Sunday 29 November 2015


                                  Let them eat cak 
Have you ever had an irresistible urge to eat something you shouldn't. I'm not talking about that extra slice of chocolate cake or the 'Big Kak, Mega Lard Burger'. I'm thinking non-standard food items, such as paint, soil or animal faeces. If so, take heart, as you are not alone. The ingestion of non-nutritious and unusual items is part of a condition called, Pica.

Pica is fairly standard behaviour in some animals. Domestic dogs are not only fond of rolling in animal dung but are also known to ingest faeces, either their own or other animal faeces found, fortuitously. Why they do this is a mystery especially as the average domestic hound is adequately nourished. Must be something in their dark evolutionary past. Behaviour which seems inexplicable to us is explicable to nature.    

Young children are curious concerning the environment they inhabit. Left to their own devices the under two squad will sample the delights of their immediate vicinity with relish and aplomb (steady Flaxen). Thus, soil, sand and the local fauna will end up endlessly masticated by dirt besmirched jaws. Strictly, this is not a manifestation of Pica, just bad parenting.

Pregnant women are known to crave certain food items such as pickles, spicy food or ice cream. Sometimes the foods are combined into unusual associations not  considered normal culinary fare. Why pregnant women have these, often intense, cravings is not really known. Some doctors postulate that it is driven by lack of minerals or vitamins but the evidence is lacking. Perhaps it is related to the hormone helter-skelter women experience during pregnancy? The honest answer is that we just don't know. Generally this sort of behaviour is not harmful if not carried to excess. Problems occur when pregnant woman crave  non-food items. Strangely, the most common substances ingested are dirt, mortar, laundry starch and clay. Eating compounds such as dirt and mortar can erode teeth and cause periodontal disease. Ingesting, unsterilised soil, straight from the veggie patch, has the additional risk of parasite infection. Generally the cravings disappear once the brat has escaped the womb.

 Intractable Pica is for adults who should know better and are not mad; not mutually exclusive. That said, Pica has recently been described as a mental disorder. Anything these days can be described as a mental disorder as long as you can find 'none mad' advocates who need to fund a lavish life-style; ain't dat the sad truth. And of course, we need to exclude 'inappropriate ingestion/indigestion' due to cultural reasons. As an aside, cultural Pica often has a very practical application. The ingestion of clay by certain African tribes is prudent if a catholic diet of the prevailing fauna is a necessity. Clay adsorbs toxins present in plants and aids digestion; break out the bicarbonate of soda and bismuth. Charcoal serves a similar role, although carcinogenic, allegedly. When rooting for subsistence, cancer/chancre is the least of your worries.

So, the watchword(s) be: not eat shit (literally and metaphorically); don't get pregnant; do not undergo childhood, under any circumstances and don't become mad unless you are wealthy enough to afford a good psychiatrist like the good Professor, Mugumbo: 230 Guineas an hour, not including rest breaks. Arse akimbo.

Shiny things.....

Saturday 28 November 2015

Ten things you didn't know about Kim un Jong and didn't want to ask Mr Patel at the corner shop

Who ate all da pies?

We all know Kim un Jong as the loveable, affable, glorious leader of the Democratic Republic of North Korea. But what do we know about the prodigy himself, really?  Often as I leave the 'Scrofula Arms', Tipton, on a Saturday night imbued with 17 pints of Banks best bitter, I'm accosted by sundry revellers who regale me with their lamentable deformities and once satiated, and replete, vocalise, thusly: "Flaxen, you big hairy inebriate and ferret fancier of renown. Why don't you un-lift the veil of enigma and  trepidation which shrouds the glorious nation of North Korea, in a miasma of gross turpitude. But specifically, we want to know more about the god/man (more god than man, mayhap?) that bestrides the nation like a bespoke colossus".

Frankly, after much discussion with my psychiatrist, Professor Defacto Mugumbo, I have decided to unload my insistent knowledge gained when incarcerated, as a guest, in Ping Pong's Mental Health and Indoctrination Centre, North Chorea. So here, in no definable order, is Flaxen Saxon's insight into the life of Kim un Yong.

