Saturday, July 30, 2022

The LIV Tour and American School Mass Shootings

 What does the LIV Tour have to do with US school massacres, and why xenophobia (fear of foreigners) is wrong? 

The name LIV is a reference to the Roman numeral for 54, the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied and the number of holes to be played at LIV events.

9/11 survivors are protesting against the new Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf Tour because 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were born in Saudi Arabia. That is as racist and xenophobic as refusing to eat pizza because the Italians were on Hitler's side when WWII started. Or giving up Chinese takeaway because of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Do Americans protest at the Major Golf Tournaments where the prizemoney comes from US companies because 15 out of 19 school massacres were committed by mass murderers born in the USA? No. And just because someone is born in Saudi Arabia does not mean they are an Islamic jihadist any more than an American is likely to be a mass shooter at a school.

It wouldn't at all surprise me if the LIV Tour protesters were also religious bigots and Islamophobic zealots.

To all the sportswriters dishing out on pro golfers abandoning the PGA Tour to join the alternative LIV tour, it's not all about the money. As Phil Mickelson says: "I can't even show my kids footage of me winning PGA tournaments because the Tour owns the rights. It's my swing but I have to get permission... it's as if they own my shots!"

More and more golfers are leaving the PGA Tour for LIV. I think it's a good thing. For too long the PGA had a bully-style monopoly in golf where there hasn't really been any other alternative for golfers to earn a living.

It's the epitome of American Capitalism with a capital 'C'.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Religion v Archaeology

Arriving at a correct historical perspective – why is there so much mutual exclusivity? 

Every religion has its own peculiar account of history that is not only different from the others but also the current scientific understanding. For instance there is no physical evidence of any early Mormon settlement in the Americas which they claim to have happened over 2,500 years ago - well before the time of Jesus! When we consider that their version of history contains numerous anachronisms (such as horses, elephants, wheat, barley, solk, chariots, windows, steel, swords etc that were not in the Americas at the time) this is totally at odds with accepted science eg archaeology, genealogy and linguistics. Therefore - either science is wrong, the Mormons are wrong, or, possibly, both are wrong! 

Let us consider:
Australian Aborigines and the Dreamtime stories (Spiritic) 
Biblical creation stories (Abrahamic) 
Chinese creation stories (Taoic) 
Hindu creation stories (Dharmic) 
and several other (Animistic, Magic, Mystic, Siddhic, Superstitious) etcetera, such as Manichaeist, Vudun and Zoroastrian creation stories

That none agree indicates there is no one theory that fits all accounts. One or two or more may be partially right or they could all be wrong - and that includes the scientific view. Yet because of geographical isolation, cultural norms and value systems all may have 'evolved' from the one creation event (including the Big Bang, Mediocre Kerfuffle, or Tiny Little Pop.. depending on one's bent) into varying interpretations and theories. 

Non-religious philosophers argue that Man invents religion to try to make some sense out of the seemingly chaotic world and to give some purpose to the randomness of life. Religious philosophers argue that without a higher spiritual being there is no reason-to-be and life is devoid of any meaningful purpose. 

That a person may change their belief systems more than once in a lifetime illustrates that faith is an acquired facet of the personality, not something we are born with, like arms and legs. The tendency to develop faith may in itself be innate, but exactly what the object of such faith may be is left open at birth. The line that divides faith from belief may be more semantic than logical in that beliefs may be more easily changed and faith more or less fixed or fixated. Often faith is recognised by swearing an oath of allegiance to a single God or Dogma but even that is a formality rather than an actual state of consciousness. 

Indeed, one may change faiths several times, including apostasy and agnosticism – or even flip-flop between Creationism and Darwinism! However, none of that resolves the differences in history between science and religion/s. These accounts are just observations, much like history itself is a set of observations, and there are many perspectives, resulting in differing sets. 

What an oxymoron it is that what unites them all is their exclusivist nature - they all declare that they are the one true knowledge! (and mutually exclude each other) Hence the age-old paradox of life, consciousness, our capacity to feel and think (or not) and what to do with all of that. What sets humans apart from other lifeforms is the ability to act apart from the dictates of the senses and to choose rather than react automatically or instinctively as creatures do. Seagulls foraging discarded fries on the motorway do not look up at the Mack truck bearing down on them and muse, "You know what? I'm done with this life as a seagull. To hell with it."

