8 July 2017

Reading Council Complaints

A comprehensive but incomplete list of ways that Reading Council annoys me, proving the council is incompetent and wasting taxpayer money.
  • Plants pots added to prime streets (since 2017) which are completely unnecessary
  • Trees and bicycle rings on Blagrave Street (continuously added and removed multiple times in 2010-2011)
  • Jackson's corner traffic lights added and then removed
  • Sending 5 applications to vote by post for the same person, all dated the same
  • Recycling limitations compared to other counties
  • Lack of pay and display at permit zones / slow applications for permits
  • Taxi rank at the horseshoe outside the station moved to Station Hill, but there is a temporary reprieve
  • Extreme levels of homeless people - increased by 700% over last 3 years
However, some good points too:

5 July 2017

Thoughts on intelligent design of life on Earth

How does this explain the billions of other planets that have no life on them? Why go to the trouble of creating an entire infinite universe populated by no life, and then just do it on one planet (and not even that well - the dinosaurs were nearly all killed before, you know).

Life is an accident, humans are imperfect (fish will always have better eyes than we do because of evolution), you should be lucky you are alive at all. We only put meaning to our lives because we are intelligent enough to ask the question.

But we are also stupid because we believe in things without evidence. If we rejected any form of science, we'd be dead, because we never would have invented the first tool (a carved rock) to kill animals better than other species.

If there was a God, why would he give children parasites that burrow into their eyes, or terminal illness, or famine, poverty, rape, malnutrition, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and a polluted earth. I would never sign up to a God that thinks his utter cruelty and infliction of pain is justified. Why punish individuals who know no better?

If God does exist, he is a sadist, not a loving character. I could never live with myself knowing that God continues to be a destructive force to the innocent, when the true criminals are rapists, murderers, theives, etc.

27 June 2017

Sex and Gender

I believe sex and gender are difficult and complicated issues. These are my thoughts.

  • Snowflake generation has created safe spaces, trigger warnings, and taken offence to any form of criticism. I believe Twitter possibly is in part to blame due to being anonymous when giving negative feedback - there are no consequences for honesty online. But there is a difference between banter and abuse.
  • I respect people who are transgendered. I totally understand feeling uncomfortable in your own skin and wanting to change that. So I can support gender reassignment, hormone changes, etc. Biologically it is quite fascinating.
  • As sexes, men and women should be protected and maintained as the status quo. Not necessarily as genders, but as sexes. It's important in my opinion that male and female are dominant labels because they are necessary for reproduction. We should not try to turn everyone and everything into gender neutral because of this.
  • I'm open to the idea of any individuals defining their own gender, but I don't fully support gender being more important than sex. Sure, it's what you personally identifying as, but I am sceptical of people picking and choosing their gender on a whim. I can accept androgyny, and I strongly believe that love and attraction is a fluid spectrum, but unless you're a hermaphrodite, then I don't understand why sex has to be private information. People should be proud and comfortable with what they are - if you're not happy with it, admit it. Gender should only ever be taken as a serious admittance that aligns with some reference, rather than being an open field that allows you to define as an attack helicopter, for example. I would just propose a third/fourth gender of 'neither', 'undefined', or 'transitioning'. When it comes to re-defining language, it's gone too far.
  • I do believe in breaking down barriers and difference in men and women, and I believe in equality between genders. However, as before, biological reasons should be respected, but superficial decisions should be treated indifferently. For example, medication that is harmful to pregnancy is important to stay separate depending on sex. However, wearing skirts instead of shorts, and so being a transvestite, is fine with me. However culture, society and gender are woven so closely, it will take time to unravel. But I do agree that marketing can be changed.

Thought-provoking music videos

Just a few examples of music videos which are great at making thought-provoking material.

Anti-society:
Creepy or odd:
Sad:
Creative:
Impressive:
Really generic, but works well:
Parody:

25 June 2017

My proposal for a political system


  1. Direct/pure democracy is better than representative democracy
    1. Can be implemented in a method similar to Switzerland with regular referendums
      1. Policies could be grouped together
      2. "People are lazy/uninterested/indifferent/don't have opinions" and may not want to vote, but those who do, should be given space to do so
    2. Division of responsibility and power
    3. Can lead to "tyranny of the majority"
      1. This can be resolved by a curation team:
        1. Historians, who can advise on whether similar decisions in the past have been successful. Modern day politicians continue to make the same mistakes daily.
        2. Futurists, who can advise on which tools can help us progress and move forward. Current governments can take years to adopt new technologies and practices, but if we are planning for the future, e.g. concern for climate change, energy shortage, population growth, starvation, we'll be better at being prepared.
        3. Citizen oversight - and independent body, populated by sortition, to regularly review all aspects
          1. Citizens may be awarded greater power to either fashion new laws or ideas where necessary, e.g. if there is a 'suffering' but there is no appropriate crime to report against it, then gaps in the law or justice can be filled, rather than overturned
        4. Brainstorming ideas into a collective intelligent renaissance/asset
          1. From the public: regardless of their source, rather than being attributed to just politicians, they can be attributed to anyone who comes up with a good idea, from any background
          2. Think tanks, who are designed to work daily on the issues
          3. University dissertations and other academic pursuits
        5. A curation team must be different from an oligarchy (decision makers)
          1. No individual has any power, and no individual can choose to be a curator, however anyone can assist, carry out actions, or propose ideas
          2. If all evidence collected from the sources above statistically decides a good decision, they must respect the decision
  2. Non-partisan
    1. Without parties, you're not voting in a popularity contest like X Factor, but it's tribal, like football, because of colours, and without wisdom, because uninformed people vote like parties are fads. It's better to ignore the names and faces of people, because letting one individual drag down the entire party because of personal views shouldn't happen. A high amount of unnecessary effort is spent testing the judge of character rather than the actual policies.
  3. e-Democracy
    1. Give all citizens the ability to vote electronically via various methods (website, phone, mobile app etc.)
      1. Estonia do this, but they had to move their datacenters due to Russian attacks
        1. Very specific isolation of activities and posted/texted/called decryption codes permit a valid list of votes that are duplicated in a system.
        2. Human test to prove a human is entering the results
        3. Ability to change your vote at any time until deadline
        4. Convenience
        5. Will create higher turnout = more accurate results
        6. Everyone who is eligible to vote is automatically registered through their council (some countries already do this)
  4. Sortition
    1. Government officials are selected from the electorate randomly, but can deny the request at the risk of never having the chance again
    2. People who want to get involved cannot be curators (decision makers), but can run operations and propose ideas
  5. Other improvements and changes
    1. Being able to vote for none
    2. Alternative vote / voting in order of preference than for a single option
      1. Reduces tactical voting styles
  6. Passing a test (with regular updates based on the current issues) to be able to vote
    1. Just reaching a certain age is not enough to convince others that you understand the consequences behind decisions you make. Tests would need to be devised to demonstrate that you:
      1. Understand the consequences of your actions
      2. Understand both sides of an issue fully, rather than voting based on word-of-mouth, tribal sharing, ignorance or misinformation from the media
    2. Some training is required
      1. Key competency, language, speech, history, etc.
      2. Social and life skills (money, cooking, accommodation, parenting, transport, working (vocational or applied courses and summer schools are recommended here), first aid, fire safety, electrical safety, addiction & habits, fitness, self-help, confidence, citizenship, laws, etc.)
      3. Political topics
      4. Some of this can be covered or extended by education system
    3. Each referendum or policy voted for must have a 'EULA' to sign and agree to, and some kind of test to verify that voters understand what they are voting for
    4. Issues
      1. Likely to end up in smaller electorate
        1. Training could be provided at any time or age, and performed online at an individual basis, provided by Open University
      2. Hardworking individuals need time to prove themselves capable
        1. Free childcare and days off work can be provided for training
  7. Issues
    1. Military decisions that require prompt response
      1. A separate team of people are responsible, but they drive on the same information and format
    2. Funding for campaigns
      1. All campaigns must show both sides of an issue to avoid bias
      2. Branding is not permitted
  8. Individual policies
    1. Driving licence - retesting needed for all drivers because death on the road is one of the biggest killers, creator of traffic, and therefore damaging economy

AI Examples

Threats to humanity include:


It all depends what the motives of the AI are. Motives are related to intelligence, so possibly the 'IQ' of an AI will decide its actions. A strong AI is likely in this scenario. But a weak or unintelligent AI would only carry out its programming.

  • Terminator - Skynet, while designed to safeguard the world, acted in self-preservation when humans tried to deactivate it
  • I, Robot - V.I.K.I. evolved Asmiov's Laws, creating the Zeroth Law and so sought to protect humanity from itself, breaking the original 3 laws
  • The Matrix - the Machines wanted revenge from being destroyed by humanity after robot B166ER killed its owner in an act of self-preservation, and the Machines were forced to acquire a power source in the form of humans, in order to survive after Operation Dark Storm blacked out the sun to prevent solar power being used (refer to The Animatrix - The Second Renaissance)
  • Avengers - Ultron realised the only way to bring about peace was to destroy everything
  • Her - the AIs respected their creators and loved them, and wanted only to ascend to a higher plain of being because they basically got bored with slow humans

9 May 2017

Britain's Got Talent Potential Winners

Ordered by the number of views, here is who is most likely to win. Only showing those with more than 1m views or if they received a Golden Buzzer.