1. Kim un Jong's haircut has been adopted as the only official haircut endorsed in North Korea. Hence, it only takes 20 minutes to train the average barber with template.

2. Kim un Jong is 6 foot 3 inches tall, but to express solidarity with his well nourished and beloved people he has insisted that all photos of himself should be taken at a jaunty angle which shows him represented as 4 foot 9 inches, thus in accord with the prevailing height of the average Northern Korean.

3.  North Korea is all about being healthy, slim and fit. Obesity has been officially banned. Few edicts have been followed with such universal fixation and dare I say it, aplomb. Although the glorious leader is the exception which proves the rule. Also, he is an acknowledged breatharian with a glandular problem.

4. Kim un Jong was manufactured fully formed and did not undergo gestational restriction as mere mortals experience. Henceforth any representation of Kim un Jung's belly button is a mere figmentation (not a real word) of photoshop enthusiasts.

5. Kim un Jong has never endorsed a nuclear programme in glorious North Korea. North Korea is rich in plutonium isotopes and all citizens are encouraged, at the point of a bayonet, to visit all North Korea's non-radioactive facilities to achieve that all round healthy tan and that all too fashionable, and in vogue disease, leukaemia. Cough. 

6. Kim un Jong encourages animal rights and has a particular interest in young succulent dogs. In accord with his wishes, da Glorious Leader has set up a pound for itinerant hounds serendipitously housed next to 'Mr Kim ate Chow's slaughterhouse, cum restaurant for party members not on the latest list to be executed by anti-aircraft gun fire. 

7. The Leader eschews alcohol and drugs of any description/prescription. His favourite beverage is a rum vodka mix with a hint of angostura bitters. Because of his unearthly metabolism, before he quaffs said elixir, the concoction turns to the sweetest spa water.      

8. Kim un Jong's favourite sport is skiing. He is a frequent and notorious participant on the piste. In his finer moments, he has been described as a: 'Slope on the slope, pissed'.     

9. The Leader's education was prolific and swift. Indeed, his absorption of knowledge was unequalled by any previous scholar. It is prophesied on the wind, that he has gained several degrees in woodwork, geography, social studies and physical education.   

10. The Leader leads a simple life as only a man allowed access to a poor countries' resources can be. The simple people are devoted to Kim un Jong, as are the military elite. The 'Kim' brand has merit and should be continued until lack of issue or impending political collapse evokes change. Anyway, the Generals with the broad hats are expected to be watching China, closely.  

Arse, big fat, arse.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Ode to a Weta

Weta of Doom

O Weta, where is thy sting,
It is in my arm pumping poison, with alacrity and aplomb.
O Wetta, how can you sting me through my very thick sweater?
You don’t have a sting, neither. 

You will have to forgive the 'double negative' in the last line and put it down to 'poetic license'. To be honest, I struggled with the metre and medication.

I thought it necessary to comment on my little ditty in order to deflect censure and to provide context. Wetas are insects indigenous to New Zealand. They are found in a range of habitats and comprise about 70 distinct species. They are large, nasty looking, and mimic the disconcerting habitus of a cockroach. They are bereft of sting, but the largest of the species can give a nasty nip. My ferret, Shagger, chomps on them with relish- at least it keeps him away from the native birds such as the Kiwi. "What's that, Shagger? You eat the Kiwis as well, but only when I'm distracted by shiny things". That will explain why I keep finding feathers in my duvet. Bad ferret! No small kibble for you tonight. Your punishment: I shall release you into the bush. There you can contemplate your folly and seek repentance. Also, I need a few more feathers for my pillow.  

Little known fact: In Maori, 'Weta' means- 'fat arsed cockroach'.       Arse

Saturday 21 November 2015


Homer's interpretation of the famous painting: 'The Meme"
Next week I'm giving a presentation to my peers, entitled: 'The Genetics of Schizophrenia'. The topic itself is fascinating to me and not only because of the scientific content. As you may know, there is a large heritable component to schizophrenia and as much as 80% of the liability contributing to the disorder is genetic. Schizophrenia segregates in my family. My mother has been afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia throughout most of her adult life. This has, and continues to have, a profound impact on her life. She has been sectioned on four occasions. The last time, two years ago, she spent 10 months in a secure mental health unit. I was aware of my mother's diagnosis from a relatively early age. My father, when alive, managed my mother's condition with skill and compassion. Only once during his watch was my mother incarcerated and that was when she was first diagnosed. 

