Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Some reasons why he left

Why he left Islam

The Aside
If you are reading this, then by definition you have Internet Access. I hope your bandwidth is fast enough to look at YouTube and here is why.

Over the last 15 years Marcus has exponentially gravitated away from the paper based documentation sources to a mixture of Online websites and living repositories of information.

We do live in a world of manufactured, mis-represented facts, suppositions or theories, but by cross checking sources, and actually using your Brain to screen out the inconsistent then you are hopefully left with at least a set of plausible propositions.

YouTube now forms a major free online resource that I recommend you take advantage of.  Indeed this above video is a good example

- It puts forward propositions
- With supporting references
- It invites you to check them out
- So that you can verify the arguments put forward are based on agreed texts / statements

So now back to the Video Itself

Not Equal
All religions are not equal.  In fact it is usual for each Religion to have a revealed Truth, supported by one or more Holy Books, that are usually not to be subject to revision or criticism.  

Yet for each Religion that represents a world view even a superficial study will reveal that their differences and contradictions give us reason to believe that at most one is the truth but that zero can be assumed and each religions infallible holy book is true by circular argument

Back to The Plot
Please watch the video,  and consider subscribing to the channel   I hope it encourages you to do your own research.  Maybe you will find this video is so wrong it will actually lead you towards Islam, or maybe not. 

And so much more: Quran and Scientific Miracles

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Human Spirit

Great Big Story: Hard Ship

In my humble opinion watching this video is well worth 24 minutes of your time.

Along with the film Gattaca I add this 24 minute short to show the very best of the human spirit and what it can achieve.

And finally,  you are subscribed to Great Big Story?  It really is a quality channel.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Clean Clean

Buggles: Clean Clean

Subtitle: Stuart prepares for Winter

You might think of this as cliche but Switzerland really has some excellent Cleaning facilities that help us to keep our Motorhome Stuart so very very clean.

Our local carwash,  well our favourite one of two is only 1.5Km away.

Jean-Michel the owner is getting quite carried away.  He just installed a hot air dryer so that you can literally blow dry your car after a wash.  What a guy!

There is also a fancy machine to clean any floor mats

Winter Preparation for Stuart

Aside from over 2 hours of internal and external cleaning and washing  we carried out some final preparations to put Stuart to bed for the winter.  It's unlikely that we will drive him in the Winter.  We do have all season tyres, but Marcus, call me chicken, do not fancy a 2600Kg motorhome sliding around on a steep mountain pass.  No!

Upper right is a know that opens a valve draining all the water from the 100 litre freshwater tank.  We emptied the tank 2 days ago using the pump and tap in the sink but a small amount of water normally remains.  So opening this valve drains everything so nothing can freeze.

This is the Hot Water system dump valve.  You open it so that if the temp is below freezing water comes out of the system instead of freezing the pipes

Meanwhile Earlier this Year
Earlier this year Marcus had the dubious pleasure of driving up a snowy mountain pass with the prospect of black ice just around the corner.  Not again this year please!

And Finally

We are back home in CH and relaxing.  You can see that winter is biting hard.  So hard that tomorrow we may have to go out on our race road bicycles.  In December!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

That was the [Financial] Month that Was

So back when I used to work at NYSE there was a quirky statistic: That none of our technical department used to invest in Stocks, nor in fact many of the actual traders. [ Then traders made their money on trades, you buy or sell, they earn.]


Because stocks could go up as well as down!  However in the last 5 years a disturbing trend has swept over Wall Street,  the ever upward movement of the Dow.

To sound like an old fart; there was a day when stocks were valued on their fundamentals, like Price Earning, or a bag of well know metrics.

When you invest in a painting, or an asset class like property the underlying value is often irrelevant.  It's basically worth as somebody else will pay for it.

And today the US stockmarket comes into that category.   Whilst other financial objects have been troubled and other countries' exchanges mostly up up and then down, the Dow just keeps rising.

Like Housing
If you study the UK property market; demand far exceeds supply, so no matter what measures the UK government implements to cool down house price rises, the fundamentals are against them.  What happens in a market rising far faster than inflation or wages?

