Monday, 2 March 2015

Death & Artificial Intelligence


Hay: "When you die, I'd like you buried at the local church."

Chairman: "When I die you could put me in a care home. They way they seem to treat people these days, they probably wouldn't even twig I was dead for six months."

Hay: "If you were to die at home I probably wouldn't notice - you'd be in your usual place, slumped at your computer for several weeks."

Chairman: "Yes, but I'd start to ming after a while, which would be a bit of a give away."

Hay: "Not so as I'd notice - it would be the same old smell as you have now."

Later - the Chairman is doing the Artificial Intelligence thing (washing the dishes):

Hay: "Have you thrown the hot water away?"

Chairman: "Yes - why?"

Hay: "You haven't washed the gravy jug."

Chairman: "What gravy jug?"

Hay: "The one sitting right under your nose, next to the sink."

Chairman: "Ah, that one......"

Sunday, 1 March 2015

What's the Purpose II

There have been quite a few stories in the news about AI, or Artificial Intelligence. 

Seems to me that the sole aim of AI is the have a device that can do the dishes or hoover the house. Women can do that already!

I mentioned this to Hay, but to avoid a clout around the ear, had to add that they must surely use only a miniscule percentage of their intelligence to perform these tasks and that most were on autopilot when performing them.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

What's the Purpose

Been in Rome and Sicily for a couple of days on business (no, not that kind of bizness). 

Had a squint at the Alitalia in-flight shopping catalogue on the way back last night - can anyone explain to me the purpose of a chocolate fountain?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Back to the House

A few weeks ago we employed the services of a local farmer (Danny, who Hay used to know at school) to flatten the hump of spoil from the house footings. He spread it over half the field (you can see it in the distance on the left side of the 1st photo below), facilitating access to the hedge once more - which had additionally been severely pruned back by another farmer friend. It's useful to know the odd farmer - they have all manner of equipment.

Over the weekend we planted some shrubs along the 'garden' along the edge of the lane (on the right of the photo below, but out of shot). During the process we had to dig out the clay from about 20 holes and dump it on the upper field.

While Hay was dumping a barrow load, she came across what I can only describe as the foreleg of a Yorkshire terrier - at least that's what it looked like to me. Perhaps it had fallen foul of a local fox (possibly the one I saw flattened on the road on Friday).

Not aware of anyone local who even owns a Yorkie, let alone a lost one. 

The shed you see on the left is the remains of No.1 Son's bedroom from when it was attached to the caravan. We left it in place and Perry is now using it as a place to do his drum practice. It will have to go soon though, as it's a bit of an eyesore.

The flattened foundation spoil.

View down the field toward the house, showing the pad for the cabin on the right. Hopefully the cabin will be finished this year. Next on the build schedule is a large garage and workshop for me and my eventual retirement.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Overheard Smoking Lepers

The Chairman is retrieving his spectacles from Hay's lap, leering in the process:

Hay: "You're like a dirty old man."

Chairman: "What do you mean, like?"


TV Advert Announcer: "So remember to look for the signs of a stroke: dropped face, unable to raise the arms, slurred speech...."

Hay: "Wouldn't be able to tell with you, that's how you are normally."

Do lepers in California feel like smokers?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Interesting Laptop Go Between

Overheard at Curry's PC World (Hay is buying a new laptop):

Salesman: "You can buy it over 6 months interest free."

Hay: "Interest free? That might be worth doing."

Salesman: "There's a £25 admin fee."

Hay: "But if the laptop is £550 and the admin fee is £25 and it's over 6 months, that's nearly 10% APR equivalent, which is more than I get charged by my bank for a real loan."

Salesman: Silence.

It was sold with Windows 8 and Office 365. It took her about 6 hours to set it up and I think she was on the verge of taking it back or killing me. Gone are the days of unpacking a computer and it working straight from the box.

If Hay's laptop is anything to go by, I suspect there is going to be a huge swathe of 60 plus people who will be using Windows XP for the next 20 years, rather than go through the torture that is Windows 8.

