The top 1%

July 12, 2018

Number games.

 


 

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Imaginary realities (or why all history is imaginary)

July 12, 2018

History is causal.

Actual events in the past resulted in the present. What we think, now, about those events in the past or what stories we tell, now, about the past are of no consequence to the present (no matter how fascinating or revisionist those stories may be).

The consequences of past events reverberate into the future until their influence has reduced so as to be submerged into the background noise. Say it actually was an asteroid impact 65 million years ago which led to the mass extinction of large dinosaurs (even if some survive as birds today). The reverberations of that asteroid impact can no longer be definitively detected. It can still be inferred by other events but all direct consequences are now part of the background noise. We can imagine other alternative histories. It might have been a super-volcano eruption – the detectable impacts of which would now also be lost in the noise – which caused the decline of the dinosaurs. Large dinosaurs may have disappeared catastrophically over a very short period or dwindled gradually over a few million years. We can imagine any story we like as long as its effects are now lost within the background. The super-volcano eruption and the asteroid impact are equally real (or equally imaginary).

Is reality confined to the present?

A real event that occurred yesterday is not real now. If everything not-real is imaginary then everything in history is imaginary now. Events that did occur are imaginary in the now. But events that did not occur are also imaginary. For events from as close as yesterday there may be collateral evidence to support one particular imaginary reality that was. For recent events some imaginary reality may be more real than another. But for events from the more distant past all the supporting evidence may be buried within the background rumble from the past. Then all imaginary realities are equal on the reality scale of imaginary realities. But the “real” reality must be causally connected to the present and so must also be the realities of the future.

Clearly time has an impact on reality. Perhaps it is wrong to thing of reality by itself and we need to think instead of the space within which reality can exist and the reality time-line. The reality space is the space of causality.

Reality space

Perhaps reality has to have a time axis. From the now, past or future realities (which are imaginary in the now) are time-lines which can only exist in the reality space. The reality time-line then must be capable of being causally connected within the reality space and must pass through the now. The imaginary space is then that where events cannot be causally connected to the present.

That dinosaurs have become chickens lies within the reality space that we can discern now and is an imagined reality. That dinosaurs became tigers lies in the imaginary space but cannot be causally linked and, therefore, is not even an imaginary reality.


 

 

All wealth is not capital and all capital is not wealth

July 9, 2018

A note to myself.

I take capital to be an asset which can generate revenue and which can itself be converted to and consumed as revenue,

where

An asset is any thing (physical or abstract) which can be of use.  To be of use implies an entity capable of enjoying such use. I take an entity to be any living thing or any combination of such living things. The asset does not necessarily have to be in the ownership or the control of that entity. However, without ownership or control, the utility flowing from the asset is available diffusely to all entities and is not exclusive to a particular entity. An asset in the ownership of an entity is the property of that entity.

(The sun could be considered an asset for all entities and not in the control of any entity and its benefits flow diffusely to all entities. A physical characteristic of an entity, such as strength, would be an asset available exclusively to that entity. A house may be an asset owned by an entity where the disposition of that asset and and all utility flowing from it are exclusively in the power of that entity).

A revenue is an inward stream of utility, of usefulness, over time. The stream of utility is income only when it is in cash or in kind and is measurable and tradable. Something intangible could be revenue but, if not tradable, would not be income.

(Revenue and income are like electricity and can only exist as a flow over time. They can accumulate over time as capital or assets and are analogous to an electric charge).

Wealth and poverty are judgements. Wealth is always a surplus to requirements and thus relative to some norm of need. Similarly, poverty is then a deficiency also relative to some standard of need. Wealth and poverty can be applied to any tangible or intangible property or characteristic. The magnitude of capital or of assets or of revenue or of income are not necessarily wealth or poverty. It is the judgement of whether something is in surplus or in deficiency which determines the existence of wealth or poverty.

