Sunday, 18 May 2014

Walking is a kind of dancing

People worry about robots stealing jobs.

Let me explain why this is hilarious.

We are expressions of our genes, which are an expression of our environment.

The genes of the beings around us affect our environment too, but because they are also expressions of the environment, it's all about the environment.

Robots interact with their environment through programs - software running on hardware.

In a very real sense we are programs running on our genes - particular permutations of all possible expressions.

We are to genes as a dance is to us.

Epiphany is to revelation as we are to the idea of us.

Friday, 4 April 2014


I gave up trying to think of  a title for the segment of the "Pineapple Express" movie on Netflix that most illuminated what corruption really means.

Drug Dealer: what do you do?
Process server: I work for a company that serves legal documents. Sometimes I go in disguise to get them to admit to who they really are so I can serve them the documents.

I haven't seen the rest of the video yet, I hope it's fun.

OK so you're wondering "the dude takes drugs, what's the diff?
He shows up and puts on a disguise and hands some papers over.
Clowns do most of that."

The issue: what if the company the server works for has a connection to the drug dealer?

"Hey, hang around, I've got a new thing" - that could be useful.

Like I said, I'm watching it now on Netflix, so if this turns out to be a key point to a plot twist, then oops!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

pandoras promise

I thought I'd take a break from watching "Pandoras promise" - a documentary about how nuclear power is maturing to become the safe affordable source of energy the world needs - I know I (was) a cynic too.

I thought I'd google it for more information - I found the site.

It turns out there are several ways to watch it - long story short, it's a commercial production and fees are involved if you want to see it.

Maybe it's just me, but if the nuclear power industry wanted to improve their reputation, they'd fund an independent body to make a "living video" - one that was continually updated - even once a month, to present an independent understanding of the costs and benefits of nuclear power.

I for one was shocked to discover that the background radiation levels in Brazil are more than 30 times those in Chernobyl.

Then there's "coal kills more people by about 10000:1 or greater than radiation", if I read the statistics right.

Come to think of it, there's another industry that feeds on fear and uncertainty - the distribution of wealth, that drugs regulation kills children
so I think that big commercial interests actively encourage this sort of thing.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Treatment (SuperValue Raheny)

I put this in a seperate post to the previous one so that it could be referenced and commented upon by itself.

It struck me just last night (28 March 2014) that I get "the treatment" at my local SuperValue in Raheny and only notice it by its absence.

The treatment

Let me walk you through the steps

the introduction

A female member of staff walks up behind me, puts an empty cardboard box on the counter (the queue for the off-license section is along the counter) and starts tearing it up, getting my attention with the noise. She looked like Maggie Grace.

the rescue

The guy behind the counter - the one serving me, stops what he's doing, turns to her and asks her if she's "OK".

the reinforcement

A member of security walks straight at me, stops three feet away and continues "protecting the public and staff" until I complete my purchase and leave.

In summary

If I weren't such a regular patron of my local SuperValue I'd ask for the manager and let the chips fall where they may, but that might be construed as causing a fuss, and who among us likes a fuss?

I wonder if it's because I have a pony tail, but of course one of the key aspects of any unwritten policy is to not admit it.

A key aspect of any "treatment" is that each part, on it's own, looks reasonable, it's usually only the recipient of the treatment that knows they're being singled out.

It's easy for on-lookers to assume that the recipient somehow deserves it or that they missed something.

Maybe they're using me for practice.

Maybe I've got one of those faces.

Discrimination, or someone "fitting my description" caused a fuss before, what's the difference?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Between the lines

This incident took place on Tuesday night the 15 January 2013 (technically Wednesday morning).

I went back several times to see if this mess had been cleaned up to everyones satisfaction, but it would appear that my custom is no longer required.

As of 15 March 2014 I am still barred from Diceys because of "what happened last time".

Here's the text of the email I sent, to which I have yet to receive a response.

Hi there.

I was in Diceys last night and at about 3:15 pm I wanted change for the cigarette machine.

I handed over 20 Euros and got back one 10 Euro note along with five 2 Euro coins.

I asked the barman if he could change one of the two Euro coins for four 50 cent coins, which he seemed happy to do.

I waited at the bar (the end nearest the front door to Diceys main entrance) and watched as he served another customer - I assumed he was multi-tasking.

The next time I looked over he had gone.

I immediately looked around for a member of the floor staff to notify about this issue and ended up going out the front door to talk to a member of the door staff.

He recommended asking another member of the bar staff about it and get back to him in the event of a problem.

The bar man I talked to looks Indian and when I asked him if he knew where the bar man who gave me the change went, to which he responded "I didn't give you change". There was another barman with him who looked like the one who took my change, but this one looked a bit Indian with his hair sticking up with a bit of a slant.

Either wires were crossed or it was a wind up but I decided to go back to the door man - I had to finish my pint before he would talk to me, I couldn't take it outside.

I mentioned that the barman who took my change looked (for want of a better description) like Shrek - big head, short black hair sticking out the top.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle outside Krystals so he said to go to the hotel entrance in ten minutes to talk to the manager.

So that's what I did - by the time I bought another pint I had figured ten minutes had passed so I walked to the part of the bar nearest the entrance of Krystals and asked the bar girl if I could leave my pint somewhere safe.

