Thursday, 30 June 2022

Last Day of June

 

Arse, Big Sore Arse

You will have noticed that my blog has become moribund this month. This is but a temporary phenomenon and will be rectified in the following months. To be honest it has not been a happy month for the Flaxen homestead. As said before, my daughter, her partner and two daughters are currently living with us in our humble four-bedroom home. They moved in three years ago, and naively, I was under the impression we were providing temporary 'emergency housing'. In truth, my daughter has few options when it comes to re-housing and her partner is renovating an old school bus for permanent living: No comment. Tis a slow process and Mr S and I have given an ultimatum- leave by the end of Autumn. This is not how we envisaged our well-earned retirement. Suffice it to say there have been several highly stressful issues, this month, that have discombobulated our equilibrium. I'm getting too old for this kind of shit.

Later in the month, the family was subject to a really nasty dose of Norovirus, aka, 'the winter vomiting bug' which is 'endemic' in my part of the world, currently. It spread rapidly and four out of the six members of the home were ultimately affected. The bucket becomes your friend/fiend and it took three days of fasting and a further seven days before my intestinal tract went back to normality.

During these times of 'Great Tribulation' (refer to JW literature) I lost all motivation to write and the blog entered the hinterland of limbo. I am under no illusion. My blog is niche and not meant to be for the majority of the folks, 'out there'; and that is the way I like it. Very few get or appreciate my delicate brand of humour. To be fair, I mostly write for myself. Tis a mode of self-education and it helps to keep the demons in my head at bay (down Rex).

Consequently, I'm planning to be productive in the jolly month of July and intend to sequester myself away in my study for long hours of contemplation and writing.      

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Revisiting the Drake Equation

Dr Drake in Repose

In this blog, I have previously addressed 'The Extra Terrestrial' question from a variety of perspectives. I have considered the Fermi Paradox and the elegantly simple Drake Equation as well as the problem of travelling vast interstellar distances and the plausibility of extra-stellar space travel. 

According to the Drake equation, it has been estimated that there should exist, in the order of 50,000,000 advanced technological civilisations in our own galaxy alone. This is before we extrapolate to the number of galaxies in the known universe (2 trillion?). And again his can be expanded as the universe, as a whole, is considered to be immensely and mind-bogglingly huge. Of course, if the universe is infinite, then we will have to think anew. Personally, I'm in favour of a finite Cosmos, for reasons I will expand upon in a future post. Before continuing I'll just review Drake's original insight.

The equation first formulated in 1961 can be represented as:


The above parameters are those considered most important when calculating the number of extant intelligent civilisations floating about within our Milky Way galaxy.

Some may find this equation wonderfully simple, and of course, it is. Although I'm a great fan of keeping explanations as simple as possible, sometimes simplicity can belie and mislead the beholder. I suspect this is one of those occasions.

Many folk support Drake's findings, although to be fair, these days, most cosmologists are more circumspect in their opinion. It needs to be recognised that certain, critical, assumptions necessary to populate five out of seven equation terms are highly speculative; only the initial two terms have a foundation in science. For instance, consider the term, ne, which refers to the fraction of planets that are able to support and develop life, at some stage in their existence. This number is no more than a guess. At this juncture, it is noteworthy to state that in 1961 we didn't even have reliable quantities for the first two terms (R* & fp), although nowadays we are better placed to make scientifically valid estimates. 

Scientific principles are, at their best, based on the existence of solid and repeatable data sets. The whole 'concept of scientific endeavour' is based on the empirical method. Without data collection, science, at least as we know it, would not be possible. Having stated this fundamental principle we need to ask how data is able to assist with the variable, fg. And of course, here is the rub, the grand total of our data gathering comes down to the grand total of 1. As far as we know, we are the only planet that supports life. I'm not saying that life does not exist elsewhere in our galaxy, I'm saying we have no firm evidence for the existence of life apart from our own. To base our equation on such a miserable paucity of hard data removes us from the realm of speculation into the land of 'wand-waving and wizardry'. In other words, any number that we plug into the equation for fg is without any foundation. On the basis of this single term alone, the equation becomes meaningless. We expect better from our mathematics. After all, mathematics is ultimately a logical construct and needs to be unfettered by unproductive speculation. This only refers to the possibility of life elsewhere, not the actual formulation of intelligent life (fi). If we have no idea or regard for the possibility of extra-terrestrial life then our ability to populate fi is not even a bag of lemons (that is, fruitless). It gets worse: As said, of the seven variables comprising the Drake equation we only have reasonable estimates for the first two. The remaining five are unknown quantities. Here we have the illusion of precision. Mathematical equations tend to offer the prospect of logical impermeability and immutability, and so they should, with one very crucial caveat: The equation may be sound and logical, in principle, but the quantities entered should also be reliable and sound. As the old adage states- 'Bollocks in, Bollocks out'.

