Friday 24 February 2017

Flaxen the Guru

Upon leaving the ‘Felching Ferret Hostelry’, Tipton, last Saturday night I became aware of a sudden spiritual rebirth. As urine trickled down my left leg, my soul and trouser leg became imbued with a warm moist awakening. I always knew I had the power to inspire and encourage the flow of bodily fluids and prana not only in myself but in others as well. Folk seeking distilled ethereal wisdom would often seek me out in the saloon bar and beseech me to share the knowledge of the ancients passed down generation after generation to special, insensitive initiates. I am one of those who has drunk deep from the well of unconsciousness (every Saturday night) and has become one with the universe and bed sheets. People have come to recognise that I’m a ‘font of insensible, arcane truth’. Indeed, as I leave the ‘Ferret’, folk will berate with the oft-shouted refrain: “Flaxen, you are a dozy font!”  

Consequently, and by request from Sharon the barmaid, I have decided to share my sapience to all folk who hunger for cognisance in a world obsessed with material wealth and the Kardashians. I am the way to spiritual nuance. Take large draughts from the chalice containing the pure spirit (150 proof) and revel in unrestrained, narcotic ecstasy. Heed my words and know peace.         

The following wisdom impinged upon my very being after waking up on a park bench, totally naked, at 4.00am in the morning, with a Chinaman sucking my toes.
Today’s lesson :    

We exist as sub-atomic particles.

You and I are starseeds of the galaxy. Freedom is the driver of rejuvenation.

This life is nothing short of a flowering paradigm shift of pranic rebirth.

The future will be an enlightened flowering of learning. Imagine a summoning of what could be. It is a sign of things to come.

Rebirth requires exploration. The goal of bio-electricity is to plant the seeds of serenity rather than bondage. By summoning, we self-actualize.

The complexity of the present time seems to demand an unveiling of our hearts if we are going to survive. Yes, it is possible to erase the things that can extinguish us, but not without coherence on our side. Illusion is the antithesis of balance.

Throughout history, humans have been interacting with the solar system via electromagnetic resonance. This story never ends. The dreamscape is approaching a tipping point. We must learn how to lead sacred lives in the face of bondage.

We are at a crossroads of aspiration and pain. Humankind has nothing to lose. Who are we? Where on the great journey will we be aligned? Are you ready?

Arse, wank, fick, bollocks

Next week Flaxen will dissect the essence of chi and place it in a bucket. 

Thursday 23 February 2017

Silver Fox

Silver Fox

I gave a presentation to my peers the other day entitled, 'The Genetics of Dog Domestication’ and I’ve decided to share my abundant wisdom in a truncated form, minus all the pesky population genetics and statistics. 

The presentation was inspired by a video I watched concerning the ‘Silver Fox Experiment’. The experiment was initiated in the USSR during the late 1950s. Apart from the science, there is an interesting backdrop to the story. Read on and weep.

Soviet political ideology of the 30s, 40s and the early part of the 50s, considered classical Mendelian genetics and Darwin evolutionary theory as contrary to the tenets of Leninist- Marxist ideology. Instead, Soviet policy embraced Lamarckian theory which was thought to be more in tune with the needs of the proletariat. To understand Lamarckism a little digression is required (surely not, Flaxen!). 

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed a theory of evolution in the early 19th century which did not rely on natural selection in the Darwinian sense. His theory concerned the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The giraffe is generally used to illustrate the theory. Imagine a giraffe stretching its neck to reach leaves high upon a tree. The very act of stretching causes the neck to become longer. According to Lamarckian theory, the characteristic of extra neck length becomes passed on to the offspring. Thus the environment directly acts on the organism (acquired characteristics) and alters the genetic material. No rational scientist today would seriously consider Lamarckism as a mechanism for influencing evolution in this simplistic form. However, this pre-Darwinist theory was a serious contender in the day before the proposal of evolution by natural selection and the discovery of Mendelian genetics.
Lamarckian ideas became ingrained within Soviet science and it is estimated that Stalin executed, imprisoned and exiled more than 3,000 mainstream biologists. The 'new science' was heavily promoted by Trofim Lysenko (1928), a barely literate agriculturist. He claimed he could dramatically increase crop yield by exposing wheat seeds to extremes of cold and/or humidity. Lysenko's fantastic claims gained support from the Soviet elite as it promised huge increases in the food supply and provided hope for the alleviation of devastating famines caused by Soviet mismanagement of collective farms. Needless to say, the whole venture was a disastrous failure and only abandoned after the death of Stalin in 1953.  This sorry affair reverted Soviet biology back to the dark ages and was directly responsible for the death of millions by starvation. Digression endeth.

