Tag Archive: TNT

What’s So Special About July 16th?

Crikey! I Never Realised!

Maybe certain days have relevance above their station and mere numerical nomenclature?  Who knows.  So read on.  See what happened today!

622 AD  – The Hijra of Muhammad

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

Muhammad runs away from Mecca to escape persecution.  From this point forward, huge swathes of the globe took up Islam, Islamic empires spread across, Africa, Asia and half of Europe; the legacy of which self-evidently exists today.  Okay, there’s huge argument about this, but some people take this as the day.  Personally, I don’t know enough about it, but I need something to match the post’s title, and other writers do take this as the day.  Wikipedia says this, and who am I to argue?

The Muslim dates are in the Islamic calendar extended back in time. The Western dates are in the Julian calendar. The lunar year is about 300/309 solar year. The Hijra is celebrated annually on 8 Rabi’ I, about 66 days after 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year. Many writers confuse the first day of the year of the Hijra with the Hijra itself, erroneously stating that the Hijra occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1 or 16 July 622.

All dates given above may have occurred about 89 days (three lunar months) earlier. The Muslim dates may be those recorded in the original Arabic calendar and their month names may not have been changed to account for the (probably three) intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad’s last Hajj (AH 10).

1260 AD – Nichiren Expounds “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Nichiren statue in Japan

Nichiren statue in Japan

Speaking to 13th century feudal Japan, Nichiren the monk said that the calamities and disasters befalling the people were all due to incorrect lifestyles.  He insisted that all people were equal and free, that they should pay heed to people who were obviously skilled in their chosen field, and that they should do their best in the limited lifetime available.

Largely, he was ignored, and so half the country starved because of self-interest and malice.

And this is exactly the place where we find ourselves now across the globe.  We live on a world of limited resource, where many people choose to live their life by stealing from others, either as individuals or nations.  Nichiren’s words have as much relevance now as they ever did.  Here’s part of the writing:

I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason that the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears. – WND, page 7, “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Daisaku Ikeda has some similar words about today;  he says:

The powerful may appear great, but in reality they are not.  Greatest of all are the ordinary people.  If those in power lead lives of idle luxury it is because the people are silent.  We have to speak out.  With impassioned words, we need to resolutely attack abuses of power that cause people suffering.  This is fighting on the side of justice.  It is wrong to remain silent when  confronting injustice.  Doing so is tantamount to supporting and condoning evil.

I’ve quoted the above as a direct statement to those companies like Pacific Webworks, people like Jesse Willms and the misguided people of Utah who have misinterpreted their US constitution of freedom and capitalism as a freedom to steal from the needy as a means of amassing capital, all hiding under the umbrella “that it’s god’s work”.  If capitalism doesn’t serve the people, then it has no purpose.

Nichiren’s Buddhism is now growing at a phenomenal rate.  The time of change is now.

1918 AD –  Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and his family are killed by a Bolshevik firing squad at Ekaterinburg, Siberia.

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

One of the final acts of the Russian revolution occurred with the attempted elimination of all of the monarchy and any aspirants thereto.  This act changed history for the 20th century, it’s consequences evident even now by a powerful Russian people, proud of their history, somewhat ambivalent about the exact direction that leadership and authority should take.

On the night of 16/17 July 1918, the royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, told to dress, and led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house; the pretext for this move was the family’s safety – that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Ekaterinberg, and the house might be fired upon.

The executioners drew revolvers and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him multiple times in the head and chest. Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their clothing, which provided some initial protection from the bullets and bayonets. They were stabbed with bayonets and then shot at close range in the head.

1945 AD – The world’s first atomic weapon is Exploded

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity, the first bomb is tested by the US at Alamogordo Air Base in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Within a month, two more bombs had been dropped on Japan, effectively ending World War 2.  We, especially in the West, are living this legacy still.  It can be argued that the threat of total devastation (the theory of MAD) has made nations with the bomb more proactive in reasoned discussion and less likely to take arms against each other.  The converse is that the weapons will one day be used again and it’ll be the end of the world as we know it…

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Unlike Oppenheimer, who had his own bit of Indian prose in mind, whenever I see the Trinity picture I hear William Blake.  It’s a beautiful picture, just as the bomb goes off.  What fearful symmetry?  In that split second, we see all that was and all that will be.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

1969 AD – Man on The Moon

Apollo11 Launch

Apollo11 Launch

On this day, mankind set off to stand on a different celestial body.  Four days later, we’d done it.

