Saturday, December 28, 2013

What is this?

Recently I went to the Mini Maker Faire at The Powerhouse Museum which was good although mini, but afterward as I was leaving I saw this:

No, this is not trickery. What IS this huge overhang being built onto the UTS building?
The mystery is only increases when you se that the "roof" is being built about eight stories up.
I am still amazed by this.


Here is the link to a page where someone has pointed out that scientific data is disappearing . .

Even today when we have an always-on internet, truly huge storage spaces even in our own home PCs never mind "cloud" services, scientific data is disappearing to the point where "for the papers that were written more than 20 years ago, there was a 90 per cent chance that no data was available."

This is SERIOUS crap.
THIS is the kind of thing that will come back to bite us in our collective a**es in future.  This means we are losing scientific information, and not just that : the most important part of all the information of science is the raw data itself.  The bit that's being dropped.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The end of an era?

I just read this article on the F-35 program. It does get technical in places, but I'll try and summarise it, long with a few thoughts of my own:

1. Not for the first time, the US military is trying to develop a "universal" military jet : the trouble is, this did not work the last time it was tried (F-111) and this time it's even worse: they don't have any other plane projects (apart from drones). they cite the F-4 as being a successful example of this idea but I'm not seeing it. The F-4  was not designed for multi-role operations and it certainly was not designed with a VTOL version in mind. 

2. The main problem is that the Marines want a VTOL version of the F-35 to replace their "Harrier" VTOL planes. This has meant that the design is a lousy compromise between the needs of the three different air forces (Airforce, Navy and Marines): if it were not for the Marines' demand for a Vertical Takeoff version, the whole thing would be a whole lot simpler, lighter, thinner and as a result, cheaper and faster. 
As a general theme, maybe the Navy starts with an airforce plane and toughens it up for carrier landings with stronger airframe and landing gear,  adds the tailhook and larger, folding wings so it can land on a carrier, but mostly the plane is not that much off the land based model: not so for the Marines version though.

This half-assed idea that you can make "universal" plane is really the source of the problem. On the surface it looks like you are going to save money -  which looks good on paper, only the savings are more than offset by the fact that you will end up with a dud that doesn't do any of the three or more jobs you wanted it to because the requirements are all different

3. The bureaucracy has exploded. I chalk up the death of the British aircraft industry mainly to the burden of bureaucracy that was visited on it by their government: check out the TSR-2 project. It was actually a good design that would still hold up well today but the whole process of getting it into the air was dragged out by endless committees and and dithering about things that should have been decided by one manager and then done. The result? cost overruns, huge burdens of paperwork that achieve nothing and the decrease of the plane's effectiveness . . . It sure looks to me like the Americans have the same sort of problems here. 

I suspect the real problem here is the same one the Brits had: the budget has shrunk so they are trying to "economise," except the nature of bureaucracy itself works against such things: in tough times, huge swathes of people try to shoehorn themselves into public servant jobs since it is "secure", and where is more secure than the defense related industries?then there are all the "watchdogs": office buildings worth of paper pushers who are there to make sure that things get done wihout waste . . . . except that they themselves are part of the problem itself.

Okay, you can take that last one with a grain of salt if you like, but the signs are there: any industry where all of the competing companies are being swallowed up into one is a sad sign.  Competition is what keeps costs down and performance up: when there is no real competition, those two things go south.  BAck in the time of the F-4 there were at least six aircraft companie making jets that could compete for contracts. Sure , there was a bit of derring-do and crookery going on but the competition was still there: what we have now is a monoculture: Boeing (who really make airliners) and LockMar. 

I just hope our own defense folks are looking relly carefully at the next cheque for the F-35 project because it looks to me like a waste of money we don't really have . . . .

Uncle Sam better be hiding some good aces up his sleeve or he's gonna hafta hand in his World Sheriff badge.
Will US stealth drone fighters really wipe the asses of those uppity Chinese fighter pilots - or will Chinese hackers jam their signals and render them useless (or worse!)?
We may find out soon . . . .

