Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Has Doomsday arrived yet?

Sometimes the BBC4 channel broadcasts very good programs. One of these was on Sunday 28th March 2021. Headed by Chris Packham it was about the enormous human population explosion experienced within the last hundred years. In 1960 there were just over 2 billion people on the planet, today just 60 years on there are 7.7 billion! I too have said in previous posts that this number is unsustainable, let alone the number expected to be around in 2050 – 10 billion+! One of the most populated cities in South America, indeed in the world is Sao Paulo – 22 million. The problems already well documented, but there is the water supply. What comes out of the tap you cannot drink. The reservoirs have dried up and the only water that can be found has to be obtained from drilled wells. Chris made a visit to a farm growing soya beans. The owner farmer displayed the usual attitude – there is a market for my produce, it’s growing, I need more land. Chris spoke to a number of people, all were worried about the future. You might now say, OK if you are so worried what are you going to do, what are you prepared to do to fight this? Will you eat less meat? No, was the answer. Will you consume less? Well, you only have to see the consumer society in the UK which is a fraction of the size of Brazil. The rain forests are disappearing, there is no doubt about that. The rains are also disappearing from where they once fell and are now falling in areas where they did not fall before. The whole eco system is changing. Animal species have halved meaning that their predators, microbes, bacteria, diseases are looking for new hosts. Who are the best victims to find? Those who move all across the world, those who live on top of another in their millions? Yes, us. Humans. We are now experiencing diseases we have not heard of before and there will be more. Chris is still hoping that the tide will turn, for myself I am afraid we are too late. The clock just struck twelve. All we can do now is to limit the destruction as much as possible. In that way we may last till the next century. As long as political idiots won’t start WW3!

Independence? Yes? No?

Living in Wales you will have heard of the word ‘Independence’. As I have originally come from the Netherlands, which is also known as Holland by foreigners (Holland is basically the two western sea side provinces) which also has had years of struggle with the Spanish empire and also the French and German empires, I understand the wish to be independent from an overbearing neighbour. Wales has its own language, its own long history. But the Anglo-Saxons and Normans had other ideas (and still do – remember the Welsh knot!). However, the question really is can Wales afford to be independent? Ever since the English conquest Wales has been used as a backdrop, an area to be profited from by English overlords. When coal was found, English money to dig pits came quickly but all profits went to mostly English grandees. Sure, they build vast houses, castles even, in the Welsh countryside giving employment to some impoverished young Welsh maidens as slaves to the masters. Things do not change much because most big factories in Wales today are English companies or foreign nationals. But the world has moved on and history is something to be learned from. Ever since humans set foot in Europe there have been wars, wars to establish large empires. Tribal wars metamorphosed into country wars and world wars. Today there are two large empires, Russia and the US with possibly the Chinese as a third. The trend though is that these empires are under threat from within. The various peoples they comprise feel marginalised as indeed we here in Wales are as well. The trend therefore is to want to self-govern, initially in a federal style with the defence of the total only being the responsibility of the federal government. But finally to be completely independent. It will not be easy, there will be a lot of bickering about money! Who pays for what. Arguments over responsibility, humans are no different from any other animal. We are all concerned about ourselves first and foremost. Only when we are OK, have what we think we need will we give a thought to others and other things. Perhaps we need to self-evaluate before jumping. But jump we should!

Friday, 26 March 2021

Divorce is fun, or is it?

It’s a funny world, is it not? We are having the one of the worst pandemics in some time with lock-downs, 2 million deaths, businesses going to the wall, whole families disrupted because Daddy is dead and Mummy is out of work or on stand-by. And on the other side we have those calamity organisers also known as politicians, who have been lovely sheltered in their ivory towers. This time not so much the blubbering wasters in the UK but now in Europe. Grandstanding wizards who are looking over their shoulders to see who is guilty of stealing their vaccines! There has not been a better time to see how politicians can mess up almost anything they get their hands on. They always talk a very good talk, the sweetest words, the best of promises but when it gets to action they fail so miserably. Exactly as has been shown in the capitals of Europe. But now instead of gearing up, to spring into action, to get the supply lines sorted out, all they do is more talk, becoming belligerent, it’s not my fault baby, just look across the water to those nasty rats, called Britons, it’s them who are guilty. So, we must do something to stop them injecting their people with OUR vaccine!