Less than four centuries earlier, over much of our planet, you could be burned or stoned to death for even suggesting that the possibility existed that a “creation of god” could be imperfect or blemished, like the moon is.

Such is the progress we’ve made, yet even now, such events are like a dream within a dream.   The misogynist, nationalist, creationist forces are at work, attempting to roll back the clock to a time when they ruled the roost, and their hypocritical word was god .

But for now, we can say that men bravely stood on the Moon.

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How Rowland Hill Turns in His Grave

Introduction

Following up an earlier post of mine “Use the Green Stick, Mr Postman!” and how unfriendly competition in the delivery market actually is from the point of view of the environment and the actual service to the customer (us!), the recent news of a  Delivery firm’s 686 jobs at risk should be taken with a pinch of salt and examined closely.

Home Delivery Network (HDN), an amalgam of catalogue, pools and white van delivery folk pipes up today that jobs will have to go.  This is part of the “solution” to the “Post Office crisis” that various governments have sought to rid themselves.  Others are Citylink, DHL, Amtrack etc.  They are all posturing to grab the best bits of the Post Office’s business while leaving the donkey work to the taxpayer’s employees, the postmen.

However, it’s not the first time that HDN have said this.  Way back in the middle of the boom, ages before the Credit Crunch and recession, they whipped out a similar story;  Job cut concerns at delivery firm. This was for 600+ jobs in 2005!

Call me cynical, but if they can’t make money just competing for the cream of the work, how will they manage in future?

History Lesson

Rowland_Hill___Project_Gutenberg_etext_13103_1_

Rowland Hill

Way back in the early 1800’s, the “post” as it was called was a competetive business.  Official government stuff went by couriers called “The Royal Mail” and everyone else paid a hefty premium to go the same route or paid huge amounts dependant on distance, weight and size.  People paid pounds! This was at a time when bread cost a penny and 10 shillings was a good wage.  There was much corruption, mail went missing for various reasons and it took ages to get anywhere.

Rowland Hill is credited with reforming all of that to end up with the modern fast postal system that people could rely on and for which people were proud to work.  This lasted from 1840 until the 1980’s.  When Thatcher got in of course, she and her ilk poisoned everyone’s minds with ideas of competition and the free market, a legacy that Blair et al have expanded upon.

When the post-as-we-know-it started, it cost a penny (The Penny Post) to send a letter any distance in the UK.  This was radical and it was cheap, if you were middle class.  In real terms for the bulk of the population, it was the same as a loaf of bread.

But the service boomed and like Rowland Hill imagined, it soon paid for itself.

A decent loaf today costs about a pound, whereas to post a letter is less than half that.   But now, somehow people whinge and think it’s too much! Yet the same people will happily hop in a car, spend 50p on petrol, and all for a £5 jumbo kebab.

Priorities are definately wrong.

The Delivery Market

What successive governments have done in the pursuit of making a stamp even cheaper, is make the actual service, you know, the service that you and me get when stuff (possibly) comes through the letterbox,… worse.

This makes it less likely that people will use the service and instead, they turn to the cowboys like HDN and Amtrack, Citylink and TNT, who cream off the business mail (aka junk mail), removing a huge revenue stream from our valuable normal postal service.  They in turn have to reduce costs, close offices, reduce staff, reduce deliveries and increase charges.

It’s a vicious downward spiral and the eventual losers are us, the customers; and us, the employees; and us, the taxpayers.

For parcels, the companies compete against Parcel Force, who used to have a network of wonderfully handy offices, open till late, where undelivered items could be easily collected.  This is seriously undermined nowadays.

  • For a company like Dabs or M&S, the costs are about 50p less for a small parcel.
  • For us customers, we have to travel 70 miles (in Citylink’s case) to collect undeliverable items!

This is 2 gallons of fuel – about a tenner.

So for Dabs or M&S to save 50p, we have to pay £10.  And remember, when we buy something online, we are paying the delivery cost.  If we have to collect it, we have to pay again!