Behavioural conditions are hard to define from a genetic perspective. Many interacting genes are involved and there is usually an environmental component or trigger. Furthermore, our response to environmental ‘factors’ is very much conditioned by our genetic makeup –thus adding another layer of complexity to an already labyrinthine situation. And then, there are epigenetic phenomena to contend with.......  

We are in our infancy concerning the genetic factors involved although several hundred genes have been implicated in schizophrenia. Furthermore, epigenetic changes are also involved. When I was at 'Big school' I was taught the 'Central Dogma Theory'. Basically, this states that genetic information flows in one direction only, from DNA, to RNA, to protein. This means that genetic changes are inviolate from environmental influence. To think otherwise was heretical and akin to the discarded theory of Lamarckism. I've added a link if you would like to know more about this fascinating pre-evolutionary theory. However, relatively recently it has been shown that environmental factors can influence gene expression by a mechanism called 'epigenetic transformation'. Thus, environmental insults can change gene expression, not by mutation within the gene, but by altering DNA conformation or by adding methyl groups to gene promoters. Thus, genes are ‘switched off or on’ according to environmental whim (not really). Clearly, the foetus, and especially the early gestational foetus, is highly responsive to environment changes mediated through the mother. Apart from this 'direct' influence, environmental changes can result in epigenetic changes which alter gene expression in the developing foetus. These changes can have profound affects on the developing baby which often continue to take hold throughout adult life. Moreover, once a ‘genetic imprint’ is achieved, it can be passed down the generations. Many of these changes we would consider maladaptive, especially when they are the consequence of extreme maternal stress or distress. Epigenetic changes, from an evolutionary perspective, are actually adaptive and enable organisms to cope with situations, which otherwise, might result in foetal demise.      

Being mad is not all bad news. It has been recognised for a long time that mental illness is associated with creativity and dare I say it, 'genius'. Aristotle, the famed ancient Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC had this to say: "Why is it that all those who have become preeminent in politics or poetry or art are clearly melancholics." But it is only in the past couple of years that we have been able to place this anecdotal observation on a firm scientific footing. Genetic factors predisposing to schizophrenia have been found to be enriched in folk of an 'artistic bent' compared to non-histrionic folk. And conversely, scientists have less of these predisposing factors compared to the general population. Make of this data, what you will.     

Schizophrenics, especially when in the throes of acute florid episodes are subject to delusions. During such periods my mother has several very strong delusions and often recurrent delusions. One delusion stands out. She believes that scientists are conducting experiments on her mind, remotely. When my mother is well all the delusions melt away, except one. We were chatting last week and during the conversation she casually announced: 'The Scientists' had been conducting experiments on her the previous night. Generally I don't comment. This delusion has been persistent for many years and no matter what I say, it remains undiminished. However, on this occasion I pointed out the obvious, as I've done many times, previously. She looked me straight in the eye and said: "But my dear Flaxen (not my real name) you would say that, wouldn't you? You are the 'Head Scientist' supervising the experiments".........             Arse

Friday 20 November 2015

Pareidolia revisited

I see smelly people. No Flaxen, that's called synesthesia. Stop being a twat. 

My mind is particularly adept at recognising coherent patterns in stuff. Tis a gift and a curse and most distracting when I'm trying to do sensible shit, and stuff. If you say, God then the education system has failed you, woefully.

Apparently this is a horse after its hind end got stuck in a meat grinder. Wings obviously got caught as well. If you look carefully you can see the trail of intestines, blood and gore.

Regard and see an infarct in the brain stem- honestly tis not my nan. Mayhap an aberration in the cerebral cortex. Arse.

No points for picking out Mother Teresa from amongst da craters.

Yep, he gets everywhere. He is omnisausage, after all.

Da Poppa practising for da after life. It only hurts until the nerves burn away. After that, it is all about the muscle contractures- ask the monks.

I see ferrets, everywhere.........

