Sunday, October 7, 2018

Are our computers spying on us?

Bloomberg has reported that secret "spy chips" have been detected on Chinese made server motherboards. Naturally the affected server manufacturer have issued denials that you can accept or think "Of course they would say that" as you like.

 Remember a few years back when the Americans were frothing at the mouth about Chinese routers? I was cynically thinking that it was because they wanted American tapping of the backbone, or even kill switches when the revelations about PRISM & other massive American spying on the Internet came out and it was even worse than I imagined.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sundials and quills in primary school

Once again I've seen people complaining that children aren't being taught to read analogue clocks. The technology is largely obsolete. Go to K-mart and have a look at the clocks on display. Digital is cheap and reliable. Nobody has a sundial except as a decorative measure. Sundials worked straight off the sun and as the length of the day changes from season to season needs a mental adjustment to use & I'm sure that less than 1 in a 1000 people would have the slightest clue how to adjust the value showing on the dial to match the local time.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Save us from the crazies & our friends

80 years ago Fascists & Anti-fascists were fighting on the streets of Europe. Here's a take on it from an independent socialist of the day.

"We have reached a stage when the very word 'Socialism' calls up, on the one hand, a picture of aeroplanes, tractors, and huge glittering factories of glass and concrete; on the other, a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), of earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth-control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers. Socialism, at least in this island, does not smell any longer of revolution and the overthrow of tyrants; it smells of crankishness, machine-worship, and the stupid cult of Russia. Unless you can remove that smell, and very rapidly, Fascism may win. "
George Orwell "The Road to Wigan Pier" (1937)

Today we are seeing it again. On one side are socialists, liberals, feminists, the various LGBTIQqAa+ communities, some Christians and even many conservatives. On the other are the so called "Alt-right", a ragtag bunch of Neo Nazis, other White supremacists, anti-feminists, Islamophobes,  TERFFs(*),  right wing (especially evangelical) Christians with a considerable overlap with a mixed bunch of: Flat-Earthers, Anti-vaxxers, Climate change deniers, creationists, homophobes, transphobes and other nutters.  At first sight it looks like the inverse of the situation described by Orwell but I feel it is not so clear cut. Firstly the news coverage of the alt-right tends to focus on on neo Nazis for video shock with hate pieces by the Christian right & TERFFs published by right leaning newspapers creating the impression that they are united by more than hate. I can only assume that someone is hoping to pull them together into a united front.


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