Thursday, 20 February 2020

Lupe with a Rotary Dial

I was flipping through various news items on FlipBoard the other day and came across the image below.

It's a real mobile phone and was built by a space engineer who dislikes all the gadgetry on smartphones. It's an open-source design, so anyone cam make one from her plans, which can be found here.

Continuing the high-tech theme, we have taken delivery of the demo, pre-production model of the cordless vacuum cleaner we were early-stage investors in. We've been selected as a test site. Hardly surprising, really, as they've been developing the machine in our cabins in the field and we're on the doorstep.

The device is called the Lupe and Hay is very impressed with its power and efficiency. I want to borrow it for work, but I don't think I'm going to get the chance. I use a Dyson V8 at work, but after about 5 minutes it has to be recharged. The Lupe lasts 60 minutes on one charge and has the most powerful suction of any cordless on the market.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Weinstein on the BBC

In poll after poll, the BBC comes out as one of the most trusted sources of news. This is denied by those who want the BBC licence to go; however, show me someone who wants the BBC licence fee to go and I'll bet a pound to a pinch of poo that such person will in all probability be a staunch Brexiteer (and, in all likelihood, an anthropomorphic climate change sceptic too). They simply can't abide factual reporting and are furious that the BBC doesn't give full-throated support to the idiocy that is Brexit. When all is said and done, Boris is rather keep to neutralise anything that could hold him to account - and that includes an independent BBC.

When it comes to philosophy - aka religion and political ideology bereft of evidential support - people become irrational, suffer cognitive dissonance and find themselves having to defend logically untenable and indefensible positions, tying themselves in logical knots. You simply have to keep asking them questions and they end up hanging themselves. It is the hallmark of deep bias and dogma. (An example is them not wanting foreign judges meddling with British laws. Question them further and they don't even want British judges meddling in British laws, unless they're ideologically pure Brexiteers.)

The BBC conducted a poll in 2015 about the TV licence and over 2/3rds thought it should be retained. The interesting fact was that when those who wanted to get rid of the licence fee were asked a few days later, after they'd had time to consider their answer and discuss it with friends and family, a third of those changed their minds.

Determined to have something harder, the BBC selected a representative cohort of this third and asked them to participate in an experiment and do without any access to the BBC whatsoever for 9 days. Two thirds of that cohort then subsequently changed their minds. The BBC reimbursed the cost of the licence for the 9 days of the experiment, and the recipients were surprised at how little they received. But, naturally, this was a BBC experiment and thus biased....

Commercial TV is engaged in a race to the bottom in terms of quality. Direct funding by the government makes the BBC a mouthpiece for the government of the day. The argument that you shouldn't pay for a licence if you don't watch the BBC is the same facile argument that you shouldn't have to fund public transport or the NHS if you don't use it.

A digital-only subscription to the newspaper reporting that the government is planing to abolish the licence fee is, at £312, more than double the annual cost of the licence fee. That's one newspaper for £312-a-year versus everything the BBC provides for £154.50.

Just as an aside, and totally unrelated to the above, imagine the jury in the Weinstein trial saying they didn't want to hear or see any evidence or testimony. What kind of uproar would that cause? Would the public accept that as justice being seen to be done? Obviously not, but that is exactly what the Republicans did at the Trump impeachment.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

No.10 vs No.11

Is there wisdom in Boris trying to run the Treasury from No.10 through a patsy? Some say yes, others say no.

It's an historical fact that a number of Prime Ministers have simultaneously been Chancellor as well, notably Pitt the Younger, George Canning, Peel, Disraeli, Gladstone and Baldwin. However, these were men with a renowned capacity for hard work and attention to detail - certainly not Boris' key attributes, according to those who know him well and also borne out by his actions to date.

Boris has to engage in a massive spending spree to fulfil his promises to the crumbled Red Wall - a spending spree which, curiously, looks like a socialist policy and not the tough, fiscal restraint that is the hallmark of Conservatism. The Treasury's main function is to balance the books and ensure there's no budget overspend. No wonder Boris wants control of the Treasury if he's to make good on his promises to those desperate souls who switched sides and voted for him. Cummings is, by all accounts, determined to hold Boris' feet to the fire on this promise to invest in the north, else he's toast at the next election.

Given the above, it seems most likely that Boris (aka Cummings) wants a compliant Chancellor - a yes man - rather than a person who sticks to traditional Conservative policy on low public spending and low taxation.

That said, the new incumbent has one critical factor on his side, should he wish to flex his muscles and not be seen as Cummings' creature - no administration can afford to lose two Chancellors. We shall see whether battle lines will be drawn, as the Treasury is a powerful force at the heart of politics and usually prevails. The position of Chancellor has also been the launchpad of four PMs.