To be fair to Dr Drake he, initially at least, didn't expect his equation to be taken as seriously as it has subsequently become. As I understand it, Drake didn't devout much thought to the situation. It seems he scribbled his thoughts on the back of an 'envelope' prior to a scientific cosmology meeting. The equation was a simple tool to stimulate discussion on the topic of extraterrestrial organisms amongst his peers. I'm not suggesting that Drake was insinuating that his colleagues were xenomorphs. Regardless of Mr David Icke's contention that we are surrounded by extraterrestrial lizards, there is no evidence to support his conjecture, royalty excluded. Moving on. The fact that others have read into the equation more than was originally intended is no fault of the esteemed Dr Drake. 

I think I will leave the subject at this junction however, I will be interested in what others have to say. Please append opinions in the comment field. I thank thee. 





Tuesday, 31 May 2022

COVID 2.0

                                            Meet 'Spike' your friendly COVID Virus

And so COVID has eventually and inevitably become endemic in the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'. I recall blogging on COVID two years ago before the disease became widely disseminated worldwide. I painted a rather benign future. I suspected the saga to be overhyped and honestly thought the whole affair would slip into oblivion in a thrice. I was wrong and the situation became the full-blown monstrosity we see today. Will COVID eventually fizzle out like the flu of 1918? Or will it be ever-present and eventually be part of the rich palate of diseases that currently assail mankind?

New Zealand acted quickly and enacted a Draconian lockdown. It worked and the few cases we initially acquired were stamped out. Of course, our island nation is easily isolated and our success was mainly due to the ease we could close our borders to the world. Most countries don't have the ability to prevent the influx of the diseased; modern borders are wonderfully porous. But we were living in a fool's paradise. And although New Zealand was free of the disease, the whole world burned. Before we could congratulate ourselves we had to consider the cost. The universal closedown hit businesses throughout the country, really hard. Regardless, of the financial compensation packages available many companies suffered hardship. Restaurants and cafes were closed, some never to reopen. People were laid off and many lost their jobs. As I walk through the High Street in my home town I can see the fruits of government policy. What used to be a thriving commercial centre is now peppered with a host of 'For Rent Signs'.

Our COVID success was just a madman's dream. We couldn't keep the island nation isolated forever. Economic Forces and Fiscal Reality dictated that eventually, we would have to return to the international fold. Not too long after our reintegration unto 'International Lore/Law, a lone Australian entered the country and passed on the Delta variant to a citizen in the fabled, nay enchanted, city of Auckland. Steps to stamp out the virus, this time, did not work. There was nothing the government could do but weather the storm. And to be honest, there was nothing that would have had a practical impact. Population models predicted an exponential rise in cases and to date, the recorded number of infections stands at 1,138,167. This is undoubtedly an underestimate. As I understand the situation, the Delta variant, although highly transmissible causes a milder illness than previous varieties. This is not to say that Delta is benign and deaths will still occur in vulnerable folk. The virus continues to evolve and new variants are arising all the time. The vaccines received may not totally protect the recipient from these new varieties. I suspect that we will be assailed by waves of these variants thus causing a resurgence of the disorder, over time. This is our future, probably.

Our household was afflicted by this malady about a month ago. It seems my son in law was the initial incubator. Anyway, the infection ripped through our cloistered environment. All six members of the family succumbed and tested positive according to the RAT test. Interestingly, we all experienced different symptoms. My twelve-year-old granddaughter suffered not at all. My two-year-old grand fruit (the apple of pop's eye) had a cough and lassitude that lasted about six days. My wife, suitably named Mrs Saxon, had relatively mild symptoms. This was a relief as she is afflicted with a compromised immune system. I suppose I seemed to be the most affected. I did not suffer from chest manifestations. My main problem was fatigue and loss of motivation. I just lay on the bed contemplating my navel. For frivolous amusement, I stuck a straw in said navel and watched its gyrations. I think I discerned a pattern in the movements and noted the apparent orbital rotation with the occasional eccentric wobble. It was at this juncture I thought it would be a good idea to take my medication. Wibble bollocks.......   

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Flaxen Has Forgotten to Take His Meds

 

Tipton to Mars, Akimbo!

