Beauty

Beauty is all around us all the time.

Sometimes it can be subtle – almost to the point of being unnoticeable until you give it the full attention it deserves…. and then there are times when it just beats you about the head and you are unable to miss it and just have to gasp in Awe at it’s magnificence.

Case in point that perfectly reflects these two contrasts:

Had i not walked past my kitchen window while watching Roger Federer play Rafael Nadal in an amazing finals tennis match i may have missed this monumental example of Nature’s beauty. Until this moment the day had been mostly dull and rainy and grey and wet, but for just a few minutes…..

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Naturally the pictures cannot do anywhere near true justice to the impact of the beauty of the real thing.

love.

BIODIVERSITY

A highlight of the article 6th (and final) Great Extinction Event which really says all you need to know about our place on earth and in it’s history…

Hence, ecosystems themselves are a mélange of different species that are continually competing, combating, cooperating, hiding, fooling, cheating, robbing and consuming one another in a mind-boggling variety of ways.

All of this, then, is biodiversity — from genes to ecosystems and everything in between.

love.

Human Life in Proper Perspective.

tree-of-life_2000

(click to expand)

This is a pictorial representation of all life currently on earth (the extreme outside of curve) and all life that has ever lived (the rest inside). It is not necessarily to ‘scale’ in that the number of living beings in any one of the inner or outer twigs might not be equal; one twig might only have less than a few million individuals; one next to it or below it might have many billions or more.
Two important points to note… 1. how insignificant we are as a single species compared to everything else. (We are one twig on the extreme right) and 2. between 440 and 65 million years ago there were 5 known extinction events where large portions of all living species were wiped out in a comparatively short space of time and only a few ancestors survived to carry on all life. That’s an average of one every 75 million years. The last one was 65 million years ago which means the odds of another one happening between now and the year 10,002 016  are roughly 2.5 to one! (40%). By 10,002,016 it will be 50/50 and by 10, 002 017 and beyond the odds will be greater than one in two ( meaning we’ ll be overdue for a mass extinction).
Not real good as an outlook since the exact timing of the Next Big One can be out by several million years either way.
Of course Christians have been steadfastly preparing for the human extinction for almost 2000 years already with no luck so far.
Actually, I’ll make that 3 things… 3. We humans  (wayyyy over on the right of pic), as well as pretty much most of the outer right species, in fact comprise of, as a part of our physical bodies, billions and billions (perhaps as much as 85% of what we are), of varying types of those things wayyyy over on the extreme left! (Bacteria). Conservative, extreme right politicians please note!
love.

“Sorry.” Science Fiction Fans…

… but i rather fancy that just about every¹ single science fiction work ever created regarding some human future existence (that we humans may eventually be a part of), however possibly realistic seeming, is now doomed to forever remain as just pure fiction – none of what has been written (that has not yet come true) is ever likely to now².

The reason i say this?

Well, it is because they have all missed a pretty major point. One that will mean the basic premise (mankind’s possible future realities) will fairly shortly cease to be a plausible reality.

This is because for the last 4.5 thousand, thousand, thousand years (4,500,000,000 years) life on this planet has evolved at the incredibly slow biological rate of evolution and has resulted finally (in only the last 10 thousand years or so (0.00022%) of that time) in the species Homo Sapiens ( Us – modern man). The currently largely undisputed most intelligent life form and therefore most dominant predator on the planet. Certainly for our lifetimes and that of our last 500 generations of ancestors or so.

I say previously because right this instant and for some 50 or more years now we humans have been working to create our successor as most intelligent species on this or any known planet.

This species will, unlike us, not have the disadvantage of only being able to evolve at the very slow rates of biological change, but can evolve at much faster technological/electronic rates of change.

The new species currently goes by our chosen name ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI)  and comes in a range of forms – what it will end up calling itself is unknown. What is known is that it is evolving far, far more rapidly (exponentially fast) than we humans ever could and it will very quickly evolve to be superior in every possible way to those who created it – even God could not have achieved such a feat (well, to be truthful, He has and He is doing through His creation – us).