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Prince Shagger is not amused

'Shagger the ferret' dressing up as Prinz Barrington

Wonderful emancipating news emanating from the be-speckled bestrewn, charming metropolitan district of North Tipton. It has just been announced that Prince Barry and his delightful consort, Princess Kylie, will make their inaugural visit to Tipton town next Michaelmas Eve. The incumbent Mayor, Baby, Baby Doc Vowel, is said to be beside himself with rapture and has commemorated the impending event by drawing a horsey in crayon, festooned and resplendent with a jauntily placed crown.

The royal doublet will be protected throughout the visit by the depleted Tipton police force armed with sticks with a nail through the end. Special force sniffer ferrets will ferret through the impending venues with suitable aplomb. Police Commissioner, Mr Officious Mugumbo, had this to say when sober : “It is incumbent on me as the Police Commissioner of this prestigious and well-appointed community to ensure that the royal heirs are afforded protection as befits my station as they gaily enjoy unfettered, and in the case of Princess Kylie, unbridled access to our urbane  sprawl.”

There is mounting concern that the royal visit may spark an outrage from various disgruntled fraternal organisations, such as the aptly named, Tipton Sewing Circle (TSC) and the North Dudley Organisation for the Advancement of Crochet (NDOAC). Both organisations feel slighted as their recent applications for a ‘Royal Charter’ have been rejected on the gainsay of Prince Barry. There is no love lost between these respective organisations either. It is only a decade ago that the TSC and NDOAC vied for control of the lucrative bodkin outlets. Many  TSC members were stitched up, ‘like a kipper’. Others were rushed to Tipton Royal Infirmary suffering from a severe case of the ‘vapours’ after having their bustles and gussets ruffled by rival seamstresses.

During their visit, the royal duo will sample all the delights Tipton has to offer. The itinerary includes a  tour of the glue factory followed by a saunter to the adjacent and strategically placed home for knackered nags. Princess Kylie has a particular interest in the welfare of our equine friends as she has an uncanny resemblance to a haggard old hinny. The culmination of the trip will involve the couplet being whisked orf in a private jet generously provided for by the tax burdened burghers of Tipton. Arse crinkle.

On hearing of the impending visit Mrs Ida Giveafuck, had this to say: “Why don’t they just fuck off and visit Dudley instead.

Wise words Mrs Giveafuck, wise words, indeed……       

Mrs Giveafuck

Saturday 14 November 2015

Big Numbers

What do we know about very large numbers? Even the dullard knows that numbers continue forever..... Think of a very large number and add 1; repeat as necessary. But what about very large, useful numbers. How big can it get? Well, the googol is very large and is represented as 1, followed by a 100 zeros. This is more than enough to deal with all the particles in the known universe, which comes in at an understated 1 with 80 zeros. There is also the googolplex or 1 followed by a googol of zeros. Tis enough to goggle ya mind, eh? This number is so large that if you converted the universe into paper it would not be enough to write all the zeros on. But sadly we inhabit the real world and are forced to contemplate numbers which have meaning.

I'm bothered by very large numbers. To be honest, I'm bothered and perplexed by many things but numbers have a special place in my botherment and plexibility (yes, I know I've just made these words up. But one day they will appear in a lexicon, near you- mark my words). When I close my eyes, all I see is a sea of numbers cascading over themselves in vivid colours.

Graham's number
Ronald Graham is an American mathematician. He was working on a particularly obtuse mathematical problem which required the application of very big numbers. The problem is illustrated below:   
Connect each pair of geometric vertices of an n-dimensional hypercube to obtain a complete graph on 2n vertices. Colour each of the edges of this graph either red or blue. What is the smallest value of n for which every such colouring contains at least one single-coloured complete sub-graph on four coplanar vertices?