The Martian probe

Breaking news from the beautiful Spa resort of Tipton. It can be exclusively/conclusively announced today, that the Tipton West Astronautical Team (TWAT) will be sending a manned mission to Mars by the end of the decade. Mr ‘Baby Doc’ Vowel, Tipton’s recently and democratically elected Mayor, pontificated thusly: “Denizens of this great town of ours, little more than a couple of decades ago most of you were living in mud huts plastered with animal dung and straw. Whilst the medium allowed for free artistic expression, it did pong something awful. Subsequently, some of you have moved into brick houses with running water down the walls. No longer are our citizens clad in goatskin. Everywhere, couples can be seen in matching spandex shell suits pushing little 'Dallas' in his ‘day glo’ perambulator. Gone are the days when lamentably deformed wretches stalked our streets. Nowadays they are kept stacked in a special enclosure before being whisked off for an invigorating Zyklon B shower- never to be seen again.

"We choose to go to Mars, not because it is easy and inexpensive, but because I have a vested interest in the local company supplying bespoke space suits, 'Mr Khan’s Space Paraphernalia and Cyanide Gas Emporium'. This goal will concentrate the will of the people and make me a fabulously wealthy man. Let me state now, that this incredibly expensive programme will in no way be funded out of your pockets, but will be paid for directly out of council funds".

After a rigorous and demanding selection process, Mr Intrepid Mugumbo has been chosen to man this prestigious venture. He will undergo an extensive training programme by being confined to a cardboard box throughout and fed liquidised faggots and peas by straw. He will be given an empty fizzy pop bottle for the express purpose of passing liquid waste. Once full, the bottle will be discharged from the ‘capsule’ with casual abandon by a deft flick of the wrist. The removal of solid waste presents more of a challenge. It is hoped that by cutting a hole in the posterior of the spacesuit, Mr Mugumbo (there is no other) will be able to direct a blast of faecal matter into a suitably placed receptacle. This will have the added benefit of providing additional thrust for the space capsule.  

Intrepid Mugumbo demonstrating the principle of propulsion

Once on the surface of the ‘Red Planet’ our intrepid voyager will embark on a rampage of discovery, boldly ferreting about the Martian landscape on a specially adapted skateboard. In order to traverse the alien environment, solar panels, affixed at a tangent will provide the necessary power to drive the skateboard with suitable aplomb. Once our ‘Martianaut’ has satisfied himself he will supplant the Tipton flag upon a suitable prominence. Go, Tipton!       

The Martian probe continued



Sunday, 22 May 2022

David Icke

 This is a post I put forth several years ago concerning this captivating and often annoying gentleman.

My readership has certainly evolved over time. Folks that were with me at the beginning have long gone to pastures new. And so I've acquired new 'followers'. Indeed, my blog has changed over the years and my earlier fixation and blogging style is no more. What remains is something very different........

Anyway, I've resurrected this post for my current readers for their perusal and delectation.  

David Icke in repose


Let me introduce you to the entity called David Icke. In the 1970s David was a professional football player resplendent in the English football league (c’mon the baggies). When his career ended due to an auto-immune condition (rheumatoid arthritis) he became a sports commentator on the tele. He was articulate, opinionated, popular and obviously intelligent. In 1990 he had an epiphany while in a Ryde bookstore on the Isle of Wight. Apparently, a voice commanded him to go to the ‘Psychic Section’ and it was there that he espied a book written by a psychic living in Brighton. He felt compelled to visit the psychic and during the interview, she told him he was about to become an important recipient of supernatural and psychic messages. From that moment the ‘scales fell from his eyes’ and a worldwide conspiracy became evident…… Subsequently, he popped up on a popular talk show, ‘The Terry Wobegone Show’. He appeared in a turquoise tracksuit and calmly announced he was the son of god and the world was about to end. The audience did not seem to be overly impressed and greeted the revelation with howls of derision and laughter. Overnight he went from a respected television personality to a full-blown fruit loop and a bona fide swivel-eyed, looney. Although his views have evolved over the intervening years, as described graphically in his 20 or so books, there are a few consistent themes. In the following paragraph, I’ll outline a few of his ideas: read and weep.

He believes that aliens from another galaxy came to earth several thousand years ago. He calls these aliens, Archons and they are depicted as tall reptile-like creatures. The Archons manipulated human DNA to produce human/alien hybrids. These hybrids have become the leaders of the world and are in collusion to manipulate and control world events. Apparently, the goal of the lizard hybrids is to cause worldwide strife and discontent which releases negative energy. The Archons, residing in their ‘other galaxy’ home are able to feed and gain sustenance from this energy. Also, the moon is hollow and contains reptile aliens, probably on holiday from their home galaxy. They use the moon as a base to broadcast mind-controlling beams in order to manipulate the way, we humans, think and behave. The Queen, the Clintons, the Bush family and apparently Justine Beiber are part human/lizard alien. We don’t observe their natural form as they are able to shapeshift through the dimensions.

