Monday, March 02, 2015

Marcus and Agata take the day off

Marcus and Agata have already expounded the virtues of Daily Exercise but well sometimes you need a day off from our regular rather gruelling schedule.

So this last Saturday we thought a gentle stroll might be the best course of action and we thought about somewhere new

The Menhir Monolith at Essertes Auboranges
In 2013 whilst participating in the 38Km General Guisan walk we had a charming [wine!] refreshment stop in Auboranges district.   They told us that close by was the 

/largest monolith in all of Switzerland/

So Saturday we thought we had best check it out.  It's sort of on our local bucket list of Swiss activities because we don't know how much longer we will be living in canton Vaud or even Switzerland for that matter.

[NB: donations always welcome, we would love to stay :-(  ]

Here are photographs of the day.

I suppose it is evidence that 

a) We had a nice time walking and talking
b) Nothing really happened, but the sights and sounds were just beautiful to us
c) We really appreciate Switzerland!

 We parked in Esserts.  Hurry up husband, Agata is saying

We thought if we could buy this fire station cheaply and take it over it would be perfect to house a Motorhome should we ever get one  (tall garage).

 Quaint and beautiful views after only a few hundred metres.

We are speechless. Somebody has a wonderful double garage including a custom motorhome bay.  We Like.

 Nice blooms in the summer we think

 Zoom in for the Amen


 Local Farm

 Some cute tiny animal breeding farm

 Complete with kitties

 Strange rustic torture machine

 The monolith sign has been found

This is the smallest /largest monolith in the whole of Switzerland/ that Marcus can imagine

 What do you think?  It is not that big is it?

Next to this property is some land we think we'd love to build our dream house on.

 Lots of wonderfully quaint houses

And more kitties.  This truly is a wonderful area.

So we made the walk, we talked the talk and had a splendidly relaxing time.  Only tale of the monolith given to us was tall :-)

Picasa Web Album (full photos with locations)


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Sermon: Inscrutably yours, GOD

Characteristics of your GOD
According to current research, there are currently over 4000 active religions in this world.  And many of them are monotheistic  (meaning one God).  With such a large number can we agree any common characteristics?

God knows everything, and has infinite knowledge. It is impossible to hide anything from God. 

All Powerful
God can do anything.  For example, override the laws of Physics as we understand them.

God does not makes errors

Is the true one
This means one God for a monotheistic religion  (e.g Christianity) all other Gods are incorrect/ wrong.
Conversely Polytheistic religions like Hinduism have multiple Gods, but gods outside of /their gods/ others are also incorrect/ wrong

Can God change just one thing?
In a scientific world all matter is interrelated.  However the question we were posed in our 1st year University Philosophy class was:  Could God just make a certain action happen, without changing anything else [anywhere in this or any other universe].
[In Marcsus's full disclosure I say that I studied Philosophy and other subjects at University in addition to my full-time Masters Engineering level Course].

If you review God's characteristics described above the answer always comes out as YES

And so, why did God?

Let the Archbishop of Cantebury contract pneumonia rendering him unable to deliver his important Christmas 2014 speech

Allow the major Asian Tsumani of 10 years ago to happen?

Did not stop the killing of 6 people in Glasgow?

(Just three obvious examples from a list of too many)

God Works in Mysterious Ways
So the normal given apologetic answer is that we (the human race) are too dumb to understand the big picture and that we need to have faith in God's greater plan. 

Here then is this expressed pictorially, allow me some latitude and consider all images carefully:

As you can see opinions differ.  

What do you think? 

Of perhaps you don't think?

To Learn More
The visuals and words above have hopefully engaged your thinking mind.  Now for further reading I would suggest

Colin McGinn:  Mysterianism

NB: I have already recommended a more elementary talk by Tom Honey, Why would God create a Tsunami, but watch it here if you did not read my previous Sunday Sermon on this issue  [I am shocked].


Darling, Please come to Bed

Subtitle: My name is Marcus, and my wife is ...

an iPhone user

Since Marcus thinks of Marcus and Agata as a super-techy couple  (that is super-geeky in post 2000 speak) it has been a source of mild perturbation that there may be some cognitive dissonance  in our otherwise harmonious household.

This thought was postulated this evening whilst I was trying to explain the virtues of of the 

Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) custom recovery Android tool to Agata.

I was mid way through an explanation of what a bootstrap program and BIOS was when Agata looked at me with those iPhone eyes and said:

Did you notice the colour of that dress?

I was going to try and explain the multiple hassles and challenges that this Saturday evening and now Sunday morning has thrown at Marcus:

- The Nexus 5, Lollipop fatal 5.0.1 upgrade error
- The problem downloading the Bacon TWRP image (418)
- How MTP mode under Windows is extremely Motherboard sensitive

But no, all I got was then a further request to come to bed.  In the middle of not one but 2 Lollipop upgrades?  Are you crazy?

TO me I refer to Cognitive Dissonance because whilst Agata is a super techy, when it comes to phones, her  iOS upgrade policy seems to be: when Apple tells you to upgrade your phone OS.  The thought of arbitrarily re-installing, rooting or otherwise tampering with your Phone OS, well it is just a non starter. 