Talking of interest, was watching Harold Pinter's 1971 film 'The Go Between' on TV yesterday (before losing interest in it) and noticed some obvious howlers. The film is set in 1900 (some say 1902), but:

  1. There was a shot of Norwich railway station emblazoned with 'British Railways Norwich Railway Station'; British Railways wasn't created till 1948.
  2. In another shot there was a very obviously late 1950s Bentley posing as a 1902 Bentley; Bentley wasn't created till 1919.
Alan Bates had a really ridiculous line - he said; "Can I trust you?" to a 13 year old boy he'd recently met. Never mind about a 13 year old boy being the most untrustworthy object on the planet, but the question itself is meaningless, as how do you know it's answered honestly?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Cindy Crawford & Nov. 5th Hitler Road

One Cindy Crawford (age 48) has released some photos of herself where she's scantily clad. It is understood by this correspondent that the photos are un-retouched, which is a novelty in the world of modelling. Hay is over the moon - at age 50, her bod looks infinitely better than Cindy Crawford's 48 year old one - and I have to say I agree!

Yesterday I was listening to an Australian debate between Richard Dawkins and a certain Cardinal George Pell (Pell came off the worst, by a long chalk and was floundering badly). This question wasn't asked of Cardinal Pell, but I wish it had; if you were around in the late 1800s and knew (possibly by a divine revelation or a prophesy) Hitler was going to be responsible for 50m deaths in WWII (Cardinal Pell's number, used in the answer to another question), would you have aborted him? I think, but can't guarantee, that his answer would be a no, but he'd have a helluva job arguing why.

It's strange that in the world of the sciences you can get theoretical, experimental and practical disciplines, but theology strikes me as a discipline that can only ever be theoretical.

You know how on the continent - specifically the Mediterranean continent - you get roads named after dates that are important in the national history; well, we just don't do that here. There's no November the 5th Avenue (an obvious date), or 3rd of September Road (last battle of the Civil War), etc. I wonder why that is?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Overheard Electricity Bill

Overheard during the evening:

Chairman: "Anything on iPlayer?"

Hay: "I've been doing the old person thing of putting stars against suitable programmes in the TV listings."


Frozen Alaska Narrator: "The Arctic ground squirrel is conscious for only 12 days during the entire winter."

Hay: "Much like yourself, Badger."

Heard an interview on radio with Martin Lewis (the Money Saving Expert guy) about the benefits of switching electricity suppliers - I use the word suppliers advisedly, as it's just billing that's involved.

He said people would be surprised at how much they could save by using the U-switch service, which advises on what would be your best option and sets it up for you. However, the vast majority of people, especially old people, are reluctant to do it - and perversely, they're the ones who moan most about electricity bills.

Gave them a call yesterday and switched from NPower to ScottishPower, saving about £300 a year, based on my last 12 months' consumption.

Hay's challenge now is to get her dad to switch, as he's with the most expensive supplier.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


I received an email (see below) from a friend in Canada containing a viral email from an American friend of his castigating ObamaCare as a power grab.

It went on to bemoan the fact that ObamaCare would cost the sender a large amount to subsidise Hispanics and ne're-do-wells.

Well, my American friend - that's what taxes do, due to the very nature of taxes being based on salary percentages. You could extend the argument to subsidising the poor in virtually every public sphere from defence to road building.

America likes to portray itself and a God-fearing, Christian culture. A lot of it just a selfish culture based on the NeoConservative ethos of let-the-Devil-take-the-hindmost, and it stinks.I'm glad I'm British and we have the NHS.

The sad thing is that the Amercian who sent the email to my Canadian friend was once a Brit.

Here's the email:

I'm a 54 year old consulting engineer and make between $60,000 and $125,000 per year, depending on how hard I work and whether or not there are work projects out there for me. 

My girlfriend is 61 and makes about $18,000 per year, working as a part-time mail clerk. 

For me, making $60,000 a year, under ObamaCare, the cheapest, lowest grade policy I can buy, which also happens to impose a $5,000 deductible, costs $482 per month. 

For my girlfriend, the same exact policy, same deductible, costs $1 per month. That's right, $1 per month. I'm not making this up. 

Don't believe me? Just go to , the ObamaCare website for California and enter the parameters I've mentioned above and see for yourself. By the way, my zip code is 93940. You'll need to enter that. 

