1.98.
(http://groceries.asda.com/asda-webstore/landing/home.shtml?cmpid=ahc-_-ghs-d1-_-asdacom-dsk-_-hp#/search/%20cumberland%20sausages)
Supermarket CEO’s need to realise that in austerity Britain, people will look beyond their Bogoff’s, fair-trade sticker’s, organic produce etc to price AND value.
This means bacon that doesn’t spit when fried,or exude white gunge, when grilled. Joints that shrink to half their size, or are filled with stuffing. Ready meals, that appear to have been made from wallpaper paste with tomato and/or curry to give flavour.
 
The High Street could see a resurgence, as austerity bites deeper and shoppers look for cod’s head from the fishmonger, fades from the Greengrocer, or “bones for the dog”, from the butcher, when the food banks dry up.
 
Whatever! The times of fat and spivvery appear to be over, for the Big Supermarkets (outside Central London) and the faster they adapt, the greater the market share, they’ll retain.
 

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