Tag Archive: NATO

Russian Fighter Causes Confusion Over Europe

Shock Radar Track Horror

A Russian fighter aircraft has caused a major alert over the skies of Europe as tension mounts in the so-called radar wars.

RussianVersion

Russian Radar Plot

In a statement, President Putin said that the plane was flying in international airspace looking for Turkey but got lost over the Bay of Biscay.

AirspaceViolation

NATO radar plot

NATO has replied with it’s own version in which their track definitely shows the pilot making defensive manoeuvres all over Europe.

Belgian Radar Plot

To counter this, Belgian officials say the plane stayed within international airspace which is now defined as being three and a half leagues inside geographical borders and never once touched Belgian airspace.

To date, it has been confirmed that newspaper sales have not suffered and that no news presenters have lost their jobs.

Prime Minister Cameron has pledged to ask the Daily Mail and Sun exactly what he should say next.

Beryl, of Saffron Walden (42) said,

I was checking the gutters for drips and saw a strange plane in the sky which looked at me in a funny way.  I was glad to get back inside.  You can’t be too careful in this day and age what with them radar tracks and all.

 

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Murderous Robot Wars

Introduction

Robot Wars TV

Robot Wars TV

Professor Noel Sharkey from Sheffield, better known as one of the judges on the BBCTV show “Robot Wars” knows a thing or two about robots and artificial intelligence.  He’s made a plea for more debate about the use of robot planes in warfare. (see link)

BAE Mantis

BAE Mantis

He’s said, “An international debate is needed on the use of autonomous military robots.  A push toward more robotic technology used in warfare would put civilian life at grave risk.”

Watchkeeper Drone

Watchkeeper Drone

Actually, when you look at the statistics objectively and compare them to large conflicts, like WW1 for instance, a war that kicked off mechanised slaughter, then it’s bloomin’ obvious!

Slaughter

The BBC report says that,

Between January 2006 and April 2009, he estimated, 60 such “drone” attacks were carried out in Pakistan. While 14 al-Qaeda were killed, some 687 civilian deaths also occurred.

What this means is that 49 times as many civilians as combatants were killed!

This is truly horrendous.

WW1 Montage

WW1 Montage

Now lets look at the statistics from the dawn of mechanised slaughter, the war to end all wars, the war where the Last Tommy has just died….?

World War 1 Stats

In WW1, Germany invaded France, and the war was largely fought in Belgium and France.  On the battlefields and surrounding areas, many civilians died, as well as combatants, (source statistics here).  Here we go:

  • France:
    • Military Deaths = 1,397,800
    • Civilian Deaths = 300,000
  • Belgium:
    • Military Deaths = 58,637
    • Civilian Deaths = 62,000

Even including all countries involved, the statistics are stark.  Forget about the actual (huge) numbers – look at the proportions:

  • Total Military Deaths in WW1 = 9,721,937
  • Total Civilian Deaths in WW1  = 6,821,248

So overall, 0.7 civilians died for each soldier.

Terminator: Rise of the Machines

Terminator: Rise of the Machines

If we scale up the drone usage deaths into a global conflict sized scenario (and knowing the military, this is exactly what they’d do), and using the military deaths in WW1 as a starting point, how many civilians would die as the armchair pilots sought their foes?

Answer:

9,721,937 x 49 = 476,374,000

This is about the whole population of Europe!

Conclusion

Professor Starkey is completely correct.  If this is not a definition of the term putting civilian life at grave risk, then what is?

…and this is without attaching nuclear weapons to the planes…!!!

Of course, the effect of the usage of these machines and tactics is hardly likely to win over the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen (the current targets) when every time one flies over a whole family is wiped out, is it?  So you have to ask yourselves,

If ‘The West’ is really trying to ‘win hearts and minds’ as they say, then what the fuck are they playing at?

in other words,

It looks like the real game is to continue the ‘war against terror’ to ensure that our people stay cowed and afraid and to justify the existence of the ‘military industrial complex’.

Just like the government in the film, “V for Vendetta”.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

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Garbage Summer Science

Is This the Worst Science Project Ever?

