Category Archives: Technology

Nostalgia ain’t What it Used to Be

out with the old, and in with the new

~

There is something satisfying and real about people, places, and things that properly belong in a bygone era.  Somehow the old and familiar can give one a lot of pleasure just by being there.

I like classic cars, classic motorcycles, old Hollywood movies, ancient buildings, and old towns.  I also prefer the classical style of dress, good manners that many think outdated and pointless, and more mature women.

In some ways this Turkish Holiday destination belongs in a bygone era;  the people, the junk cars and busses, the antedeluvian attitude of the men towards women,  the snail slow wi-Fi connection in this hotel, seem more 20th rather than 21st century.

Some older, classical things are worth preserving ~ misogynistic men and painfully slow internet connections should be consigned to the junk pile where they belong.

 Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

steam trains are alive,

electric locomotives are just technology

Snail E-mail

slow down and enjoy the beauty of life.

every holiday hotel needs a nice pool

If you live at a slower pace maybe you shouldn’t expect lightning fast wi-fi performance in your small, friendly, relaxed hotel.

Well, here on vacation in Turkey I’ve switched from a big, soulless, unsatisfactory hotel, to a much smaller, much nicer, more relaxed place for the second part of my vacation.  The pool here is very nice indeed.

There is a slight snag when it comes to being connected to the web, because the wi-fi here is slower, more relaxed, and just about comatose when it comes to response times.

Ah well, I am on vacation, I can put up with poor internet performance when measured against sun, sand, scenery, and turquoise sea.

Just don’t expect long and regular posts for the next few days.

I could die of old age while I’m waiting for a screen to refresh.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Wi-Fi here doesn’t have a white rabbit’s sense of urgency

Scenes on Sunday ~ The Moon

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

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It’s fifty years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to stand on the moon.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the result of an extra-terrestrial visitor to the Earth

Meteor Crater, Arizona

Rain in England

Rain, rain go away, come again another day.

Right now, where I live, it’s raining cats and dogs.  That’s a bit of a shame because it means I’m going to be stuck in the garret until it eases off a bit.  Going out in the rain and cold is one reason lots of us English people seem to have coughs and colds a lot of the time.

It’s going to rain for most of the day here, and in fact it’s raining over most of the UK.  Our Met. Office have flood warnings posted for several coastal towns ~ luckily not right here.

A lot of Americans think that it rains all the time here in England.  As a matter of fact, in comparison with some places in the world, we don’t get that much rain.  On average, where I live we get about a couple of feet of rain in a year.  In comparison, supposedly sunny Hawaii has an average of 5 feet of rainfall in a year.  Perhaps Hawaii is not ever going to be right at the top of my bucket list.

Some say that it rains every day in England.  And that we English must love the rain.  All I know is that we do get a little sunshine, usually in the middle of July.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

what a grey day

 

Bad Weather

there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather

Snow in New Mexico

As far as I’m concerned the weather here is bad today ~ gale force winds and driving rain, courtesy of an Atlantic storm sweeping in from the south-south-west.  Some fool decided that severe storms here should have names, and this one is called Erik ~ pathetic.  Hurricanes should have names, minor storms over the British Isles shouldn’t.  (Actually it’s Met Éireann, the Irish Meteorological Office which names storms here ~pathetic.)

For all of history, today, and into the foreseeable future mankind’s activities have been /are / will be dependent upon the weather.  Agriculture relies on the right kind of weather at the right time, travel can be disrupted due to high winds rain, and snow, and power consumption rises if the weather is too hot or too cold.

Right now 70 million Americans across the Midwest are bracing themselves for dangerous storms bringing high winds, cold, rain, hail, and the possibility of a tornado or two.  Now that’s really bad weather.  But then America does have extremes of climate.

Weather refers to what’s going on in the atmosphere at a particular place, over a short period of time; temperature, humidity, wind, rain / snow, clouds, visibility…..  Climate is the long-term weather pattern over a large area over many, many years ~ long enough to generate meaningful statistical data ~ say a hundred years or more.

Which is why all this brouhaha over catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is just so much crap.  If global temperatures show a significant warming over the next 30 years or so, then maybe there may be something to it ~ or more likely it’s still just changes in long-term weather patterns driven by the usual suspects.

Our weather is created by the sun, and sometimes catastrophically modified by rare events such as a very major volcanic eruption, (Krakatoa), or a comet / meteorite hitting the surface of the earth, (whatever killed off the dinosaurs).  Occasionally local weather can be catastrophically changed by the actions of man; the Great London Smogs for example, but those events are rare and temporary.