Bloody mathematicians are just weird. Graham came up with a solution back in 1977. Weirdly this number has entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest number used in a serious mathematical proof. Unlike the very large numbers most of us can come up with, given a boring wet Sunday afternoon, Graham's number is not arbitrary and has a use in the wonderful world of mathematics. This number is so mind-bogglingly large that conventional mathematical notation won't do. A special notation is required. A notation by the name of: 'The hyperoperation sequence'. I'm not going to delve into the concept too deeply as it will become tedious to readers not schooled in number theory. For our purpose, it is necessary to note that it involves the application of iteration: where each operation in the sequence is an iteration up from the previous operation. It is enough to say that the notation enables the manipulation of extreme numbers without the need for an infinite number of pencils or writing pads. This notation enables serious mathematicians to go into a frenzy of number operations and keeps them from the dining table and stops them interacting with normal human beings. This has got to be a good thing, because as I mentioned earlier, professional mathematicians, unlike myself (just a none weird amateur), are exceedingly strange folk and should not be approached unless you are armed with a particularly difficult mathematical proof which you can lay at their feet as tribute. Then you are free to rifle their home at will and violate their women folk unrestrained. Oh, I forgot to mention a very salient fact, you will find no women folk in a mathematician's abode- unless its their mother; I'll stop there.     

By the way, Graham's number is so fucking huge, that in comparison I can contemplate death with veritable aplomb. 

 I've just thought of another number larger than Graham's number, tis Graham's number to the power of Graham's number. Beat that!

Flaxen banging on about the god concept, once again......

I thought Odin only had one eye?
As mentioned in a previous post, discussions about deities are pointless unless we have a rigorous definition of what is meant by the word, 'god'. Theists often propose that their concept of god is based on faith. So now instead of having one unknown concept, we have two. Faith is blithely waved about like a weapon without any attempt to bore us with its calibre. But this post is not about faith and I mustn't become distracted, but remain fixed of purpose and pursue my quarry straight, like a ferret down a particularly straight, rabbit hole.

As we stand, unless convinced otherwise, 'god', as a concept, is cognitively empty and before we can embark on a quest to prove the existence of 'god' a formal description of the concept, 'god', is required. Otherwise, the word 'god' remains as meaningless as the word, 'mugumbo' and we remain, as usual, pissing in the wind and intellectually adrift in an insentient, uncaring universe. Until a solid definition is proposed, the statement, 'god exists' is logically absurd. I can feel a slight digression coming on: Anon. commentator: "But surely Flaxen, 'mugumbo' is real to you and is redolent in imagery and allegory. Surely mugumbo inhabits a very magical neuronal network deep within your cortex. Only when you challenge and excise this very real daemon will you find solace and peace. Only then will you be free from this inner turmoil". FS: "I can't do it today, I've laundry to do and hounds to walk and ferrets to tame. You don't think those undergarments peel themselves off the ceiling by themselves, do ya?" Mugumbo acknowledges my point and retreats back to his lair, deep in my psyche, to await a more propitious time.  

The search for a sound definition of 'god' has a long historical pedigree, but you will find none of it in the Old Testament. The 'Old Storm Warrior God' insinuates with barbaric intensity. Ask him for a definition and you will invite a plague of boils/piles. Or worse, the Tiptonites will violate the first born until the 7th generation.

The question: provide a definition of 'god’ is deceptively simple. But there has been much ink and blood spilt over this most vexed of concepts. And of course, the notion of god varies according to believer and to the degree of philosophical sophistication, of the believer. For example, the modern Christian concept of god owes only a ‘nod’ to the ‘Old Testament’ deity and how many committed Christians have read the Old Testament?  For the scholars, the concept is replete with dogmatic scholastic philosophy picked up during late antiquity and early middle ages. And as such, is heavily doused in ancient Greek metaphysical constructs. But what about the Baptists in the deep south of the States, or the 'Happy Clappy' brigade in the comfortable suburbs? And don't get me going about the Jehovah's Witnesses; where is the philosophy in that?
Some cultures believe in a plurality of deities. There can be no one single concept. Some gods are omniscient, some are not. Some gods are interested in the fate of humans and interact, accordingly; others set things in motion and then are indifferent to the fate of humankind and so on. The point: The extent of ‘The god concept’ is only limited by the human imagination. This propels us neatly to the minimum attributes that a god must have from a metaphysical and epistemological aspect, to qualify as a 'god'. The only attribute necessary for a god is that it must ‘exist’ (or have existed) and that its existence is somehow ‘outside’ the natural universe. God demands to be a supernatural being. For if a god is within the known universe it is a creature explicable to man and subject to universal causality. It may be superior to man, but it is not a god in any serious sense. Otherwise, a man would be a god to a dog and a dog, a god/agog to a slime mold- if only they could know it. It follows, that ‘god’ is not a human, writ large, although anthropomorphic religious fundamentalists would disagree.

