Saturday, 20 September 2014

Confusing ISIS Strategy

The French and Americans are bombing ISIS in Iraq while the British delay making a decision on whether to join in, nervous about following the ISIS into Syria after the vote last year that said loud and clear no military action in Syria.    
'Let me be clear. Britain will not be taking part in any air strikes in Syria. We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won’t be revisiting that position' said Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond dismissing the prospect of UK air strikes against ISIS in Syria.
Not that the US really need US air power apart from to present a united front and i doubt if ISIS are celebrating that the Brits sitting this one out because they still face a heavy pounding which makes me wonder why they were so keen to get involved in a fight which is only going to have one winner and it won't be them.  
I understand the intimidation angle designed to eliminate local resistance and make the job of taking over towns and cities easier and i can see how they can paint it as a Muslim v the West contest which would help with recruitment to their cause but now they have the Worlds most powerful military facing off against them and they will get massacred in large numbers and lose any gains they have made such as the way Al Queada and the Taliban are a fraction of the force they were albeit it has taken over a decade to get to this point.
Maybe the point is to draw the Americans and it's allies into a protracted ground war and then hope that when the body bags start landing back in the States they will lose the stomach for a fight and like previously, they will pull back and they will have enough ISIS fighters left to pick up where they left off which luckily is a awful strategy and will thankfully see them and their ability to massacre whole towns wiped out.
As the British Government is standing by the decision not to perform military action in Syria, and know full well that it was attacking Syria that was debated and not the terrorists in Syria, you do wonder if they know that the plan is to attack the Syrian Government troops in some manipulative mission slip and that is why they are not joining in.  

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Going Nowhere

The surprising thing is that anybody was surprised that Scotland decided that it is better to stay in Britain but it was all a bit of an anti-climax really.
The Yes vote did well to get the 45% they did but it was always only ever the slightest glimmer of an outside chance once the economics of a break away was spelt out to the voters.
Some part of me wanted the Scots to vote Yes and then watch the start the long process of disentangling themselves of 300 years of partnership with the English, Irish and Welsh, it would have been interesting.
It would have turned nasty especially over the oil which we both seemed to be claiming but it has been settled and Scotland will bob along as previous, subsidised by the rest of us by taking more from the pot than it puts in.
The biggest loser is obviously Alex Salmond who has now resigned as First Minister but not far behind him is Andy Murray, who the English have never really warmed to, who came out in favour of Independence (surprising how many Scots who live elsewhere was keen to have an opinion on the country they left at the first chance they got) but now faces making his living in a country he wanted to break away from which may make Wimbledon interesting next year.
Anyway, now the Scots had their go, when is the referendum for the other Brits to see if we want to break away from Scotland?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Last Day For Scotland In Britain?

Tomorrow could be the last day that the Scots can call themselves British as they vote whether to stay with the English, Welsh and Irish or go it alone.
The polls do seem to be very close, much closer than i expected them to be so credit to the 'Yes' campaigners  who seem to have turned things around up there and even i am starting to think that possibly they might just pull it off and we may wake up Friday to find the top part of the country now ends at Northumberland.
The poll of polls which collects the information from all the other polls gives the No camp a 2-4 point lead    over the Yes campaign but considering that the No campaign was 16-20 points ahead at the start of the campaign it is closer than any thought it would be and narrow enough to still swing either way.
Interesting to hear the oil rich Shetland Island off the coast of Scotland announcing that if Scotland vote yes but the islanders vote no they will seek independence from Scotland and take their oil wealth with them which will blow an enormous hole in any plans of a new Scottish Government which would already face financial upheaval as Westminster pulls the plug on them. 
I don't expect Scotland to go independent, the bottom line of it costing them too much and heralding price and tax increases across the board will scupper the Yes campaign but if it does sneak over the line it will certainly be make for interesting times as Scotland extricates itself from the rest of us.
The timetable is Polls open at 7am and close 10pm with the result announced between 6.30am and 7-30am Friday morning. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

