toastthefuture

The future as at best a haze. We can make or break it. My rants, visions, ideas and dreams hope to make a better future. Lets learn to live a better life. Raise your glasses (no it doesnt have to be alcohol - I am using orange juice!), and toast the future!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Kickstarting a dialog between religeon and science

BBC NEWS | Magazine | A Point of View

The artical brings up the fact that in an age where religeous beliefs are very diverse - it is nigh time a path for discussion was opened up, along with debates on ethics and morality - and maybe some reconciliation made between the religeous, and the scientific community.

This may help us avoid the very disturbing far right wing menace which has tyaken root in America sweeping the rest of the world. It may also get scientists, and big business operating them to think in ethical terms when operating and researching. Although I would like to see us advance our knowledge of geneticsm, robotics and nanotech, the last thing I want is a man-made supervirus wiping out our crops so a bio-corp can sell GM food seeds only good for one harvest...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Religeous Are At it Again!

It looks like the religeous in England are trying to stir up exactly the same far right and extremeness that is occuring in the US. We must prevent this - or we will become a one religeon state. It is clear that Bush values rich white christian lives above anyone elses. I really hope we can show Blair to be different from this. We must reject the religeous groups trying to pressure the political groups.

Issues like abortion should not be down to these other groups - but down to the mother. Although there is a point in that the mother should have thought things through better before being a chavvy scum and getting herself pregnant early - it would be unfair to have a baby born into an environment wher it was resented, was not, and probably cannot be looked after properly - into a life of suffering and neglect. The mothers life, and any plans for the future are ruined (although it may be beleived anyone thinking that much about the consequences of there actions would not have allowed themselevs to get pregnant early).

There are however some interesting issues raised by one of the Clergy - that some parents may abort dependant on the childs sex, and this also may be selected durign IVF - this to me would be a bad idea - but not for the same reasons they state. BY tampering with the natural sex-ratio, we could end up headed for a disaster - with one sex vastly outnumbering the other - although I do not see that realistically happening - there are still enough entirely natural births to keep the numbers from becoming too far unbalanced.

This also raises another issue - it is the same idiots (pro-lifers/clergy) who protest against comprehensive sex-ed at school - thus preventing kids getting enough serious information to make the right choice, and avoid geting pregnant. If the catholic church want to see fewer abortions - then raise your absolutely bizarre contraceptive ban. Or do the church just hope their followers mate like bunnies until they outnumber every other division? This does not sound all that far fetched.

How many more lives will the barbarity of organised religeon ruin?

BBC NEWS | UK | Williams urges debate on abortion
BBC NEWS | UK | Abortion copies Nazis - cardinal

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Are people in China protesting as well?

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Taiwan rallies against China law

There is one thing that very few news articals will mention. I have a number of friends from China, who now live in England. Most of them give the impression, that although the Chinese government are making a stink about this - Chinese people have a lot of respect for what Taiwan have acheived. And were they not so likely to loose their heads for it - they would also be demonstrating.

To understand why China behaves so vicously towards Taiwan- it is an expression of embaressment, one of injured ministerial pride. The Taiwanese have shown how a democratic government can operate in Asia - a mark which the Chinese government is a long way off from.

China calls itself a peoples republic, but if you ask most Chinese people - the only people they truly serve are the greedy and proud ministers themselves. Dont be fooled- China has nothing but a dictatorship in place - there may be more than one minister - but the people have absolutely no affect over politics - and tend to wind up missing or dead for even suggesting they want anything to do with affecting it.

Dont worry- the poor Chinese probably wont be able to read this- the Chinese government operates a system of censorship which ensures criticism never reaches ther eyes of its subjects. Chinese people living in the UK are constantly amazed by the level of political satire in the UK, Rory Bremner would no doubt be hunted and executed for his show in China.

It sad that in this day and age some countries still have such dark governments - be sure to distinguish though between people and state - the people definately wnat different thing from the government- they are just not allowed to mention it while in China.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bush bids to save feed-tube woman

Not content with condoning the genocide of thousands if not millions of healthy men, women and children in Iraq (I do realise Saddam was not a nice man - but surely an assassination would have been better!), Bush and his religeous right wing fanatic supporters now deny a severely crippled woman the right to die.

Consider it - this woman is living a life with nothing to hope for. She is requiring constant medical attention - as even her autonomous functions are lapsing. Her brain damage is severe - and her husband can see her pain. Now I understand her other relatives would like to see her continue to live - but if she is in pain, and her life is going to be spent on a feeding tube - isnt it better that you let her go?

Unless there are vast advances in medical science (and lets be fair - most of the religeous zealots arent going to let that happen to easily), she really cannot live a "fulfilling life". Whats fulfilling about spending a life in an ITU?

The fact that a family matter has now been escalated through pro-lifers campaigners (who have no business interfering) through to the president himself is appalling.

I suggest the most humane, and logical way forward is to allow quality of life, medial and psychological experts assess her condition. Upon this the family and should make their final decision - and stick with it.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Bush bids to save feed-tube woman

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why I hate some cars, but not others.

