11 February 2018

On Truth, Opinions and Big Steps forward

This week, I removed someone as a friend on Facebook because of a post they shared that contained a bunch of racist, homophobic, transphobic and sciencephobic statements and untruths. When I commented that every line in the post was untrue, I was told that I have my opinions, and they have theirs, and if I don’t like it I should just move along… As if facts can be objective.

Somehow, it is acceptable now to position a fact as an opinion, and suggest that such an opinion is wrong, and even on the wrong side of godly law (i.e. Satanic). So, what is the difference?

A fact is something that can be backed up by evidence, while an opinion is based in belief or point of view. So, stating that the earth is round is based in fact, but your unhappiness with this fact is your opinion. The earth being round can never be an opinion in this universe, no matter how much you argue that it is.

In this post-truth world, fact checking is important, and there are a great many resources available for doing so. Even when reading the news, make sure you read from a variety of sources, as single outlets cannot be trusted to report objectively anymore. But then, my single reader, you know this already Smile

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This week, many of us used technology to witness an amazing event – the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It seemed to have captured the attention and imagination of many people, even not directly involved in scientific work, for several reasons. Reusable rockets suddenly bring humans so much closer to affordable space travel, and man, that landing of the booster rockets was seriously impressive. I mean, just look at this:

Suddenly, the rest of the solar system is a lot closer than it was a week ago, and space exploration is possible. And this is very important, considering the Orange One has no interest in scientific investment and wants to stop funding projects like the International Space Station in the near future.

I may also have a small intellectual crush on Elon Musk, and love the fact that he launched his own Tesla Roadster into space, paying tribute to both Douglas Adams and David Bowie in the process. And, of course, for giving us images like this:

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(images found with a Bing search)

It also gives me hope for humanity. Because, at a time when truth can be positioned as opinion, we can still achieve great things, and we can, for a moment, forget that right wing opinion appears to be main stream again.

3 February 2018

On aging up and memories

Twenty one years ago, my life changed forever. This wonderful little human came into my life and gave me a reason to live and be the best me I can ever be.

I dug out some of our photos of this person from the last twenty one years, and tried to distil this down to my favourites, which has proven to be really hard.

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I like this picture of us so much, with my mom in the background. My mom then was the same age as I am now.

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When our offspring was a baby, I tried to record some of their growth by making hand and foot prints. Look how much they have grown since then Smile

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And then, how do you capture twenty one years of moments into one blog post? How do you choose your favourite moments with your child? I am grateful that I try and record every moment with my camera, and even more grateful that I live in a age of digital photography.

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I am honoured to be your mother. You have taught us so much about life and about being good humans. I am immensely proud of the human you have become and look forward to seeing where your journey takes you.

28 January 2018

Glimpses of wealth and colour

It is quite a thing, this blogging regularly again. Because I have specifically made it a goal this year, and booked time in my calendar for it, my brain has kicked back into gear and I start thinking about content for my next blog post halfway through the week already.

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Because I travel a fair bit for work, I get to stay in hotels fairly often, and, because I have learned the value of loyalty points, I try and stay with the same chain wherever I go. As a result, I recently hit gold status with this hotel chain. The result is that I now get breakfast for free, access to the executive lounge where I can eat and drink for free and loads of other benefits.

And I realised that this is a small glimpse into the world of the wealthy, and this is just how it works. When you have and do not need, you get. The wealthy receive free gifts and food and many things they do not need, simply because they are wealthy. And those who really need rarely receive. I know this is a simplistic take on it, and I may expand on it in future in a more eloquent way.

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I travelled to Leeds for work this week, which is one of my favourite places to travel to in England. I also like the journey because I travel via London King’s Cross, which is one of my favourite stations in London, and it is quite photogenic.

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21 January 2018

On Leviathans and Small Treks

It has been three months and 4 days since my last cigarette.I started smoking not long after my 13th birthday, and smoked pretty much consistently since then. And I have pretended to try and quit before, each time a roaring failure because the love for smoking was stronger than the will to quit. But our new life has meant a big reduction in stress, and so, finally, the will to quit has grown stronger than the love for smoking. I still miss the action of smoking, taking a long drag on a cigarette, inhaling the smoke deep into my lungs and then feeling like a dragon as I exhale – but not as frequently as I used to. I now only think about having a smoke once every few days. I am sure as the months go on, the frequency will reduce even more until I no longer think about it at all.

What I don’t miss is struggling to breathe and smelling like a nightclub and coughing and having to find an ashtray and the constant constant constant craving and burning money. And this will motivate me to remain quit, even when I dream about smoking all night long.

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[source]

It is probably no secret by now that I am currently a tiny little bit obsessed with The Expanse series, both TV and books. I fell in love mid-way through the first episode of Season 1, but reading the books really cemented the obsession for me. I am only ⅔ through the third book now, but I had this epiphany last night about why I love the series so much – other than the fact that it is an absolutely brilliant space opera, of course.

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Each book, so far, starts with a number of different stories seemingly unrelated on completely different tracks, and things apparently spin out of control and then the stories start intertwining until they end in one beautiful point, and it reminds me of spiral galaxies or tropical storms or star aloes.

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(images not my own, found on bing search)

I travelled to Leicester for work this week, which gave me a good opportunity to try out the camera on my new phone.

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While I missing having a camera button on the phone, I am getting used to having to take a couple of extra steps to take a photo, and I am quite happy with the quality of the pictures.

14 January 2018

On beginnings and endings

I attended a work-related training course this week with some colleagues I knew from South Africa, as well as ones I haven’t met before, and it has been a great week of learning and introspection. I’ve been thinking for some time about changing the direction of my career a little, and this week has contributed to that feeling. Not quite sure where we will end up, but looking forward to the journey.

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It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to my beloved Windows Phone this week. Since the platform is end of life and has been put to sleep, I have no option but to switch platforms. I have been looking at different options for some time now, because I knew this was coming, but finally decided to go with a One+ 5T, which I picked up yesterday. My last dance with Android was not too successful, but that was a few years ago. This time, we are not stepping on each other’s toes as much, but I think a big contributor to this is the fact that Microsoft has released a large stack of applications for Android, including Cortana and a launcher that gives a similar feel to Windows Phone, so the environment does not feel as alien to me.

I am quite happy with the camera though, so this makes up for the weirdness of the platform.

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