sexta-feira, maio 07, 2021

COVID-19: War of the Worlds XXI

(pilfered off the internet)

[Pasadena Control]: 'It's looking good. It's going good. We're getting great pictures here at NASA Control, Pasadena. The landing-craft touched down on Mars 28 kilometers from the aim-point. We're looking at a remarkable landscape, littered with different kinds of rocks - red, purple... How 'bout that, Bermuda?'

[Bermuda Control]: 'Fantastic! Look at the dune-field.'

[Pasadena Control]: 'Hey, wait. I'm getting a no-go signal. Now I'm losing one of the craft. Hey, Bermuda, you getting it?'

[Bermuda Control]: 'No, I lost contact. There's a lot of dust blowing up there.'

[Pasadena Control]: 'Now I've lost the second craft. We got problems.'

[Bermuda Control]: 'All contact lost, Pasadena. Maybe the antenna's...'

[Pasadena Control]: 'What's that flare? See it? A green flare, coming from Mars, kind of a green mist behind it. It's getting closer. You see it, Bermuda? Come in, Bermuda! Houston, come in! What's going on? Tracking station 43, Canberra, come in, Canberra! Tracking station 63, can you hear me, Madrid? Lisbon? Can anybody hear me? Come in, come in!'

quinta-feira, maio 06, 2021

COVID-19: Broccoli and Computer Science

(pilfered off the internet)

Alter Ego: "Can broccoli really help you understand windows 98?"

Me: "Dunno. I'm still struggling with CabbageDOS."

quarta-feira, maio 05, 2021

COVID-19: 5th of May - World Portuguese Day


What better way to celebrate today "World Portuguese Day"  than to write a post in English and in German...? Nah. Just kidding...There'll be something for your total fruition in Portuguese as well (my translations from Portuguese into German)...

"Saudades, só Portugueses

Conseguem senti-las bem.

Porque têm essa palavra

Para dizer que as têm."

(Saudades - nur Portugiesen

können sie recht ermessen.

Nur sie besitzen dieses Wort,

um ihr Gefühl zu sagen.)

Fernando Pessoa

O gato maltês

(Die Malteser Katze)

Era uma vez

um gato maltês.

Tocava piano,

falava francês.

A dona da casa

chamava-se Inês,

e o número da porta

era o trinta e três.

Queres que te conte

outra vez?

(Es war einmal

eine Malteser katze.

Die spielte Klavier

und sprach französisch.

Die Herrin des Hauses

hieß Inês,

und die Nummer der Tür

war Dreiunddreißig.

Soll ich's dir

nochmal erzahlen?)

To celebrate I'll just go out and eat a "Pastel de Belém"...

terça-feira, maio 04, 2021

COVID-19: Ah! The English...Socratic Dialogue...


(pilfered off the internet)

Me: "Ah, the English... when they’re not despising other people for liking nice food, or not being ashamed of their bodies, or daring to use the odd three-syllable word in everyday conversation as though education and ideas generally just might be a good thing, they’re also taking the piss out of any form of psychic exploration however timid, sacking government advisors who dare to challenge the curtain-twitching suburban orthodoxy however lethal the stupid ‘war’ on drugs is for anyone but the people who are running it, giggling about ‘funny cigarettes’ while necking pints of cheap synthetic beer and keep their minds tightly closed, thank you very much, just in case something might expose the collapsed empire whose ruins they are all sitting in (like the Portuguese...), desperately coaxing their increasingly flaccid nationalist erections into something resembling an achievement. No wonder young people, most of whose cultures and backgrounds are not represented in the education that is used to contain and control them, are self-medicating."

Alter Ego: "You think that young people - or any people, actually - is a new phenomenon? Even 'uptight' Britain has been doing it for centuries - see the widespread use of opium and opium derivatives such as laudanum in the nineteenth century, for example. Nothing like having a rant when you're ignorant of history, is there?"

Me: "You didn't have to self-medicate then, though: doctors routinely prescribed laudanum for period pains, so it wasn't about rebellious kids kicking over the traces. There used to be a story about Victoria sharing cocaine chewing gum with Churchill, but I've no idea if it was true."

Alter Ego: "Churchill spent the war years on prescription amphetamines. Psychic addition..."

Me: "Psychic exploration? Sod off, it's a trip. Your brain is doing shit in funny ways. It's not a message from the gods; it's being off your tits."