Someone said to me sometime ago, Brexit is like a divorce. It can be nasty or it can be civilised. Either way, both lose. He went on to say my neighbours went through a divorce and the husband after his wife said she wanted 50% of everything, cut all the kitchen utensils, furniture, even the fridge and the washing machine in half! Now, I think that’s funny! Even so, the situation in the world needs full cooperation. Squabbling over supplies is not particularly helpful. We need to work out how the WHOLE world will have access, will have the supplies they need to combat this nasty virus. Don’t mess this up people as more will be coming our way in the future. We need professional people who know what has to be done. We do NOT need the Merkel's, Macron's and even the Rutte’s of this world to tell us what to do. Especially not as they haven’t a clue themselves. I just hope they remember to dress up and wash their hands! Although I begin to wonder, maybe they ARE the aliens! Area 51 has been breached, they have escaped! Aliens already rule us!

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

How to engage Brain?

Anyone ever heard this adage? "Before opening mouth, first engage brain"? You might think, ah that’s good for other people I am alright, I am well adjusted and careful about what I say! Yes, indeed and so did our esteemed Prime Minister, the famous battle-scarred Boris.

He is well known to make some gaffes in the spoken word and the latest one reported is about saying off the cuff ‘Greed is what gave Britain the Covid vaccine first’. That’s a nice one Boris. That must have tickled the German EU bear cub Ursula pink! It shows though that politicians who play for high stakes would be well advised to carefully weigh their words. The vaccine situation in Europe is perilous, taking that the EU was pretty slow out of the starting blocks and appeared to have waited to see what the vaccine was doing in the UK and then came out with some ludicrous idea that the vaccine was not working for the over-65’s! Whoever came up with that semi-illiterate remark should be sent to Siberia forthwith. Look at it, if the vaccine works for humans under 50’s, it will work for any age pending health questions like asthma and resistance factors. But generally speaking statistically the vaccine works for humans. So the lovely Boris bless his little heart, should be careful not to inflame anti-British sentiment across the water. The EU is still smarting about losing the Brexit war. But we do still need each other. It needs to be remembered! If we want a world for all to live good lives we need each other. Remember that Boris and you too Ursula!

Friday, 19 March 2021

Apologise! Apologise for what again?

Sometimes we can read some funny stuff on Quora, the Question and Answer website. This one really made me laugh out loud. The question posed was – Should Britain apologise for its imperial past? And the reply (abridged):

Absolutely right we should. That’s fair. We’ll put it on the list of World IOUs for you.You’ll have to wait a while though because we’re waiting for a monster size payment from Italy for the Roman Occupation. We’re also waiting for the cheques to clear from Germany and Scandinavia for all that business about the Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and so forth.

Not forgetting that BIG payout we’re eagerly awaiting from France for the Norman Conquest and the cost of sorting out that little fella, what’s his name again? Apparently, there is talk of another hefty bill to Germany (again) for the little trouble in 1939-45, also naming Russia, Italy (again) and Japan for aiding and abetting.

Although you could argue that the answer was not really answering the question, as it asked should we apologise. Indeed should the Italians apologise for the Romans, should Germany apologise for two world wars? And what about Napoleon then? The French have blood on their hands!

In fact the question is pretty stupid, as for myself I am not apologising for the actions my forefathers have done. A. because I cannot change the history and B. I am not responsible for his or her actions. I am responsible for my own. It is time to put a stop on the continuing drive by liberal woke charlatans to erase history or to make us all guilty of actions over which we had no control. So, if we are going down that route, as indeed the above question and answer show, then let’s look at all the actions and put a financial value on it. I am awaiting with bated breath! Perhaps this is easier than winning the National Lottery!

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Blood-clots? What blood-clots..

