Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Solar Superstorm and Asteroid 2012 DA14

SunwikiAnother end of the world scenario hoves into view – not
quite Armageddon but one which will cause much inconvenience.

The warnings of a
solar superstorm are particularly relevant today.

They occur every hundred years or so and the last one was back in 1859. The world was in gas-light
then, and industry was powered by steam.

There was no telephone network, cellular or otherwise,
and the only satellite in orbit was the Moon.

So no aircraft, no GPS, no computers, no internet, and no
electricity, ergo no power stations.

Yes, solar superstorms happened in the
past, but it would merely have been a storm in a teacup.

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February 8, 2013 Posted by | Current Affairs, Education, facebook, History, Humour, Religion, Science, The Walking Dead | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Philippines Cyber Crime Law

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
provides the right to freedom of expression. To include the freedom to hold
opinions and either to receive or impart information and ideas without
interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

In English case law, that right is extended (see Bardiness
200
) that freedom of speech could not be limited to the inoffensive but also to
the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome,
and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence.

Indeed, article 10 also accords the right to be offensive.
Being offensive is very different to being libellous, which in civil law is a
minefield to manoeuvre through. This is one of the contentious issues enacted
in the new Philippines Cyber Crime Law.

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October 3, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, History, Politics, The Philippines | , | 3 Comments

Spencer Perceval – Assassinated Prime Minister -1812

Spencer-perceval-1

"I am murdered!"

Such were the last words of Spencer Percival, who is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.

It was May 11th, 1812 and people spoke like that back then.

Officers and gentlemen, having engaged in a duel and unfortunately suffered a run through with a sword or fatally shot with a pistol, would invariably cry "Sir, you have killed me!" and subsequently die with a typically British stiff upper lip.

True or not, it was expected that officers would always behave with such good sportsmanlike attitudes in order to set an example to their peers or subordinates. The saying "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton" has been attributed to the Duke of Wellington, and is a reference to fair play, discipline and vigorous sports played in the English Public School system.

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May 7, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, Football, General, Humour, Politics, Sport, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Foursquare – beware!

 

Foursquare

I was invited to join foursquare and get an app for my smartphone. What is it?

Well here's the deal. You'll be walking around in a strange place, feeling hungry, looking for a restaurant, or looking for a drink, or a cinema, or directions, and instead of asking a passer-by for directions, you hit the foursquare button and an army of perfect strangers will appear out of the ether to give you advice.

Failing that, your "real" circle of friends are going to meet up with you assuming there’s any in your locality.

If not, fear not, because the “perfect strangers” are going to meet up with you, with whom you're expected to welcome with open arms, and talk to as if they are your long lost tribe, sharing anecdotes and discovering each other’s interests.

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February 13, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, Humour, London, Science, United Kingdom, Weblogs | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

February 3rd – a Bardiness day…..

 

Mar2010 006

February 3rd is not a date noted for major events in history, although the Dutch may disagree.

Windmills were forbidden for export by them in 1752, and they lost their Caribbean island of St Eustatia to the British in 1781.

Of course there were many great achievements by Holland, but I'm talking about events specific to February 3rd, and besides, I needed an excuse to show my favourite photograph of Amsterdam (right).


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February 2, 2012 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, facebook, General, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farcebook….

There was a Trojan Horse at the gate and it wasn't from the Greeks – at least I think not. But I can understand why these insidious viruses are called as such. They hide behind apparent innocuous posts on facebook and other social networking sites, embedded in the link like a parasitical worm.

Not content with causing mayhem, infecting the computer attaching itself like a bloodsucking leech, but it grows and multiplies like bacteria. Indeed the word "trojan" is far too good for it and as we all know it is the synonym of"malware". Some of these can be harmless, others can be extremely destructive, but the fact is that someone somewhere is designing these dastardly bugs and whilst they are at least contained to the IT world, one can only hope there aren't any mad scientists around who can replicate them in the medical one. Otherwise we are potentially doomed.

Not unless we can carry around a human form of antivirus software to blitz the bastards before they can send us all bonkers.


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January 15, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, Weblogs | , , , | 14 Comments

The Three Stooges (Philippines style) – a “meme” aka: Internet phenomena

 The Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were keen to demonstrate their hands-on approach after the damage caused by typhoon Pedring recently.

They posted this image on their facebook page and an observant civil engineer Pierre Albert San Diego thought there was something odd about it.