Wealth is often used to describe magnitude (total wealth for example) but this is incorrect usage. As in this often used diagram:

 (Rich describes magnitude and richness may not necessarily be wealth. Similarly poor also describes magnitude and is not necessarily a judgement of a deficiency. Thus a rich man with much capital may be in poverty if his needs grossly exceed his capital. Or a poor man with little capital may be wealthy if it exceeds his needs. A surplus of an intangible asset – say some skill or happiness – is wealth but may not be capital. Rich and poor are magnitudes. Wealth and poverty are differences of magnitude).

All wealth is not capital and all capital is not wealth.


 

Atheism cannot cope with the unknowable

July 8, 2018

I take atheism to be a “lack of belief in gods”.

A lack of belief does not lie in the realm of knowledge. Neither does it lie in the realm of the unknown. A lack of belief is silent about the state of knowledge about the subject in question. A lack of belief does not imply a state of knowledge. A lack of a belief is not in itself a logical negation of that belief. Many extend this and take atheism to be a denial of the existence of gods as professed as a belief by others. I suspect that most of my acquaintances who claim to be atheists use the latter definition when they present arguments to support their denial of the existence of gods to try and negate the beliefs of others. But a denial of some belief is then an attempt to shift something unknown into the realm of knowledge. It shifts the conversation from ” I don’t myself believe in X” to “I know that your belief in X is false”.

This shift from the realm of belief to the realm of knowledge, I think, is incorrect, illogical and invalid. We are inevitably drawn into epistemology. The known, the unknown and the unknowable. The known and the unknown are realms that are self-apparent. Science is the process at the interface of these regions which leads to the growth of the region of the known. All beliefs by definition lie in the region of the unknown. Any statement and its negation ( X and not-X) must both either lie in the region of knowledge, or both in the region of the unknown. It is not possible for one to live in the realm of knowledge and its negation to live in the region of the unknown. A belief in gods lies in the unknown. A lack of belief in gods (which is atheism) is not in itself a commentary on that belief. A denial of the belief in gods cannot then be anything other than belief and cannot shift into the realm of knowledge. A denial of a belief – which by definition lies in the unknown – is to claim knowledge of an unknown thing which is self-contradictory.

Known, Unknown and Unknowable

Is some part (and maybe the major part) of the unknown then unknowable? Some scientists – and some atheists – would claim that the unknowable does not exist; that everything – eventually – can be explained. But I think they delude themselves. This trifurcation into the known, the unknown and the unknowable does not address who the observer is or the time element. “To know” requires cognition. Cognition requires a brain. Known to whom? when? for how long? What is “known” depends upon the brains alive to know. Facts which were once part of knowledge may become unknown, though they may well remain facts. I observe that most of past events are now unknowable, though they were once known. What was once known, may have first passed into the region of the unknown (but was still knowable) and then with the further passage of time may have passed into the region of the unknowable. Most of the past events in my own life are already in the region of the unknowable. The most basic questions of science that we can formulate always lead us first into the unknown and then into the unknowable.  When the unknowable is reached we use labels. Gods, The Big Bang, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, …….. . But they are all just labels for Magic.

But more fundamentally, the Great Unknowable – throughout all of space and all of time – is time and its nature. What came before time, when “before” was undefined, is unknowable. At the most basic level, our causal universe and all its laws and all our logic rely upon the existence of an inexorable and inexplicable Time Magic. (I take all events which occur but which are inexplicable to be Magic. It is my label for that which lies in the region of the unknowable). Beliefs in Gods or the Big Bang also lie in the region of the unknowable.

Atheism is about belief and does not address the nature of knowledge or confront the unknowable. An atheist’s lack of belief in gods then lies in the realm of the unknown and perhaps in the realm of the unknowable (Magic). Even an atheist believes in Time Magic (whether he acknowledges it or not).


 

Painless

July 3, 2018

As a sports fan, being Swedish of Indian origin leads to very few conflicts of interest.