Pitt JolieThe Daily Telegraph, short of stories this summer now that the expenses scandal is dead, has published a picture of Angelina Jolie under the heading:

Women getting more beautiful, say scientists: (see link)

According to some work done by  Finnish Philosopher/PsychologistYliopistotutkija – University Researcher Degree: Doctor of Philosophy Department of Psychology University of Helsinki P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20 D) FIN-00014 University of Helsinki” http://web.archive.org/web/20100115033346/http://www.helsinki.fi:80/psykologia/english/introduction/personnel.htm Markus Jokela,

…attractive women have more children than their less attractive counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female…

The methodology was to look at 2000 Americans, and then decide that ‘beautiful‘ women had 16% more children.  How this ‘beauty‘ decision was derived, is unknown, save for the comment that,

“attractiveness was assessed from photographs taken during the study”

The article continues in the same vein by quoting the results of yet more “scientists” from the London School of Economics taken in 2006.  They had the same ‘results‘.

The gaffa in charge of this, Mr Kanazawa, said…,

“Physical attractiveness is a highly heritable trait, which disproportionately increases the reproductive success of daughters much more than that of sons.”

Rubbish Science

Dunce's Hat

Dunce’s Hat

The point is that the above statement is produced with absolutely NO backing.  It’s an opinion, that’s all. 

It could be equally well said about men.

Remember, it takes two to tango and make a child.   The fact that attractive men can rapidly spread their seed faster than any woman proves that this statement is bunkum…

Look at it like this…
  • In 9 months, a woman can parent one child.
  • In 9 months, with one successful shag per day, a man can parent 270 children.

Who is having the greater initial reproductive success?  Obviously, the man.

I’m sure that someone like Brad Pitt, Jolie’s husband, if let loose into the wild, would procreate many more children than Jolie could!  If he came to Bridgwater, it’d be legs akimbo for weeks followed by lots of little Brad lookalikes!  Apart from the jollity, this will seriously slew the statistics wholly against the research’s argument! It only takes one rampant male to break the ‘hard work’ of hundreds of ‘beautiful’ women taking a lifetime to improve the gene pool!

Or look at it like this…

DNAThis ‘research’ assumes that attractiveness is a one-way process and that women passively sit around waiting to choose the best mate (using what criteria, are we to wonder?).  Again, this is plain garbage.  Women aren’t passive.  If one of a woman’s criteria for mate choice is the appearance of the man, then it chucks out the research findings right out of the window.  Indeed, the ‘beauty’ gene, if it exists, could be being selected for because the man holds it (he having half of his mother’s genes, after all) without actually expressing it himself.

Note to Researchers: check out the difference between a genotype and a phenotype before spouting this muck.

Or Look at it This Way…

My Observation of many UK towns tells me that there are a lot of fat munters on the estates (call them endomorphs, please).  They all have appear to have heaps of children despite any perceived lack of ‘beauty‘.  So what does this mean to a ‘scientist‘ in this calibre of research?

A.  Using their specious logic, I could say that fat munters are the most successful breeders in the country.  I could say that only fat people breed fast.   I could make all sorts of scurrilous accusations about them and the reason(s) for the perceived fecundity.  Just like boys-nights-out on a Friday eyeing up the talent?   But I won’t….

Because Any Logic with like this is seriously flawed.

CrowdIt’s not logic, it’s just opinion dressed as fact.  What the Telegraph (and other media organisations) has done by publishing this rubbish as summer titter, is to denigrate the hard work of real scientists with the mumbo-jumbo claptrap from pseudo-scientists looking for job justification.

There’s a heap of proper evolutionary and genetic research that disproves this tripe, so why do the Telegraph publish it?  A.  To fill space.

Finally

Even defining beauty with the narrow bounds of appearance is hard enough – but beauty and appearance, the attractiveness of an individual – these are all complex concepts that have provided artists and writers material for millenia

The trouble with the ‘research’ and it’s reporting, is that it demeans the real work to titillate the lowest common denominators in society, with the result that scientists, striving for humanity’s betterment, are made to look like pariahs and idiots, which in the long run, is very, very bad.

