Some Things We Know – Says Fooyah

Before I start I want to question whether Diego Maradona dying warrants this much attention from the news. BBC Radio 4 have done ten minutes out of the last twenty five including on-the-scene reporters in Argentina and Naples. There could be a number of reasons why I feel antipathy towards this, none of them good! Firstly I don’t care for soccer. Secondly I’m not sure we should celebrate someone who fell so greatly from grace. Lastly, I’m not sure I can get over the “hand of god”, and that’s bad as I honestly don’t care about soccer, but apparently I did back in the 80s.

This communication is about the news because, while browsing the apple news app I saw the following:

Headlines Like These
Headlines Like These

Now, I know almost every headline is clickbait, but this once got me annoyed. The fashion these days for telling the story in a headline without telling the story is rather irritating and seems quite immature to me. I’d be more likely to click on a link if they actually told me what the story was about. I can’t be bothered to look through all the adverts and shitty webpage design to actually get to the point that I wanted to know.

“These are the areas of Kent with the highest corona cases . . . . “

That’s the kind of headline that is driven by the need to get people eyes-on the adverts on your page. I should get back to the problem with the Jupiter story.

“Double Planet” is in quotes. I mean they could just say that Jupiter and Saturn will align for the first time in 600 years. They aren’t a double planet. You don’t need to mention double planet. Just say they will be aligned. More importantly is that they will be aligned relative to the Earth, but maybe that bit doesn’t need to be explained.

The bigger issue for me is the “astronomers say” part of the headline. I know some people struggle with the idea that some scientists have opinions and we’ve seen that a lot over this last year. When science doesn’t know the answer different people will come up with different interpretations of what it means. Essentially the data aren’t that good. The more data we have the more science works out what is going on and the more scientists agree about what it means. Some data are notoriously fuzzy, such as coronavirus transmissions and a lot of the social sciences, but that doesn’t mean that with more data we won’t figure things out. Interpreting fuzzy data is hard and it means there are going to be problems. For example, give the same set of data to 100 economists would probably end up with 100 different hypotheses. That’s partly because economics is not a solid science but the main problem is that the data are fuzzy and there are too many variables to be controlled for.

Of the experiments and things we have data for the motion of the planets is one of those that is pretty much locked in with certainty. The variables are minimal and although we have corrected the original Newtonian motion with general relativity the four hundred year old ideas of Newton still work the vast majority of the time. Jupiter and Saturn WILL be close to each other in the near future. FACT. You don’t need astronomers to tell you that. Anyone can work that out. We know where the planets are and where they have been and where they are going to be. We are that good.

I do wish that headline writers had more cahunas to tell it like it is. I feel that copywriters hide behind the use of quotes as a “get out of jail free” card for if they get sued. OK, time for me to leave you to the delights of clickbaity headlines. Enjoy.

Staring At A Blank Page

My next few albums are going to take some time to get around and review properly. It turns out that the S section of the alphabet contains many albums of superior meaning and quality and therefore the album review misses the purpose that it was brought into existence. I started writing the album reviews as a way of regularly having something to write about, it seemed easy to write a little bit about each album I owned and could be used in between me writing more complex longer communications about how to fix the world. Now I’m at a section of the reviews that will take time to write properly and so this page exists to make me feel as though I have contributed to my own site. I feel I should go back and re-write the Slam review as I didn’t really do it justice considering the contribution it has made to my life.

Another staple on these pages would be film reviews. I regularly go to the cinema and then I write about the film I’ve seen here. There is a convoluted writing form I follow which has grown organically, mentioning the tide and scoring and referring to the rating method. But Covid has screwed that up. I can’t go to the cinema and I therefore am lacking in content for this site. I guess I could write about films I have seen on streaming services, I’m not sure that fits in with my list of rules, even if they aren’t written down. I think the film reviews are to create a diary, to remind me of things I have seen, to act as a “look I am busy really” kind of thing. No one is busy at the moment.

I haven’t really watched that much television recently as I’ve been trying to increase my reading. I bought a Kindle and I am going to say that I love it. I have read more books in the last six months that I have for the two years prior. I now make sure I spend time after 2100 reading my books. I turn everything off. Sometimes my eyes hold out for about ten minutes before tiredness kicks in and I give up trying but sometimes I get to read for about an hour. Look, I even read the monster Anathem recently, although I’m still unsure what went on and I need to read it again at some point in the next couple of years. I’m currently working my way through Brave New World, but a bit like the Beatles, I’m not that impressed. I can tell it’s a seminal piece of work but – shrug. So far I have read the following since mid-June:

The Hydrogen Sonata – Iain M Banks
Cryptonomicom – Neil Stephenson
The Laws Of Gravity – Ira Rosenberg
Fleet Of Knives – Gareth L Powell
Anathem – Neil Stephenson
The Angry Chef – Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating – Anthony Warner
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

There would normally be many things I have done and places I have seen and then they get written about within these communications. I haven’t really been anywhere or done anything. I haven’t been to the Lake District this year. I didn’t get to stay at any lovely RAF bases and I haven’t seen the inside of my tent. It’s all a shame really. I guess this is the sacrifice I make to ensure that people don’t die. Whenever I hear people moaning about how the lockdown has meant they can’t go out I remind them, sometimes just inside my own head, that people are dying. This pandemic is a strange one as it’s not killing twenty percent of people in my street, it’s killing people few and far between so the population isn’t scared of it.

I can’t write about the news because it’s all shit. I can’t write about politics because it’s all shit. Maybe I need to try writing more about my personal philosophy but my language skills might not be good enough for that. I’m not moaning that I am not allowed to do anything. I’m not moaning that I’m bored. I’m happy enough and I’m lucky enough to be in a position of financial stability and able to entertain myself reasonably well. I am the lucky one.

Sneak Peek and Upskilling

I’ve been working on a Minecraft mega-build. I don’t think it’s as mega as some of the things made by the Hermitcraft server people but this is still pretty large. I’ve been working around an hour a day for what feels like ages. It started out as an experiment and now I seem somewhat obsessed with it all. I think about the plans as I go about my daily business and some of those have had to be binned as just too extravagant. Once this build is finished I think I might have trouble becoming motivated again in Minecraft, it’s been such a labour that this could end my metre-cubed-block career.

Sneak Peek
Sneak Peek

There’s also the problem of saving this build for posterity. That is where I will be upskilling. I intend to record some videos, to be placed on the YouTube platform, of me moving around the world and talking at the same time. I tried doing this in the lockdown and I hated it but I think it’s the only way to record the details of this build. I’m going to be testing recording and talking in other areas of this world to get practiced at this and hopefully be able to sound almost professional when I publish the videos of this build. I’ll also be using the PC rather than the PS4 to complete the screen recordings so that should look at lot better too.

Beach House Complex
Beach House Complex

I do not intend to learn any video editing software so I expect my tour around the base will be short clips rather than one long massive video. That way I can maximise the information given. Wait and see.

Graphs Are Needed

Here’s another graph showing my CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. I think this one more clearly shows what’s happened over the last year and how I hope to keep a steady level now. Good luck to anyone out there trying to convert their carbon forms.

A Year Of Carbon
A Year Of Carbon

Surprising Win

I had a blast on Gran Turismo Sport recently. I had noticed an update and they added a the Toyota Yaris. I bought that and went for a spin around the Dragon Trail circuit and it was a good fun car to drive even if on Group N300. I wanted more and so went to race online. There was a Gr. 2 race on at Alsace and so I entered that, this would be my fourth race at that circuit. The first was in my Mazda and the tendency to oversteer on the exit of a few of the corners made me a little too slow, so I tested a Beetle and it worked well. This video is me actually winning a race, more by luck than skill as everyone else seemed to have problems, but it’s still a win.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

I guess I feel slightly bad as over the last four months I have added 8.5kg of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. I did this by mostly eating less and exercising. I also added 1.5kg of water into the world’s system. Both of these measures should be carbon neutral I think. The carbon I ate over the last few years and the water was drunk – I mean how else is that stuff going to get into my system? The tricky thing now is to maintain my input-output balance and get clothes that fit me, once we are out of lockdown.

Carbon Output
Carbon Output

Bad Luck Musings

Turns out that today is Friday 13th. Not that I’m bothered by that. I’ve had some bad luck recently but if I linked that to a random date then that would really be pushing the causation correlation fallacy. My recent bad luck is mostly my PC blowing up but also my left leg refusing to work yesterday morning. So far today things have been OK.

Chillblast have sent me a new PSU for the PC and last night I fitted it. The PC powered up and all seemed good, so I powered it down and then cable tied everything in place within the PC cabinet. When I fitted an extra HDD to the PC shortly after it arrived I only had a blue SATA cable and that didn’t match all the other cables so I replaced that for a black one and now the insides of the PC look all lovely. More importantly I have a functioning PC and there doesn’t seem to be any damage from the explosion last week. It all seems to be working well.

Two albums were released today and I purchased them. I expect there were many more albums released that just these two but these were the only ones I cared about. I have, of course, bought the new AC/DC album, Power Up, because. I will listed to that later but I expect it to be full of solid AC/DC songs and definitely not a disappointment. GrooVenoM also released their latest album and I got that too. I like all their music, I do prefer the mix and sound of the first album but the band deserve my support. It’s a nice mix of everything I like and so sounds different and familiar at the same time.