For the size of its population, India is a massive under-performer in all sports except cricket. Sweden with its 10 million is an astonishing over-performer. Of course, watching cricket on TV in Sweden is almost impossible (which does cause some deprivation issues).

My preference for Wales in Rugby (Union of course) is a consequence of having lived in Cardiff (in the 70s in the days of the legendary Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams) and being bribed (with beer) and coerced by my colleagues to learn the intricacies of being a Rugby supporter. An appreciation of Max Boyce was obligatory.


 

 

World Cup Odds

June 18, 2018

Already after just the first 4 days, matches are blurring into each other. The scheduling and time differences across the venues makes it possible to watch every match. I am planning to restrict myself to just the second halves to avoid burn-out.

Brazil and Germany didn’t live up to their odds. Mexico and Switzerland did well but the only team so far which has done significantly better than expected has been Russia.

A World Cup without Italy. I will not miss their usual boring play in the group rounds but the knock-out section will be the poorer for their absence.

No reason for any drastic change to the odds but the chances of a non-favourite winning are rising.


 

My next computer will not have Windows 10

June 17, 2018

Just a rant since I am currently very irritated by Microsoft and Windows.

Microsoft’s intrusiveness is growing. Especially since Windows 10.

It was always high but it is now getting ridiculous. I receive this and similar messages almost every hour. If it is not shared experiences settings it is the App store settings. The advertisements on their Solitaire package are inane and incessant. I do not wish to share my experiences with Microsoft so that they can get even more intrusive.

I am beginning to get warnings about my hard disk so I will probably need to replace this 6 year old laptop within 6 months.

It will not be Windows 10 next time.

Image result for imac

I don’t have the patience or the concentration any longer to set up Linux. The alternatives such as Chrome O/S or Syllable are far too esoteric for me.  I am told that there are other alternatives in descendants of UNIX, OS/2, BeOS and DOS but those too are beyond my touch.

Which probably therefore means an iMac.

 


 

When “democracy” becomes a religion, excellence has no value

June 16, 2018

Though no country is truly “democratic”, I am afraid that “democracy” is becoming a religion. It is being forgotten that “democracy” is merely a tool to enable a society to function well smoothly. But the goodness of any system depends upon minorities getting along with majorities.

As practised most “democracies” all exhibit limitations on who gets to vote, on who gets elected and on how far majorities are allowed to suppress minorities. They are all autocratic to a greater or lesser degree. Politicians represent parties rather than their constituencies. Even where they try to represent their voters, that advocacy is limited by their party allegiances. Heads of government are granted varying levels of autocratic freedoms. Some Presidents and Prime Ministers and Chancellors effectively are Kings – for a time. The test of goodness lies in whether it allows society to function, not in achieving a state of sanctity.

My fear is that the new religion of the twentieth century is some glorified, sanctimonious vision of a “democracy”. Holy crusades are being conducted in the name of this religion where heretical nations are subject to regime change – by force if necessary. This religion is now one where the mediocre is exalted, where the pursuit of excellence is castigated as non-democratic and elitism, where majority opinion replaces being correct. Right and wrong are replaced by majority view and minority view. To “follow” the mediocrity of the majority has become more important than to “lead” towards aspirations.

Democracy as a religion is, in fact – opposed to excellence or the search for excellence.

 


 

Rolls Royce plagued by Trent 1000 compressor durability issues

June 14, 2018

Rolls Royce had a bunch of teething problems with the Trent 900 (for the Airbus 380) which seem to have been largely fixed though they spent at least $300 million to replace faulty engines. Maintenance costs are turning out much higher than anticipated.

The Trent 1000 for the Dreamliner however has been plagued by issues through its entire design and testing cycle (and a prototype engine even exploded on its test bed in 2010). Both the Dreamliner and the Trent 1000 took much longer to reach the production stage than anticipated and the development programmes were under severe pressure to fix problems as they occurred. Certainly some long-term issues would have been pushed back to be fixed at a later time (fingers crossed). Two years ago ANA replaced all 100 Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on its Dreamliners.  At that time it was cracking and corrosion of turbine blades. Now it seems to be “durability issues” in the IP compressor.