The debate about fake news has not gone away of course, you only have to look at the social media outlets. But what strikes me as somewhat important is the news that most European countries have now halted the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. This for fear of it causing blood-clots. Well, I have had mine and am awaiting the second soon. Please forgive me but has it something to do with Brexit? Or should we investigate where this ‘rumour’ started and why and how? I would not put it past sources in Russia and perhaps China as well to start this in order to benefit sales of their own produced vaccine. Frankly it would not surprise me at all. There is still a Cold War going on but hidden from view. As I have said many times, humans are strange animals, ravenous, and violent to extremes. If someone would explain why there were blood-clots after the Pfizer vaccine (which there have been) and compare those statistics with the normal day to day occurrences of blood-clots then perhaps we can lay this to rest? Again, also it shows a worrying trends in the political world where politicians now jump on almost anything that smells of difficulties. Politicians are under scrutiny as never before, mostly thanks to bad management of behaviour and careless media appearances.

Social media has been a political scourge and in a way that’s good. We do want excellent people who know what is what and how to do things properly. No half-baked decision making please, thank you.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Royal problems....

Just to clarify this before someone says it – no, I am not particularly known to be a royalist. But I do think that the royal family has had a bit of a rough time lately. First of all, as humans they will have to suffer the same ills as we all do. Moreover, as they occupy a position of power, even though it is mostly invisible to us street-dwellers, anything they do outside the daily norm can have an immediate media reaction. Prince Andrew, bless his cotton socks, is a case in point. He may or may not have done the things a lot of people are accusing him off, he might be better off to stand up with evidence. It seems to me this will not go away for some time. Couples will fall out with each other, royals are not exempt. As some in the media seem to suggest, if that is so what is the use of royals? If we are to look up to them as personification of all that is calm and good then they are not a particularly good example?

Well, I disagree, presidents can also fall foul of the media? Remember a not-so distant US president? But if the royal family wants to be looked upon as a calming, patient, stabilising, example of how a society should behave then yes it would be better if they could control better the human failings we can all suffer from.

Again, when we say royals it does not mean all of them. It should be clear that the Queen is the ideal example of calmness, poise and grace. And so are prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. So, I think I might be a royalist after all!

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Healthy planet or not? That's a question....

On this bright and sunny Sunday morning it is good to look at the immediate environment. Looking at the quality of the streets when taking a short stroll you cannot help but thinking how do people live, what do they expect from life, their existence. When I see the detritus left behind on the streets, mostly plastics like cellophane from all sorts of packaging, or left-over fast food thrown away. A Sunday morning breakfast for the jackdaws and rats. It is easy to blame it on young people. The problem as always is generalisation. Young people does not mean all young people. When you say ‘people’ it does not mean the whole 7 billion that are on the planet. I have been critical of young people. In fact I suppose I should have said ‘careless young people’ or simply ‘careless people’. But and this is important to understand, it is that particular segment, the ‘careless’ people who set the tone. If 25% of the UK population do not care about the environment then we are in trouble. As a school governor I know that teachers do talk and teach about the environment a lot. Yet reaching the ages of between 12 and 18 a lot of that teaching seems forgotten. Again by ‘some’, not all! I wonder if these wonderful nature programs, David Attenborough et al are actually helpful against degradation of the environment? They show wonderful scenery, healthy animals, lions tearing around and so on but except for some news reports you see little of the damage humans do. I think we need more programs that show the rubbish bits, the damage done by careless political decisions, the planning blunders, the concreting over the landscape. The real damage done to nature by plastic, ALL plastics. It was so unbelievably clear what humans can do when in the national ‘Lock-down’ because of the pandemic, thousands went to beaches and left hundreds of tonnes of rubbish behind. Inclusive personal human waste if you know what I mean. We have a slang word, ‘turds’.

That’s the reality and we should be more open about it, and show more of it on ‘nature’ programs. If we want to be healthy we need a clean planet, not live in a waste-bin.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Something about computers freezing....