Science can not be organised according to political or religious dictates and dogma. In their quest to bend all aspects of society to the yoke of communist ideology the Soviets ultimately broke the back of Russian and Eastern bloc science. With our benefit of hindsight, we can appreciate that communism is a failed political system. In relation to society, it fails because it strives to stifle innate individuality and creativity. People are not part of a collective and rail against conformity and structured banality. Science cannot be structured or made to fit a political scheme or precept. Good science should be free from all interference, politics included. Of course, this represents the 'counsel of perfection' which can never exist in the real world. Even in so-called liberal democracies, political interference is rampant but not as blatant and as stifling as existed under the Soviet regime. Rant over.

Back to the silver fox  
Khrushchev began to reverse Soviet genetic policy in 1959 and in that year Prof Belyaev became director of the genetics research institute in Novosibirsk, Siberia. The worthy Professor collected prime fox specimens and began a selective breeding programme. He only chose individuals which exhibited ‘tame’ behavioural characteristics. He continued to select only those foxes which showed the least fear and aggression in the presence of humans. Within six generations he started to notice some interesting features present in the selected animals. As stated, the only trait selected for was tameness; physical properties played no part in the selection process. The animals became tractable, unafraid of human contact and contained all the qualities of behaviour expected in the domestic dog. Also, they exhibited other features which we would normally associate with the dog. Some developed curly, wagging tails and floppy ears. The muzzle became shorter and the coats became multi-coloured. By selecting for one trait a host of physical attributes also became manifest. This phenomenon is not unknown to geneticists and even has a fancy name- pleiotropy. All professions like to confuse non-initiates with fancy technical jargon and genetics is no exception- keeps the proles guessing. Anyway, the term simply describes the situation where one gene influences more than one seemingly unrelated trait.

It is known from genetic studies that the dog is descended from the grey wolf. It has been estimated from proto-dog burials, that the wolf first became associated with human populations about 14,000 years ago. The advantage of two intelligent species coming together in mutual harmony is rather obvious. The wolf would provide protection and act as a sentinel. More importantly, the wolf would greatly assist with the hunt and help to bring down fleet of foot prey. The wolf/dog, in turn, would receive shelter, protection and hopefully a regular and predictable food supply. The fact that both species exhibit an ordered social hierarchy would help to mesh the species into a beneficent mutualistic whole (Flaxen spouting bollix).

Tis sobering to contemplate that the white fluffy creature gently snoring and not so gently farting on my lap is fully capable of mating (a few mechanical considerations aside) with a wolf to produce viable offspring. Although the progeny is likely to offer you their paw before biting your leg clean orrrrrrffff.

The ‘silver fox project continues to this day and it is possible to purchase one of these stunningly beautiful creatures for US$7,000. I hear tell that the Pitts have adopted two and Miley Virus keeps one in her Beverley Hills condo. She also owns a ferret called Shagger. Nuff said.