Alter Ego: "ah, the pseud... when not belittling the English with stereotypes of their own invention, or that belong to decades past, in wordy tomes, built of overly-long sentences, that are a desperate attempt to show how much better educated, or maybe just better in general they are than their fellow countrymen, they attempt to show how much more liberal they are, unchained from the yokes of government and free of the influence of advertising, the scales removed from their eyes and only their version of the truth is worthy. No wonder, now that the dinner parties and post-art gallery visit wine and cheese events, where they would normally congregate, are cancelled due to the lockdown, they go in hunt of approval from their fellow pseuds below the line..."

segunda-feira, maio 03, 2021

COVID-19: Biphasic Sleep Patterns


(image pilfered off the internet @

I seem to have developed biphasic sleep patterns since WFH a year ago. I now sleep from around 23:00 to around 02:30 ir 03AM but then wake up feeling energised. I need to read a book for 45 mins or so until falling asleep again through to around 07:00 or thereabouts. Quick shower and breakfast then my 15 second commute downstairs to my conservatory/office. Certainly beats a one-hour daily commute on grubby, overpriced Tube on the Yellow Line. Apparently, before factories, we all had two sleeps. We retired shortly after dark then rose in the early hours, having a pee, bite to eat, even visiting neighbours for a chat if we saw a light next door, then back to bed after an hour or so for "second sleep". So I'm behaving entirely naturally.

domingo, maio 02, 2021

COVID-19: Münchhausen Trilemma


(image pilfered off the internet @

The funny thing about logic is that the advanced stuff is complicated, the intermediate stuff is simple, and the elementary stuff is vastly more complicated than the advanced stuff.

This is one reason why describing mathematics is difficult. ‘Mathematical Logic’ and ‘Set Theory’ are both important parts of the philosophy that forms the foundation of mathematics, but both of those are considered part of mathematics and therefore are logically invalid justifications for mathematics.

However, this is a problem shared by every single idea any human has ever had. This is because of the Münchhausen Trilemma.

The Münchhausen Trilemma is a particularly annoying realization in the study of the logical justification for anything and everything. Münchhausen reasoned that the proof behind anything was either:

1. A circular argument (A is because of B which is because of C which is because of A)

2. An infinite regression (1 is because of 2 which is because of 3…)

3. An axiomatic argument (A is because of B which is because of C, and we assume that C requires no proof)

sábado, maio 01, 2021

COVID-19: Quit Day Job


(image pilfered off the internet)

I hugely enjoyed quitting my very full time job, reasonably sure the company would ask me to do a day a week as opposed to nothing at all. Which is what is happening right now. I can smell the Spring...

Isn't it the regularity of the monthly salary that is addictive, rather than the money itself? Wasn't Taleb advocating going into business for yourself - being self-employed & self-reliant rather than giving up your soul for the dependable and immutable chunk of money dumped in your bank account every 30 days? I'm not sure anyone is saying you can just pack in work; I assume the alternative to salaried work is working for oneself? Although it's not easy and it's not practical for many people, it's true.   

Horses for courses I guess. Back in the day I had a good few 'filler' jobs (mainly teaching) along the way too. Those were the most enjoyable to me as my responsibilities were often diminished and I usually had a Brent type overlord, which was oft times quite funny. I also found out that colleagues that are not trying to climb the corporate ladder to be far less full of bullshit, and also tend to have just the one face and moreover, are the sort of people you don't mind having a pint with after clocking off.

If I do something else now maybe I'll start out all enthusiastic and 'illusioned', ready to graft my way up. However it'll probably quickly become apparent from seeing those 'above me' that all I'm ever going to get out of it is a different bit of the office to be miserable in and a big house to be exhausted in at the end of the day. Either that or I'd drink the Kool Aid completely and end up believing the ridiculous lies they all told themselves to get through it. I now earn less money but hope to do something rewarding and interesting along the way, and I'd be happier than ever.

Don't get me wrong. I love going to work! But you just need to stand back from all the bullshit. I profess I've worked on the "shop floor" in one of the biggest companies on my home turf all my life, 30 plus years, and have seen the steady decline in quality of leadership. Highly educated graduates on the treadmill of executive management and I see them pummelled relentlessly by all the crap. They talk a strange language and most wouldn't recognise a client/customer if one fell from the sky. There seems to be a bigger gap between service and operational delivery and the cast of thousands administering all manner of "systems" to improve its service! Round and round and round in circles like a street rat in a never-ending maze. All the really good people are either taken or work for themselves. And are happy workers!

Ther's a lot of pressure - subtle and not so subtle - to stay on the treadmill. You only have one life. Grasp it and suck on every last ounce that gives you joy. Maybe after 10 years of making pots of yogurt, I'll be definitely approaching the teatime of the perhaps any job can become meaningless given time. After all, familiarity breeds contempt they say.