08 May 2012

Some People Have Pure Custard Between Their Ears

When it comes to climate change, I consider myself to be pretty agnostic.  I personally believe that there is insufficient data to draw an accurate conclusion as to whether mankind is actually destroying the environment or that we are possibly in an unknown period following the last ice age (20,000 or so years ago), or indeed a myriad of other reasons.

Despite this, I think neither side has acquitted themselves well.  There has been Climategate (although subsequent reviews have since found that although the methodology was flawed, the findings were correct - eh?) and the ignoring of data that did not support the climate change theories, but all of this pales to insignificance with the latest actions from the skeptics.   Heartland (an organisation in the US that I refuse to link to) ran advertising campaign in Chicago that beggared belief.  Rather than apologise for this disgrace, they claimed it a success. The global campaign group, Avaaz are now running a campaign to encourage their corporate sponsors to abandon them - hopefully this will be successful.

03 May 2012

Do Androids Dream of Electronic Donuts?

Over the last few days, something has been puzzling me: a lot of science fictions movies have "replicants" - robots that are considered a facsimile replica of a human being, complete with skin, hair etc.  Examples of these appear in Alien and Aliens (I stopped watching the trilogy after that monstrosity) and Bladerunner. Within these movies, they are sometimes shown eating a meal with their human counterparts - this presumes that they obtain their energy from food as we do.

Anyway, the question I have is: do androids suffer from obesity?  Obviously, if we assume that the android knows the limits of its requirements, it is reasonable to expect that it will stop consuming when it no longer needs to. But what if there is a bug in the software?  It is possible that it could continue to "eat" and there would be an excess of energy that it is unable to process.  Then there is the example of Rachel in Bladerunner - she was an android that believed she was human. Therefore, would she gain the same pleasures from (for example) eating chocolate?  And if so, if she ate to excess how would her weight gain be shown? (Not that we want a fat Sean Young).

Then there is the issue of alcohol & drugs.  The replicant in Alien knew that he was one, but had to fool the human crew members.  How would he emulate their effects?  And again, go back to Rachel - she would have had to been able experience all the effects. Does this mean her designer had to be an alcoholic druggie in order to fully describe the effects?

These are questions that movies have not addressed....

01 May 2012

My Thoughts on the New England Manager

Today the English FA have formally spat in the face of "popular" opinion and appointed (Uncle) Roy Hodgson as the new England manager, following the ignominious resignation of Fabio Capello (despite having the best win ratio since 1966).  In what can be considered a ballsy move, the media darling that is Harry Redknapp was not even interviewed for the role so naturally the knives are already out.

The televised press conference probably had around 20 questions asked of Hodgson and Bernstein (the FA chairman) of which no more than 2 or so were actually related to the matter of football.  The remainder of the questions were along the lines of questioning selection process, who else was considered, etc.  It was almost disappointing that not a single journalist had the courage to ask what they were really thinking "why didn't you appoint Harry Redknapp?"

Despite the Hodgson's struggles at Liverpool, I do think that he will prove to be an effective England manager - he already has international management experience, having got Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup (and 3rd in the FIFA rankings). As long as the press and the England fans can get behind the team, that is.  He will also be reliant on the England players following his instructions, but I am sure that there won't be any attempt to make them play unfamiliar formations or putting in inexperienced keepers in critical games.

As can possibly be appreciated, I am slightly more supportive of Hodgson than the last English manager that lead England to a lack of glory.  I may even renew my membership to England fans+ - although I may wait until after the Euros.  Although, naturally we are now destined to win it!