Conclusion

I hope HDN and everyone like it all go bust as soon as possible – or at least stop their operations in the area of postal deliveries.  Union people like;

  • Bob Shaw, national secretary for transport at the T&G;
  • Unite national officer Julia Long;
  • and Usdaw national officer, Irene Radigan;

–  they’ve got it all wrong.  Instead of weaselly worrying about a few local workers, they should instead look at the broader picture of a diminished and collapsing postal delivery service that does no-one any good, not least their members and not least the nation …

  • The postal service has an already existing network of handy local offices, ideally placed to pick up the ever burgeoning business from internet buying.
  • The postal service is efficiently set up to minimise environmental damage from the excess travel required when using independant carriers.  These costs are never factored into the big picture.  Like air transport, it should be the total costs that count.
  • The lost jobs (if it actually happens) at HDN should be easily taken up by a proper national postal delivery service.  After all, the parcels that HDN delivers will still need delivering by someone!

In short, don’t carve up the service – make it bigger and better!

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Link Checking Arthur 2-Stroke

Arthur 2-Stroke

Arthur 2-Stroke

Having been playing with the neat Broken Link Checker plugin today, I discovered a few links that had gone or changed and set about fixing them.  During this process, I came across a mention about Arthur 2-Stroke who periodically self-promotes himself, even now.  I’d like to share this wonderful experience that I gleaned here at the strangely quiet Newcastle Stuff (at least, nowt this year).

The Ashington Dictionary is a bit of a laugh, for what there is (they seem to have run out of ideas – it only goes up to D in the alphabet).  For those that don’t understand, the definitions are spot on but the joke is in the pronunciation and thus the usage, which mean something totally different.  I won’t explain further, suffice to say that it’s Pitmatic.

The Noise Toys (TNT)

The Noise Toys (TNT)

Anyway, I never thought much of A2S, but TNT, the Noise Toys had one tune that used to crack me up every time.  Probably called Russian Roulette but don’t bank on it, the first verse that Martin sang went like so, I think:

I might lose a game of Russian Roulette

Or fall to me death from a supersonic jet

I might die, within a year

I might die from lung cancer.rrr.rrrr.rrrr

How should I know,

How-should-I-know?

pdficon_large.gif Viz 25th Birthday (Extra Info)

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UK Gov Admits to Losing More Data: There’s No Justice is there?

The latest in the long-running sage that the British Government is trying to spell out called:

Why We Will Win The “We Are the Best People to Put All Your Information in an ID Card and Lose It” Competition.

http://www.itworld.com/security/54342/uk-justice-agency-loses-45000-personal-records goes the story.  In a FOI release the Department of Justice has said it’s lost tons of data by various methods.  A good way was the simple method of sticking it, unencrypted, onto CDs – and then losing them.

Read the whole article.  The weasel double-speak, “committed to ensuring that information is shared in a safe and secure way“, is laughable.

I really don’t know why the high-tech criminals go about the laborious procedure of sending spam, setting up botnets, infecting PCs, key-logging the PCs for personal details, hacking government computers, posing as repairmen to hijack equipment, etc etc etc. and all the other tricks they do.

All they have to do is hang around government offices and the stuff will come flying from the windows like silver frisbees.  Sit in public parks and wait for laptops to be left.  Check a few roundabouts for discs.  Get in a taxi and check the back seat.  Watch the letterbox and something might just pop through from TNT.

It’s just pathetic.

However, this site here, The coming of Global Communism, has an interesting take on the data losses.  He says this about the continuing rash of data loss stories and the government’s wishes for centralized data storage (I quote):

The goal of these stories is to gradually convince the masses that without a large database to store all this data, continual security breaches and data losses will be ongoing

He also reckons that such a thing already exists.

I think,

  • that there is a lot of connectivity but nowhere near that suspected by “Man” or like that presented in “Spooks” on TV.
  • that if it does exist, then a lot of incompetent people are using it or ignoring it (e.g. the London 7/7 bombers were known about for ages but left alone by our security services).  They also shot the Brazilian then as well…
  • that even with a centralized store, people will still pull data from it for “custom reasons”.  Most of the people doing this are simple clerks anyway.  I’ve watched many at work on my software – it’s my job – they’re impatient and “click happy”.
  • I’m willing to be proved wrong though.

The thing is that this continuing ferago isn’t even worth parodying any longer.  Most comics and satirists just hit on the old standards because most people don’t care.  All they want is a quiet life with enough money for a few holidays each year.  They’re not bothered by international conflict or anything like that as long as they can put petrol in the tank and have a shag.

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