Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Sermon: Where have all the Good People Gone?

I was encouraged to see the results of a Statista report, which you can find here which shows the recent and dramatic decline of Religion in the USA, a country noted for its strong Christian membership.

Despite this shift, today in 2016, the USA is still a country where it is generally acknowledged that it is impossible to hold Presidential office unless you are both a) Religious and b) a Christian

Whilst there have been over 2000 religions, most of which are now extinct, they share a common belief that

- only they are the true religion
- and therefore by definition, that no religion, or somebody else's religion is an incorrect world view
- and it is doubled down by an inference that people with no religion or a different religion are of less moral character than those within your religion

Not a Bad Person
&& Not Evil

Krauss: Not Evil

This one minute video extract from Lawrence puts forward the point admirably

I shall leave you with Mika:

Mika: Good Guys

Monday, August 29, 2016

Professionalism: Wait for It

I was just about to make a video detailing the latest discovery, that being motion sensing, lithium ion, rechargeable lights.

But it is cancelled.  And why?

Because I've not finished evaluating and testing them.

I am often in the company of other Engineers or Scientists and find them under immense pressure to cut corners with their design process.  Or perhaps to publish that paper ahead of time, for peer review, when such is known to be premature.

Marcus and Agata are not in this game.

A job should aim to be done efficiently, to the highest standards,  with decent testing.   Then we'll publish a review.

To Managers, Project Managers, Coordinators and the like.  Have some appreciation for the people you chaperon.  If they are working effectively and the project is behind,  then it's the project dates that need moving, not the proles chastising.

Not a Review

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Comment: What the Kids want to Study

Mika: Popular

In the UK now students must pay for both their accommodation and tuition.  The latter comes in at about 9K GBP per year and you can take out a Government loan for the First degree costs to cover all of the above.

If Marcus was taking a college course today I think the criterion would ideally be

- Something I have a passion for
- Something that will be relevant to my future career
- Something that will earn money
- Something creative: I don't want to be the weaselly middle man.
- Something that improves the world
- Something that leads to a career that is not easily outsourced

The age old question (some decades ago) was: Is it sufficient to do a degree course in something you love even if it has no practical applicability in the world and said course will be almost useless in helping you enter a career?

Well I leave this debate to you, but look below and see what kind of world the UK might be promoting based on the 10 most popular University courses.

01. Physiotherapy
02. Law
03. Make Up
04. Psychology
05. Actuarial Science
06. Paramedical Science
07. Computer Science
08. Sports Psychology
09. Medicine
10. Marine Biology

Enough of my comments:  Read explanatory articles yourself:



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Money For Nothing

Dire Straits: Money for Nothing

With the Uk Bank of England (BOE) reducing Interest Rates and the US Federal Reserve (FED) publically postulating an increase for the Nth time it is time to listen to the rather appropriate Dire Straits song.  Even the Artist name seems to be appropriate.

In the News




The reality is:

 The FED who cried Wolf

Talking up Interest Rates is popular in financial circles, because today money is cheap, lending is cheap. It is cheaper now than in Sept 2008, when Lehmans famously declared bankruptcy and the neighbouring Subprime crisis It absolutely defies year 1 Economics 101.  In practise whenever the FED /talks/ about rising rates the market jumps up, even when, as is always the case, they do sweet nothing.  It is literally /money for nothing/.

But actually raising Interest Rates is too brave for most

Indeed as noted, BOE actually reduced Interest rates, because this /Market Stimulus/ which was once temporary,  once started, is difficult to rewind Why?  Because the idea is reduce rates until the Economy recovers.  But it does not recover.  So?  Yep, double down and reduce some more.

This short article does not attempt to reference some of the reasons why Central Banksters are using lowered Interest Rates.  But what does it mean for private holders of debt?

In particular for the housing market?

