Sunday, July 31, 2022
COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Back to Mono 2
Saturday, July 30, 2022
WEEKENDER: The push for sustainability, by Wiggia
‘with the promise that the current climate crisis can be turned into a business opportunity through innovation, engineering and eco-modernisation. If many of these schemes come to pass they will be lucky to have anyone left to afford their ‘business opportunities.’
‘Last year, poor social and environmental performance caused the CEO of the world’s largest mining company to resign; the stock of three chemical giants plummeted; and corporations were called to the carpet for poor emissions offset programs. This shows that climate action is no joke among the public, and the stakes are only going to get higher.’
Friday, July 29, 2022
FRIDAY MUSIC: Darrell Scott, by JD
Monday, July 25, 2022
Conservative leadership? by Sackerson
Now that the contest for the Conservative leadership has been whittled down to two candidates, we should look at what qualities might make a good leader.
Intelligent and hard-working?
In 1933 the chief of the German Army was quoted as saying:
Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.Erstwhile Chancellor Rishi Sunak humblebrags that his greatest weakness is working hard. Potentially that could be a problem, if as PM he allows himself to get over-involved in minutiae to the detriment of ‘helicopter overview.’
With Liz Truss we have the problem of deciding whether she is stupid or lazy; or even both. For example, in the runup to the invasion of Ukraine she walked into a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and told him ‘that the UK would never recognize Moscow’s sovereignty over the Voronezh and Rostov [Russian!] regions.’ It was hardly her first gaffe, but this one was huge: if you are going to confront a potential enemy, you absolutely must get your facts right. Lavrov accused her afterwards of being ‘unprepared.’
Truss has tried to ‘channel’ Margaret Thatcher, e.g. by the tank photo-op, and her choice of clothing for this leadership debate, thereby inviting damaging comparison, as Edwina Currie pointed out. At the least, this self-undermining image policy argues an inability to foresee presentational pitfalls, in a profession that relies so heavily on appearances.
Ability to dominate others
When General Montgomery first met Winston Churchill, the latter offered him alcohol. Monty replied, ‘I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, and I’m one hundred per cent fit.’ Churchill leaned forward and said, ‘I drink, and I smoke, and I’m two hundred per cent fit!’ Smiling at the memory decades later, Monty told the interviewer, ‘I thought then, we’ve got our man,’ i.e. someone with the aggression to lead the country to victory.
I may be wrong, but although Truss is ambitious, she doesn’t seem to have Thatcher’s intimidating diligence, force of personality and social skills, all necessary to bring the (still mostly male) serpents around the Cabinet table to order. I can imagine her as PM being briefed against, early and often.
Sunak is certainly clever - he used to be an investment analyst for Goldman Sachs (aka the ‘vampire squid.’) Like Gordon Brown, perhaps, he may come up with strategies, schemes and flowcharts - but can he lead? Like Truss, I think he’s a bit of a stiff, a natural big-corporation tie-wearer who chimes wrong when he tries casual as in the debate:
Ability to inspire
When Sven-Göran Eriksson chose David Beckham in 2001 to lead England in the World Cup, he said (and I wish I could find the quote) that Beckham had a winner’s state of mind that he could instinctively communicate to the rest of the team. That was borne out by England’s 5-1 victory against Germany in the qualifying rounds.
Beckham has often been guyed as apparently slow-minded or semi-inarticulate, but some people put one off by seeming too glib or ‘too clever by half.’
Does either Sunak or Truss pass the Beckham test?
It’s been a long time since British politics has had a statesman at the helm. We stumble from one crisis to another; even Margaret Thatcher, voted in to ‘sort out the unions’, needed to cast about for a wider econo-political strategy and had to be guided into monetarism by Sir Keith Joseph.
In a way it can be an advantage not to have any beliefs. One of the reasons for Johnson’s entry to Number Ten is that his eyes had been fixed on personal greatness since childhood, irrespective of any moral or political principles. Rackety and sloppy, he was allowed to take over because he could see which way the political tide was turning, even while PM Theresa May was trying to hold it back, Canute-like.
Johnson’s egregious sense of entitlement, noted at Eton, is to many an attractive quality, even though perhaps it shouldn’t be. He has always felt that the rules needn’t apply to him; he is in a way a modern, a posh version of Neal Cassady. He is irrepressible - his resignation statement (7 July) and Parliamentary speech during the subsequent confidence debate (18 July) were amazingly bullish. Nothing will keep him down; goodness knows what further personal triumphs are ahead of him.
But what of our future?
The UK and the US have been systematically weakening themselves for what? forty years? while the East has been rising so rapidly at our expense and with the support of our multinational companies and globalist political class.
What will Sunak or Truss do to turn the tide? Do they want to?