One of the silliest, illogical and blind things about a human is that they decide that their own philosophy is superior to anyone else's - to the point of telling seagulls what to do. "No, you cannot commit suicide, Mr. Seagull; suicide is illegal in the State of Suchandsuch." Actually, seagulls follow their instincts and do not listen to humans. Probably just as well. It could even make them smarter than us. 

So what do we do with all these different histories, religions, philosophies, etcetera? I say we start a war. Isn't that what we humans do, after all? Okay, now we're like seagulls fighting over discarded fries on the motorway again, and this time some of us don't make it out, despite our best efforts. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Have you got a mouse on your windows?

Saying that the new jabs aren't vaccines because they're different is a very weak argument for them not being a 'vaccine'. First of all, define vaccine (not one modern vaccine has anything to do with cows - Latin, vacca = cow (where the name came from). 

A sedan used to be two long poles with a cabin in the middle for royalty which was lifted and ported by several strong slaves or servants. Vehicles don't have to have wheels. 

The meaning of words in the English language is continually changing. Have you got a mouse on your windows?

English is not a dead language. Unlike Latin and Sanskrit, the English language is always evolving and to get stuck on old-fashioned definitions may be somewhat pedantic about semantics in certain circumstances. Regarding 'vaccine' and 'immunity', as the meaning of words change over time, the limited definition of a word's meaning a hundred years ago may no longer be appropriate now. The word 'nice' used to mean silly or foolish, as in "that fellow is a nice idiot, isn't he?". Similarly, 'awful' meant wonderful as in "that was an awfully good show, old chap". Fully sick. Wicked. Etc.

Yes, I know I'm the fly in the ointment here, but please hear me out. I remember you once joked about no longer communicating via smoke signals and have learnt how to use a computer. As a musician I used to be a stickler for analogue recording and for years strongly resisted adopting the new digital format. These days I have come around and when I 'tape' my songs I no longer use physical magnetic tape. Over time words take on new meanings and I try to get my head around new definitions lest I become an old fuddy-duddy - for instance: a 'mouse' on 'windows', 'footage' of 'films', 'video clips', 'crank' the engine to start the car, etc. When we do a search for something we no longer use a magnifying glass but instead utilise a search 'engine' - so, how many cylinders does this search 'engine' have?" I'm joking of course. 

These examples of old terms that have found new meanings with modern technology are similar to the development of new mRNA and viral vector vaccines where the words 'vaccine' and 'immunity' take on new meaning as technology advances. This is a natural development, not a sinister plot. It is merely the English language growing. As I have mentioned before, vaccines no longer have any association with cows. A century ago a pretty woman would be described as being handsome, yet these days the adjective is used almost exclusively with the male gender. A chip used to be a fragment that flew off a woodcutter's axe and now among other things is a component of a computer. I could go on but I'll stop there. 

Without arguing the speculative merits vis a vis acquired vs induced, it doesn't matter HOW your body's immune system mounts a response - as long as it's there, it's 'IMMUNITY'. You either have it or you don't. Without an immune response it is impossible to develop immunity in the first place UNLESS such immunity is acquired from another source - like a tetanus booster which is the transfer of antibodies from a healthy donor who has recovered from the disease.

You don't have to have had tetanus to develop immunity to it. Likewise you don't have to have had CoViD-19 to develop immunity to that either. 

To have immunity you just need to have gotten your body's immune system responding - by whatever means, be it exposure and recovery, antibody boosters, inoculation, vaccination, immunisation and/or a prophylactic regime of a healthy diet (and supplements if needed). 

I don't consider it a fair and reasonable argument to on one hand to declare that we don't know enough about the new 'experimental' vaccines and then on the other hand make any predictions about the terrible things that will happen. Surely this line of thinking is purely speculative? How can we predict the outcome of any unknown quantity? 

Monday, February 28, 2022

Donbas, DPR, LPR - what's really happening?

Ukraine and NATO v Russia. I'm trying very hard to get both sides of the story. But Big Tech (GOOG, FB, TWTR, YT, MSOFT) are actors for Gov'ts. They kick off anyone who dares to go against their one-way narrative. Watching the reporting on the current Donbas/Kyiv drama I can't help but draw parallels with the untransparent way information/misinformation about THAT virus was handled. 