Behold the wolf

Thursday 16 February 2017


The bogan in its natural habitat

I've been pondering anew and thinking a little about class and its implications in Anglo-Saxon societies. Although Australian and New Zealand societies are supposedly classless, this is not true. Arguably the Antipodes are less class conscious and less defined by class than their British brethren, but class structures/strictures and hierarchy do exist. Societies throughout the world segregate to some degree. In some societies, it is extreme as observed in the caste system of India. In America, class awareness is based mainly on money, although there are still a number of patrician blue bloods lurking in New England, but again the upper echelons residing on the east coast are invariably wealthy. Contrast this with the typical English aristocrat who, like their ramshackle stately homes, have seen better days. Death duties and upkeep on dilapidated castles have robbed these former robber Barons of their ill-gotten gains garnished from hundreds of years of fruitful exploitation and wars with the French. In England, the aristocracy is not synonymous with great wealth.

I would like to consider a sub-type of class or 'classless' denizen of Australian and New Zealand societies known as the bogan. Bogans are a peculiar sub-culture instantly recognisable by their dress, speech, coiffure and mode of transport.

The bogan in its natural habitat.........

The bogan is a most interesting and universally loathed creature. The majority of the species are hideously repugnant, devoid of full denture and remarkably unintelligent, and yet they manage to breed in ever-increasing numbers and populate an area known as the outer west. It is quite common to find five or six offspring in each family group, often with a different father for each new baby. 

Their habitat consists of a weatherboard or brick veneer dwelling and is characterised by an early model Holden or Ford in the driveway surrounded by a group of males discussing why the carby is stuffed and the results of last night's footy (a primitive gladiator-like spectator sport enjoyed by most bogans).

The female of the species, while smaller in stature, is far more loud and aggressive than the male. While the males tend to be very friendly and congregate with other males, the females spend most of their time in supermarkets and shopping malls, using a shrill high-pitched call to discipline their children and contact other females. 

Males and females rarely interact socially except during breeding season, which is otherwise known as Friday night. During this time, females are allowed to enter the male-dominated area known as "the pub" and display their impressive coloured plumage to a prospective mate. Male plumage is universally displayed as a crest or mullet sportingly enhanced in multi-coloured hues

Herein lies an interesting phenomenon. Males will often fight over a particularly attractive female and she will mate with only one male, while some less attractive females have been known to have several partners simultaneously. 

Of course, the bogan has its equivalent throughout the western hemisphere. In the US they are affectionately known as, 'trailer trash' and in Britain as 'chavs'. Lack of taste, lack of culture and ill fortune foisted upon by nature truly knows no geographical bounds.

Trailer trash in its natural habitat

Ahhhh. The wonders of nature and the power of convergent evolution.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Wall of Contention

Not a likely scenario, methinks

Trump has managed to piss off the whole Mexican nation. It seems his talk of building a wall between the US and Latin America was not just idle rhetoric. And to be fair he did garner much of the US vote because of his stated intention to go ahead with the project. Not following through on election promises is not unknown to politicians. But Trump is no politician, he's a businessman and it looks like he really is going to run the country as if it was one mega-business-corporation. Should be an interesting ride.

The wall is not impossible to build, just difficult and expensive. As I recall from third grade geography at Tipton Secondary Modern, the border between the US and Mexico runs for about 1,900 miles. It traverses diverse landscapes: rivers (Colorado and Rio Grande), flood plains, mountains and inhospitable desert. For the wall proper, concrete will be the ideal choice for construction. Initially, Trump was thinking of building a solid concrete barrier throughout, although he has now come to contemplate the practicalities and is considering interspersing the concrete wall with traditional fencing. The wall does not have to extend the whole length of the border as nature closes down great swathes of the marchland. The cheapest 'wall' and best impediment to human movement, especially of the unwanted variety, is large expanses of water. Mother Nature always knows best in this regard. I should know as I live in New Zealand which nestles in the south pacific, 1,000 leagues from the nearest land. But the Americans don't have this luxury.