- Guaranteed Asset Class
- Returns higher than say, really working to make something!
- People can't afford to enter
- But those at the margin, feel like they MUST enter, because if they delay they will be priced out

More Stats

Here is the full article

Will the Madness Continue

Longer Answer:
Yes, the Dow just will not Crash.  Even though the current numbers are insane.

What could Possibly Go Wrong

This is how happy traders must have looked when DJIA hit 19,000


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Sermon: The Tower of Babble

I had to update the firmware on my Swisscom TVbox this evening.  Now in 2016 all our Television, and also our Radio is delivered thru the Internet.   

I mention this because today this is optional.  I  predict that in the near future, as the Internet becomes exponentially important providers will cease to be interested in Terrestrial transmitters.  In our own lifetime the Internet will become the only medium.  Be warned to those of you with less than a half decent Internet connection.

What you see above is a consequence of Switzerland's multi lingual country.   3 Languages and Swisscom (thankfully to me) also add in English for a grand total of 4!

Why Different?
I've always been a strident critic of multiple languages in this world.  Of course the issue continues because no country would like to drop their own language, far rather others drop their language for yours.

In Switzerland we have a much worse situation, in that there are actually 4 official languages

Languages of Switzerland: German, French, Italian and Romansh

Switzerland like India and a few other countries are part of the select few where Nationals can be totally misunderstood simply by travelling to a different region of their own country.

The Ridiculous nature of the situation was highlighted when I goto the Supermarket.  When I buy something simple like Breakfast Cereal the instructions need to be printed in 3 Languages (French, German, Italian) so there is less room for any type of text compared to say the English version.

The Religious Explanation

I hope you find the Religious explanation as comical and stupid as I do.

Why So Bad?
My principle irritation against language difference is

- It leads to misunderstanding and conflict
If you don't understand somebody your first reaction will be to treat them as something apart from yourself.  Conversely if they speak your Language their is an immediate bond and something very large in common.

- So it leads to division and not bonding

- It's so wasteful
Mastering even your mother tongue to the full is normally a lifetime of continual improvement, imagine the waste of time that learning multiple languages involves.   You could use that time to more productively do something else: you could help disadvantaged people, or perform charitable acts, that sort of thing.

Many people try to conflate culture with language but IMHO the two can and should be distinguished.  Sure they are related but one can still imbibe the culture of a nation, say Switzerland, without knowing all 4 of its national languages.

Dear god
So my open question to God is surely:  The Tower of Babel explanation is no explanation at all.   If you perpetrated this situation you have just let to societal misunderstanding and conflict.  And since (by definition) you God are omniscient you must have know that your actions would have had this result.  Not very nice of you God.  Not Babel just Babble.

XTC: Dear god

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Considerably Richer Than

Harry Enfield: Considerably Richer

Subtitle:  Smartphone Wars

In the more genuine I would argue old days, Smartphones used to compete on Specifications.  But with the technology curve and app ideas reaching a sort of plateau there is a new game in town:


Smartphone manufacturers are now competing with each other to produce the highest price, and therefore,  least competitive smartphone.

I'm assuming the audience is the "My Smartphone is more expensive than your Smartphone" end user segment.

Not convinced?

Google Pixel XL
819 GBP

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
919 GBP

Above prices from UK Clove Technology

Huawei Mate 9
(Porsche Design)

about 1200 GBP

- Well Apple, of course it is expensive
- Well Google, so now I need to be rich to be a fanboy? Shame on you
- Well Huawei, so you are admitting you need an expensive European Brandname to bolster your product? Shame on you.

I really stress to the youngsters reading this:  Don't attempt to save up for one of the above 'ultimate' Smartphones.  Leave them to the likes of the Business customer, who more often than not has their company actually buys them this astronomically priced phone.

An remember that all of the above will be /The old Smartphone/ in town in 12 months time.

Harry Enfield: Not Considerably Richer

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Internet: Don't Home without IT

If you think it is merely foolish to leave home without your portable Internet connection then it may follow that to buy a quality home without a convincingly strong Internet connection, in 2016 is

The height of insanity

The Exclusions

- You currently don't have any Internet connections and no computers or smartphones. You are proud of being a technological neathandatal

- You are extremely old with no interest in technology and about to exit the planet

- You are living in a fantasy world where you think a large house in the country does not need an Internet connection. Just like in your parents age the quality of the staff is what is important.