Sunday, July 24, 2022
COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Fractal art 2, by JD
Saturday, July 23, 2022
WEEKENDER: New Leader, by Wiggia
Friday, July 22, 2022
FRIDAY MUSIC: Keith Jarrett, by JD
Sadly he has been unable to perform since suffering a stroke in February 2018. A second stroke, in May 2018, left him partially paralyzed and unable to play with his left hand.
Sunday, July 17, 2022
COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Back to Mono, by JD
Saturday, July 16, 2022
WEEKENDER: A couple of things, by Wiggia
|He forgot his authorisation codes|
I said I would leave the question of the incompetence of the NHS alone for awhile. I lied, the organisation can’t help itself as it is embroiled in multiple failures, but this week we saw both ends of the spectrum which highlight the disconnect between what we are told and reality.
Firstly the NHS as a whole was given the George Cross for its work during the pandemic. You can make your own mind about whether ‘all’ should have received the award, as only a relatively small number were actually on that front line in difficult circumstances; the rest, well I have spoken before, were at home for the best part of eighteen months, the evidence being surrounded by doctors and nurses from the local hospital was all too evident.
The neglect of all other diseases and procedures was always going to come back to the NHS and bite them in the backside. The waiting list for life saving operations being put on indefinite hold will have consequences for years, perhaps threatening the existence of the NHS itself. Nothing was more harrowing than the total neglect of a young woman who could not get to see her doctor for a year! The story is here:
This is not a lone incident: there have been many reports of similar cases. There is no need to say any more on this one, and in the wake of it all Dr Katherine Henderson president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said, following the reports that patients are waiting more than twelve hours in ambulances outside hospitals, “the health service is slowly collapsing.” We could have saved her the trouble, we already know.
But today's gripe is a more personal one, it is online banking and other online activities requiring passwords plural and memorable names, usernames, codes, second cousin's middle name, favourite car and numerous other items designed to confuse and make any mistakes almost impossible to remedy.
The mistake in this case and as has been in the past is not mine, it is the bank's Changes are made and you have to go through various hoops to prove who you are to use the new and ‘improved’ service. The service of course is not improved, it is simply made more tedious to access one's own account and if something goes wrong as in this case, you personally have to put it right: your time, your effort, your utter frustration for something you had no hand in... read on:
I have just had a couple of hours when I nearly lost it completely dealing with my bank.
The story is that my old phone became, according to the bank, incompatible with their latest app for online banking, the inference being I would have to buy a new smart phone to be able to access my own bank account - perhaps they should supply one? Just a note, I do not use the phone for banking as such, but you need to be connected to get codes to be able to buy online and these are sent to your phone; they all do this now.
Anyway my newish phone has the app and I have been using it for a couple of years. Suddenly with another update it refuses to accept the password I have used all this time. I made several attempts to rectify the matter and was told I had to transfer all the info from my old phone to the new one, despite it having worked fine for at least two years, and then to be told it would not work?
What a performance and I gave up, so the online banking has been parked; but I got a letter this morning saying they were not sending any more paper statements after July 19th - a couple days' grace then! and if I still wanted one, you guessed it, I would have to go online into my account to change it, but I can't get online for reasons given.
So I thought I would try one more time and used several old passwords from yesteryear and bingo one worked, but the next stage required a further password and that did not work so I went the trodden route of password change. Christ I wished I had not bothered; I entered the new password twice and it then said I had to verify with an identity number given by phoning a number given to get the password finally accepted.
I phone, and as usual no one answers and I hang on listening to drivel about how they are being kind to people with no money and giving them bank accounts (perhaps a mobile phone as well?) and none of the options eventually given aligned with what I wanted, there’s a surprise. So I went for any other business; another long wait. I then go through various security questions with an operative in Delhi or somewhere which I don't have to hand only to be told she cannot solve my problem and will pass me to security.
Security eventually answer and I cannot hear never mind understand the Indian person at the other end; after my saying several times he is inaudible he bothers to up the sound and I can hear him but understanding is another matter, having to ask repeatedly can he say that again.
Needless to say we go through the security questions again but they are different and I do not have them to hand, but we get there, or I thought we had, until he said I will now ask a couple of questions for which I need a yes or no answer and only the first response will be accepted: the second question is can you give a transaction on your CC since the 26th June? My statement only goes to the 26th and I can't access online so cannot give an answer as I use other cards as well, so after all that I am back to square one as he cannot go forward because of my answer. I should have shouted, it would at least made me feel better, but was told I would have to take identification to my nearest branch and resolve the problem there. The nearest branch, as they have closed them all, is five miles away.
All I could say was that because the bank's system doesn't work I and other customers are doing the security work for them and I have had enough, f*** you all and put the phone down, it has gone beyond stupid now.
I have the same problem with my Halifax account: the app works but the codes for online purchases are never sent. I gave up on that long ago, yet if I use Pay Pal which I am loath to do, the transaction goes through without a problem or need for codes to be sent. Am I missing something here or is it all deliberate? My other card still works, but for how long, as I had trouble with that a couple of years back and there has not been a recent update. It won't be long now. I feel, before none of the bloody things work.