AI will live longer, be faster, be stronger, be more creative, and most importantly be smarter, more intelligent, than we ever have been or now will be.

You may scoff, but please do the research first or at the very least consider how far ‘we’ humans have advanced along the road to replacing ourselves with computers/machines and therefore being surplus to requirements.

Consider the preponderance and wide range of essential functions to our current lifestyle that computer driven equipment has lately become indispensable.

Consider the unmanned reconnaissance planes and drones and how well they do the jobs human pilots used to do. Consider the driverless trucks and trains we have developed and put into use for mining companies, some of which are currently monitored (controlled) by humans remotely but whom will soon be replaced by yet more and smarter, faster responding machines.

Consider the autonomous (self-driving) vehicles that are currently being trialled and used on the open roads which very shortly will be at least twice as safe as we human drivers and which will decrease the number of human road deaths while increasing the number of humans on the roads – you won’t need a licence to drive a vehicle, you simply let the vehicle drive you where you chose to go no matter how much you have had to drink.

Consider the computer brains that can now beat the best human brains at chess or at the game of Go, which is many times more complicated (has much more potential outcomes to consider) than does chess; and Watson, the machine that beat two human Jeopardy game quiz show champions all by itself and is currently being used to make decisions regarding patient outcomes for lung cancer more effectively than a human doctor or nurse can achieve.

Consider that people like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk (Tesla Motors) and Bill Gates have tried warning us all of the potential for serious outcomes to the human race if AI continues without sufficient safeguards, if they could even be possible!

All of the above is currently actually happening now – it is not science fiction – it is fact. It is not yet quite perfected but it will all soon be doing what we used to for ourselves only better, more efficiently and importantly for business more cheaply than we do now.

Then prepare yourself for the seemingly fictional, but none-the-less true part… machines which can learn (think) for themselves! Machines which can watch any human labourer and then repeat their actions identically – any task, but without error or fatigue and which will only get quicker and faster at it as the machines begin designing and programming themselves.

Machines now create art and music by themselves even though currently they may be unable to appreciate their creations as much as we humans might.

It is not a huge leap to follow from all this that machines will ultimately be able to play any sport and beat any human competitors at it, having greater agility, speed, response times, networking and computational ability (and creativity) than we do. And it will be at that point that humans will no longer have any useful function on this planet and a smart machine would do the logical thing and simply not waste valuable planetary resources on keeping us weaker (and useless to them) species alive.

There are so-called very intelligent humans right now thinking up ways to ensure that, even though these self-learning machines will effectively become smarter and quicker thinking than they themselves are, the machines remain ‘friendly’ to us and only exist to serve us humans and make our lives infinitely better and more enjoyable than at present where we need to work for a living – or be provided for by someone who does.

So – we are safe then??  We can rest easy and trust they will find the way to do just that?

Show me just one instance in the last 4.5 billion years where a higher form of intelligence has evolved which remains subservant to the second highest intelligence and does not replace them as the dominant life form?

It is the Ultimate Arrogance to believe that after making something better than us we can (or indeed even should try to) make it remain our servant and not become our master/conqueror/replacement.

From here on in this planet’s future is to be dominated by mechanical/electronic life forms not biological ones.

I guess my question here is…. are you comfortable with that?

So what you gonna do about it?

 

  1.  Unless someone has written a work of science fiction that i am unfamiliar with which describes the situation resulting from the above, which i propose as inevitable, in this post.
  2. That includes the Terminator/Skynet series – machines do not need oxygen/clean air to exist so why would they fight humans with guns – simply poison the air or remove the oxygen from it and problem solved.

Irregular Maths

A while back i deconstructed the Theorem that Women are Evil.

This Theorem though seems to be proof positive of the reason why Sales people and Executives in Management Positions make more than Scientists and Engineers. 🙂

“Salary Theorem” states that “Engineers and Scientists can never earn as much as Business Executives and Sales People.”

This theorem is based on the following two postulates:

1. Knowledge is Power.
2. Time is Money.

As every engineer knows:
Power = Work / Time

Since:
Knowledge = Power
Time = Money

It follows that:
Knowledge = Work/Money.