- The Bible did not mention the Internet and consequently you don't need it. [Note, other religious texts are available, they also exclude any explicit reference, how strange]

In 2016 best practise would be to have

- A smartphone with an unlimited data plan, ideally for your country and all you regularly travel into

- A home Internet connection, uncapped with at least 30 and ideally over 100 Mbps downstream connection.

- If you make extensive use of Cloud Services, WebHosting ideally 100Mbps+ upstream

- For the home a backup Mobile 4G LTE connection in case the Fibre Drops

In reality

Marcus has found a property, in a really secluded location. No fibre. But with Satellite and a BT copper connection. Let's look at

Can you see the satellite latency! So using any interactive application, for example a Web Browser !!! results in a tedious user experience.

Mobile 4G LTE
With this current dismal Internet connectivity the only possible saviour would be a 4G i.e. Long Term Evolution (LTE) connection

After some hours of fiddling success:

Quite a few networks were found and some notable exceptions

Base equipment used for testing. Our trusty Asus 4G-N12

Now time to vary the position and height of the reciever

This is what happens when you run SpeedTest and each 50-100MB test download eats up your 2GB data allowance in literally minutes.

Finally a half decent result with Marcus doing some acrobatics on a rooftop. I hope the potential new neighbours don't think a crazy person is coming to stay.

Other Considerations

In the UK it might be difficult to find an uncapped PAYG or Pay Monthly plan for mobile data. Even if it says uncapped there may be a small asterisk saying, uncapped means please don't exceed 15GB per month. As a counter example, Marcus recently uploaded 7000 GB to a Cloud provider in 3 days, just as a test, at home in Switzerland. This could not be achieved in the UK via any Mobile or Land Fibre connection. Hmm. Taking a step backwards in life is always painful.

Stepping back below uncapped 100Mbit/sec download, ultra low latency Internet, is almost your only choice in the UK, is going to be a tough one. To be continued.

Acceptable Internet Speeds in 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Where Were You When

For the younger reader I might ask:

Where were you and what were you doing when on 11 September 2001 Islamic terrorists flew planes into the New York World Trade Centre.

But for those of a certain age I'd reference 2 other rather worrying and dramatic world events

Bay of Pigs invasion April 17 1961

Cuban Missile Crisis October 16 1962

These events come to mind with the death of Fidel Castro,  something that even /the Donald/ managed to fact check correctly ...

With both Fidel and Che Guevara now deceased student T shirt manufacturers are expecting a terrible downturn in business.

That aside, although I'm not a fan of their politics I offer this vaguely in time 80's musical protest epilog

Stranglers: No More Heroes


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Busy and Insomnia AND

If you have been tuning into the Blog in the last 2 weeks you may notice the verbosity of articles dwindling and this is for a very good reason.

Nearly all hours during the day has been spent on practical property research, leading along the way to the following update to the right side of the blog quick link Property Heading

Was has this meant?

Faithless 2.0 Insomnia

For the most part an absence of sleep, at a time when in principle Marcus is supposed to be taking it easy and doing things in my own good time godammit!


I missed Black Friday

Logging on at 9pm and I had missed nearly everthing from the local Swiss shop

I was too busy in Sainsbury's to do anything but get some food.

Something in Cheltenham

Something I looked at in Cheltenham.  It was not to be

Yes all the driving, viewing, analysing, cross checking, speaking to agents, owners, developers.  It is really quite stressful

And yes, Insomnia included at no extra charge

Faithless remix: Insomnia2 avicii

Friday, November 25, 2016

The UK Snoopers Charter

Rockwell: Watching Me

For those of us who are just a little bit worried about Google reading all of our gmails, the UK government has now set the bar substantially higher

The Investigatory Powers Act

Status: Awaiting Royal Ascent

In picture for those too lazy to read the articles from the links below:

The Links


Marcus Analysis
So the bill has passed thru the UK Parliamentary framework and the last Royal Ascent phase is just a formality.

Essentially if you read thru the linked articles it's basically a travesty and a shit show.  Anybody using the Internet in the UK via their fixed line or mobile phone will be compromised i.e. recorded.