Seasonal gratings

Just a couple of oddments that I dug up and found fun:

Special thanks to Harris Academy for this. If only we could do more of this . . . . . . . ;)

 . . . and of course, this from the wonderful XKCD. Thanks Ryan, and Mary Eczmas to you all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Over the years that  I have owned an iPhone there have been occasional odd moments where on opening it, an odd app would be running even thhough I have not used it. No big deal.  . . . but yesterday was a non-trivial fail. I was listening to my music on my iPhone and for no reason that I am aware I got a blast of a Beyonce song . It shocked me, not because it was so bad (it was crap, but that's not the point) : it came from the iTunes store and I never even use that app on my phone.
Either someone has hacked Apple's software in an intrusive way, or it is a bug in iOS. 

. . . . but then the whole mobile internet thing just never seems to be very stable.  I try to connect my laptop to the phone for internet access each morning on the train and some days it just won't work. At one time I set it up to connect laptop to phone using wireless but that just stopped working within a day or two by itself for no reason that I can discern, so it's back to the cable connection . . . . and even then some days it just won't work.  I'm just glad I don't depend on it for some important stuff or work related data or I'd be up the creek.

Is anyone reading this? Probably not.  I don't care. If your only measure of success is popularity then you are a tragic fool.

Apparently the thing to do these days is to follow other people on Twitter, only that will mean that you are just soaking up the same crap as they want to feed to you, complete with concealed adverts and promotion of ideologies you probably don't even recognise.
Give me the full net any day: at least I can choose my own opinions about things and have pictures and so on.  Ninety percent of everything on the net is crap, so the story goes: it's pretty close to correct.

I'm really not a "following other people" kind of guy. Give me some intelligent discourse instead.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The thing that banks fear

Here is one of the best articles I have seen in  very long time: it provides some insights into why the banks have become so powerful in the modern world and why they might not be so in future.
Go here on the ABC site for Alan Kohler's excellent article.
I am definitely not directly involved in big finance or the stock market - but I am always interested in the gigs on there since ultimately it will affect us all since we almost cannot avoid using banks.
I considerd buying bitcoin as a reserve but it relaly looks like a bubble at the mooment and besides, even if you bought it when it was cheap and it has now risen in value many times,  you stil need to convert it back into your local currency to use it again  . . . . and hang on, isn't that exactly the type of behaviour which led us all into this mess in the first place?

For a more entertaining take on the money madness mess, yo ucan always go to YouTube and search for Max Keiser's The Keiser Report.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ghosts with s**t jobs

Here's the link to an indie movie I just enjoyed ($7 rental on iTunes) -  It's in 2040 and only China is wealthy, the US is poor and Americans in the story live on half a shoestring and hope to emigrate to China some day. Funny and ironic, I enjoyed it greatly. Check out the "human spam" and a guy whose job is the go into a virtual world and blur out the advertising to cover copyright restrictions.  
Pointed out by the always interesting Boing Boing

Also on the subject of those living at the bottom end of America, check out this blog posting. It clearly shows a number of the attitude factors of poverty and how it is very hard to get out of it.

For me the main factor is how the woman points out that her family live from week to week,  month to month: without resources to plan for the future, there IS no future.
Although I now count myself free of the grinding poverty of earlier years, I still have no great future expectations since that level of reserves is just not available to me.  Own a house? don't make me scream. Young people here can't afford a first home, never mind someone like me.
Retirement? I will be happier to have a job since our government system has decided to punish the poor even more than before... but being an oldie in a world where jobs are disappearing quickly, that may not be easy . . .
When they push up the retirement age I may be longer on "unemployment benefits" which are so low that you probably cannot live decently on them unless you move to the country (which has it's own probems e.g. lack of medical services, which as a "senior" you may well need) - ah, but what IS government for?  Anyone out there really know what government is really supposed to be doing for it's taxpayers and citizens?  . .. or is that another one of those slippery subjects?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Your Iron is Listening . . .

Check out this bit of weirdness:A botnet of irons and kettles
Not sure wether such things really happen: it seems a lot of expense and work to glean measly amounts of information, bu that's just my view.  Perhaps if the appliances were targeted to "people of interest" by sneakret agencies it would make sense for them. . . .
Imagine the headlines:
"Man's infidelity exposed by his coffee maker"  . . . You can probably make up some great ones here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What, Me Worry?

First, a small matter : I have just spent ten minutes being unable to find where to post to my own bloody Blogger page. Google, please fix this, I was about to quit in disgust and go back to my old, old site (that is still in existence) because Google Plus has made it so hard for me to find anything.  I don't care about all that other "social media" stuff, why did you remove the link to my already existing Blogger pages so tht I can't even post to my own blogs? Do you secretly want to get rid of Blogger? Why not just come out and say it?
But enough of that.