- Lower interest rates allow those who qualify to borrow even bigger
- A 2% rate would for example allow you to borrow 1Million GBP at for less than 2000 GBP per month.
- What does it mean?
- It means that private individuals in the UK  (and other low interest countries such as USA and Europe) can now borrow large, pushing up house prices further
- Also meaning that first time buyers have even less chance to buy

The Future
Both US and UK Governments continue to intervene and distort markets to allow banks, institutions and even individuals to borrow more and more and at insanely low costs.  The Subprime collapse and UK bank collapse in the 2008-2009 period, which if you recall was due to irresponsible lending, has now been not fixed, by guess what irresponsible Government lending.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A tale of Two Agents

Subtitle: Have you heard about the Internet?

Marcus has just spent the day with 2 Estate Agents.  I nearly lost it, because I find working with Estate Agents is nearly always frustrating, and with those that are absolutely clueless about the importance of the Internet, well: I nearly burst a blood vessel.

Property 1

- Agent could not initially gain access to property,  could not operate keys!
- Flat is tenanted and a total mess/ bombsite
- Almost Zero mobile phone reception and actually zero mobile Data connection.
- Tenant refuses to let any photographs be taken, and Owner has none to offer, so post visit I have nothing to refer back to
- Agent has no clue about Wired Internet Speed or whether there is any at property
- Agent does not know what Fibre Broadband is
- Agent does not know how to do a Speed test from their mobile

Property 2

- Agent claims to be experienced with 30 years in the profession
- Flat empty
- Almost Zero mobile phone reception and zero Data connection.  Agent tried to make excuses
- A luxury Apartment but with no Dishwasher, Agent tried to make excuses
- Large damp area on upper floor, Agent has no knowledge
- Agent has no clue about Internet Speed
- Agent does not know what an Internet Speed test is
- Agent does not know how to launch a web browser on their Smartphone. I assisted and eventually made a speed test

I had to explain that this was not an acceptable number

My Honest Suggestions

- Read my recent blogpost

- Educate staff on the importance of the Internet in modern life

- Publish mobile voice strength on property prospectus

- Publish current Land Internet Speed Connection at property

- Publish currently available Internet Speeds and Technologies (e.g. Copper, Fibre, Community Internet)

And additional Information that might be useful

- Details of any pending construction or building developments in or around this postcode

- Risks of Apartment to Flooding and other salient risk based factors or peculiarities

- Service Charge and detailed breakdown therein

I am not boasting, but I could really do a much more professional and informative job than the two individuals I met today.  Perhaps a new career beckons?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Relaxing with Nature

To all us 'townees' i.e. City Dwellers.  Sometimes it is good to get out in the countryside and just chill.

And here in the English countryside it is sans Internet  (this post was written on an almost 56K modem speed connection ...)

 Into Decathlon running gear

 Blackberry picking

Er and Blackberry eating
 Blackberry collection because a Crumble is scheduled for an evening meal

 Lots of Bees

A delightfully relaxing day, catching up with friends and family. Long may it continue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Orca Safety Swim Buoy

Believe me, if you swim in Open water the Orca Safety buoy is worthy of your consideration.

If you swim outside of a pool, for example in the sea or lake you may have experienced the

Almost run over syndrome

This is where a boat, maybe a motorboat almost runs you over.

The issue is usually visability and this is where the Swim buoy comes in.

Okay it is bright orange and highly visible.  There is a air pounch that you blow into and inflate.

But there is more!   There is a storage compartment that you can put clothes or food or even your phone and electronics into.  Then you carefully wrap the end up to form a waterproof seal.   So everything will stay dry and the separate air sack means the buoy cannot sink.

Finally an adjustable strap connects the buoy to your waist.

At first I was a little nervous and loaded the inside with items like a towel and some trainers.  Then after some swims in Pully pool I was convinced that nothing would get wet.  So now I'm confident to also put my phone and house keys into there too.  At last you don't need to leave your valuables on the beach or in a dodgy unsafe locker.  Take them with you!  And be seen in the process.  I've not found pulling the buoy and significant drag by they way.

In summary
Really recommended for any serious swimmer.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not Dancing on My Own

Dancing on My Own

This post has 3 audiences, one by definition will not be reading or watching.

It comes after a week of Marcus meeting friends, old friends and thinking about friendships and family.

Robyn: Dancing on My Own

(Song is by Robyn originally obviously!)