No Heaven For Right Wingers

I don't think it is beyond doubt that if Jesus was alive today, he would be a lefty and probably knocking out some cabinets on the side so it has always been with amusement that it is the right wingers who have picked up the religion mantle.
The right are the hunters and capitalists and the ones most likely to be doing their armchair general bit when war is in the air and the ones most likely to be found in a church singing hymns about all things being bright and beautiful at the weekend.
Obviously, the whole idea of being a good church goer is to ensure that when you die, you can get through the pearly gates but considering what the Bible says about these matters, i think they may be disappointed.
Firstly, the right wing shtick is selfishness and thinking about themselves before others but Jesus won't much care for that, he was a 'best for the group' type messiah.
Then there are the hunters who seem to think it is okay to go out and blast big holes in animals for a bit of fun, Jesus would probably frown upon that also.  
The capitalism apologists are mostly found on the right and the Bible has many mentions poo-pooing money and material gain, there is even a nifty analogy regarding camels and needles to drive home, the point.
Finally, peacemakers are the blessed ones so its not very probable that the pacifist Jesus looks kindly upon people using him as a reason to make war or cheering for a spot of conflict in the week and turning up at Church at the weekend to listen to stories about love and peace.   
Without doubt Jesus was a lefty but in a bitter irony, the people he is most alike are the ones who avoid church while the ones who are most opposite the things he stood for are the ones trying to suck up to him.
Of course the whole religion thing is tripe but i'd think that if the whole heaven idea wasn't all in the imagination, the people of the right wing would be the last ones Jesus and his dad would let in.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Free U2 Album? No Thanks

Six days after Apple downloaded U2's new album to its customers iTunes accounts for free, they have had to release a tool to remove it again after so many complained that they didn't want it and couldn't see how to delete it.
'For the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail' said Bono.
Seems the musical efforts of some Irish guys long past their sell by date are in the delete folder of millions.
Maybe U2 should take a hint when they literally can't give their new album away.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Dr What

I will hold my hands up and say i didn't have very high expectations of Peter Capaldi when he picked up the keys to the Tardis but i have to admit i was wrong and the new Doctor is doing very well, tonight's episode was a cracker but American watchers may have to take my word for it because apparently the yanks have a bit of a problem understanding his Scottish accent.
I do have a bit of sympathy because i really enjoy True Blood but i have a problem following the characters with the Deep South accents but to my ears, Capaldi's accent isn't that strong, not as strong as some Scots anyway.
Former Dr David Tennant was also Scottish but he played the role with a very reasonable English accent but otherwise as the fan base grows Stateside, to some this may be their first taste of a Scottish accent as i can't think of too many shows when they would have come across it before.
Maybe the next one should be a Brummie, that would have them reaching for the subtitles button.

Manipulating People With Psychology

I do find the field of psychology interesting and according to psychologists we are always giving away our innermost thoughts by our unconscious actions and if you know what to look for, you can read people accordingly but there are also ways that we can subtly manipulate people and their emotions by the way we act or even what we wear.
As having the power to bend people to your will is everyone's dream, what should we be doing in certain situations?
 
If you are going for an interview, psychologists suggest wearing something blue as this makes you seem trustworthy and secure and don't tilt your head forward as this makes you look submissive but don't tilt it back too far as this will make you look arrogant. Keeping eye contact is important as looking away makes it look as though you are not interested in what you or the other person is saying.

In more romantic settings, if the person who you are talking is interested in getting to know you better, their pupils will grow larger as larger pupils let in more light and can see you clearer so the brain can take in as much information about you as possible. A few light touches on same spot of the arm or hand when the other person is laughing will help as this will reinforce the nice feeling of someone making them feel good.
If the other persons feet are pointing towards you they are interested, not so much if pointing elsewhere and if they play with their hair or jewellery its a good sign. Red is the colour to wear as it inspires feelings of passion and love.

In a business meeting let the other person talk first as this makes the other person feel warmth towards you as they are being listened to and try and mirror the way they are standing or sitting as this makes them feel you are like them and more inclined to trust and agree with you.
If you feel the other person is dominating the conversation, leaning forward slightly sends out an unconscious signal that they need to 'pull back' and let you in, in effect shut up and let you speak and nodding when you speak when want a positive outcome makes the other person more inclined to say yes. 