These two pages are from Der Speigel, translated from german. Read here critique of the way "economics" has gone insane and will lead us all into catastrophe if you haven't already figured that out.  When money is disconnected from earning and fair trade,  nothing can stop the nosedive of economies into the hard concrete of reality. 
It doesn't matter how much money you print, it's still worth nothing . . . . . .

Page 1 here . . . . Page 2 here.

But then it looks like the whole darn system will have to come to bits before people actually are forced to fix the mess. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Open Letter

As I am now in a condition that allows me to do so,  I, Gregory Zambo welcome anyone who might have a question, greivance or complaint about me or my past actions to contact me and we can discuss the matter and compensation if the matter deserves such.  

This offer is open to anyone past, present or future and I will keep all messages private so there is no chance of any matters related becoming public.

Contact me here please.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The truth about addiction and poverty

Digging through Boing Boing today I found this: The first time I have seen anyone state what always seemed bleeding obvious to me. The real problem is that some in our societies don't care about the poor or even worse attack them as if they were criminals just for not being born into a rich family.
 The real horror of this is that I still see this kind of Nazi attitude in people, typically the same people who have never gone without a meal or a home in their lives.   I have been on the recieving end of this kind of crap myself more than once. Now that I am out of the "hole" of poverty it is still amazing to see people who really should know better mouthing off at "the lazy dole bludgers" etc. etc. 
No, there is no easy way out of poverty, and as pointed out in this article, the dope just softens the misery a little.  Crime is something else again : but obviously (almost*) no-one is going to be robbing people if they have money and a worthwhile job.
Better that you read it yourself though, especially the conclusions.
Thanks, Carl Hart and NY Times.
(*Does not include persons such as Bernie Madoff {He "madoff" with a lot!})

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Survivorship Bias

Coming courtesy of the You Are Not So Smart blog (which I have just discovered thanks to Boing Boing) : today's clever and funny article about success and failure . . . . .
Here's a meaty exerpt:

"If you spend your life only learning from survivors, buying books about successful people and poring over the history of companies that shook the planet, your knowledge of the world will be strongly biased and enormously incomplete.

As best I can tell, here is the trick: When looking for advice, you should look for what not to do, for what is missing as Phil Plait suggested, but don’t expect to find it among the quotes and biographical records of people whose signals rose above the noise. They may have no idea how or if they lucked up.
What you can’t see, and what they can’t see, is that the successful tend to make it more probable that unlikely events will happen to them while trying to steer themselves into the positive side of randomness. They stick with it, remaining open to better opportunities that may require abandoning their current paths, and that’s something you can start doing right now without reading a single self-help proverb, maxim, or aphorism.
Also, keep in mind that those who fail rarely get paid for advice on how not to fail, which is too bad because despite how it may seem, success boils down to serially avoiding catastrophic failure while routinely absorbing manageable damage."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Public Service Announcement: Porn sex Vs. Real sex

Watch this video, both informative and entertaining, and it does so using food.

Data Vampires

A more reputable vampire
Okay, I'll admit here that I am not "a great socialite"  - or putting it in a different way, I prefer action to jaw flapping or thumb tapping. Empty vessels make the most noise, of course.

First there was Farcebook asking for my personal email password, schools I attended, places I worked and pretty much anything they could get . .  no, no and NO again. One day someone will give me a decent reason for providing personal information like what school I went to . . . and I will provide it - but this bunch of data vampires don't even pretend to have a good reason.  
My email password? weeeeeellllll, maybe if I was fifteen and stupid you might get it but I don't fit either category.

And now . . . . . a new scavenger has appeared, someone gave my name to LinkedIn and they tried the same thing, I ask you, dear reader,  what would YOU say if some strange kid turned up at your door and said "Gimme your email password dude, I promise I won't tell anyone else or keep it, honest!" : Would you trust him?

For me, "Networking" is what PCs do. Humans get together and talk in the real FIRST so that you know who the heck you are sending a message to - and what was wrong with email? Why are we supposed to need Yet Another Stupid Messaging Program? (Worse still, some are so full of holes that they are regularly hijacked by children for their entertainment!)