This Trent 1000 “fix” could be much more expensive for Rolls Royce than the Trent 900 fixes. According to the FT, “Existing issues will already cost the group some £750m up to 2019 and potentially a further £200m after that.”

AINOnline: 

Rolls-Royce has identified another durability issue in its Trent 1000 series engines, this time involving the intermediate pressure compressor in the Package B version. The variant has flown in service on Boeing 787s since 2012 and consists of 166 engines. The engine company said it has agreed with regulatory authorities to carry out a one-time inspection of the Package B fleet to “further inform” its understanding of the problem.

Rolls added that it expects the European Aviation Safety Agency to issue an airworthiness directive in “the coming days,” resulting in “limited impact” on customer operations.

“We are committed to eliminating this intermediate pressure compressor [IPC] durability issue from the Trent 1000 fleet and we have already successfully run a redesigned Package C IPC in a development engine,” said Rolls-Royce in a June 11 statement. “As a precautionary measure we have also launched a redesign of the relevant part in the Package B engine as well as in the Trent 1000 Ten engine, where, although currently a young fleet, we have not seen any examples of reduced IPC durability.” 

In April Rolls-Royce advised operators that its Trent 1000 Package C engine would require more inspections than previously planned to address premature wear of compressor blades, a problem that first came to light in 2016. The company reported that it had delivered 380 Package C engines, powering some 25 percent of all Boeing 787s in service. The majority passed inspection and therefore continues to fly, according to a Rolls-Royce spokesman who declined to enumerate “majority.”

The UK aero-engine company said in late May that it would accelerate the development of the permanent fix to the IPC rotor issue on Package C engines and that it had installed a revised compressor blade in an engine scheduled for testing this month. “We aim to have first parts available for engine overhaul in late 2018, rather than 2019 as originally planned,” Rolls-Royce civil aerospace president Chris Cholerton said.

Rolls also said it had begun speeding the development of the new blade and a dedicated facility in Derby to build engines on which it will test it. It also developed new on-wing inspection techniques to support airlines in meeting the requirements of the airworthiness directives “as quickly and efficiently as possible,” it said. 

Cholerton admitted Rolls-Royce expects the number of aircraft affected “to rise in the short term, as the deadline for the completion of initial inspections approaches,” though it remains tight-lipped on the actual numbers. “We are not confirming number of aircraft grounded,” the spokesman said.

slide – Rolls Royce


 

Trumpophobia or “Dump-on-Trump Syndrome” (DTS)

June 13, 2018

The establishment and the establishment media have been reviling Donald Trump for almost 4 years now. Initially it was to try and ensure that Hillary Clinton was elected President. Now Trump has been President for 18 months and the automatic, instant reviling of Trump on any subject and any issue continues. The fervour  is getting feverish and reflects more on the revilers than on the “revilee”.

But what the media missed before the election – and is still missing – is that Trump revels in the headlines. Any publicity is good publicity for him. There has not been a single day in his 500 days in office when he has not been in the headlines. The instant and largely reflex – but thoughtless – opposition is manifested as a global phobia among the liberal/left (where a phobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”).

In years to come, Trumpophobia or the “Dump on Trump” syndrome will be studied as a classic example of mass irrationality or a mass political psychosis. Just his name seems to cause brain freeze among those afflicted with the phobia. But the affliction is debilitating. It causes otherwise rational people to sound and act like imbeciles.

But the reality is that no matter how much Trump is held in contempt or reviled or hated, his cavalier approach to government and to diplomacy has shaken the world out of its complacent, self-adulatory comfort zone.

Whatever his popularity or otherwise, history will show that Trump caused a much-needed correction to the self-admiring, self-righteous, sanctimony that was – and still is – suffocating the world.


 


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