On closer inspection (something the DPWH pride themselves on) he concluded that this picture was a complete fabrication, created by the wonders of Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop guys
Nothing knew in this of course, Chinese officials were caught out with similar pictures of them being in places when they weren't. It's all to do with propaganda, and it's alot easier to create the aspect of being there, without spending the money of actually being there.

We are not immune to this in the UK, and on more than one occasion, during election campaigns, parties have been found guilty of "dressing up" posters and magazines to tailor-make them to selective audiences.

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October 1, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, Humour, London, Politics, Religion, Science, The Philippines, Travel, United Kingdom | Leave a comment

Facebook Friend Felicitations……

I think it's jolly decent for facebook to inform me regularly that I have friends with birthdays coming up. If memory serves me well, when I registered with facebook I put my year of birth down as 1910. I was a bit miffed that I didn't receive a telegram from the Queen last year. Then again, she's not my friend (although I know she cares about me), so I forgive her.

I'm not even sure if she's on facebook come to that, maybe that's why I didn't get an invite to the Royal Wedding. You can imagine if she posted "I'm having a party at the palace for my grandson. The servants are away so bring a bottle!"

We all know the result when that happens – loads of spotty adolescents turn up and trash the place, leaving vomit and cigarette burns on the carpet. The police get called and the parents return home from their sojourn in the south of France, furious that they ever considered that their sixteen year old daughter was sufficiently mature enough to have a quiet bash with a few friends. Yeah, they learnt to their cost that those friends were on facebook – thousands of 'em!

But back to my facebook friends with birthdays. Most are not friends, nor even passing acquaintances – I may know a few personally – but the majority are strangers. God knows I have few friends anyway – and even some of them are strange!

I can barely remember my own birthday, so how come facebook never reminds me of mine? "Hi Bardiness, someone you know has a birthday coming up – it's YOU! Why not send yourself a greeting?"

I'm not even sure I want to be reminded of my own birthday, especially as I'm 101 years old! Oh yes – I've been around the block a few times, generally pickled or stewed.

Of those birthdays I do remember without assistance (what on earth did we do without facebook to aid our memory?), I have a tendency to immediately forget. This is what happens when you are a centenarian. In an instant a little grey cell combusts with a flash of incandescence, and extinguishes in the same second.

"Now what was that thought I had? It's ok – facebook will remind me!" Speaking of thoughts, I recently extinguished my twitter account (this is a great read). There were 100 followers who I didn't know, yet they found it their mission to assault my senses with micro-messages of 140 characters.

I discovered what they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I learned about their aches and pains, and whether they found their favourite tin of soup at the supermarket. They even had the nerve to link to others with similar interests and assume I was awaiting with baited breath. This was information overdrive. I didn't even care about such things myself, never-mind about this army obsessed tweet-totallers.

So I got another email today that I had a facebook friend with a birthday coming up. If this is you reading this, then many happy returns, long life, good health and prosperity. Forgive me for not buying a card…but by the time I get to the shop I will have forgotten why I went.

Happy birthday to all my facebook friends – because I know you will all have a birthday sooner or later. And thanks to facebook for reminding my that a) I have friends – at the time of writing – and b) that they actually have birthdays. I never ever realised this. My life is enriched as a consequence.

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Education, facebook | , , , | 1 Comment

“And they call it Puppy Love” Philippines style……

Puppy The Philippines is not renown as a pet loving nation.

The concept of keeping pets as lovable companions is a remote one.

In the main, Filipinos keep animals for practical purposes, which are well looked after as they are a vital economic resource.

For example for work – horses and caribou; for food – chickens, pigs, cows, goats; for pest control – cats; security – dogs; for sport – cocks, and unfortunately for novelty – monkeys, parrots, owls, turtles and lizards which tend to be common as attention gatherers in some restaurants and even shops.

I believe this to be a cultural phenomenon, more than a sadistic streak of inherent cruelty. With the exception of the working domesticated animals, the others serve little purpose, and keeping a pet is just one extra mouth to feed. The welfare of such pets tend not to be a priority, and this is down to education primarily.

This is why conservation and the protection of flora and fauna in the Philippines is a struggle.  It's education, education, education – and the lack of it results in exploitation and ecological destruction. It's not about education in the context of literacy or academic success, many Filipinos have qualifications coming out of their ears. It's about a universal education relating to the welfare of animals, a general blanket to incorporate all – rich or poor – and an emphasis that compassion is not a weakness, but a strength and something to be proud of.