- Whilst I am a very public person, and happily divulge many aspects of our boring lives I'm not convinced that this Bill has its heart in any shape of form the right direction

- The Bill essentially says: We're collecting all this personal information so that we can track the bad guys!

- I'm pretty sure all ISP's and mobile providers have a real headache on their hands.   Maybe the UK gov should get Marcus and Agata to audit these guys.  Boy would that be fun

- I remember when I turned on Packet Inspection on our Firewalls and watched the Speed Drop like a stone.  So yes UK ISP's are probably shitting themselves.  Will they pass these added infrastructure costs onto Joe Public I wonder?

- But wait, if I just VPN  (Virtual Private Network) my Browser Connection thru a remote non UK provider won't that hide everything?

- Wait, if I use something like a Tor anonymizer won't that hide everything?

- Is the UK in a Snooping Race with the USA and embarrassed that the NSA has had similar abilities for years.   UK is merely placing catch-up

- Whilst the Government reserves the right to Snoop it wants to heavily penalise UK business who have lower security standards via GDPR.  Oh the irony.

Overall,  as usual the technically savvy, and I hope this includes Marcus and Agata, if we reside in the UK,  will just side stop all of this crap, and hide everything or anything that we want to.  And logically then we have to suppose the Bad guys really know nothing much about Encryption Protocols.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

More Thanks are Due

Bokka: Town of Strangers

Subtitle: In England, everything is easy.
And perhaps better?

In the last 14 days,  Marcus has asked total strangers for

- Tips about the area
- Directions
- Advice on Buying Property
- The Weather
- How to Open a Bank Account
- About Property Refurbishment
- Directions to the Pub
- The local walking path
- About Supermarket points system
- Local Cycling Club
- Running and Cycling Routes

In All Cases  the great British public have been so so helpful.  I even got chatting to a local specialist car dealer (in Oakham)  who gave me his card and told me I could contact him to send me any property we found and he'd pass on his evaluation to us.  Wow.

A good friend from London on hearing about the mandatory Swiss Wealth Tax and Healthcare costs told me:   Are you f****ing crazy, come home immediately.

So whilst the jury is still out,  the return to Blighty becomes more likely with each day I spent back in wonderful, wonderful Engerland.

Mike Posner: Arms of a Stranger

Madonna: Into The [Scottish] Groove

See Also
TED:Talking to Strangers

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Seeing Things Your Way

Subtitle: On President Elect

Tess Rafferty comments

Will Wheaton comments

Marcus Comments
In the best case: Trump may shake up the government, in a good way, but if he shits on the minority that you fall into it will not be fun, and Will's point is that even if it's not your minority, you should indeed be outraged.

But my view of human nature in practice is.  We all have principles.  But for most people 'defending the rights and freedoms of others'  always falls behind supporting somebody who claims that they will fight for you, against a different group, it could be the government,  foreigners, the church  that you feel have made your own life hell.

To put it into a one liner:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On Liberty

One might ask why Marcus should choose to share the following rather personal information on the Interweb.  I can only say that it further defines me and also can be a comforting pointer to others in my situation.

Who Can You Trust?
Somewhat early in life Marcus became sure that it was an error of the gravest proportion to take the words of my parents as in any way factual without verification.

Now today in 2016 this verification would be easy with tools such as Google and the wider Internet.  Then, back before you could spell Arpanet: not so easy.  But the path to self knowledge at an early age is a stony uphill one,  it's along the lines of Descartes  Cogito Ergo Sum

I did however fall in like  with John Stuart Mill  (JSM) a philosopher whose pushy childhood upto the age of just 8 and even Birthday seemed to have an uncanny resonance with young Marcus.

In later life I even studied JSM at University Level where the resonance was cemented and especially because of course I was supposed to be studying, writing and excelling in Engineering not Philosophy.  Like Mill in later life it was good to exercise my mind studying a passion I could choose instead of one that I could not.

I'm rambling onward to say that I recommend IMHO his greatest work

On Liberty

to all troubled yet thinking souls and as my starter for 10 his famous classification of self regarding and other regarding actions.

Thanks for reading this, now how about some JSM?

Meanwhile: On Utilitarianism