Tuesday, January 27, 2015

English Independence Day

The problem is you have to be subjugated, rather than the subjugater.  England does not have an Independence Day.

But about 50 nations celebrate independence from the UK.

The English need to create an Independence Day, with a solid cultural background.  A revisionist history; if you don't have it, make it up.


  • Independence from the Romans.  The Italians withdrew around 410 and went home.  Not exactly a moment in time. 
  • Independence from the French, who invaded, won the Battle of Hastings 1066 Oct 14, and conquered England, but were assimilated
  • Independence from the Monarchy Take Two. First you need to downgrade the monarchy. Tricky.
  • Independence from the Scots, but the vote did not carry.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Freewill and hatred, crime and punishment

Our society, and the criminal justice system, is based on the concept of freewill. Research has cast serious doubt on the reality of freewill. People are the product of their genetic makeup, the environments they have experienced, and bound by the laws of physics.

If we do not have freewill then we are not responsible for our actions, including criminal actions. But we live in societies that need to be protected against deviant personalities that do harm.

We need to separate "bad" people from society. We should not hate, kill or punish such people, they are not bad, just unlucky. If we find a cure for what they have, making them no long a threat to society, we should set them free.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Intouchables: The Sequel

By Charlie Hebdo

By Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano


See Review

Charlie Hebdo - A turning point?

People, for good reason, fear Islamic terrorists, and when staff of Charlie Hebdo were killed, there
was much self-censorship.  Many articles were written about the incident with pictures excluded.

All western news organizations need to dilute the threat, by en mass publishing the pictures. Every time. The immoral acts of terrorists should not be effective. If they kidnap a person we do not pay the $200m ransom. We should ignore them if they are upset with what we print or say.

Western culture is tolerant and inclusive, and continually becomes more so each year. Free speech is a critical part of it. We are not Saudi Arabia, China, or Russia. People have the right to decide themselves if something is right, moral, or tasteful.

President Obama needs to say the words "Islamic Terrorists," because that is what they are. Today most terrorists are Islamic. Thankfully Catholic, Mormon, and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh terrorism is in decline.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The fable of the dragon tyrant

A well crafted tale from Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher and humanist, University of Oxford

Dragon Fable

He is author of the possibility that "The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one."

That is, the universe we are in could well be a simulation of a universe.

See Are you living in a computer simulation?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Clergy Project

This was a nice surprise, a global support group for disillusioned clergy.  For them a belief in god is part of the job requirement. If they come out of the closet and announce they do not believe in a supernatural they will be fired.


In the US you cannot be an atheist and get elected as President.  Of the 100 Senators none claim to be an atheist. Out of the 435 Representatives there is one, Pete Stark who is openly an atheist.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

North Korea, Sony, and a movie that gained an audience

I planned to see The Interview on Christmas Day, not because of I love the humor of Seth Rogers and James Franco, but because the North Koreans had made it critical I see it. The same reason I read Satanic Verses when a fatwa was put on Salmon Rushdie.

When December 25 came the nearest theater showing The Interview was 200 miles away in Austin. And was sold out. It was probably a great group experience.

I got to stream the movie on DirectTV a week later, and it exceeded my expectations.  Yes it has adolescent humor, but is well crafted, funny and touching. And it is aptly named; the live interview with Kim Jong-Un was the best part of the movie. In fact to die for.

I summary, go see The Interview but do not read the turgid Satanic Verses.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vermeer an avid user of technology in the 17th century?

The Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman,
'The Music Lesson' 1662 - 1665
Vermeer's paintings are clever and different. He painted many in the same room in his house in Delft, and was able to capture almost photographic realism with his shading of light from the windows.

It is suspected he, and others at this time, used a convex mirror, and a secondary flat mirror to view the scene on the work. This allowed the painter to accurately position and color the scene by comparing the image and the painting together.

The first mirror inverted the image, the second reinverted it and brought it close to the work surface. it could be moved side to side to see the real image and the painted image underneath.

Comparator mirror hovering over the painting board