So why am I bothering to write about a man who is clearly delusional? David Icke interests me for several reasons: firstly, I honestly believe that he is sincere and earnest in his beliefs. I do not think he is a charlatan or conman in the American tel-evangelist mould. Of course, I may be wrong and it is possible the whole, ‘lizard alien’ conspiracy is a means to fleece the gullible. I suggest my readers listen to the man in action on YouTube in order that they may form their own opinion (refer to the link below). Secondly, David Icke has seemingly/seamlessly tapped into the modern preoccupation with ‘new age’ sensibilities and other-world consciousness. A hash of pseudo-scientific, Eastern spiritual and other associated nonsense. From this wobbly edifice, he speaks to packed auditoriums throughout the world holding forth for eight or 10 hours to an enthralled and captivated audience.

There is no doubt that David Icke has charisma- a quality difficult to define but you know it when you see it. How otherwise is he able to keep people seated and presumably listening for such long periods? I’ve listened to a few of his monologues and I was struck by the way he introduces and delivers his fantastical/phantasmal material without a shred of evidence or coherent progression. He talks a lot about energy and like a lot of ‘New Age folk,’ he appears to have no idea of what energy actually is.  
  
I don’t think Mr Icke is mad in any conventional sense. Although, I suspect, like me, he doesn’t always take his medication, prescribed or otherwise. When he holds forth on topics not related to lizard folk and a hollow moon he makes a lot of sense. I watched a video of Icke discussing the transgender movement and I found myself in agreement with many of the points he raised. He also makes some very salient points about the world we live in, none of which are particularly controversial or new. A lot of his non-delusional material is actually commonplace and mundane: it is the delivery which makes it appear novel and supposedly interesting. His ideas concerning the control of society by powerful and rich oligarchies would ring true if espoused 2,000 years ago: truly there is nothing new under the sun. Again, I suggest my readers listen to him in action- it is difficult to paraphrase all of his opinions and ideas, mainly because he holds forth on everything and at great length. His mind must be a tumult of ideas and competing voices- reminds me of someone I know. I must admit to a grudging respect for Icke. Whatever his motivation for doing what he does, he clearly is imbued with astonishing energy (whatever that is) and a singularity of purpose which is frankly admirable. I cannot dislike a man for doing what he thinks is right, although, I disagree with much of what he has to say.

I would be interested in what my readers think of David Icke: Is he a charlatan?; a man of vision?; a true prophet of our times?; or madder than mad Jack MacMad on a particularly mad day? Let me know what you think of this rather strange and driven, man. 

.



 

Friday, 20 May 2022

National 'Anglicise NZ Day'

I'm back after a fever driven hiatus.......



                                    Mr Naguwau-Magumbo being very Rude

It has not been well publicised but today is officially recognised as: 'Anglicise New Zealand Day'. This day was initiated on the 20th of May 1832. It was inaugurated, by the then Governor of New Zealand, Sir Wolfram Vanderpump (Earl of Tipton). The proceedings were held outside the Guildhall, Russell, at Noon. Apparently, it transpired that the day was unseasonably warm and the apparel reflected the rather moist conditions. Local dignitaries were present, including the then-incumbent mayor of the capital city of Russell. Twas none other than the Right Worshipful, Enoch Dimmoch-Saxmundham (b1784 - d 1856). Apparently, the ceremony ran smoothly, until the local Maori Chieftain, and his companions decided to intervene and make their presence known. An impromptu Haka transpired and the intimidated local folk complained and thus the honour guard present was ordered to present arms and give a volley of their Brown Bess muskets. According to standard military protocol, of the day, survivors of the tirade were dispatched with the bayonet. Luckily the unsavoury event propagated by the duskies did not ruin the proceedings and the event continued unabated.

Later that day, after sundry announcements, the event concluded with a cream tea and savoury dainties; cucumber sandwiches were not included. Finality was provided by the Lady Mayoress with a spirited solo rendition of the 'Maid of Verona' in E Sharp Major, with a minimum of vibrato.   

Tis my express wish to keep these quaint ceremonies current and up to date and consequently, have written to the current Mayor of Nelson and surrounding environs, Mr Ngu Nagawatu-Mugumbo, if it would be permissible, and in keeping with this auspicious historical day, to change the local township, Kakipoopoo, to Flaxen Town. I am expecting a favourable response. Arse bucket, akimbo.      

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Bugger!

I suppose tis inevitable, the dreaded COVID has insinuated into the Flaxen Saxon Estate. We are all sick at the moment and I'm suffering severely. It will take a week or so before I'm on the mend and therefore I will take a little time off this 'blogging game'. To be honest, I'm not up to composition and my mind is a fog.

Anyway, normal service will be resumed when I'm feeling okay.