I do keep a Farcebook ID so people can potentially find me but I don't get any messages from there except to tell me that a freind has written something on his page . . . . . maybe over the long, long run (years) someone will actually find me through FB but I am beginning to doubt it. Apart from those who knew me already I have made zero new friends on FB because almost none of the people I contacted via it were prepared to meet me as real people - apparently because they weren't.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dunbar's Number

For years I knew that there was an ideal size for social groups,  small enough for everyone to know each other but not too small, big enough for a workable community. Well, thanks to Dmitry Orlov who has a blog here (and this article is a good read too, makes you think about what might be coming for us down here in Oz)  I now know it is called "Dunbar's number" and that it is about 150.
I bought his book,  "The Five Stages of Collapse" as well. Although not so uplifting it is full of interesting observations and definitely though provoking - okay I admit I haven't read it all yet, I have read excerpts on his blog though.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Electric Flying Bicycle, anyone?

It's pretty awesome, really: a video shows it actually flying albeit indoors and the Czech engineers who made it did it because they wanted to: NOT for sale. 
but . . . . .
WIRED, why attach the dumbass term "Jedi" to it?
Science Fiction  existed long before George Lucas and Star Wars.  I expect that now it has been sold to Disney there will be even more plastic crap filling the shelves (if that's possible!) soon.

It really is awesome though: a man-carrying all-electric helicopter is an achievement in itself.
Note that there are two props in each end cage and two smaller ones either side.  
I'm tempted to create my own variation in virtual.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Golden Android

If anyone is wondering where all my time and money go, here it is: my first 3D produced "graphic novel", titled as above.  I  have put it on DeviantArt in low res with watermarks on all pages so you can read it, but if you want the real thing you will need to buy it when it's done or pay by the page which might be expensive (but who am I to complain? this is not a cheap venture folks*).
I decided to use DA since you don't need an ID to look at the pictures unlike Renderosity which does, but then I still post there too since it is where I get a lot of good feedback and a lot of the models used came from there.
Of course, all comments are welcome: critical or otherwise.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A few bits . . .

Been busy with my 3D graphic novel so I haven't posted for a while so things have accumulated:
Here it all is in one lump:

1. DSM V hits the shelves and it is exactly as many people warned: read the dirt here.

2. Bleeding obvious no.2 : Diversity of lifeforms is essential for survival.  . . . or put another way "Something other than adaptation is driving evolution".   

3. Video: "Theorist and de-growth activist Charles Eisenstein talks about the benefits of a 'gift-based' economy. He argues that such a model aims to bring about a workforce driven by passion rather than coerced by money and profit and he highlights certain co-operative schemes already proving the ideal can be made real"    - here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mon(k)ey Business

I have been following the whole "economic" situation for a long time, as should anyone who cares about their future: Bitcoin is the most recent development. You can read more about it here from WIRED. A very good article and carefully thought out.
What I don't see written anywhere is what seems to me to be an obvious problem with Bitcoin or any other virtual currency that is "secured" by an encrypted number: computing power is always increasing, so if your money is kept secure by an encryption, eventually those with enough Megaflop muscle will be able to hack it, and fake it. 
On the other hand, if that distant event  can be kept as far into the future as possible,  we can probably expect  some sort of VC (virtual currency) to take over from the present mess simply because there are so many parasites and gamblers sucking value out of the world's currencies that it will be necessary just so people can survive.
None of that will solve the basic problem though: the problem of humans wanting to gamble - or worse still, wanting to get money for nothing. Even providing employment for everyone won't fix that, no, what is needed is a trade system that cannot be speculated upon. The alternative is to provide a speculation system that is disconnected somehow from the real economy (consumery) so that the loonies can gamble all they like without wrecking nations or currencies.
Well, that's a nice idea. Not sure how you would do that.
If you think I'm cynical about economics, you should see what Max Keiser has to say.
Search "Keiser report" on Youtube. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Where to find my art

For some time I have been working on a graphic novel (as yet unnamed) using a program called DAZ Studio.  This post is to point you to where you can see what has been done so far and invite comments and critique.
The work is in my gallery on Renderosity ( and you will need to create an idee and password to look at them. Once you are there and are registered, log in and go to "member search" and find me that way - my name there is Prof_Null.
Eventually this will be my retirement project : something for a "crazy old dude" to make pocket money out of . . . . . the reason it's pocket money is the time it takes to create even one scene - and don't get me started on the time it takes to create a model. I spent about 8 hours yesterday making a pallet to carry a robot on. The good part? you can use it anywhere after that. One of my freinds asked me last night why I didn't draw the comic, I guess he didn't get the idea of 3D models at first.