Some people think the way I, and others (for example most greenpeace supporters) talk about SUVs sounds a little prejudice.

Why are they so bad?

Well it has as much to do with the attitude of the drivers of these vehicles as others. While sports cars are only 2 seaters, and allow drivers to drive at irresponsibly high speeds - they are not unnecessary petrol guzzlers. Indeed - the short term implication of sports cars is that they may lead to mroe speeding, and as a result more crash deaths - but lets hope the government continue to fine speeding drivers.

The SUV drivers show a much longer term lack of consideration. First there is the fact that with a few exceptions, most SUVs are the least fuel efficient vehicles. The most amusing is the sheer incompetance shown by some companies when it comes to this - for example the HumVee which has a worse performing engine than early victorian cars. Where people actually thinking with their brains - this should make the comapny the laughing stock of the industry. However - most people are foolish enough to burn away money on fuel for monster like these, all so they can claim to drive in style.

Which brings me to the point of why are they considered so stylish? They are great big boxy things. Some of them are designed for "off road" use, and heavy transport - but most are just styled to look like they can, and would probably be destroyed at the first major bump in an off road situation- and who needs to go "off road" inside the city anyway? Most of them are big and ugly, take up a lot of room and have all they style and looks of the Austin Princess.

Now one thing I have noticed is that many mothers appear to use these for the school run. Just in case they have to make an off-road cut accross school fields to avoid a collision with the lost geography teacher? I also have observed that it is also the more obese appearing people that use them, and proportionally more female than male.

They seem to have some odd notion that being in one of these vehicals will make them safer. Well heres the big shocker - you wont be. Only the real military ones, or ones sold for tv safari documentaries have proper imapct zones and roll cages. Most of them just look solid - but are not necessarily so. Because they are top heavy, and have poor traction as well as slightly overpowered engines - they also tend to roll fairly often. The other reason they are involved in more dangerous accidents - is because people perceive themselves as being in immense powerhouses, and take risks. This behaviour is not acceptable in any case - but at least when its a 17 tonne truck driver - he rally is in a powerhouse - your HumVee really does not have that kind of protection. In fact - you are normally better off in an older Volvo - which really were solid.

Now I do dislike some other cars - I generally think seven seaters are only really for those with large families (but isnt it a little thoughtless to have 5+ kids anyway?). I dont like racy cars with a top speed of 200+ mph - although they are much more fuel efficient than SUVs, without speed governers they are an accident waiting to happen.

The cars I really like are the small and practical ones. I love the Smart Car - its well formed, and designed for the city. They can also endure 1 or 2 hour long trips to other cities too. The Ford Ka is equally neat- a four seater, which is not bigger than it needs to be.

If you really need to get lots of people travelling, then hire a minibus or for moving - hire a transit. Unless you are doing this every day - there is no need to own one, and you will save money by hiring as well as appearing to care a little more about the state of your grandchildrens health.

My own solution is to use public transport where possible - which although not ideal, I am prepared to pay a little more to see it improve. Even with that "little bit more" public transport is still considerably cheaper than fuel, tax, insurance, mot and a private vehical.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Nokia halts mobile fuel cell plan

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nokia halts mobile fuel cell plan

This is a real shame. Nokia are a possible world leader in mobile technology, and the move to fuel cells would be a very welcome one - if for no other reason than to advance and push the technology furthar.

While I can understand the aircraft risks - I, and millions use mobile phones and travel by air around once a year. Since most people couldnt really use my mobile abroad without selling a kidney, this doesnt make sense.

I wonder if there are any other motivations behind this? I dont want to be too tin hat - but dont forget that fuel cell technology is touted as being able to replace the internal combustion engine - something the oil industry would fear very, very much. London already has a small fleet of fuel cell based busses.

I see it as the future. I am sure mobile phone companies, and even people agree firmly with me on it too.

I might even despise SUV's less if they were fuel cell based!

They're leaving alone old space probes

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Voyager probes in funding crisis
This is not quite as sad as it may seem.
Consider a few things here:

  • The technology is 30 years old - and not really as proprietory as it was.

  • The data they return may yet be useful - and processable.

  • There are a million geeks who would love to get there hands on it.


So here is my proposal for old dead probes. First - allow the geeks to get the communication protocols and methods, and document how to connect with these old sats. Encourage a particular set of geeks to kind of warden it (as a voluntary thing - they will do it) and make sure that none of the messing is detructive.
Then when new probes are sent out, allow geeks a chance to pay (as a group donation) to have an additional signal relay module added - to extend communications with the old sats. You never know - with enough of them, we might even find poor old Beagle 2.

Geeks will then take data, and probably come up with a distributed client, not unlike setiathome to process the data. Berkeley may even want to jump on and grab some of the data themselves for SetiAtHome. I would run it - make it a Boinc client, and it can integrate with all the others.

The possibilities are endless. Geeks do have the technology, and money, and interest to look after it - so my message to Nasa - dont just let this one float away, release it to the community. After all - it was American tax payers who paid for it - give it back - and they will find a use for it.