So to

- friends and family
- old re-united friends
- even to family who are 'too busy' to spend even 30 seconds to read this

Problems, emotions, feelings and troubled thoughts are better shared.  Dancing on your own, whenever or wherever, is not recommended.


Dancing On My Own Fred Falke Remix

Robyn - Dancing On My Own (E-603 Remix)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mercedes Benz World England

Whilst on a visit to Hus Haus London, Marcus noticed the proximity of Mercedes Benz World Uk. (MBW)

At MBW I noticed the following

- A fully functioning Mercedes dealer
- Outside an offroad and tarmac track for use for Mercedes Benz paid experiences
- A cafe
- An exhibition of Vintage and current AMG cars

For a small fee, about 5 GBP each I recall you can get a guided tour at fixed times during the day.  I paid and it turns out it was well worth it.  There were only 3 adults on our tour so I had plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

An original 230 SL

Where it all started



Racing Limo


As a car nut it was a great afternoon spent drooling over cars and well worth the tour price.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Two [more] godly questions

How Mosquitos suck your Blood

To questions to those Religious faithful God fearing  types

a) Why Did God need to Create the Mosquito?

b) For Abrahamic Devotees:  Why include them in Noah's Ark?   Weren't they evil enough  (cf the rest of humanity that was drowned)

And Just One More Thing

Why Zika?

FDA Releases Final Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Mosquito

Zika on South Beach

Zika and Alzheimers

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Muji Wallet Makeover

For several years I have happily used and recommended the minimalist credit card wallet from Muji you see on the right.

However for the last year I've been mortified because my nearest outlet says that it is discontinuted.

But for August 2016, good news.

There is a replacement,  The new horizontally opening wallet shown above on the left

Because I said SO!

I have seen many other ingenious minimalist wallets out there and associated technical reviews.  They are sort of missing the point.  Why?

Well because this is the best one, I can assure you

- Big enough to take 5 cards and some folded currency
- Economically priced
- Plastic not metal and so
- Contactless cards work whilst inside the wallet
- Mine lasts about 6 months before replacement

So now, surely I have convinced you.  Find it here


Friday, August 19, 2016

Formula One Wire Frame

Whilst visiting Huf Haus , something that I will of course cover later, Marcus noticed the proximity of Brooklands racing circuit and the nearby Mercedes Benz World  (MBW)

MBW has a wireframe exhibit of a Formula 1 race car and I cannot emphasise how impressive this free to view exhibit is in real life.

It not a fully exploded view of all components, but you definitely get the picture and see the impressive, fine attention to detail that goes into a Formula One car.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday Sermon: Church of England, A-Levels, and a Prayer

Subtitle: Don't jump to any conclusions

My initial reaction to the headline from Christian Today was an incorrect assumption.

I had thought COE (Church of England) was offering or promoting a prayer service that would enable Christians, via prayer actively change their UK school A-Level examination results, for the better.

The way it would work  could be

1. You screwed up terribly on an A-Level paper
2. Though this was of course God's will, nevertheless you put in a prayer
3. A prayer to still pass you at this A-Level
4. So then an examiner who would have failed you,  would instead look at the same words you wrote and because of your Christian Prayer, [say] pass you, or otherwise improve your grade.
5. With this better grade you were able to enter the University of your prior choice.

Oh, and then I remembered the first rule of Internet / Paper journalism

The Headline may bear no relation to the article content

Further, using devices like irony and satire, some columnists can sometimes title an article with exactly the reverse information contained therein.  Imagine that. So I had to read the article:

Church of England offers prayers for anxious A-Level students awaiting results

It turns out my fears were totally misplaced and so I must eat humble pie.  The key lines in the prayer are:

For I am convinced that neither entry requirements nor exam results, neither anticipation nor doubts, neither success nor failure, nor any expectations, neither last minute fears nor anxieties, nor anything else in life, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Which I can simply reduce to

Jesus Christ's love of you can never be separated and that remains even if you sustain cataclysmicly bad examination results.  Eg   You failed all your exam results,  [god's will], you will not get to University based on them, but you are still loved by an Infinitely powerful and good god.

So if that is really how you feel, then I suggest you put this sentiment onto your next resume and CV.  Because your honesty and openness should not be discounted.

Say A Little Prayer