Hitting The Wall · Modern Times

An Interview With My Laptop.

There’s a lot of talk about Artificial intelligence, only I feel that the people who are trying to forward this notion don’t really know how our brains work – and they certainly don’t know how a computer does its job. But that’s modern life for you: they are paid lots of money to make silly suggestions and I’m not.

It’s said that goldfish lead exciting lives. This is because in their small world, practically everything’s new. By the time they’ve toured their bowl, they’ve forgotten what was there, and it’s all exciting and fresh again! It must be quite wonderful to be able to spend your waking hours in the pursuit of such discoveries. The trouble is that the goldfish’s powers of retention aren’t very strong, and whilst everything’s fresh and new, that’s only because they’ve forgotten what was there fifteen seconds ago.

It was with this thought in mind that I switched on my computer this morning and I thought I would interview it, to give you an idea of the life of an ordinary, everyday Laptop.

Me: “Good morning, computer.

My Laptop: “Yer sees now: I’s gotta do all this processin’ like, just to speak to yer. Right? Coz, like I can’t do anyfin wivvout wot someone’s gone and programmed it, like, There thassanuvver billion done”

Continue reading “An Interview With My Laptop.”

Economics · Modern Times

The Debt Game.

Greece is back in the news, and the half truths along with it. Greece will be “negotiating with its creditors as quickly as possible to avoid another crisis
Seen on allotment gardens in Germany. They’re proud enough to fly their nation’s flags; they’re happy enough to garden together.
Greeks in Germany will produce roughly the same GDP as Greece will itself.
But they have to pay their taxes in Germany!!!

Greece is back in the news, and the half truths along with it. Greece will be “negotiating with its creditors as quickly as possible to avoid another crisis rocking the eurozone” [Daily Telegraph, “EU urges Greeks and creditors to hammer out a deal quickly”]. It has to be remembered here that such crises start on Wall Street and in London where derivatives are traded as though they were the commodity they were tracking. But this is the weird dystopian world of modern finance where illusory numbers on paper are as real than the product they represent.

Continue reading “The Debt Game.”

Modern Times · The Comfort Zone

A Reflection On The New Year Celebrations.

Last night the skies of the world exploded into colour. Duvali, Loy Kratong and other festivals all celebrate the darkest night of the year, and do so with light. In a way, it makes  to celebrate the darkest time by making your own light, doesn’t it? This is ‘The Coathanger’ in Sydney, last night. Afternoon, here in Europe.

Continue reading “A Reflection On The New Year Celebrations.”

A Human Menagerie · The Secret Of Systems

When The System Bites Back.

The worst thing about working behind a desk is that you have to read the paperwork that is in front of you. You can’t switch off in the way you can if you’re fitting wheel-nuts on a production line. Physical work is a tonic in itself, repetitive physical work doesn’t need the brain to be active.
At ten in the morning, the office is humming nicely.
With the waft of coffee in the air.

It’s a Monday morning here in Holland and the week has begun. The newspapers have been spread across the desk, now at half past ten, the second – third? – mug of coffee is being drunk. The interesting headlines are a tranquillizer to the yawning desert that stretches ahead, ended with the joy of meeting the river on Friday evening.

Continue reading “When The System Bites Back.”

Reality · The Comfort Zone

Trouble In The Toilet.

I couldn't resist this piccie. Sorry.
I couldn’t resist this piccie. Sorry.

My friend Hendrik’s job is to teach evidence based decision-making. It makes him happy, so I don’t complain too much. In this post, I want to explore the ramifications of living a life having made decisions based on evidence. I have spoken of the nature of evidence on a few occasions. In brief, evidence comprises of three factors, each of which has to be present if it is to be classified as evidence:

1) Somebody needs to have noticed something happening.
2) They need to have regarded the ‘something’ as being worth recording
3) They will have written it down.

If they have done this, you have some evidence. Hence a tree falling in the wood will make a noise – it’s just that the passing scientist didn’t notice it because he had his nose buried in a book about trees. Whilst the tree did make a noise, nobody noticed – thus no evidence as condition ‘1’ was not met.

Continue reading “Trouble In The Toilet.”