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Backwards and Forwards Through Time

Exploring the Simultaneous Nature of Cause & Effect

Mont Ventoux from the Baronnies

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Finale, Episode – “All Good Things…”

Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

"The Trial Never Ends": Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

Tom Simpson's Memorial on Mt VentouxI’ve just watched the double episode finale to the TNG Picard series just after the cyclists finished their ascent of Mont Ventoux in this years Tour de France.  It was “All Good Things…”(see link, link & link for full episode info)

In a nutshell, Picard, by the absolute faith that his crew have in him, across three different life-times, undoes a space-time anomaly of their own creation which saves life on Earth…

What I saw was a fine dramatic representation of the Buddhist principle of karma transcending time and space, and the principle that karma (all that we and our lives are) can be changed both backwards and forwards in time;  The simultaneity of cause and effect!

Well!  While all fine and dandy as a piece of fiction, how can I say that this is what it’s really like?

Deceased Ancestors

Nichiren

Nichiren

Nichiren Daishonin, the 12th century Japanese Buddhist monk, in a letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, one of his disciples, tried to explain a bit of the history behind a ceremony for the dead to her.  (A Buddhist service held for the repose of the dead. Such ceremonies were conducted annually, usually on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.) In it, he says, almost a conclusion  to his explanation,

The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. And, amazing as it may seem, all the fathers and mothers of the preceding seven generations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to become Buddhas.  In addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters, and countless other persons not only were enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment. –  On Offerings for Deceased Ancestors, WND, p820

ArrowI’ve highlighted the crushing significance that summarises the whole letter, both in it’s literal summary and as it’s sense and meaning.  Nichiren is saying that we can affect the past from now, as well as the future.  Like Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek episode, the past, present and future are as one, overlapped, affecting each other in a miraculous way.

It’s as if the arrow of time , something everyone experiences in their daily lives, does not exist.

Faith

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Of course, faith is behind all of this; but if we accept both tales at face value there is much to commend it and the value system for life that they support.   Here’s how it panned out for Maudgalyayana….

He was a disciple of Shakyamuni, (the person we call “The Buddha”,  idolised in many lands).  Maudgalyayana was supposed to have supernatural powers, such as mind-reading, out-of-the-body experiences and walking through walls.  He also brought bad karma upon himself by killing his parents which led to his death at the hands of bandits. To change his karma, he studied the Lotus Sutra, so that later, when he met the bandits he ignored his powers and did not defend himself.

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Shakyamuni said that even supernatural powers are of no use to avoid one’s karma, especially when it is so heavy…  That’s what was said and believed at the time.

But is it true?  Is any of this possible?

I believe it is so.  We can change the past as well as future. Harry Patch who died today aged 111, recalled shooting a German in the leg so as not to kill him (see here),  just after seeing a young man die.  He said,

“I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: ‘Mother’. I didn’t see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God’s presence.  I’ve never got over it. You never forget it. Never.”

When they reached the enemy’s second line four Germans stood up, and one ran forward pointing his bayonet at Patch who, with only three rounds left in his revolver, wondered what to do. He then deliberately fired at the man above the ankle and above the knee….”You’ve got a memory. You’ve got a brain about the size of a tea cup. I’ve got a memory that goes back for 80 or 90 years and I think that memory goes on with you when you die. And that’s my opinion. Death is not the end.”

Experiences like this can be rationalised into the mere electrical workings of the brain.   But in a way, Patch’s actions shaped the rest of his life.  He didn’t die early, and maybe had the well-known “survivor’s guilt” for not doing so.  But like the fictional Jean Luc, he has communicated across the ages and affected people because of it.  Without being a Buddhist, his actions have nevertheless been Buddhist.

The follow up to the quote above (from a BBC documentary),  is that his three chums were blown to bits 6 weeks later.  His not un-natural words were;

“If I had met that German soldier after my three mates had been killed, I’d have no trouble at all in killing him”….

The thing is, he didn’t.  The order of events was different and as in the Star Trek story, who’s to tell what’s what?

Planck’s Constant and Entanglement

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

It’s been said that if Planck’s Constant were slightly different – or maybe not so constant – then we ourselves might have the supernatural powers to be able to walk through walls like Maudgalyayana.  In fact, the physics says that this must be so! The natural repulsions of atoms would be different and matter could diffuse through matter with less interaction (or be totally inert depending which way it went).

