Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lawyer-speak


Entirely รก-point as usual J&M exposes the fallacy inherent in the comments of many of our politicians and media outlets in refusing to acknowledge and discuss the real motivation for the Jihadists in our midst, i.e. Islamism.

For example, Andy Burnham said after the Manchester attack, "the bomber no more represents Muslims as the killer of Joe Cox represents white British people". Whilst factual (in a lawyer-speak kind of way) we need to unpack that comment slightly to get at the root of my assertion. Burnham neglected to mention that Salman Abedi did in fact represent (even if it was only in his own head) an Islamic ideology called “Islamism” and was most certainly not a “lone-wolf”. Of course, not all Muslims are Islamists, but many millions of them are and hundreds of millions more have sympathies toward Islamist goals, because of common upbringings, beliefs and cultures. These Islamists and their sympathisers have the structure, backing, money and influence to reach many people and recruit them, and they mainly utilise religion to achieve this. To say or imply that these kinds of terror attacks are nothing to do with Islam is false, they have something to do with Islam since all Islamists are Muslims. Islamism is simply one kind of literal interpretation of Islam for political ends, replete with imperialist ambitions justified and motivated by scripture and “revealed commandments”. Thomas Mair (the killer of Joe Cox) on the other hand was most definitely a “lone wolf” and did not possibly “represent” anything because the ideology (Nazism/Apartheidism) he obsessively followed is long since defeated and the ideas contained within it only remaining alive in a relative handful of losers, loners and people with mental health issues. We can all abhor and reject the objectives and/or mental-states of both these killers but to directly equate these two positions is not really comparing apples with apples.

I believe the issue with not acknowledging the true nature of the challenge is that it dis-empowers the moderate Muslim majority in their attempts to reform and expunge the literalist elements in their communities and traditions. This space gives oxygen and “cover” to the extremists allowing them to operate under the cloak of political correctness and liberal paranoia about being seen to be racist, divisive or persecutory. Challenging the ideas and goals of Islamism is NOT racist, divisive or Islamophobic in the same way that challenging the burning of witches is not Anti-Catholic. Our goal should absolutely be to drive a wedge between moderate Muslims and Islamists, all the while walking the obvious religious tight-rope that one is a sub-set of the other, in the end it’s going to be decent, moderate and secular Muslims that defeat these literalist barbarians, not “crusader” bombs and missiles.

Pope faced


A picture paints a thousand words..

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Normal is not enough"...


I came across this response to the Manchester attack from the think-tank Quilliam. I thought it was good, not the usual platitudes you usually see at this point in the hype-cycle around terrorist outrages. Simply carrying on as if nothing happened is not a strategy, our Government needs a plan, the alternative should be unacceptable to everyone now. The key bit for me is reproduced below.

“Calls for unity and calm are needed, but we must also call at this time for things not to return to normal. If normal means regular unpredictable attacks by suspected jihadist terrorists against our children and youth at the dawn of their lives, then ‘normal’ must not be allowed to continue. New thinking needs to emerge in the halls of Whitehall and for our communities.”

Manchester


Woke up to the terrible news this morning; being a parent of teenage kids myself I feel numb at the thought of such a callous act, deliberately targeting and killing defenceless children. No words can properly express the overwhelming abhorrence and sense of resistance I feel toward the ideas and goals of these theocratic death-cults (of all stripes). I'll leave it to the Hitch, who prophetically illuminates our predicament with much more precision than I can muster.

"What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims. Our civil aviation is only the most psychologically frightening symbol of a plethora of potential targets. The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war," accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high." (Christopher Hitchens, Slate 2009)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bricks


The whole Brexit, post-truth, May/Corbin/Trump era summed up for me in one shot, i.e. it feels like talking to a bloody brick wall..

Mood


Sometimes your mood is entirely dependent on simple perspective..

Friday, May 19, 2017

Strong & Stable


Genius...

Friday Smirk


This is so true, our bodies are pretty cool self-repairing mechanisms if you think about it, although in my experience the older you get the less robust and reliable certain bits get.. 

I'm talking about joints and eye's before you jump straight to smut..

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Conspiracies are more fun


J&M on the money as usual, sometimes the truth is staring us right in the face.

Not a mistake per se..


The story I like best is the one where God gives Humans free-will then murders everyone who didn't do what he said in a flood.. anger management issues?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday grin..


The deeper you dig, the more humor looks like truth ..

Artificial, artificial intelligence


I like this little cartoon from xkcd; there's a lot of hype floating around at the moment regarding artificial intelligence (AI) and machine based learning (MBL), with many clueless journo's bleating on about everyone losing their jobs and machines bossing Humans around. In my assessment none of the current technology is anywhere near being sophisticated or capable enough of doing either of those things, far from it. 

The best and most pervasive uses of AI in the next few years will (IMO) be, primarily built to help people sort the wheat from the chaff in different occupational scenarios. For example, applications that use vast quantities of medical histories to help doctors predict occurrences of medical conditions early or applications that use past consumer behaviors and intents to help sales and marketing people predict things like churn and buying propensity, and things that disambiguate natural language so that we can interact with useful information-resources and devices in more fluent ways. For those having nightmares about terminators, chill out, relax and ask Alexa to play something soothing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The nature of progress


With all of the news lately about NHS IT woes and "ransom viruses" it's easy for people to reach the conclusion that computer systems are more trouble than they're worth. This is a view shared by many people, in fact I have a good friend who runs his own business and needs to do things like accounting, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory control etc. He manages pretty nicely without a single computer in sight, in fact he still uses leather bound ledgers and fax machines to do most things; I poke fun relentlessly at his technological protestations but it's probably still a really common way of working for many and in some rare cases (like his) preferred by some. 

Of course when organisations reach a certain size in terms of people and/or transactions then it becomes necessary to hire more people or use software, the brutal fact of the matter is that software is cheaper than people. But software applications are complex things, buying one is probably the easiest and first step on a long and continuous journey. I've lost count of the number of ignorant sales and marketing directors who think that simply buying a CRM system will instantly lead to them selling more stuff to more people and are most indignant when told they actually need to invest time, money and effort to make it work! 

In the case of the NHS problems the causes were almost certainly multi-faceted, first the virus needs to be injected into the network somewhere, leveraging a weakness (usually a person) and then it needs to be able to propagate; having old obsolete versions of operating systems (like Windows XP) and no anti-virus software certainly doesn't help but isn't the only issue. Much like climate change isn't the same as weather, progress isn't measured in single events like this; money and time need to be invested to make systems (used by people) work, there's no way around it.

PS. the photo above is a 5 Mb disk drive being loaded onto a Boeing 707 back in the 60's. We now have thousands of times more storage capacity available in devices that we carry in our pocket, such is progress.

Curing obesity


Seems like a good idea to fix the obesity epidemic in the USA?