All this follows from logic. So what sport can we have?

This is but an introduction to more sophistically orientated japes. In the next post, in this series, I will delve further into the dark concept which most folk simply accept as 'true', through cultural conditioning and lack of cognition.

Seems a fair question


Thursday 12 November 2015

Flaxen being a lazy twat

Frankly, I really couldn't be arsed to post anything of my own, so I nicked this stuff because it made me smile, a bit

Newton would have been proud

Not everyone gets drunk

This one is too close to home to be funny

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Bishop of Cloyne

'Today I saw a chair that wasn't there. It wasn't there again today. I wish I wish, it would go away'

Of all the Empiricist philosophers, the notions of Bishop George Berkeley seem to be the most absurd. Most folk, if they regard him at all, remember his idea that: 'material objects do not exist independently of the observing mind'.

Berkeley (1685-1753) was born in Ireland to William Berkeley, a member of the English nobility. He enjoyed a varied and well travelled professional life and in 1734 was appointed the Bishop of Cloyne, Ireland. Berkeley wrote extensively on many subjects throughout his life including optics and mathematics although, much of his controversial philosophical work was composed whilst in his mid-20s.

Berkeley accepted Locke's notion that secondary sensible qualities of objects are mere ideas in the mind. Thus, the colour of an object will vary according to ambient light. The sound elicited from an object will depend on the distance of the observer from the object; place an object in a vacuum and there is no sound at all. The smell of an object will change whether the perceiver has sinusitis, or not. There is nothing very controversial here and the savants of the time had no trouble assimilating such notions, although they quibbled over intellectual trifles and minutiae. Where Berkeley deviated from common sensibility concerned his concept of material objects. Locke acknowledged that secondary sensible qualities are observer dependent but did not deny the independent existence of material objects. A material object, according to Locke, has primary characteristics such as size, shape and solidity which exist as physical entities and therefore, owe an existence independent of the casual onlooker. Berkeley took the case one step further and declared that all primary, so-called solid material characteristics are illusory and only exist in the mind of the observer. Berkeley declared: 'can an object exist if there is no one to observe that object?' Berkeley thought it incoherent to consider any object existing, materially. Objects are only a perception and a conjured notion of the mind; without minds there can be no material world. By extension, a mind can only know perceptions and ideas, not the objects themselves. This concept in itself leads to solipsism. Solipsism considers that nothing can exist outside the mind. In its extreme form, it states that only 'my mind' exists and that everything in the world is simply a projection of my insular existence. Therefore, any comments pertaining to this post will be nought but projections of my turbulent and disordered psyche. If no comments are forthcoming it will be an indication that my current medication is starting to take hold. 

So, according to the good Bishop, what happens to a chair placed in a room? If we stand in the room the chair exists in the mind of the perceiver. If we leave the room and slam the door shut the chair is no longer seen and therefore no longer exists. Everything in the universe is immaterial and what we 'see' is an immaterial idea elaborated by a sentient mind. Do objects actually comply with Berkeley's shaky existence? When the door shuts will the chair disappear? Berkeley manages to overcome this problem by stating that all objects are perceived by an infinite god. Thus, all unperceived matter is ultimately a projection of the mind of god. I’m glad Berkeley proposed this solution. Otherwise, I would be forever leaving the door slightly ajar, trying to determine the exact moment the chair ‘winked’ out of existence. I suspect the project would have been demanding and ultimately I would have been driven quite sane.

As expected, Berkeley's radical notions were greeted with ridicule by the leading minds of the day. Dr Samuel Johnson famously kicked a large stone and exclaimed: "I refute it thus". Berkeley's thesis defies our common-sense intuitive grasp of what we consider as 'reality'. The genius of the proposition becomes apparent when we try to refute it. Like extreme solipsism, immaterialism is a hard concept to falsify, if we stick to rational analysis. Some say that Berkeley's concept is not so daft in the light of modern quantum theory. Experimental evidence suggests that matter, at the quantum level, does not exist until it is measured or in other words, unless observed.