So now it is the early hours and all is well in the techno study. Both primary and backup phones are upgraded and working, and I have even had time to check out that dress quandary. Clearly you need to look at 


Computerphile: The colour of that dress

and smile at this

And now, it is indeed time for bed :-)

NB: Sunday morning update.   I got up late this morning and caught Agata trying to hack her personal website activitites page to perform a custom export using the Javascript console  (Cntrl + Shift + J).   It is at times like this when she melts and not just warms the cockles of my technical heart

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Cost of People

I was interested and entertained to hear that a Japanese hotel has plans to have a variety of robots in their hotel in Nagasaki to better serve you, and also, intentionally dramatically reduce the people count.

For Marcus and Angela, as Engineers we have actually been into and worked in large scale Manufacturing plants.  The size of a modern plant, from food production to Power Generation is truly daunting.

But one thing becomes abundantly clear:

Many machines,  few people.

But much of society still doesn't get a very,  very, important principle:

- People cost a lot of money
- They have lives and complications outside of work, preventing a flawless working record
- They expect pensions
- They don't work 24x7
- At work they may spend significant time chatting, facebooking  i.e. not working

In order to provide a low cost service or product at a price you will expect to pay, from shoes to watches to cars, the fewer people involved in the manufacturing, distribution, sales and maintenance chain the better.

Many people rail against the loss of the /personal service/ they expect at their Hotel, Train Station, High Street Bank,  but are blissfully unaware that behind the scenes their low cost lives are made possible by the people diminished, robot friendly manufacturing and supply chain.

All in all it vectors down to one elephant in an increasingly small room

Too Many People

What I am proposing is the following:

Either select a higher cost, less efficient, more people intensive manufacturing process, where <more> people have on average LESS

Or select a highly automated, less people manufacturing process, where LESS people have more.

Currently we have neither.  We have historically rich societies, borrowing their way into paying for: high tech, less people, cost efficient goods  or [often but not always lower] tech,  made by grossly underpaid people, producing cost efficient goods at the cost of peoples lives.

We have to think now, what should be the maximum number of children you should choose to bring into this world as a family.   It should be a number that will ensure that understands that takes account of future robotic technologies that just don't need people.

Is the number perhaps one, maybe even two, but simple maths says it is not 3 or 4.

A Bad role model

Samuel L Jackson: Population Control 

Sure, the action sequences in Kingsman are quite gripping, but I challenge you to listen and think about what underlies Richman Valentine's rather dastardly plan.  Clearly this will involve you in going to see the film Kingsman

A Good Read

Dan Brown: Inferno

By contrast, and slightly more effort for the reader (than the film) but a different take on Population control is postulated in this ingenious novel. 

Think about the future of our world where robots not outsourcing / cheap labour will provide the needs for modern manufacturing.  If we need less people in even 50 years, this is something that has to be thought about now.

Inferno at Audible
Dan Brown Inferno wikipedia

Kingsman: Gazelle
Wikipedia: Sofia Boutella

Friday, February 27, 2015

20Km distractions

The Lausanne 20Km run in April 2015 is one of the first  races of the sporting yearly calendar for Marcus and Agata.

An ideal way to prepare is actually to run the course.  Because then you know, especially for a hilly course like Lausanne, exactly how difficult it really is.

How much energy should you divert to the initial flat-ish section of the course?  What speed on the downhills? Actually running it is really the ultimate preparation ...

And so Marcus set off in his lunchbreak with this test in mind. How did it go?   Oh dear:

I was supposed to walk down to the start by the lakefront but by the time I had reached  Place Ripone I was running. Hmm

 Lots of urban regeneration going on here

The CRAP stalls were unfortunately fully in swing although I'd say it is a better kind of rubbish on sale here than in many other countries!

 The flying carpet stall was sadly deserted.

I approached Renens.  Now I will offer a free dinner to anybody who can tell me how long this van has been there and why!

Although it looked sunny it was actually very cold. About 2 degrees Centigrade I estimate

The Renens open air pool looked fantastic.  But Closed :-(  I think it opens in May or thereabouts.

I was so close to the 20Km start but I got totally distracted.  I found the EPFL University running track instead.

Almost deserted. It has a lake and mountain view.  Just totally stunning.  I found the icy cold air actually helped me to run faster.  I practised Fartlek training here and thought I would totally give up on the 20Km route training plan for today and just run home the scenic way ....

Man with guitar, by the lake, strumming along, looking over at the Snow capped mountains.   Tough life.

I thought I would do some endurance /run in the sand/ training

Next, I passed the darling wife's office to say hello to Agata.  As can be seen she was very busy and did not have time for that romantic lakeside walk.

 I saw some interesting Engineering exhibits.  

Now every year we pay ECA insurance money against natural disasters and fire.

I find they are spending my money on fancy cranes.

They have also ammassed a large quantity of kindling and firewood.  What is going on!

I continued my lakefront run.   Killer views of the mountains in the distance. It does not get much more beautiful than this.

 The countdown to the next Olympics clock ... 1079 days it says

As I got near Mon Repos I noticed I had passed 20Km running already.  So I'm going to stop now and finish the day with a long swim.

I will make the 20km route test another day I hope.

33K steps today (and the swimming).  Surely that is enough exercise?