If you don't want to get another idee and password, here is one sample:

Have fun weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Automated Stupidity

Today's news is full of the drop in the US stock markets caused by . . . . . .  a tweet.
This tweet caused automated algorithms running on stock trading systems to sell shares so efficiently they caused the stock markets to plunge.   Read more detail here

The financial vampires have not gone away folks, they won't until we get rid of them.
Sure, they lost a few members of their team but the rest are going great. The vampires have a lot of power in Washington so the pollies don't dare  attack them. If we had a non- money leader e.g. a King or Queen or something who could hit these monsters without fear we might actually be able to at least control them a little, but the whole idea of a monarchy or non-money leadership of countries has been given a bad name by that same bunch of vampires and their well-fed consorts.
Remember, "blood" is addictive. 
These bloated parasites who contribute nothing to our society since they don't produce, manufacture or even invest (?) in anything have now reached the amazing situation where they "must" use automated trading to compete against each other in the race to suck the financial world dry ( . . . . and thus ultimately destroy all those who actually work honest jobs to create the things we need to eat, wear and work with. ) 
Recently I have seen  it promoted that the answer is for everyone to become a vampire: "Sink your riches into the stockmarket, get your free money now !!" (Note the word "sink"!)

Personally, I find the whole thing hilarious, I'm laughing all the way to the graveyard.

The sooner we can get our real living needs and real budget away from these vampires the better: but then the whole thing will probably need to collapse completely first, and even when a new social order is created, you would probably need to threaten people with instant death to prevent some people scheming to get free money.
No, not everyone wants a free lunch, just the stupid and greedy ones. 
Just remember that parasites are not intelligent folks: You never saw a vampire buying sunscreen did you?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Diversity, huh?

According to this article from Wired, there may be something other than the oft- cliched "survival of the fittest" driving evolution. 
Don't be sucked in by the vampires who claim that "survival of the fittest" means they have a right to rip everyone else off either folks.

Everything's goin' south . . . . .

First, I must mention that I don't own a lot myself: no cars, houses or shares.  I don't really want any of that stuff either since it seems to me that most of it is as much a burden as it is a supposed source of money - I ascribe to the view that "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (or tanstaafl", usually attributed to Robert Heinlein).
To put it another way, we have a society where the obscenely rich have organised for themselves a money flow from everyone else and it has only got worse as things have failed due to this activity.

Read one article on the Beltway Vampires here or you can always catch up on the latest global news of the vampires from Max Keiser, who at least tries to make it entertaining. 

I have a problem with the whole "money market" thing: I just don't think it should happen at all.  Anything that can be gambled on becomes another "market" and this immediately leads to it being manipulated by big players who proceed to suck the market dry for no other reason than that they can.

This does not in any way excuse people from sitting around expecting "the government" to provide riches for them, please note: I am not happy about a shortage of jobs for people who want to trade their services fairly for a decent life.  Society is built from fair trading. Note the word "fair". Where does "speculation" come into that? Nope, it does not.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Booze Culture

From today's SMH:
"The NSW Police Commissioner says that dealing with alcohol and its effects consumes about 70 per cent of a frontline police officer's time.

Someone had hacked the site and defaced the headline. 
Need I say more?
I am not anti-drinking but I am not impressed by the alcohol soaked "culture" either.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

As safe as . . . . .

I'm not even going to mention any names here since I don't want anyone else doing stupid things and I have NO idea who reads this (if anyone).
I find this whole thing very disturbing: as a well known geek site told me recently, anyone who wants to can find sites that will allow them to conduct DOS attacks and a whole raft of other net nastiness  . . . . . very cheaply, from a paypal account or credit card- then you merely add the target address and choose from a pulldown menu your type of attack. There are a variety of plans you can get - each attack lasts sixty seconds after which you need to renew.   There are a couple of caveats - you can find out who uses the site, and it is not protected against all of  the attacks it can provide.  . . . . supposedly the site is only for security people to test their servers.  Yeah right.

I always knew the net was as holey as a swiss cheese but this is just nuts. A teenager with a grudge can attack anything on the net. Of course, bigger and better protected servers won't notice so much but an individual might.