Some say that man is killing the planet.  And that we need to stop using cars, aeroplanes, electricity, living in houses, and definitely stop eating meat.  All I know is that every now and again Chicken Little runs around screaming that the sky is falling.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

snow on the high plains isn’t so very rare

 

the interconnectedness of agribusiness and you

Gambling with your health and well-being for the sake of more profitable hamburgers.

One of the main purposes of genetically modifying food plants such as wheat and corn is to make them resistant to a weed-killer called Roundup, which is sprayed on food crops several times in a season ~ including right before harvesting to dry the crop out.  The principal active ingredient of Roundup is a chemical called Glyphosate.  Of many lies told about glyphosate is that it was discovered by Monsanto in 1970.  In fact this nasty chemical was first patented as a descaling and chelating agent for boilers and pipes by the Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1961.  It’s a drain cleaner.

Glyphosate is a poisonous organophosphorus carcinogen.

When I was a boy, learning about farming, I was told about field rotation, (or crop rotation), which is the practice of changing what the farmer grows on any piece of land on a four-year cycle.  This prevents such nasty things as soil erosion, soil exhaustion, soil poisoning, and poor soil fertility ~ all of which lead to poor crop yields.

Modern agribusiness doesn’t practice crop rotation, instead it uses monoculture farming.  This destructive method of land use requires large amounts of artificial fertilisers and pesticides to make it work, and it leads to an unbalanced and unsustainable ecosystem.  Agribusiness in the USA does not work in harmony with the land, instead it beats the land into submission to produce larger and larger amounts of poisonous food and drink.

These are very similar farming practices to those which caused the Great Plains dust bowl of the 1930’s, except modern farming practices are far more intensive and artificial than anything dreamed of by the farmers who helped cause the Great Depression.  Today, agriculture is based on very capital-intensive heavy machinery.

If a farmer in a typical high plains farming community decides to eschew intensive chemical-based monoculture and embrace more ecologically sustainable organic agriculture, he / she is likely to be ostracised by the rest of his / her community.  Peer pressure is a powerful thing and very difficult to ignore.  Most farmers are in denial about the damage they are doing to the soil, the rivers, the sea, and the wider environment.  Not to mention the poisons they are putting into your food and drink.

These chemical fertilisers and pesticides can take decades to completely clear from the environment.  The half-life of glyphosate in soil and water is much longer than Monsanto would like to admit.  Monsanto is a German company.

Some say they would never shop at a farmers market or buy organic produce.  And some people don’t believe that intensive farming practices are killing them.  All I know is that in 1945 about 45% of American food was grown in people’s back yards.

And, by the way, probiotic drinks are very bad for your health. The live bacteria in probiotic drinks originated in cows.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

anything made with grains is bad for you

unless it’s organic, then it’s not so bad

10 questions to ask an alien

Perhaps we meet alien beings every day without realising it.

If you met visitors from outer space what would you want to know?  What would you ask them?  These are the 10 questions I thought of ~ probably you can think of your own, better questions.

  1. Why are you here?
  2. How long have you been visiting the Earth?
  3. What is your assessment of human kind?
  4. What’s the deal with all this abduction / experimenting / probing / sex thing?
  5. Are humans native to the planet Earth, and if not, where did we come from?
  6. What is a workable solution to the overpopulation of the Earth?
  7. Where’s the truth in ESP, Spooky Events, Time Travel, Ghosts, Precognition, Astrology, and all the other weird stuff?
  8. Where is the mistake in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity?
  9. What is the ultimate truth of Life, The Universe, and Everything ?
  10. Is Donald Trump / Hillary Clinton one of yours?

If Star Trek is to be believed then the aliens won’t tell us about Faster Than Light travel, but they may tell us about who really built the pyramids.  Or you might ask; ‘Is there a God, and what’s His email address?’

Some say that aliens from other stars are all around us.  And that you can’t easily tell an alien being from an ordinary human.  All I know is that the truth is out there.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@ talktalk.net

 

the kind of alien I would like to meet

The Shipping Forecast

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by…..

At 05:20 each morning the haunting notes of Lillibullero announce the beginning of the shipping forecast on my wireless.  Weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles, it’s as reliable as Death and Taxes, and as accurate as an atomic clock.  The shipping forecast has to be accurate, sailors lives depend upon it.  It’s all about the wind, the sea, the sky, and the clouds.

The shipping forecast has been made available to sailors for the past 151 years, (except during wartime when weather was a military secret), and has been broadcast on the wireless since 1911.  In more than 100 years the BBC has only failed to broadcast the forecast once, on 30 May 2014, when due to a technical fault listeners heard the BBC’s World Service instead.