I went out of Krystals entrance and up the steps of the Russel Court Hotel entrance where I talked to the manager.

The manager asked that I send an email to this address - here it is.

I had a cigarette outside the entrance to Krystals and when I wanted to go in to get my pint I was told by the same doorman I talked to earlier that the manager had decided not to let me back in.

I hope camera recordings can confirm that I handed over a two Euro coin and didn't get change back, and I don't know why I wasn't let back in but to my mind the cost of the pint - another 2 Euros, is also owed to me.

In summary: money owed to me - 4 Euros.

I can collect it next time I drop by, but in the mean time I'd appreciate it if you could keep me in the loop about the progress of your enquiries.

I'm also interested in what I might do (or not do, or do differently) to avoid being unexpectedly refused re-admission, as it doesn't sit well with me.

Philip Ashmore

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Tinkerbell, a wake-up spell

A Britney Spears wallpaper I downloaded from somewhere, 'cause it's pretty and a bit scary

If you are easily scared, then please, skip to another post or web site.

Go for a walk, have some tea, arrange a lunch with friends.

This is a genuine nightmare that I've just finished writing down after waking up, before I forgot it, so if you really like having the hairs on the back of your neck raised then read on.

I don't know when it started but it seemed like every day, at around the same time, tea-time, 6 o'clock, I'd catch a glimpse of Tinkerbell.

Initially these were fleeting out-of-the-corner-of-one-eye affairs, but by the time things changed I was able to walk along, and Tinkerbell would fly three feet in front of me, one foot to the left, so that our relative positions didn't change, like Tinkerbell and I were the only things real and the rest was just background.

Just before she would leave she made that most Tinkerbell-ious of poses, shoulders shrugged, left knee bent so her heel was in the air behind her, hands clasped, with a beautifully innocent and playful smile, then, just as the smile reached its full bloom, blink - she was gone.

I mentioned this to my mother and she told me to stop messing.

Then, one day, finally, I noticed that my mother was outside, knitting.

It was 6:01 pm and Tinkerbell was still with me.

I said "hey, mother, here's Tinkerbell!" - she didn't even lift her gaze from the knitting.

Then out of anger, bewilderment, dismay, I positioned myself so that Tinkerbell, who always maintained her fixed relative position to me, was between my mother and her knitting.

Mother initially swiped at Tinkerbells position, thinking her to be a jimmy-joe - I guess if I could see Tinkerbell from that angle she might look like a jimmy-joe.

Mothers hand passed straight through Tinkerbell, but Tinkerbell moved anyway, which, because she had never done that before, was most disconcerting to me - she was just flying around in the air.

I lost track of her for a split second, but when I spotted her again she had in her hand a string or lace, and on the other end of the lace there appeared to be a parcel of some kind with the lace tied around it on all four sides, with a bow in the middle.

As she flew up in the air, I noticed that the parcel was now the size of a shoe-box, but it wasn't a shoe box, but was darkest black and what was that on its door? A tumbler.

I didn't have to tell my mother what was falling towards her.

The growing shadow at our feet was all the warning she needed - I've never seen mother move so fast - she was like a cat!

Still, she had just cleared her garden chair when the 10 foot tall
one-and-a-half-ton safe made a home for itself in the ground with its top 3 feet forward and one foot to the left of its base, a very odd angle.
Tinkerbell still had her playful smile in full bloom when she pulled out her snub-nosed 45 revolver and started shooting at me, but by then other people had been alerted that something odd was going on (a falling 1.5 ton safe will do that) and Tinkerbell had all sorts of things flying at her to upset her aim.
As the days and weeks went by it became clear that Tinkerbell wasn't a creature of imagination as well as not being a creature of the imagination.


The town was flattened and the only things standing proud were 1.5 ton safes at really odd angles and most surfaces had at least one bullet hole or ricochet on them.

The closest any one had gotten to nailing her was a booby trap that involved an under-street coal bunker and one of Tinkerbells own fallen safes.

I don't know the details of the plan, I was too busy dodging bullets.

For the briefest of moments Tinkerbell had her right foot caught between a safe (now mostly buried in the street) and the street itself and that's when someone emptied a sack of corn starch into the air and lit a hair-spray container spray with a lighter.

Initially nothing happened, the air white with corn starch and a faint glow, but the corn starch caught with Tinkerbell in it.

I guess that was about the time Tinkerbell stopped smiling.

Even though I was over 50 feet away she let off a volley of three shots, which by now I had become used to, you really can see those bullets coming towards you if you're expecting them.

Still, her rate of fire was such that one of them still managed to snag my shirt, picking off a button near my navel although I myself was still uninjured, a source of bewilderment to both Tinkerbell and myself, obviously for different reasons.

It has to be said that Tinkerbell was one hell of a good shot, which, considering the fact that she never once hit me, is a genuine paradox.

That was the last of the remaining towns folk, the fire ball set something off.

I'd say that it was another booby trap which met the corn starch fire ball in an untimely manner but I'd be guessing.

Then I was in my bedroom, it was dark, quiet, and just as I was waking up I thought I could glimpse Tinkerbell, 3 feet above my bed, one foot to the left.

And before I woke up, before I remembered the dream, I could hear Tinkerbell say

"Take care, Philip, someone bad's coming"