Did you hear about that guy who worked for WIRED who lost all his data, IDee etc.?  Apparently it was a seventeen year old kid who did it using one of these attack sites.  Yah, it's gossip but as I said above, I don't want everyone to know all about these sites: it's a bit like publishing a hitman's phone number in a national paper. You could hope that it was safe but I am not going to bet on that.

Is this freedom?

Are we being wound up in the leadup to some new global mega-agency of "Net Cops" appearing? 

I'm not sure I like either of these scenarios. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Popularity Vs. Progress

Today, a couplet of stories that caught my eye:
1. Your Facebook likes can be use to determine your intelligence and sexuality.
This not only appears on WIRED but also in the new slimmed-down Sydney Morning Herald which adds that apparently liking the "Wu-Tung Clan" denotes masculinity.  I thought it was Wu-Tang myself, but then I have no idea who they really are, I assume a rap act . . . . .
Okay, I exist on Facebook but that is all.  Why I would want to tell the corporations what I like and dislike is beyond me.  The popularity of things is no measure of their worth, especially in the long term. 

and then there is this:
NIST has created a refrigerator chip that can get down to 256 mK, which is pretty close to the temperatures where superconductivity occurs if I am not mistaken. The unit is very small too, which would mean that superconducting computer chips could be made. That would not only produce possible speed gains for computers but also since this is such a small cooler and all solid state,  maybe these coolers could be added to more conventional chip designs to boost performance.
No report of the power consumption of the cooler though.
To me this is much more interesting than the Farcebook survey, but then I guess I really am a nerd.

In other news: By the number of views, m y artwork blog (The Z-Buffer) is much more popular than this blog. I guess no-one really gives a shit about reason, sense or philosophy,  but someone cares about a bit of art.

Finally, today is the end of my second voyage of  misery and defeat at the hands of a dating website.
I don't think it is just me either: there is something weird and bad going on there. Stay away from all "dating" websites folks,  remember if you meet "the love of your life" after a few days they don't get any more $ out of you so they have no interest in helping you really, and there are some very sick people out there who want to rip you off.I was contacted by several of them. I have never had so many vampires and panhandlers hitting on me before. It's not that they are even intelligent or even tactful about it either: tragic really.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

If Ye Ask Me, We're All Doomed

That was the famous quote by The Scotsman in "Dad's Army".
Just have a read of this article by Ross Gittins in the SMH:

"The four most disproportionately influential industries in Australia, they say, are superannuation, banking, mining and gambling."

Note that in my view, these are all useless to the common citizen:  I for one still strongly suspect that my super money will magically disappear before I get to collect whatever pittance is left after the administration fees because they are are playing with my super money on the giant casino called "The stock market". 
Then there is the news that the Super percentage is to be increased, which will place additional pressures on employers and drive more small operators out of business, but who cares, right?

I don't even need to say anything about the banks.

Mining giants are working hard to get rid of employees by bringing in computer operated machinery,  but then they never employed that many people anyway: they have those huge machines for good reason - employees are costly and troublesome, don't you know?

Gambling? An "industry"? Not in my definition: I thought an industry produced something useful for it's customers.  It needs a new definition, something like "parasitic business that slowly kills the host".

So in short, none of these operations does anything much for the good of the nation or (perish the thought) the citizens (or "consumers" as they are now called), but they have a disproportionate influence on government . . . . . .

Oh, that's right, that's called "corruption". 

Monday, February 4, 2013

World's Greatest Patent Troll?

Read here about Jerome Lemelson, a man who spent his whole life suing for patents, not only that though: he figured out how to scam the patent system so that he could sue for patents he didn't actually have by posting an application years before that was deliberately vague so that when the technology developed he could "amend" his existing patent and sue those who actually developed the invention.
This guy never invented anything: all he ever did was suck from corporations and businesses using the power of lawyers.
Amazing stuff, I would call it legal crime.
 It just makes me wonder what other dodgy operations are going on like this today.
Thanks to Fortune Magazine for the article.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bring on the Robot Lawyers

"Scientology defectors queue up to claim back multimillions of 'misused' donations"

 Note that the "defectors" have some serious complaints, but not about church policy as such but rather about what has been done with moneys they donated for specific purposes that it seems did not get  there.   Don't believe a word of any church that was invented by a failed science fiction writer folks.  My own "Church Of Nothing" could also come into that category but then I don't want you to believe anything at all, so it is truly exempt. It also does not ever ask for any money from anyone. :) 

I cannot safely criticise one "religion" without criticising all of them for similar reasons: In my view they should all be paying tax on their income at the very least.  