Solving for Money, we get:
Money = Work / Knowledge.

Any number divided by zero gives a mathematical value of infinity, thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion:
The less you know, the more you make! :mrgreen:

( Sadly, as for the theorem that ‘proved’ Women are Evil, i believe i previously proved that time rarely, if ever, EQUALS money – if it did the longer i sit waiting and gathering time, the richer i’d get) 😦

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You may have heard the statement ( or something very much like it) that there are lies, damned lies and Statistics?

Well Queensland, a state in the North-East of Australia, roughly the 5 times the total area of Texas!, is having a few problems at the moment – not least with it’s Statistical Department of Government.

Currently 62 % of all Queensland ( approximately 440 000 sq.miles) is under floodwater after a tropical cyclone has dumped monsoonal quantities of water over it’s northern regions.

Yet curiously the state still regards some 54% to be officially drought-declared! ( Some areas were declared in October 2000 and have not had near average rainfall for almost a decade).

It is not known if parts of Queensland are neither drought declared nor flooded above and beyond the current 116% of it’s land area accounted for by the department so far!

Any of you out there concerned about your weight or health?

I suspect that is the majority of us.

Threre are ‘revelations’ being made about what we eat every day. New discoveries and better understandings of how our bodies use what we all put into our mouths – knowingly, or increasingly in the ‘civilised world’, unknowingly.

Here are three that could save you a lot of time, effort and heartache.

A website called Nutrition Data ; Protein awareness and Fructose awareness.

The website is pretty self explanatory – it is a resource that can tell you just about anything about everything you ever consume as a food or drink. It has at-a-glance nutritional tables and graphs as well as fact tables for the more print-oriented geeks like me. A veritable goldmine of important information.

Protein Awareness is less straight-forward. Sufficient protein in your diet is important, especially in childhood but to every body to provide it with the essentials it needs to perform it’s job efficiently and keeping us in a healthy state of ‘repair’. Protein is esential in the formation of bone, muscle and the other tissues of our body as well as for our metabloism and functioning of all the bodies organs.

What has recently been discovered though is that protein is perhaps the main indicator we have of knowing when we have had ‘enough’ food. ( http://calorielab.com/news/2005/07/28/protein-may-be-appetite-suppressant/ ) We all know that a ‘balanced’ diet is important but if you cut down on protein intake or eat foods with a low protein/carbohydrate ratio you will tend to eat more, and thus eat more calories, than if you eat a high-protein diet. It is the protein you eat that mainly determines your degree of feeling ‘Hungry’. The more hungry you feel the more likely you will put on ‘more’ weight – and vice-versa. 

Fructose awareness is where things can get much trickier, but it might just be the most important part of your dietary ‘regime’ or the reason why your body looks and feels the way it does.

Most of us already understand that too much sugar is not healthy for us but few of us understand about ‘sugar’ as it is shown on most food labels. Fewer still have an awareness of Fructose.

Sugar is a very general term. There are many kinds of sugars and they are not all ‘equal’ ( ‘scuse the pun).

The things most of us have heard about sugars we mostly connect with the sugar we see on tables in coffee shops or buy in bags from a store. This is often a form of sugar called ‘sucrose’ a naturally occuring sweet substance refined from either sugar beets or sugar cane. The only difference between ‘white’ sugar and raw sugar (and castor or icing sugar) is the degree of refinement; chemically they are effectively the same thing. You just get a geater degree of sweetness (and calories) the ‘whiter’ a sugar is.

Sucrose when absorbed in our stomach and gut breaks down into glucose and fructose. – ‘Simple’ sugar ( arbohydrate) chains of atoms. Our bodies need glucose and uses it as a fast source of energy to power our system. Glucose is quickly absorbed by our bodies and is able to be taken up by virtually every organ in the body via the blodstream.

Fructose is quite a different matter – although very similar in composition the body treats it vastly different to glucose. Fructose is almost twice a sweet as sugar (see below) and has to be absorbed by our liver out of the blood to be ‘useful’. When faced with fructose the liver essentailly ‘drops’ everything else to focus all it’s effort on processing it. Overconsumption of fructose overloads the liver with chaotic results for our long term health.