The 31 sea areas reported always come in exactly the same order.  Mostly I mentally tune out the reports and forecasts for such places as Southeast Iceland, Faeroes, Fair Isle, Viking…..  But I really listen up when the announcer intones Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger…..  because that includes ‘my’ sea area, and as my garret is just 100 yards from the sea I get whatever weather the shipping forecast says is expected.

Utterly reliable, honest, dependable, accurate, and a little old-fashioned, the Shipping Forecast is a rock of stability in an ever-changing world, and I’m probably the only person I actually know that listens to it.

I should learn from the Shipping Forecast.  I firmly believe that what women want most in a long-term partner are exemplified by the qualities of that daily radio broadcast; reliability, honesty, dependability, accuracy in thought, word, and deed ~ and maybe a little sense of old-fashioned style.

Some say that women want spontaneity, excitement, adventure, really cool things.  And, that most women want guys who pick up the restaurant bill, arrange the vacations and buy the tickets, and who will go to wild parties and pretend to enjoy them.  All I know is that when the shit hits the fan women want a guy they can rely on to keep them safe, a guy as dependable as the Shipping Forecast.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talk

 

the cold grey North Sea is often a very dangerous place to be

 

Snow Day

Walking in clean, virginal snow makes me feel really special.

Where I live, in very temperate England, close to the sea, I don’t see a lot of snow.  Well, today it’s pretty cold here ~ just below freezing.  There’s been a little snow in the night, maybe 3 or 4 inches.  Snow and England are not natural soul-mates.

One snowflake in Central London and the meteorologists warn of climatological Armageddon ~ and so it was yesterday.  This particular cold-snap is being called ‘The Beast From The East’, and the weather men are saying this will be the worst cold weather in England since 1991, with ‘up to’ six inches of snow covering most of the country.

Thousands of London commuters were told they must complete their journeys by 6pm to ensure they would actually get home, and local authorities declared snow emergencies.  Hundreds of trains and dozens of flights were cancelled last evening, and allegedly the major roads are in chaos.

Social media, women’s pages in the newspapers, and posters in doctors’ surgeries are full of advice on how to cope with the cold weather.  Some of this advice sounds stupid; iced tea will warm you up more than hot chocolate, hug a hot water bottle between your thighs, stick your socks in the microwave, and think like a monk to get warm.

And, the ‘Met Office’ warns that the worst is yet to come… You’d think the English didn’t know about snow…  Have you never heard of Scot of the Antarctic?

It’s not like we’ve never had snow here before.  Back in the day, when I was nobbut a lad in short trousers, and central heating was something only the Queen had, we had some brutal winters.  Whole trains were stranded in the middle of nowhere, Royal Air Force helicopters airlifted fodder to sheep starving in the hills, and the army was called in to keep major roads open.  The wind cut like a knife, the ice was on the inside of my bedroom window, and my spit froze before it hit the ground.  (Being young boys it wasn’t just our spit we tested to see how fast it froze.)

Although the Met Boys feign surprise, it’s not like here in England we don’t get a nasty cold snap in late February or early March.  It happens most years, and it’s called the Buchan Cold Spell.  Jeez the Taiwan Weather Girls might be better at forecasting English weather than our Meteorological Office.

The weather here is just a little inclement, so I will not be going far today.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

due to the snow, today is cancelled

 

 

Teardrop Trailer Kits

You need time, effort, and creativity to build anything worthwhile.

I intend to build a tiny teardrop trailer sometime this summer.  These tiny camping trailers are built on a commercially built trailer frame, on top of which a plywood structure is mounted.

I could build this from scratch, just using half-inch sheets of 8′ X 4′ plywood I cut to shape for myself, or I could buy a kit ~ and I think I’m going to buy a kit.

Some of the available kits include:

http://tinyhouseblog.com/travel-trailers/teardrop-trailer-kits/ 

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https://www.theteardroptrailer.com/step-by-step-pg1

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Make: features 11 Teardrop Trailer Builds on its blog.

https://makezine.com/2015/09/23/teardrop-trailer-builds/

Including this, which I really like because of its squared-off shape, which will give more usable space than a ‘classic’ teardrop shape.

This is totally home built from scratch on a commercially bought steel trailer frame.

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This teardrop camper kit is from Fyne Boat Kits, and I really like its sculptural, upturned, boat-shaped design.

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So-Cal Teardrops has a range of kits, including this off-roader.

http://www.socalteardrops.com/gallery.php?g=12

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And, Little Guy Trailers has this 5 foot wide teardrop kit.

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Or, I could also build just from plans, like the Wyoming Woody.

http://teardropbuilder.com/plans-design-documents/wyoming-woody-teardrop-plans

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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