Monday, 17 February 2020


I was arguing with someone about the SNP's Derek MacKay texting scandal and made the comment that I found all the furore rather confusing, as the recipient of MacKay's texts was 16 and I believed the age of consent in the UK is also 16. Hay too found it somewhat confusing and wondered what all the kerfuffle was about, as it was a matter of legality and consent. In any case, he did nothing illegal and police have said there is no case to prosecute

My interlocutor said that the age disparity between the two was of concern, to which I enquired as to why, when pederasty was quite common enough in Ancient Greece and caused no eyebrows to be raised then - it's merely social convention. I was firmly told that that was then and this is now, to which I posited that morality is merely a reflection of social taboos and society has many inputs that changes both it and its morality. While Victorians would find a view of a lady's ankle quite racy, many women today leave little to the imagination and parade around in skintight leggings. There is no absolute morality, except perhaps with the interdict on killing, and even then we still kill in war and judicial execution for treason only ended within the last 22 years.

I said I could find no problem with age disparity, to which my opponent started to attack me saying that if I found 16 year old girls attractive, then that was creepy and disgusting. I made the distinction between sexually mature girls, which by definition means women - not girls - and prepubescent girls to make my point. I was not commenting on paedophilia, which is illegal and a mental aberration. Nor was I commenting on an exclusive preoccupation with 16 year-olds, which could be considered somewhat controversial due to the power imbalance, although perfectly acceptable in some societies and not entirely a logical taboo.

I was asked if I'd feel the same if it were my son or daughter, to which the answer is of course not, as it then becomes a subjective decision based on the fact I would naturally want to protect my progeny well beyond the age of adulthood - possibly into their 30s, 40s and beyond. Parents are hard-wired to do that (or most are).

What I found attractive in young women when I was between the ages of 16 and say 19 has not changed - nothing miraculously switched off as I grew older - it's engineered into men's DNA. Why would I logically no longer find attractive what I considered to be attractive at 17? Women are actually aware of this, which is why they spend small fortunes trying to look younger - erasing lines and wrinkles and excess weight to give the impression of someone much, much younger; the younger the better. Youth is an irresistible attractant to the male of the species.

Studies have shown that women predominantly tend to seek partners either around their own age, or up to 10 years older. Men, on the other hand, generally prefer younger women, or much younger women. This probably has evolutionary origins, but also has much to do with women having a finite reproductive lifespan, whereas men remain productive virtually throughout their entire lives.

There are outliers of course and many are the examples of very young women marrying men many decades older than themselves, but such men are usually very rich (and incredibly ugly). Money is a great attraction by virtue of of being synonymous with security - an entirely mercenary attribute, but again, one with a logical and an evolutionary origin. I need hardly mention Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch, Mick Jagger and whoever he happens to be with at the time and Donald and Melania Trump. The latter must be an absolute saint to put up with him and his millions...

While men's range of potential partners increases with age, the range of women's potential partners stays roughly the same, or even shrinks as men die earlier than women. The choice range of men, therefore, is constrained by reciprocation from women, which is probably why the woman I was arguing with found older men liking sexually mature 16 year old women creepy. Men don't find it in the least creepy.

I suggested she ask her husband whether he found them attractive - not that he would be honest. While studies have shown that 75% to 82% of men look at porn, you won't find a single man admitting that to his wife or admitting, if asked, whether he finds such-and-such actress or his wife's best friend attractive. He won't even give an honest response to whether her bum looks big in that tight dress, which she's wearing in an attempt at recapturing lost youth.

Where I work is exclusively a male environment and I therefore conducted a straw poll as to whether my work colleagues found sexually mature, young women attractive, even if they were 16. I expected more honest replies than a woman might have received, as men are more open with fellow men. The result was 100% did, which was no surprise to me, but apparently would have been to the woman I was arguing with. After all, a sexually mature woman has one, overriding design purpose - to find a mate. What makes her attractive at 16 or 17 is exactly what more mature women seek to retain in later life - clear skin, lustrous hair with no grey, clear eyes and appealing curves where they matter. It's exactly the reason men will drool over an E-Type Jaguar - it has curves that appeal to a basic instinct and the designers knew this. The E-Type actually appealed to both men and women, being both feminine and phallic in shape - a perfectly sexualised car. None other than Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car in the world.

I believe my opponent found it creepy because she was assuming men have the same selection criteria as women, which is plainly not the case. I wonder how much she spends on making herself look much younger than she is?

Returning to the case in question, there is the issue of the power imbalance, but events showed that the power was indeed in balance, as the elder gentleman in question resigned his position through being exposed and had more to lose. Who exposed him remains to the seen, as neither the 16 year-old in question nor his parents lodged a complaint. As an aside, Nicola Sturgeon, also of the SNP, is now the subject of rumours about her private life. Could it be that a smear campaign, similar to that against Corbyn, is being orchestrated by the Eminence Grise behind Boris Johnson's rise to power? The SNP is, after all, an existential threat to Boris.

But, back to the subject; are we guilty, as a society, of neotonising and infantilising those who, in previous generations, would have been considered fully adult? The Bar Mitzvah happens at 13, the Bat Mitzvah at 12. Other, more primitive societies than ours, mark adulthood at much earlier ages than we do.