 

The food industry loves fructose because they can use less of this form of sugar to produce our preferred levels of sweetness colour and aroma thus saving them money.

It is no ‘coincidence’ that the obesity epidemic be-devilling our children and ourselves today in the western world coincides strongly with the increased consumption of fructose compared to ‘normal’ sucrose (Sugar). it also matches the increase in type 11 Diabetes ( essentially a problem relating to inneficient liver function and poor regulation of insulin/blood glucose).

Sweetness

Sweetness

Some people will have a difficulty absorbing Fructose in the small intestine (where it becomes available to the liver through our blood system) and it will pass into the large intestine where bacteria will cause it to react chemically causing a range of unwanted health side effects including bloating, water retention, flatulence and cramps.

If you are using a low GI diet be especially careful Fructose can artififially lower GI of foods you might be avoiding insulin ‘rushes’ but you may be doing long term damage to your liver and  overall health by being falsely informed of your ‘sugar’ intake.

As an indication of the ‘confusion’ that can arise over this issue if you don’t have full awareness.

Sugar (sucrose) contains equal amounts (50%) of glucose and fructose, both high in total energy content (unused energy is stored in our body as fat) Glucose is used by every cell in our body while fructose mostly is ‘burned up’ by the liver into things the body needs small amounts of daily.

Corn Syrup has no fructose and is only 35% glucose. BUT… Hi-Fructose corn syrup ( HFCS) can contain fructose/glucose in a ratio as high as 90/5 – more commonly 55/40.

It is now believed that the higher the fructose/glucose sugar ratio the more dangerous to your overall health a food is, particularly if the food has little or no fibre in it.

One last point that few if any of us think about… low fat milk has had 50% of the fat removed and is seen by some as being a good way to reduce fat intake. The 50 % that is removed comes to around 2 grams per 100 mls (about 2%) while the same milk contains over 5% sugar (in the form of lactose) and this sugar can be stored as fat in our bodies if not used immediately.

So if you can take joy in the 2% of fat you ‘save’ through choosing reduced fat milk, don’t forget about the 5% you were not considering in the sugar content that is still in all milk.

 

THE LAST WORD… ( from http://www.healthyeatingclub.org/info/articles/body-shape/fructose.htm)

 Bottom line: A low fat diet containing processed sugar dense foods is really a high fat diet because fructose (in sugar) behaves like a fat. We were not designed to eat a lot of refined sugars, we’re supposed to be eating our carbohydrate, particularly our fructose, with high fibre in unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables. If you are trying to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, blood fats or fatty liver reduce your intake of sugars/fructose in processed foods that do not contain fibre (like soft drinks, fruit juices, sweet yoghurts, cakes, biscuits, fructose sweetened protein drinks etc) even if the label says low GI.

I love gardening…

 

… taking a seed, or a sapling, or cutting and giving it the right conditions to hopefully bloom.

The Joy it brings to watch the miracle of new creation gather strength and bring forth flower.

So delicate and colourful, intricate and full of beauty.  Sometimes even in it’s simplicity, many times not so.

 

It can give you just the smallest glimpse of just how God may feel as He watches us perhaps? Growing and blooming from a small beginning into something quite extra-ordinary ( I can bet Alece and all Mom’s get this).

Yep – i love gardening!

 

It’s all the trimming and mowing and hedging and sweeping and weeding those fast growing never-ending unwanted bits that can sometimes really get me!

Just why is it that the unwanted weeds in both our gardens and our life grow so vigourously and keep popping up year after year needing constant effort to keep them in check, under control while the things of rare beauty (to human eyes) are so hard to keep sometimes??

 

What is HIS plan in all this? Why is the good stuff the most difficult while the ‘bad’ stuff comes whether we want it to or not (Usually NOT!?)

Would any parent intentionally make it Harder to love them? Easier to be tempted away from them?

 

Why can’t weeds be as beautiful as the flowers – or the flowers as plentiful and vigorous?

 

Any clues gratefully accepted! 🙂