Experts reckon that only a third of the border requires a wall barrier. Several parts of the border constitute a challenge from both engineering and logistic perspectives- building walls in flood plains can be bothersome. Sectors of the border region are remote and difficult to access by man and material. Cement and men will need to move from areas of manufacture to areas of remote wall building. The answer of course is temporary settlements which rove as the wall progresses. The wall at one point will encroach on a Native American Reservation. The tribal elders have already expressed resistance to allowing a wall to cross land under their jurisdiction and Trump will need a Congressional bill to force the issue. Unfortunately he doesn’t have recourse to shooting the natives or infecting them with smallpox as in times of yore. In New Zealand we have a similar problem regarding the Maoris, however we are allowed to shoot them on one day of the year as long as it is before noon (Waitangi Day- hooray). Eat lead pesky Maoris! Stop digressing Flaxen.

As for cost: now there is an imponderable conundrum. No one really knows how much it will cost but estimates range from 10 to 20 billion dollars. This does not include annual maintenance and upkeep which adds on 750 million dollars per annum. Trump will also need to budget for 21,000 agents to patrol the barrier ($1.4 billion a year). Actually the wall could act as an economic stimulus as numerous industries are required. Transport is a must as are large amounts of construction manpower. And this is definitely a long term project. The irony of course is that a fair chunk of the manpower building and patrolling the wall will be of Mexican descent, all labouring away to keep their stealing, raping, brethren out.

Trump reckons the Mexicans will pay for the wall. The Mexicans say nay. Looks like a classical Mexican standoff to me. Hola! Of course Trump does not expect the Mexican government to pay the US administration directly. It has been suggested that a 20% import tax could be levied on Mexican goods entering the US. This could gather about 13 billion dollars a year. It is estimated that around 25 billion dollars is sent to Mexico every year by Mexicans residing in the US. This represents 2% of the Mexican GDP. By threatening to stem this flow of gelt the US could conceivably exert a powerful lever on the Mexican government to cough up funds or risk economic recession. However, this plan if implemented would severely damage Mexican-US diplomatic relations. Even hard core Republicans are not keen on this plan as it has the obvious taint of extortion. As a hard nosed businessman this argument is unlikely to bother Trump. Less provocative measures involve increasing fees on visas applications and border crossing cards.

Though I wouldn't go as far as saying that I’m starting to like Trump, he is certainly earning my respect. The fact that he is stirring the international political pot and causing concern and consternation amongst career politicians, even within his own party, is no bad thing

Just a final word on the effectiveness of the wall stemming illegal immigration: Although I have no doubt that the wall will have a major impact on unwanted human traffic, especially in areas of high population density, it will also encourage economic migrants to force passage through difficult and relatively inaccessible border regions. And I wonder how long it will take the 'human traffickers' to organise and facilitate these crossing attempts? Where human desperation and misery are conjoined with human ingenuity and the potential to make squidoodles (not a real word) of cash, anything is possible.

Friday 3 February 2017

A change of pace: UPDATE

An earlier project


I've been busy of late with other projects so I've not had time to write; hence the scarcity of posts. I've been devoting time to developing new skills and investigating potential hobbies in preparation for my impending retirement. I have always been a busy person and my wife worries about how I will fill in time once I give up my hectic work schedule. To be fair she thinks I'll spend most of my spare time sequestered in my study, alone, writing. And to be honest I think she is right. With the world slowly going 'tits up' it has become increasingly enticing for me to withdraw into my inner phantasmal world.....

My new preoccupation is of an outside physical nature. As with all my interests I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into the activity as if a maniacal frenzied loon had taken possession of my very soul. At least it keeps the neighbours at bay. Although we did receive a complaint the other day when I wandered about the deck stark bollock naked. This is particularly interesting as I have a large garden retreating into native woodland and you would need a powerful pair of binoculars to obtain the full benefit of my disrobed gyrations. I'm sure the complaint wasn't for ascetic reasons as I'm a fine, well endowed figure of a man. I've digressed.

I think my wife was pleased at first as I wasn't spending hours on my own, writing, until she came to realise that I'm spending hours, on my own, in the garage, making stuff. Different hobby, same dedication and same time spent alone.

I'll not divulge, my new preoccupation, as yet. Let's just say, it isn't golf or country dancing.