Attack me.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Scam Alert

I've just been made aware of a hideous scam. It would seem that the scammers don't focus on one particular demographic, but just about everyone.

The scam in question has been called The Brexit Scam and those perpetrating it are predominantly pubic school educated and quite wealthy. If you voted to Leave the European Union, the chances are you've been swindled by this scam.

Allied to an expanding core of free market fanatics in the Conservative party is a powerful group of globalists and financial traders. Their political ideology is neoliberalism - a worldwide agenda that seeks to deregulate markets and maximise profits for global elites at the expense of working people.

The effect is a growing gap internationally between rich and poor. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, mega-rich hedge fund managers and billionaire CEOs are keen to be rid of Brussels and its 'red tape' regulation. Their anti-European political allies, meanwhile, are preparing to corner markets in Asia and South America, whilst expanding Britain's military capacity as a back-up to economic penetration.

Brexit was sold to an unsuspecting public as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regain sovereignty, control immigration and increase the nation's wealth. But, despite the manifold promises of Brexiteers, economic globalization will lead to growing job insecurity and greater immigration, once British workers are put in direct competition with the huge, poor populations of countries like Brazil, China, Mexico and India.

Increasing 'free market' trade worldwide leaves Britain open to hormone-treated American beef and products made in the sweatshops of the world, against which British workers could never compete, whilst the new planned trade agreements would only accelerate the privatisation of public services. The Brexit Scam agenda is designed only to serve the interests of the wealthy and increasingly powerful 0.1% of the population by initiating a fire sale of UK assets.

There is a rumour that there was massive Russian interference in the Brexit Scam and a report was produced detailing the level of interference; however, dark powers behind the scam are desperate to bury the report and are doing everything to avoid having it published.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Miracle Toilet Paper

Have you noticed that the search for softer and softer toilet paper has resulted in toilet paper that's almost impossible to flush? Damned stuff is so padded and soft that it's buoyant. Daft buggers - I have to use two or 3 flushes to get rid of it. Not exactly a responsible use of water.

Ever heard of miraculin? No, I hadn't either. Apparently it binds to your sweetness receptors on your tongue and turns even the most sour of substances into sweetness. Apparently it occurs naturally in a fruit called the Miracle Berry.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Pick n Mix Rugby

I switched on the radio at work yesterday and heard someone on the news say; "English rugby hasn't had a level playing field for some time." How the hell can they play rugby when the playing field isn't level?

I'm not one for drinking coffee in cars, so I consider coffee cup holders as useless pieces of adornment. However, yesterday I found a perfect use for the one in my car.

A holder for those Pick n Mix sweetie cups you can get from Tesco. I know I shouldn't, but I couldn't resist - especially the foam bananas and the jelly beans.

Thursday, 13 February 2020


A work colleague of mine has had gastric problems for a number of years, which eventually culminated in him requiring a gastroscopy. However, whenever he has had an appointment for his gastroscopy the procedure was a failure due to him gagging and the procedure having to be called off.

In recognition of the problem, he now has an appointment for a colonoscopy in an attempt to determine the cause of his gastric distress from the opposite end.

Yesterday, after he had collected his young daughter from school, we were talking about the problem in the car, temporarily oblivious to the fact his daughter was sat behind us. After a while, we realised she was sat behind us and wondered whether there would be some innocent, but embarrassingly graphic information imparted to the other kids at primary school the next day, such as; "Daddy can't take it in his mouth, but he's OK with it up his bum."

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Corona Steer

Well, one person correctly guessed what I'm going to attempt to make - a wall-art steer, like the one below.

The horns will be quite a bit larger than the example above. There is more than one thing at play here; it's a wordplay on the word 'steer' - it looks like a steer and the handlebars steer.

There are a lot of memes on t'internet about the coronavirus, depicting images of Corona beer, but the first image that came to mind for me was Corona pop, which used to be delivered by an electric float when I was a kid.

I guess anyone of a certain age would make the same connection.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Monarch of the Glen

We were watching an item on Countryfile on Sunday evening about the culling of deer on a large, Scottish estate. The gamekeeper said that they have to cull the deer to prevent them damaging the ecology, so they kill off the old and ill ones. They don't like doing it, apparently, but it's necessary.

It strikes me that if you want to keep a population under control, killing off the ill and sick is not the best way of maintaining a sustainable population. Surely it would be better to cull a smaller number of the highly reproductive members of the herd, rather than those who are probably incapable of reproduction due to being at a natural disadvantage in the first place. Unless of course, you're practising a bit of eugenics with the aim of creating a deer Master Race....

When you think about it, the Chinese government didn't stem the Chinese population growth by topping everyone over 60, but by the introduction of the Two Child and One Child policies between 1979 and 2015.

Where is my thinking wrong?

No-one has guessed yesterday's conundrum correctly yet....