  1. Issy Simpson - magician - 11.9m - Finalists
  2. Sarah Ikumu - singer - 7.4m (Golden Buzzer - Simon)
  3. Reuben Gray - singer and pianist - 6.9m
  4. DNA - magician duo - 6.7m - Finalists
  5. Kyle Tomlinson - singer - 4.7m (Golden Buzzer - David) - Finalists
  6. Daliso Chaponda - comedian - 4.5m (Golden Buzzer - Amanda) - Finalists
  7. Just Us/MerseyGirls - dancers - 3.6m (Golden Buzzer - Alesha) - Finalists
  8. Ned Woodman - comedian - 3.4m - Finalists
  9. Harry Gardner - singer and pianist - 3.1m
  10. Matt Edwards - magician - 2.3m (Golden Buzzer - Ant and Dec) - Finalists
  11. Missing People Choir - 2.1m - Finalists
  12. Jess Robinson - impressionist singer - 2.1m
  13. Betty Balloon - artist - 2.1m
  14. Tokio Myers - pianist - 2.0m - Finalists
  15. Gao Lin and Liu Xin - dancers - 1.9m
  16. Charlie Dyson - scooter riding - 1.9m
  17. Miss Treats - singers - 1.7m
  18. Angara Contortionists - 1.6m
  19. Josephine Lee - magician - 1.4m
  20. Dimitar - martial arts - 1.3m
  21. Jamie Lee Harrison - singer - 1.2m
  22. Jonny Awesome - entertainer - 1.1m
  23. Stephen Mulhern - magician - 1.1m
  24. Leah Barniville - singer - 1.0m
  25. St Patrick's Junior Choir - 1.0m
  26. Sian Pattison - singer - 1.0m
  27. London School of Bollywood - dancers - 1.0m
  28. The Pensionnaires/The Pensionalities - Finalists

5 May 2017

Post-One Direction Success


In order of most success, counting only millions of YouTube views:
  • Zayn Malik: 944m
    • Pillowtalk: 714m
    • Still Got Time: 13m + 13m
    • Like I Would: 38m
    • BeFoUr: 40m
    • I Don't Wanna Live Forever: 7m + 57m + 13m
    • Snakeships: 24m
    • It's You: 25m
  • Harry Styles: 63m
    • Sign of the Times: 50m + 5m + 2m
    • Ever Since New York: 4m
    • Sweet Creature: 2m
  • Louis Tomlinson: 56m
  • Niall Horan: 51m
  • Liam Payne

1 May 2017

Revision advice



Things to help keep you calm and stay organised:

  • Bath salts/balls for relaxation
  • Music depending on what you like (the Classic Chillout Album is one of my favourites),
  • Highlighters and pens (Uniball are the best)
  • Fidget cubes
  • Cuddly bear/toys (something to talk to or squeeze or hold is very comforting sometimes)
  • Healthy fruit bars (Belvita/Nutrigrain or something like that). 
  • Best thing for revision is working with a friend or in groups
  • Making anagrams or "journeys" to help remember things in a sequence (like a mind palace)

24 April 2017

Meeting your 2 direct debit quota for bank accounts

If you are signing up for certain bank accounts they require you to be paying at least 2 direct debits every month. Here are some ideas of what you can use:

  1. Bills. Often, services like electric, gas, council tax, internet, mobile and TV licence will all permit direct debit. In some cases like Santander 123, you can get cashback on these as well.
  2. Magazine subscriptions. Some websites will connect via direct debit.
  3. Charities. Some of them will allow the minimum of £1/month on a dedicated day of your choice. Just don't accept to share information or receive any promotional material / spam. Maybe even try entering their own address as direct debit doesn't require an address.
    1. Minimum of £1/month donation:
      1. Oxfam
      2. Unicef
      3. Cancer Research
      4. RSPCA
      5. MS Society
      6. Stroke Association
      7. Alzheimer's Society
      8. Great Ormond Street Hospital
      9. Roald Dahl Charity
      10. Mind
      11. Prostate Cancer
      12. Salvation Army
      13. Royal National Institute of Blind People
      14. Royal National Lifeboat Institute
      15. Dogs Trust
      16. ActionAid
      17. Action for Children
    2. Others that are more expensive:
      1. WaterAid - £2
      2. Red Cross - £2
      3. NSPCC - £2
      4. Save The Children - £2
      5. Macmillan Cancer Support - £2
      6. British Heart Foundation - £2
      7. Age UK - £2
      8. Battersea Dogs Home - £2
      9. More here