As told a while ago I built a new desktop computer although the word built is a bit grand. The reality is that basically it is an assembling job. You buy the parts and put them into a box. Job done. No, job not done. The truth is that quite a few things can go awry. Cables from the power supply (PSU) have to go to specific places on the motherboard (Mobo) and pending on type of processor purchased you might need a graphics card (GPU). I purchased a Nvidia card, in fact a nice Nvidia Quadro P400 with 2Gb of memory and which is powerful enough to run some interesting games, games like Minecraft and 0ad. I am not into the violent war games although 0ad can do a bit of bloodletting. However, over time it became an annoying fact that the Linux desktop started freezing from time to time. On my older computers although also with a Ryzen 5 processor and an AMD GPU, there was no such problem. But Nvidia apparently is not particularly good to Linux and support is minimal. There are drivers, their own and an open Nouveau (from reversed engineering) done by enthusiasts. The Nouveau driver did not work at all except to show a screen resolution of enormous proportions and hence unreadable. The Nvidia driver was OK with the proper resolution but developed this annoying habit of freezing. Trawling through the various forums and trying many software alterations I came upon the latest one which seems to work well so far.

The Nvidia driver puts a file onto the computer, in Linux that would be the home partition. And looks like “.nvidia-settings-rc” (without the quotation marks but with the full stop). A line of text that needs to be inserted – “[gpu:0]/GpuPowerMizerMode=1 (again without quotation marks) and this apparently does the trick. Actually I think it slows down the card somewhat and ‘communicates’ with the processor better. Well, so far so good. But remember this is only for Linux not Windows. I have not used Windows for years. Just as well as cyber criminality is reaching epidemic proportions. Linux is a lot safer than Windows. Another thing I advocate is to use a paid-for VPN and use two-factor authorisation (my Yubikey works great!). That’s it for this time.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Is my mental health like your mental health?

This morning I woke in a country that has become more woke than I am feeling right now. Referring to poor Piers Morgan feeling that he has no future with ITV. It does not surprise me of course because our institutions , the BBC, ITV, the Government, local and national, and all sorts of other society establishments are now so deeply stuck in trying to outdo each other in denouncing words, change everything from white to black, including history and have invented a new way to say you’re not coming to work. You have a problem with mental health! But what IS mental health? Depression? Then I have it. I am depressed mostly by humanity not seeing how it actually is busy destroying the very place it needs to survive. I am depressed by the young people in particular who want to go back to ‘normal’ without seeing what their ‘normal’ is doing. Flying to Spain for a p*ss-up on the beach watching the nude frolics of others is the new ‘normal’? Taking sleeping tablets or sniff nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the new ‘normal’? In my small Rhondda valley town there are hundreds of these small canisters all over the public parking places. The local community hall had to chain and lock their parking lot because the rubbish left was so bad. Day in day out drug deals are made. Yes, this is Wales, in fact it happens all over the western world. These are the young people who are vociferously bawling about plastic in rivers, seas and oceans, but who throw rubbish on the street without any problem, who protest about global warming blah, blah, blah. So forgive me for displaying my mental health. I just like the word. Nevertheless I am aware that there are problems with mental health, I am not stupid. But I also think the word is mis-used. 

Hwyl am y tro, a fydda i’n ceisio sgrifennu bost yng Nghymraeg nesa (gobeithio).Ond yn gyntaf, dw i’n moyn ddarllen am broblemau gyda theulu brenhinol lleol a'u problemau meddyliol, oh yeah!

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Racism? What is that now again?

Is it just me or are lots of Americans a bit, shall we say loopy? I have been reading the doe-eyed opinions of a certain Duchess and thought – What the......? Here is someone who seemed to have thought ‘Hey, my being a low-ranking(!) two-bit soap star is not really to my taste, what can I do now? And here we are, but what did we expect? The American psyche is exactly like this, it’s all about money and celebrity. The preening cockatoos of Hollywood are the example. If you are not ‘bankable’ in the US of A you tend to end up in the gutter. In the meantime the accusations have started flying. But here is the thing, in all families there are problems, the Royals are human just like the rest of us mudskippers. The accusations made are typically American claptrap, all about ratings and of course, big cash! Ms Duchess talked about those ‘nasty’ courtiers but forgot to mention how she was coached before the ‘Interview’. It will be denied but you do not make such programs without preparation! Lastly to leave the UK because of racism is the biggest laugh of all, as they left for the biggest racist nation of all time!