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Planck’s Constant is a derived measure from a complex suite of theory.  For physics, it’s as fundamental as pi – one of the most bizarre things in the universe – bizarre because most people have heard of it and can describe what it is, yet no-one can measure it, exactly, or say why it pops up in so many equations.

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Entanglement is another “spooky” quantum property.  Einstein did not like this because of the “simultaneity” which went plain against his experimentally provable Relativity theory (Edington proved this because light bends near large masses).  But it exists and experiments have now been done that confirm (at least so far) simultaneous action at a distance. (see Was Einstein Wrong?: A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity).  So experiments prove both instantaneous action at a distance and space-time bending….

Surely, this also is a definition of supernatural?

“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – JBS Haldane

…although a better version, attributed to Edington goes,

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”

Good Merit

Nichiren, in his explanatory letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, follows the passage above with a quote from the Lotus Sutra saying,

Therefore, it is said in the third volume of the Lotus Sutra, “We beg that the merit gained through these gifts may be spread far and wide to everyone, so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way.”

This is also similar to a further sentence which I say twice every day,

But those who practise meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law.  At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable…

When Patch first spoke about WW1 he said, “For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn’t news. Forget it.

He obviously hated everything about WW1.   But for his last 11 years, after living a life of gentle merit, he finally spoke and told his tale. Like the Venerable Maudgalyayana who changed his karma, bathed in the ‘queerness’ of the universe,  Patch changed his by finally telling his story after sowing the seeds so long ago.  He’s made sure people don’t forget it.  The Star Trek episode “All Good Things…” touched on this also.  Where the past meets the present, which meets the future.

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

It’s as if there is a common strand of semi-known knowledge across all of humanity that just needs to be awakened.

  • Sometimes it’s story-tellers,
  • Sometimes it’s traumatised soldiers,
  • Sometimes it’s scientists searching for truth…?

We all know it, we all know how to behave.  But we forget.

A Dream within a Dream

I suppose that all sentient beings are questing for “truth”.

  • Sometimes we need some proof, like the scientist.
  • Sometimes we need emotional trauma, like Harry Patch.
  • Sometimes though, the truth is self-evident, and is a belief, derived from universal truths beyond time and space, elucidated by an enlightened one and transmitted as a belief system and a way of life.

This later one we call Buddhism.

As Nichiren said, a dream within a dream….  the proof for this truth lies within the words and actions of ordinary people searching for this truth….

When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that, although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in the pure land of Eagle Peak, and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – The Fourteen Slanders, WND, p760

The inter-connectness of all things is how The Buddha described it.  His last words have various translations into English, but they all convey the same meaning that the universe is transient and an exhortation  to do one’s best!

e.g.

  1. “Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!” – link
  2. “All created things are impermanent. Strive on with diligence.” – link
  3. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation. Do your best.” – link
  4. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” – link

  • See Harry Patch’s death today in my previous post here.

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Turkey Bans Google

I can’t vouch for the information as I don’t live in Turkey, but I’ve just found out that Turkey has blocked Google.com Google Groups from internet access for it’s citizens.  See:

Turkey & My Foreign Perspectives with Bea Vanni: Goodbye Google Alert: Hello More Bans for Turkey

While my Turkey blog is less frequent these days, I still track the latest and this one deserves attention. Now Google sites are banned in Turkey; this time the lawsuit hails from Denizli, home of a dear friend of mine.

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) reports that the Second Criminal Court of Peace in Denizli on June 24th banned Google and did not give a reason to add to the lame excuses of bans across Turkish Courts. When will Turkey learn that they cannot patrol the internet to any advantage of their state?

Turkey, internet and freedomNow this is quite serious – and weird.  Turkey, after all, contains NATO/US rocket bases and even wishes to join the EU.  Peace, friendship, allying and self-protection are all wonderful things.  But for most of them, we need some form of  common value system.

See this link for extra confirmation of the ban.  It also means that while people may write fondly of their Turkish holiday experiences, if they now pop into an internet cafe, their Google and YouTube queries or postings will draw a blank.

This is one measure of freedom in my book and puts a big question mark over Turkey’s status.

BTW, there’s even a Google Treasure Chest connection  here, because Turkey controls the northern part of Nicosia, Cyprus, which contains some of the addresses used in the GTC scam.

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