Anything contrary to the World Health Organisation's agenda was labelled as a conspiracy theory. Natural immunity. Zinc, vitamins C and D. Healthy exercise in the fresh outdoors instead of confinement indoors. Bushwalking, golf, surfing, or just the beach. Prophylactic use of antivirals etc (Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine - they are actual medicines). Eating lots of fruit and vegetables, and herbs, or doing anything to boost the immune system. 

NONE of these were recommended by WHO, to the point of medical experts labelling them as taboo. Yeah… sure they are. Even meditating and/yoga would probably help but no-one is gonna say "got a virus? Get hip, man!" Ffs, the WHO didn't even recommend Vit C for it! 

The problem with protocols is that they work well with known situations, but sometimes new circumstances require novel approaches (pun intended). I'm sure War Experts know everything about strategies, targets, decoys, which type of combat or Forces to deploy, etc. And as depicted in sci-fi films with invading aliens, often the usual military tactics are useless if not counter-productive. 

We have to know the enemy. That is the key to winning, whether it's a virus or a mutant alien lizard-man. Or a puppet battle with a hidden agenda and secret enemies pulling the strings. If you think this Donbas thing is just Russia trying to get back some lost Soviet territory then you have fallen hook, line and sinker for the picture newsmedia is trying to paint. Do you really think Putin is that stupid to bombastically clomp around trying to take over countries because he's on a megalomaniac power trip? 

That's exactly what America/NATO want you to think. I guarantee he's not that stupid. Neither is Trump. Not saying a word about Biden. But sure, they all love power. All successful politicians do - tell me one that doesn't! 

But what's really going on? 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Electronics, Digitisation, Faithful Acoustics and EQ

With acoustic instruments, it is fairly straightforward using equalisation to render a recorded channel faithful to the natural sound. Usually it is as close as possible to the ideal, or to be contrary, it is deliberately or accidentally made to sound different to achieve a particular effect. 

For example, acoustic steel string guitars rarely sound "good in the mix" unless the middle frequencies are taken out, often with both extremes of the bass and treble range boosted as well. Mainly this is to make the guitar stand out, as the middle frequencies clash because they are shared by vocals and so many other instruments of the middle register. 

However, we have no way of knowing in unbiased reality what electronic/digital instruments actually sound like 'unprocessed' (think Moog synthesiser), because their sounds do not occur in nature. They only come out of amplifiers and speakers, and depending on the types used, sound completely different in different set-ups.

 Even without effects processing, every amplifier lends its own colouration to any driven sound. And so do speaker systems - even more so. A quick and simple way to grasp this concept is to try to put the bottom end through tweeters and the treble end through woofers. Neither speaker is designed to faithfully replicate those opposite ends of the frequency spectrum, and they end up 'colouring' them to the point where both sound like someone banging a china plate on a table. There goes your cymbals and bass drum, gone! 

In fact we are so used to the way sound engineers have mixed electronic instruments in the past (think Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rick Wakeman) that we take it for granted that's the way they're supposed to sound. 

And in the same way that our subconscious mind interprets film score cues - pizzicato strings to build suspense, tubas to illustrate clumsy buffoon-like idiocy, violins for romance, or bass and guitar riffs for Al Capone drama (theme from Peter Gunn, James Bond) - in a similar fashion à la Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf - we attribute certain digitally fabricated tones such as the famous Fairlight CMI and even the analogically generated ones such as the Hammond B3 organ and Moog synth as an unquestioned 'given'. We expect them to sound a certain way purely by being conditioned by our past experiences. 

But - they all sound different depending on which amp and speakers are used. And without them you won't hear nuthin'. They don't have a sound of their own. Except maybe, if you're old enough you'll know the sound of putting a needle on a spinning record without amplification. Sort of like a bunch of ants yelling in a foam coffee cup. I suspect that if digital music had a similar naturally produced sound it'd be like the old dialup to get on the net. A cacophony of bleeps and squawks. 

I hear a lot of so-called 'music' these days that simply would not exist without electricity. Or computers. It is impossible to reproduce those sounds on any acoustic instrument apart from the human voice. And therein lies their only validity - if it wasn't for that, I would just call it noise. Any of that rap, dance, house and hip-hop converted and played on purely acoustic instruments would immediately sound like a Weird Al Jankovic send-up. 

Which just gave me an idea, to record my next song totally á cappella, mimicking synthesisers and drum machines. Weird Sam Yankabit.