Finally, a good indicator if somebody is not being all together honest is that liars try to make their body smaller by folding arms or legs, crossing their feet or even twisting their bodies away from you.

All good advice so if you are out on a date, wear red and take a look at the way feet are pointing but if it's a interview make sure it's blue and hold the eye contact and if you are after a raise sit the same way as the boss and nod a lot.
Not sure what it means if your boss is wearing red and keeps playing with their hair and touching your hand while you are asking for a raise but it could be a good time to ask for a promotion and a company car also. 

Judge Wrong In Pistorius Verdict

The only thing worse than an idiot who owns a gun is an idiot who then uses that going to kill someone so how the South African judge has ruled that Oscar Pistorius did not murder his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, is quite rightly facing criticism.
Although the Paralympian faces a charge of culpable homicide which is the South African equivalent of manslaughter, rather than a long stretch in jail his punishment now ranges from fifteen years imprisonment to a fine with five years being considered the sentence he faces according to experts in South African law.
Steenkamp died in a small toilet cubicle when Pistorius shot her four times through the locked door just with hollow tipped bullets which opened and mushroomed on impact, tearing through her flesh and killing her almost instantly.
He claims he mistook her for an intruder, a version that the judge has obviously accepted, but the fact remains that he shot and killed a person regardless of who it was and far be it from accident, he had someone inside a locked bathroom and was outside armed and rather than call police or security, he took the option of shooting to kill.  
Martin Hood, an attorney specialising in firearms offences, said: 'There has been a widespread expression of outrage across the board. There are many people in the legal profession who believe she got it wrong.
It has met with a lot of disappointment in the court of public opinion, including on the part of gun owners. I would be bitterly disappointed and angry if I was Reeva Steenkamp's family'.
Anyone with a bit of sense knows that pointing a gun and shooting it four times with those type of bullets which cause maximum carnage, that is not an accident, it's murder because you intended to kill.
'This verdict is not justice for Reeva' said her mother, June Steenkamp and she is right, it is not any kind of justice whatsoever.

Not Paying Kidnappers Ransom

The line from Government has always been that kidnapped ransoms are not paid because if the kidnappers make a payday from their actions, they will only do it the more.
I would assume that the position goes out the window if it is a member of your own family whose life is being threatened and the mother of journalist James Foley who was kidnapped and killed by ISIS recently has revealed that she had been threatened by the US government with charges of aiding terrorists if the family tried to raise funds to pay the £80m ransom for him.
'We were told that several times and we took it as a threat and it was appalling' Foley's mother Diane said, 'It was very upsetting because we were essentially told to trust that the way they were handling things would bring our son home'.
While i do understand the philosophy that kidnappers are not rewarded by receiving large sums of money, i do wonder just how keen they would be to refuse handing over the money to save their life if it was one of Obama's or Cameron's kids whose life was being threatened.
In an already horrendous situation, you don't need your own Government to start issuing threats but the Obama administration seems as subtle as a house brick in its dealings with most things.

Friday, 12 September 2014

They All Sound The Same

I was sat in the shopping centre this afternoon listening to a busker and he made this way through 4 songs before stopping to eat his lunch and somehow made them all sound the same.
As there are only there are seven basic notes, A,B,C,D,E,F and G and there are only a set number of ways to go from one to another, at some point there will come a day when all the music it's possible to write has been written.
I imagine someone somewhere has worked out how many tunes are possible with the set number of notes and chord progressions, it is way beyond my limited grasp of maths,  but as we have had music for so many centuries, we must be reaching a point where the same tunes are being rehashed.
Reggae bands foresaw this problem a long time ago and just made all their songs the same tune and there are many bands that use the same 'sound' which is a polite way of saying doing the same song over and over but either speeding it up or slowing it down a bit.
I don't have a problem with bands reusing the same song if it is a decent 'sound' to start with, the Ramones deviated very little from the few tunes they had, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Green Day don't do much different either but the basic tune they use over and over is a good one so they can get away with it.
Another approach is to steal songs off other people and try to change it just enough in the hope that people don't notice or to just outright make another version of it.
What this all means is that while we are running out of many things, music is another we can add to the endangered list.