Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

Back to the future

April 2, 2017


Divine cooking pairs

March 12, 2017

There are some spices/herbs which seem to go particularly well together. I am sure there is some very intricate chemistry together with our taste discernment which makes this so. In any case some pairings seem to be divinely matched and produce “heavenly combinations”.

These are my favourite ten – not in any particular order – and no doubt there are many more:

1: Onions and red chillies

2: Ginger and garlic

3: Coriander and green chillies

4: Asafoetida (hing) and crushed tomatoes

5: Cumin (jeera) and black pepper

6: Cardamom and cinnamon

7. Coconut and coriander

8. Turmeric and poppy seeds (khus-khus)

9: Cinnamon and cloves

10: Saffron on rice



February 24, 2017

Not that these keep me awake at night, but they do irritate.



The US Cultural Revolution (as seen from 2050)

February 5, 2017

Paraphrasing freely from a Wikipedia entry:

The US Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement that took place in the United States from 2016 until 2028. It was set into motion by Donald Trump, when he became President of the United States (ostensibly representing the Republican Party), with the intent to “Make America Great Again”. His stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ American freedoms by reducing the size of government and by purging the leftist and liberal elements that had infiltrated US society and the media, and to re-impose the ideals of freedom of thought as the dominant ideology within the country. The Revolution marked the return of right-of center thought to the mainstream of the United States establishment. 

The Revolution was launched in November 2016, when he was elected President. On assuming office in January 2017,  Trump alleged that leftist elements had infiltrated the government and society at large, aiming to promote a socialist-leaning, “world government”. He insisted that this “wrong thinking” be purged through a reversal of the over-permissive laws of the US. To this end he ensured a majority of right leaning justices in the Supreme Court. He attacked the traditional establishment media by promoting the alternative media channels developing through the internet. Liberal bureaucrats were isolated and marginalized wherever they could not be sacked. Left leaning institutions were starved of government funds. The American heartland responded to Trump’s appeal by voting those considered “too liberal” out of office, all around the country. After the Republicans dominated the elections of 2018, the movement received widespread support from the military, urban workers, and the Republican Party leadership itself. During the same period Trump’s personality cult grew to immense proportions.

Trump officially declared the US Cultural Revolution to have ended after his first term as President in 2020 but its active phase lasted until the end of his successor’s term in 2028. The Trump era coincided (2017-2024) with the economic boom which followed the economic crisis that had persisted all through his predecessor’s term of office (2008-2016). After Trump’s era ended, he was succeeded by another Republican (“Trump’s 3rd term”) and the US began a slow movement back towards the center. However the Trump era saw an irreversible shift away from “big government” and some of the more permissive practices and laws that had crept into the mainstream of US society in the 40 years before Trump.

In 2035, the Republican Party declared that Donald Trump and his US Cultural Revolution was “responsible for the rebirth of the Party, and a return for the country, to the principles of the founding fathers of the United States”.


Ninja Turtle and the cowardly cows

January 25, 2017


The US intellegentsia

January 20, 2017




Hollywood’s aversion to Trump is Chinese funded

January 20, 2017

It’s not too surprising to see all the Hollywood “stars” dancing to the tune of their Chinese masters.

Wanda’s Wang Jianlin Warns Against U.S. Protectionism in Entertainment Sector

“If China were to retaliate it would be bad for both parties — I do not wish to see that scenario materializing,” China’s richest man said during a Q&A session in Davos.

Addressing the global elite in Davos, Switzerland, China’s richest man urged the U.S. not to erect barriers against Chinese investment into Hollywood.

“That would be a step back,” Wang Jianlin, chairman of property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, said during a Q&A session at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. “That will be about protectionism emerging in the U.S.,” he added.

Wanda’s ongoing buying spree in Hollywood, including last year’s acquisitions of Legendary Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions, has raised alarm among some U.S. politicians. Bipartisan lawmakers, including the incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, have called for closer scrutiny of such deals to see whether they are being directed by Chinese government interests.

Wang argued that his investments in the U.S. have been “a good thing,” however. “We don’t interfere with the content — I just want the profit,” he said.

China Secretly Purchases Hollywood

Media industry analysts have warned that Hollywood has become so awash with Chinese funding that China now essentially owns and controls most of the Hollywood entertainment industry.  

A Beijing-based purchase of US film studio Legendary Pictures by Dalian Wanda Group represents the largest-ever film industry takeover by a Chinese company, with $3.5 billion spent on allowing China to become the second biggest box officer player in Hollywood.

Yahoo News reports: Legendary, the maker of “Jurassic World,” “Godzilla” and the latest Batman trilogy, has grossed more than $11 billion worldwide since it was founded in 2005, mostly with the kind of big-budget blockbusters popular with Chinese audiences.