So OK, clearly ObamaCare is a scheme that involves putting the cost burden of healthcare onto the middle and upper-income wage earners. But there's a lot more to it. Stick with me.

And before I make my next points, I'd like you to think about something:

I live in Monterey County, in Central California. We have a large land mass but just 426,000 residents - about the population of Colorado Springs or the city of Omaha.

But we do have a large Hispanic population, including a large number of illegal aliens, and to serve this group we have Natividad Medical Center, a massive, Federally subsidized county medical complex that takes up an area about one-third the size of the Chrysler Corporation automobile assembly plant in Belvedere, Illinois (see Google Earth View). Natividad has state-of-the-art operating rooms, Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, fully equipped, 24 hour emergency room, and much more. If you have no insurance, if you've been in a drive-by shooting or have overdosed on crack cocaine, this is where you go. And it's essentially free, because almost everyone who ends up in the ER is uninsured. 

Last year, 2,735 babies were born at Natividad. 32% of these were born to out-of-wedlock teenage mothers, 93% of which were Hispanic. Less than 20% could demonstrate proof of citizenship, and 71% listed their native language as Spanish. Of these 876 births, only 40 were covered under [any kind of] private health insurance. The taxpayers paid for the other 836. And in case you were wondering about the entire population - all 2,735 births - less than 24% involved insured coverage or even partial payment on behalf of the patient to the hospital in exchange for services. Keep this in mind as we move forward.

Now consider this:

If I want to upgrade my policy to a low-deductible premium policy, such as what I had with my last employer, my cost is $886 per month. But my girlfriend can upgrade her policy to the very same level, for just $4 per month. That's right, $4 per month. $48 per year for a zero-deductible, premium healthcare policy - the kind of thing you get when you work at IBM (except of course, IBM employees pay an average of $170 per month out of pocket for their coverage). 

I mean, it's bad enough that I will be forced to subsidize the ObamaCare scheme in the first place. But even if I agreed with the basic scheme, which of course I do not, I would never agree to subsidize premium policies. If I have to pay $482 a month for a budget policy, I sure as hell do not want the guy I'm subsidizing to get a better policy, for less that 1% of what I have to fork out each month for a low-end policy.
Why must I pay $482 per month for something the other guy gets for a dollar? And why should the other guy get to buy an $886 policy for $4 a month? Think about this: I have to pay $10,632 a year for the same thing that the other guy can get for $48. $10,000 of net income is 60 days of full time work as an engineer. $48 is something I could pay for collecting aluminum cans and plastic bottles, one day a month.
Are you with me on this? Are you starting to get an idea what ObamaCare is really about?
ObamaCare is not about dealing with inequities in the healthcare system. That's just the cover story. The real story is that it is a massive, political power grab. Do you think anyone who can insure himself with a premium policy for $4 a month will vote for anyone but the political party that provides him such a deal? ObamaCare is about enabling, subsidizing, and expanding the Left's political power base, at taxpayer expense. Why would I vote for anyone but a Democrat if I can have babies for $4 a month? For that matter, why would I go to college or strive for a better job or income if it means I have to pay real money for healthcare coverage? Heck, why study engineering when I can be a schlub for $20K per year and buy a new F-150 with all the money I'm saving?

And think about those $4-a-month babies - think in terms of propagation models. Think of just how many babies will be born to irresponsible, under-educated mothers. Will we get a new crop of brain surgeons and particle physicists from the dollar baby club, or will we need more cops, criminal courts and prisons? One thing you can be certain of: At $4 a month, they'll multiply, and multiply, and multiply.
ObamaCare: It's all about political power.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Cerebral Teletubbies

Overheard while watching a news item on a chap with cerebral palsy:

Hay: "It's sad how people think that those suffering from cerebral palsy are mad, thick or stupid simply because they have problems talking."

Chairman: " A bit like me when I put my dentures in."

90's hit children's show, The Teletubbies, is being remade. Not recycled, but remade. The show's original creator says she thinks this is sad and she will not be watching it. Neither will I. Her reason is it shows a lack of creativity on the part of the BBC's children's broadcasting; for me it's an age thing.