GrooVenoM AC/DC
GrooVenoM AC/DC

Since my Minecraft server runs from my PC I’ve been doing other things on the PS4, which pretty much means I’ve been playing Gran Turismo Sport which I probably would have done anyway. I was racing with my Mazda and noticed that I had driven quite a distance in it!

Mazda Atenza Gr.3
Mazda Atenza Gr.3

If you look at the right hand side lower panel you can see I have driven 3,266 miles in this machine. I think it’s the car I have used most but I could be wrong. Perhaps I should look up the statistics for my Porsche also! I wondered then what my total distance within this one game was and went to my career summary:

GT Sport Progress
GT Sport Progress

21,669 miles in total when I took this screenshot. That’s not too shabby! I’m a little embarrassed of my Sportsmanship Rating because it has been up to a grade B but I’m not sure what happened there. I think I did quit an online race a couple of weeks ago after being forced off the track and ending up in last place but other than that I think my driving is generally OK. I’ll see if I can work to bring that rating back up a little.

Connectivity

Well, since the PC died I’d been feeling a little disconnected from everything. There’s only so much browsing you can do from a phone and using a work computer. I don’t always bring my work laptop home as I have access to all my files using the cloud. But now, I have a full screen browser: I’m using my spare Raspberry Pi.

I have two Pis. One is in the loft supplying Radar 360 with data of aircraft flying around one hundred miles from my house. The other was in the dining room and ran as a Magic Mirror. The Magic Mirror was my first lockdown project and I really enjoyed it. A problem occurred when I updated the software and it removed all my careful programming. Considering I didn’t use it a lot I decided I would re-purpose the DR Pi and now it is running on the main PC monitor and I have a device I can browse and see web information. I’m almost happy again. I just want my PC working again.

Kaboom

Kaboom went something in the house and all the wall sockets died, the sound of silence only returned once all cooling fans slowed to a stop. No noise from the boiler, the fridge, the TV. No music. No Google home. There was light but no rock and roll.

Investigations led to the house circuit breaker and the wall sockets having tripped. I went around and turned off many plugs. The sound came from somewhere in either the kitchen or the dining room so first suspect was the boiler. It is old and makes strange noises at times. Second suspect was the PC. It is young and lovely but loves those electrons. I flipped the circuit break back and some sounds returned – the fridge woke up and started making circulation noises. First plug to try turning on was the boiler. Click. All seemed normal. The boiler clock made its clicking noise and after a short while the gas started burning to warm the house. I was actually slightly upset it wasn’t the boiler, it meant the it was more likely to be suspect two and I do like my PC.

So, I crouched to power up the PC. CRACK and a flash. Everything turned off again. I had found my perpetrator. The PC was fucked. The flash seemed to come from the PSU and so I am hoping that once I can get the unit sent off it will be replaced and no other damage has occurred. Best case scenario is that the PSU alone went NFG and all the data is secure and everything else inside the PC is fine. A medium case scenario is that the power fried some of the processor or GPU and that’s under warranty and so that doesn’t really bother me. Worst case scenario is that some of the data drives are buggered. I won’t lose anything as it’s either all backed up or easy enough to redownload but it would take a couple of weeks to get everything back to normal.

So, I have some mild inconvenience at the moment. I’d just bought a new screen for the PC and I was looking forward to spending time flying around the UK in X-Plane. The PC also acts as my Minecraft server and so my current mega-build has been put on hold. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I have a backup of that world. If it’s gone then I suppose I’ll have a big shrug of my shoulders and start another. I’ll be sad for a while as I had plans and projects to complete but it would be fun starting again.

Annoyingly this all happened just as the UK enters another lockdown and so I’m not sure how long it will take the PC company to get back to me. It might be that they have to shut down for a while and so now it’s all up in the air and I’ll just be sitting here twiddling my thumbs doing my best to avoid ordering a PS5.

Gorgeous Morning
Gorgeous Morning

A Day Somewhere Else

I recently had the good fortune to spend a day out in the woods somewhere else. It had all been approved and risk assessed and we were allowed to run some navigation training in Mereworth Woods. It was a pretty nice day and I enjoyed being somewhere else. I arrived in the wrong dress which was embarrassing I guess but got over that and proceeded to just have a chilled out day. Even the two hours of consistent rain didn’t manage to dampen my enjoyment. I took a few photographs but if I’m honest they all look the same. The woods appear to annoy and manage to be homogenous.

Mereworth Woods
Mereworth Woods