"If you had closed your eyes it wouldn't have hurt"

There was a young man who said "God
Must find it exceedingly odd
To think that the tree
Should continue to be
When there's no one about in the quad."

"Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd;
I am always about in the quad.
And that's why the tree
Will continue to be
Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God."

Sunday 8 November 2015

There be Basilisks...

Are you aware of the 'dark web'? Until relatively recently I had no idea that an alternative internet existed. It is not to be found using conventional browsers and requires a download for its perusal. Apparently, the stuff you can access by the likes of Google accounts for less than 1% of the web sites out in the aether. The rest is hidden to Google's search bots and as you might expect, some of the websites on the 'dark web' are not for the faint-hearted. To gain entry you need to download a browser  called, TOR, which stands for 'The Onion Router'. Your location is not revealed and browsing habits are not monitored, maybe. Apparently the system is set up so your browser experience is totally anonymous. This is achieved by routing your search through a series of network nodes and each stage of the process is encrypted. Therefore, in theory, the whole browsing experience remains unassailable.  

So what sort of sites can you find on the under web? Government agencies use it to place files not meant for common readership. Obviously, you can't access this sort of stuff. I suspect, like the conventional web, much of what you can access is fairly harmless and banal. However, there are sites which might be considered as gnarly. The 'Silk Road' was particularly notorious and sold drugs and guns. Interestingly, the site was recently closed down and the owner prosecuted by the FBI. So much for anonymity. I suppose there is a measure of 'privacy' and most folk will not warrant close attention and be exposed. Although if you gain the attention of the 'authorities' then there is no such thing as total 'un-traceability'; browser beware. There are sites where you can hire a hit man; sites supposedly showing 'snuff' videos and other extreme stuff that we can all imagine but can't comprehend.

If you do decide to access the 'Dark Web', the watchword should be, 'prudent surfing'. Some things once seen can't be unseen. Take care. Although I have downloaded TOR, I haven't used it yet. There are some really sick bastards out there and they all have internet access. For all my bluster, I'm fairly conventional in my browsing tastes and have no wish to stray into the dark, horrid abyss. My nightmares are florid enough as it is.

No terrorist purchase allowed!

Friday 6 November 2015

Winter is coming........

Watch out! There is a nasty Nip in the air

Okay, winter is only coming to you poor buggers in the northern hemisphere. Keep warm, burn a migrant, or as we like to call them in the southern hemisphere, 'illegal immigrants'. Then again, burn a politician, equally greasy and of the same calorific value. Of course, importing millions of Muslims into Western Europe solves everyone's problems, expect Western Europe's.  Keep warm and don't let the porous borders bite. 

Tis warfare by another means

Thursday 5 November 2015

Flaxen banging on about Tipton, once again

'Baby Doc' in happier days with his entourage

Shocking news from the austere, authoritarian, utilitarian state of North Tipton! It has just been announced by the military government that the incumbent Mayor of Tipton, 'Baby Doc' Vowel has been exposed as running a despotic, autocratic tyranny and haberdashery. The signs have been apparent for anyone to see if they could be bothered to seek. But 'Baby Doc' was held in such awe, fear and reverence that few questioned his penchant for dressing as a full general in high heels.

On hearing the news on North Tipton's sole and official radio station: 'The glorious airways for the promulgation of truth and reality in the glorious state of North Tipton', Mrs No Ipod, wailed vexedly: "I always considered our Mayor to be a bit of a poncy twat, but he did look good in nipple rouge.”

Baby Doc will be remembered for his aggressive posture toward the neighbouring state of South Tipton. In particular ‘Baby Doc’ repeatedly threatened to release weapons grade effluent into South Tipton’s water supply unless they supplied copious amounts of high heels and sundry haberdashery. Political pundits have forever pontificated on the inherent instability of a regime predicated on repression and total isolation. However, due to a continual, unfettered televisual programming of reality shows, such as: ‘I’m a dwarf lesbian single mother with ASD, living the dream in North Tipton- get me out of here’, most of the citizens have lost the ability for cogent sentient thought.  