I really wish they had to prove the validity of their preposterous claims in a court of law in order to get permission to operate, but sadly that is never going to happen. It might make great entertainment though . . . . . 

A lot of ventures that begin with good intentions seem to be hijacked by power hungry ratbags who then adjust the rules so they can get rich off the efforts and donations of "followers".

Bring on the Robot Lawyers I say. A machine that has no emotions cannot be emotionally manipulated and with ruthless  rationality, the mountains of bullshit that cloud he minds of people today could perhaps be reduced to foothills of foolishness in less than a century.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Liars And Robbers Exposed

From the Sydney Morning Herald:


Neo-liberals' economic policy just a get-rich-quicker fraud


George Monbiot

How they must bleed for us. Last year, the world's 100 richest people became $241 billion richer. They are now worth $1.9 trillion.
This is not the result of chance. The rise in the fortunes of the super-rich is the direct result of policies. Here are a few: the reduction of tax rates and tax enforcement; governments' refusal to recoup a decent share of revenues from minerals and land; the privatisation of public assets and the creation of a toll-booth economy; wage liberalisation and the destruction of collective bargaining.
The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples - in a thousand business schools, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and just about every modern government - have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are in. Total failure.
Before I go on, I should point out that I don't believe perpetual economic growth is either sustainable or desirable. But if growth is your aim - an aim to which every government claims to subscribe - you couldn't make a bigger mess of it than by releasing the super-rich from the constraints of democracy.
Last year's annual report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development should have been an obituary for the neo-liberal model developed by Hayek and Friedman and their disciples. It shows unequivocally that their policies have created the opposite outcomes to those they predicted. As neo-liberal policies (cutting taxes for the rich, privatising state assets, deregulating labour, reducing social security) began to bite from the 1980s onwards, growth rates started to fall and unemployment to rise.
The remarkable growth in the rich nations during the '50s, '60s and '70s was made possible by the destruction of the wealth and power of the elite, as a result of the 1930s Depression and World War II. Their embarrassment gave the other 99 per cent an unprecedented chance to demand redistribution, state spending and social security, all of which stimulated demand.
Neo-liberalism was an attempt to turn back these reforms. Lavishly funded by millionaires, its advocates were amazingly successful - politically. Economically they flopped.
Throughout the OECD countries taxation has become more regressive: the rich pay less, the poor pay more. The result, the neo-liberals claimed, would be that economic efficiency and investment would rise, enriching everyone. The opposite occurred. As taxes on the rich and on business diminished, the spending power of both the state and poorer people fell - and demand contracted. The result was that investment rates declined, in step with companies' expectations of growth.
The neo-liberals also insisted that unrestrained inequality in incomes and flexible wages would reduce unemployment. But throughout the rich world both inequality and unemployment have soared. The recent jump in unemployment in most developed countries - worse than in any previous recession of the past three decades - was preceded by the lowest level of wages as a share of gross domestic product since World War II. Bang goes the theory. It failed for the same obvious reason: low wages suppress demand, which suppresses employment.
As wages stagnated, people supplemented their income with debt. Rising debt fed the deregulated banks, with consequences of which we are all aware. The greater inequality becomes, the UN report finds, the less stable the economy and the lower its rates of growth. The policies with which neo-liberal governments seek to reduce their deficits and stimulate their economies are counterproductive.
''Relearning some old lessons about fairness and participation,'' the UN says, ''is the only way to eventually overcome the crisis and pursue a path of sustainable economic development.''
As I say, I have no dog in this race, except a belief that no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor. But staring dumbfounded at the lessons unlearned in Britain, Europe and the US, it strikes me that the entire structure of neo-liberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power.
Guardian News & Media
Every so often an article comes along that just says everything better than I can say it, and this is one of those.  What I want see now is what (if anything) is going to be done about it . . . . . . 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Egyptian Science

My seven year old niece introduced me to Horrible Histories, which is so good (being both truthful and entertaining) I had trouble choosing which one to show . . . .  and then I found this one.
Some day not too far in the future, our scientists will probably be regarded with the same respect this gent gets. Enjoy.