They also keep asking me to use online payments and stop using cheques to save the rainforest or something. I refuse but the cheque book gets thinner, and if they have their way will disappear altogether, then I will really be stuffed.
My wife who was a dept head in clearing at the bank laughs at all this. She was in charge of the first computerised clearing operation in banking in this country and now won't go near a computer and only uses, whilst still available, telephone banking. As she says, even in the day computer banking was risky and the bad guys are very clever, this is why of course the security gets ever more tedious and frustrating and the onus is put on the customer to do their work for them.
It is noticeable that HSBC has gone full woke and has blundered into backing the statement that the Halifax put out about leaving the bank if you do not like our stance on the rainbow people; and to think that these once revered organisations were once the foundations of our financial system and the bank manager, remember him, was a pillar of local society!
Oh and the sun has gone in... perhaps that is a rehearsal for when the lights go out…
Friday, July 15, 2022
FRIDAY MUSIC; Cowboy Junkies, by JD
Sunday, July 10, 2022
COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Golden Section 2, by JD
It is not just the human body which grows out of Ø.
The Golden Section is evident in plants as can be seen in this graphic representation of the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower. The spirals are asymmetrical with 21 seeds in the clockwise spiral and 34 in the anti-clockwise spiral.
The same asymmetrical arrangement is evident in a pineapple with the diamond shapes being 8 one way and 13 the other. All of these numbers belong to the Fibonacci series as shown earlier and demonstrate that the growth of plants follows the same 'rule' of Ø.
The Golden Section appears as a spiral in plants, as seen above in the sunflower seeds, and in other animal life both large and small including the mollusc known as the nautilus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus
And in this cross section through the nautilus shell you can see probably the most beautiful demonstration of the golden section in the whole of the natural world:
And that is the point: the Golden Section, the Law governing growth of all living things is everywhere from the spiralling galaxies in space to the structure of DNA. It is what unifies the entire cosmos.
The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment which was the birth of the scientific view of the world make it difficult now to speak of the universe as a creation but if the Golden Section is not the creator’s design then what is it?
- - - - - - - - - -
A further illustration of these Golden proportions in and of the human body comes from one of the great heroes of the Modern Movement of the early part of the 20th century, the Swiss architect Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier wanted to find a way of creating harmonious proportion in his buildings in a way that would allow people to feel “at home” when living or working in them. He returned to the idea of the Golden Section which was first recorded in Classical Greece although its origin is much older.
Originally he took as his starting point a hypothetical man 1.75m tall – a French height he called it. The modules developed from this starting point, as well as being difficult to calculate accurately, proved unwieldy and unsuited to everyday living; disproportionate in fact.
In one of his books he tells the following story:
He had been working for some time on his Modulor system using these French decimal measurements but without much success. Then one of his collaborators, Py, said: “Isn’t the height we are working with rather a French height? Have you ever noticed that in English detective novels the hero is always six feet tall?” Le Corbusier continues: ”We then applied this standard. To our delight, the graduations of a new Modulor, based on a man six feet tall, translated themselves into round figures in feet and inches”.
|The different positions of the human body during various activities fits the Modulor divisions.|
The Modulor consists of two scales, the red and the blue scale (the above illustration shows the two scales combined). The dimensions of the blue scale are double those of the red and the divisions of each scale are based on Ø the phi ratio, the basis of the Golden Section. Thus the Modulor is not only an instrument of architectural proportion but also a means of ensuring that the buildings designed using it are of a human scale.
Here again we are coming closer to the answer as to why the Golden Section is important. If it occurs naturally in the human figure, as demonstrated by Leonardo, and in all other plant and animal life then by using Ø as well as the dimensions of the human figure as a starting point for design then such designs as are produced will, in theory, reflect the harmony within ourselves.
As an aid to creating architectural proportion, Ø is evident in many of the buildings of antiquity. The Parthenon in Greece for example, although it should be noted that in past ages, unlike the present, all buildings were designed on a human scale using Ø to create a harmony between man and his surroundings.
This explains why a modern building can induce a sense of unease without the source of that unease being apparent. It could even be said that this is one of the reasons for what is known as “sick building syndrome” where workers take sick leave with unidentifiable illnesses; their offices literally make them ill. Don’t forget that the word disease could also be written dis-ease.
…the essential importance of Ø is that it represents universal harmony; a picture which displays its elements according to the ratio will be pleasing to the eye; a building constructed in the same way will likewise be a thing of beauty… we all know it when we see it but without being able to articulate what it is that pleases us…
Two books of interest related to the same subject.
The Power Of Limits http://www.cymaticsource.com/power.html
A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe https://www.constructingtheuniverse.com/bookinfo.htm
Michael S Schneider