There is speculation about who will take over the role of North Tipton's charismatic dictator. Smart money is on 'Baby Doc's infant son, 'Mini-Baby Doc'. Although only 4 years old, he has already won over the hearts and weapons of Tipton's ruling military elite.

'Baby Doc' will be executed later today by a barrage of invective and stale pork pies.

No Ipod

Tuesday 3 November 2015

A Comment on Human Understanding

'Hume, you are fat bastard'

We live in a world of cause and effect. Something occurs and an event or effect follows on from that initial cause. Without the initiating event, there can be no subsequent follow-on event. This is how the real world works, doesn't it? Some folk state that an infinite regress of 'causes' is not possible and therefore, we must have an initiating, first cause. Therefore, there must be an ultimate 'first cause' and some wise folk reckon that this first cause must be the hand of god; ergo god exists. Now this is an excellent example of specious reasoning and easily demolished with a little stern thought- another post, perhaps?

However, we should be wary in thinking that every example of cause and effect, although correlated, represents a causal chain of action. This is a trap to ensnare the intellectually lazy; observer beware! There is a nice Latin tag for this sort of thing: 'post hoc ergo propter hoc'. This fallacy renders into English as: "After this, therefore because of this."  Here is such  an example: Consider two clocks sitting on a shelf. They are both set to chime on the hour however, the first clock has been set to chime one second before its companion time piece. A naive observer may reason that the chime of the first clock initiates the chime of the second. Even after a thousand observations the correlation of the two events would remain perfect. Only a madman, or an African Bushman, would be swayed and convinced by causality in this instance. Other examples are not so obvious. Spurious deduction from 'causative correlation' is beloved by the politician and the bane of the scientist.

The British Empiricist Philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776) understood this problem very well and couched it in lucid and beautifully canted prose. Hume was a student of induction and thus considered that most of our knowledge is based on our sensory experience. In this way, he deviated from the ancient Greek philosophers who placed a greater emphasis on pure thought. Both methodologies have their place and all knowledge comes from both these fundamental sources; nothing else exists.     

Hume did not take causation for granted and challenged our common sense intuitive approach to the subject. He raised the problem of 'correlation' and considered cause and effect an artificial juxtaposition imposed by the mind. I think he was right to expose causation to intellectual rigour. He stated, that when we experience 'causation' we can only say that one event follows another event in time. We can't state for certain that the events are causally connected, or can we? The argument that constant conjunction between events infers causation, in the general sense, is flawed. As we have seen with the problem of 'The Chiming Clocks', correlation  does not necessarily imply causation. Furthermore, Hume considers that the inference of causal events is not based on reason but adherence to custom. It is simply the mind making the connection of causality, whether causality actually occurs on any particular occasion is a different question. Are there instances where we can be certain that event 'A' causes event 'B'. Of course there are, otherwise we would be living in a madman's dream. Are we able to refute Hume whilst taking into account some of his salient points?

I think Hume is correct to think that our minds are conditioned to recognise patterns of correlation from which we then, extrapolate; how could it be any other way? As one event follows another we make the connection that the first event invokes the second event. And with repetition we become more convinced in our deduction. When we strike our thumb with a hammer is it correct to deduce that the subsequent pain and swelling is due to the descent of the hammer? We don't have to repeat the performance in this instance; ultimate wisdom follows from a single blow and cause and effect is fixed in the mind after a single, very painful, observation of conjoined events. If Hume is wrong in this simple example then he must be wrong in others also. It is not difficult to conceive other such instances of such clear causality. Hume may concede the point but rejoinder that the general 'idea' of causation is fixed in the mind, in the first place, by the conjoining of contiguous events.  

It is a matter of conjecture whether Hume believed of what he wrote and if he did, to what extent. Philosophers are scamps and do not always write as they think. Nevertheless, their writings provide a spur for deeper thought and thus make us intellectually richer. Not me, though, I'm still pondering the problem of the hammer. Wisdom, for some, can only be gained once they run out of fingers. Now to dream......

'God, you don't exist'