Ed Poor Piers Morgan - I don't think he is that poor. But we must remember this - he is as I am entitled to his opinion and free speech. Unless we are not aware that free speech is no longer allowed. If he is thinking and speaking about his opinion that the Duchess is not correct in her accusations and revelations then so be it. Let's see some absolute proof then. Neither side in this family feud can say or recollect exactly what is what and who is who. In the end it doesn't really matter all that much. Whilst I might not be the strongest of royalists or a lover of aristocrats generally, to blast about opinions that you know can not be challenged is not really all that clever. The Palace will not respond  about internal strife, just putting out what we already have seen. So, let it rest there and hope that the Duchess finds that private life she so desperately wants. Best then not to get into the hands of the voracious US chat hosts then, innit?

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Some thoughts on debt!

With the furore about an increase for the NHS staff which the incredible wise and up-to-date Westminster politicians have offered one might think wait, have we suddenly won the Euromillions? How does a country like the UK actually deal with money? Hard cash if you will call it that? Bear in mind that as I said before, a country has no money of its own. However that is not strictly true, they are also in charge of providing the means through policy. Although in the UK it is the responsibility of the Bank of England. They supply the banknotes and coins. So by definition they could easily increase the amount of money in circulation.

They can do this when unemployment is high and growth is low, more available cash in the country will stimulate the economy. The opposite of course happens as well. The central bank can take money out of circulation when things are overheating. Dampening the economy somewhat. You might wonder where all this borrowed money is coming from. There are a number of ways I see. The main one is again the central bank. The main way central banks control money supply is buying and selling government debt in the form of short term government bonds. Buying bonds that way gives the government the money to combat Covid-19. But also these bonds could be sold on the open market (gilts). It is now a fact that the Bank of England is owning the UK’s debt. When they want to shrink the money supply, they can sell some of that debt to banks or investors.

Not just that, the government also pays the national pension and social welfare. Another way to increase the money in circulation. There is one problem with it, all this can increase inflation if not linked to actual income from taxation.

In olden times the cash trail started with digging things out of the ground. It started the economic trail. We manufactured stuff. We exported stuff. We made profits on stuff. Now we are mainly an economy based on services.

So, it pays to keep things in check and obviously the amount we have spent on Covid will fuel inflation, hence the tax increases to cool things down, to stop unnecessary spending. The funny thing is that in a services economy you want spending! So, over to you Mr Chancellor, figure that one out.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Budget? What budget....

Budget. What budget? Oh yes, the national budget. A great pooha about nothing much really. I often wonder what people expect! I have said this before, who do you think will pay for Covid? Governments have no money of their own, people seem to think they do somehow. Governments spend only one thing, your money, our money! So, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer says he is having to raise 100 billion or more he or she has only two ways to do so. First of all raise income through taxation and secondly he or she can borrow the money. Borrowing is usually through government bonds or saving schemes. Called Gilts but I am not so sure whether today it is such a good investment for investors, banks etc. It is a safe way but safe usually means less interest. Anyway the country has amassed a debt now of over two trillion pounds. For the uninitiated that is £2,000,000,000,000! Pocket money of course but at 2% interest it costs the UK £60 billion a year to service that kind of debt. That is money which could have build a number of hospitals or re-structure Wales in its entirety! Instead it goes in the pockets of bank managers (usually all abroad) and big investors like pension funds. So, except for bank managers at least pension funds will pay for the retired people who were wise enough to have paid for a pension in later life. Money has a way to circle around. It never stays around long enough! So, friends take it from me, national budgets are important but in fact do little for the common man. Because in some way it’s you where the money is to come from.