“It’s a win-win situation… because the China market is really incredibly taking off and Hollywood has a real interest in that,” Stanley Rosen, a political science professor at the University of Southern California, told AFP. It is an arrangement that benefits both sides financially, with movies becoming increasingly expensive to produce but the Chinese hungry for Western-made films.

But China, which has yet to make a global hit, is also buying expertise. “Hollywood has what China lacks, which is storytelling ability, marketing, distribution,” Rosen told AFP. Wanda owner Wang Jianlin, who burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion, says the Legendary deal makes his company the highest revenue-generating movie unit in the world. It also gives future Legendary films direct access to China’s booming market, which has become crucial to foreign filmmakers, with North American ticket sales stagnant.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has projected China’s box office to rise from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $8.9 billion in 2019, meaning it would outstrip the US within two years. ……

…… Cumulative Chinese investment in the US since 2000 reached $63 billion in 2015, with a $4 billion going to the entertainment industry, according to research firm Rhodium Group. The trend looks set to accelerate, with Huayi Brothers planning to produce at least 18 films with LA studio STX Entertainment, and Shanghai-based Fosun International taking a stake in US media company Studio 8. Both Wanda and tech firm Alibaba have been touted as possible minority investors in Paramount, while Hunan TV has signed a $1.5 billion deal to fund Lionsgate movies and Perfect World Pictures is investing $250 million in Universal’s slate over five years.


Once upon a time, a leap-second …..

December 31, 2016

Leap seconds were invented in 1972 (in which year we had 2 leap seconds, one in June and one in December). In 26 of the 44 years since 1972 we have had leap seconds. A year with a leap second happens more often than a year without. Today we add the 27th leap second since its introduction.

A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time, or UT1. Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth’s rotation drifts away from atomic time because of irregularities in the Earth’s rate of rotation. Since this system of correction was implemented in 1972, 26 leap seconds have been inserted, the most recent on June 30, 2015 at 23:59:60 UTC, and the next leap second will be inserted on December 31, 2016, at 23:59:60 UTC.

Having a leap-second is the new normal.

Deviation of day length from SI based day – Wikipedia


Applied might is always right

December 29, 2016


Right and wrong are relative.

A “just”, but losing, cause is a contradiction in terms.

Having might alone is of little use, and all conflicts are decided by the might applied.

In Syria, the US had by far the most might but applied very little of it and are “now in the wrong”.

Russia applied sufficient might to defend Assad and break the back of the ISIS resistance and their intervention is now “in the right”.

In Aleppo, Assad and Russia and their Hezbollah/Iran supported groups applied sufficient might and they are now “in the right”.

In Mosul, the US/Iraq/Kurd/Shia militia coalition have as yet applied insufficient might and the outcome and the “rightness” are still to be decided.


On the eve of the birthday of the Sun, on to orbit 2017 (+c. 4.5 billion)

December 24, 2016

The number 2017 is an odd number and is a prime (the 306th such).

But, it is not:

  • a Fibonacci number,
  • a Bell number,
  • a Catalan number,
  • a regular number (Hamming number),
  • a factorial of any number, or
  • a perfect number.

In short the number 2017 is quite ordinary.

2016 has been anno horibilis for some but I think it has been just another year. Whether year 2017 is more than just ordinary remains to be seen. But I am more hopeful than fearful.

In the geopolitical sphere the most notable event has been that what looked like the unstoppable march of ISIS at the end of 2015, has in fact reversed and ISIS are now on a hiding to nothing. And it is the Russian intervention in Syria that the world has to thank for that. In the political world, Brexit and Trump’s win have been seismic events. A global trend against the liberal/socialist/elitist world-view of a self-declared “intelligentsia” telling the great unwashed what was good for them, which began before 2016 and will continue for many years yet, has strengthened.

I think this trend is part of an inevitable move to a distributed rather than a centralised system of societies managing themselves. The UN and its many bodies, the EU and the WHO are all examples where centralisation has gone too far. What has been forgotten is that we have to think globally but make decisions and act locally. Global decisions will always eventually be repudiated locally – unless they are imposed by coercion. The trend to distributed decision making is, I think, analagous to the growth of distributed rather than centralised power generation or distributed rather than centralised communication systems

But after some 4.5 billion + 2016 revolutions around the Sun, the Earth now starts on another orbit. The birthday of the Sun on 25th December comes long before the invention of Christianity. At 59°N our day is now just over 6 hours long. Hope rises as the days are again palpably getting longer. By the end of June we will be at close to 18 hours of daylight.

Here’s wishing that 2017 will see many fears unrealised and some hopes being met.



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