Let's not forget that it wasn't long ago that people would flock to circuses in the UK and think that performing elephants, lions, tigers and dogs as well as dressed-up chimpanzees making monkeys of themselves was regarded as totally acceptable.

What we didn't think about was the cruel methods employed to train these creatures, often by sadistic and heartless owners. It's certainly no fun for a kangaroo to box, or a chained bear to dance – the latter being a shocking practice continuing in several countries today.

There are no dancing bears in the Philippines to my knowledge. The country still has a long way to go to start treating some animals with care and respect, as highlighted by the story of Jerzon Senador who pegged up his puppy on a washing line.

The thing is I doubt it occurred to him that he was being cruel – he just thought it was funny, and posted the pictures on Facebook (yes, it's that Facebook factor yet again).

He's been truly condemned for it, and has issued an unreserved apology, but it highlights the attitude of some people with regard to their animals. Many Filipinos keep a pet, but they don't understand their responsibility towards them, and fail to grasp that certain behaviour is cruel. This is where education is crucial.

Lets look at the behaviour of some in the UK. Recent stories tell of cats thrown into rubbish bins or cooked alive in microwave ovens. We hear about youths stoning swans and beheading ducks, and stealing small dogs to provide pit-bulls and mastiffs with fighting fodder.

These are genuine acts of cruelty, premeditated and done not out of boredom but sheer viciousness. Some get prosecuted, and many don't get caught, and they never, ever express remorse.

So before we all flip our lids in disgust at the young man who stuck his puppy on the washing line for a laugh, lets also give him some credit (as difficult as that may be) for realising the error of his ways and making an apology.

He sounds very contrite. You see, he has now been educated the hard way, and I suspect he will treat this little innocent life with much more care in future. If it makes others think and change their ways, then so much the better.

One interesting question is would he have actually done it if facebook didn't exist? Do sites like FB and You-tube encourage idiocy? I'll leave that question to the psychologists.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Dogs, Education, facebook, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In the beginning was the word….and the word was fidelity!

In the beginning was the word and it was delivered with verbal fidelity. This was the method of communication for the greatest part of human existence. Early man would paint on caves, and later civilizations would carve meticulously on walls. Later papyrus would be utilized, which would lead to parchment, waxed tablets, and eventually the printing press.

This would lead to the advent of books, newspapers and magazines. Eventually, a postal service was created, and communication suddenly went rampant. Indeed, the post office would deliver mail several times a day. In the UK it was a most thorough service, which became even better with the advance of steam railway.

Later the telegraph appeared, which was the first instant messenger service. A message could be electronically transmitted down a line, in coded form, copied instantaneously and dispatched immediately – the telegram had arrived.

Soon after the telephone  arrived – a bakelite device which could connect from a home to a local exchange, and via trunk calls could connect to another home or office.

Later a cable could lay across the Atlantic ocean to connect overseas. Most of this happened in the 19th century, but it's not my job to educate you – just look it up on the internet.

By the mid 20th century satellites were in orbit around the earth, bouncing and relaying communication globally.

By the 20th century the micro chip was developed, telephones got smaller and more mobile, which heralded the age of cordless telephones, cellular mobile phones, fibre optic wiring, the internet, broadband and Wifi otherwise known as wireless fidelity.

Yes, it's that word again, and in the beginning was the word, and the word was fidelity. (Go on – admit that was a clever full circle!)

In the past it meant faithfulness to obligation, duties or observances. Today it means the degree to which an electronic system accurately reproduces the sound or image of its input signal. Things are getting really boring. (hic!)

Onward technology moves on, and at the dawn of the 21st century electronic mail takes precedence. email is king – paper free.  Instant letters to all and sundry. The internet came of age – electronic transactions, online banking, online shopping, online insurance, online medical advice, online holidays, online education, online lives. Virtual lives, the Internet is in every home, office, business, school and university. But wait! Email is dying. Social network sites have replaced it. Fidelity is lost. At the dawn of the new decade beginning with 2011, the world communicates on instant messaging, and ruled by three kings, facebook, twitter and Google.

Social networking is the new communication phenomena. Yet they are upstarts in a brave new world.

At this moment the Voyager I spacecraft is hurtling toward interstellar space, 11 billion miles from the sun and about to escape the solar system – that place which the Earth calls home. It's been on the voyage for 33 years.

Not a single tweet will it broadcast, not a single IM message will it send. It is off into space, and future generations may look upon it in awe, and wonder why mankind preferred to devote their lives to facebook? (hic! bugger! hic!)

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, History, Religion, United Kingdom, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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