Friday, August 30, 2013

'Firehol' Updates

Recently, I've been working on various software projects. One of them has involved integrating 'firehol' (a firewall management system) into a larger project of mine (more details later). Even though it is clear that the project was fairly mature it hasn't really been kept up to date of late. One of the main problems in my situation was the automated building of 'RPM' and 'DEB' packages. Digging through the various configuration files it was obvious that there some things that needed changing.

The first alterations required included the '.spec' file located in the root directory of the uncompressed archive. The 'COPYRIGHT' tag has to be changed to become the 'LICENSE' tag, a 'cheat' to get around the versioning problem when building the RPM is to change the line containing '#Source: %{name}-%{version}.tar.bz2' to 'Source: %{name}-1.tar.bz2'. This is required due to the way in which the tarball is dealth with at build time.
####Start Quote from .spec file####
Summary: An easy to use but powerfull iptables stateful firewall
Name: firehol
Version: 1
Release: 0
#Version: 1.273
#Release: rh7up
#Copyright: GPL
License: GPL
Group: Applications/Internet
#Source: %{name}-%{version}.tar.bz2
Source: %{name}-1.tar.bz2
####End Quote from .spec file####

Another problem is that it's still looking for a particular file called '' in the '' script. You can either manually create the file to or else delete all references of this file from all relevant build files.

Several of the checking/scanning mechanisms in the '' file need to be re-examined. The obvious problems include the address from which the file is extracted, the mechanism which is used to parse this particular file (a rough approximation is given below but it should be given further review as my work is a quick hack to get things working), and also a file which is supposed to be generated '/etc/firehol/RESERVED_IPS' but isn't (via ''. It may simply be a case at examining the file further and working on it). The required changes are outlined below. The lines which are commented out represent the original content. The lines which aren't represent the altered files.

####Start Quote from file####

#wget -O - --proxy=off "${IPV4_ADDRESS_SPACE_URL}" |\
#        egrep "^[0-9]+/[0-9]+.*${IANA_RESERVED}"  |\
#        egrep -vi "${IANA_IGNORE}"                |\
#        cut -d ' ' -f 1                           |\

wget -O - --proxy=off "${IPV4_ADDRESS_SPACE_URL}"  |\
        egrep "^\ {1,}[0-9]+/[0-9]+.*"             |\
        egrep "(RESERVED|UNALLOCATED)"             |\
        egrep -vi "Multicast"                      |\
        sed 's/   //'                              |\
        cut -f1 -d ' '                             |\
####End Quote from

NOTE - the maintainer of the project has been contacted but has thus far not responded to any communication. The file involved is 'firehol-1.273.tar.bz2' downloaded from, with the following MD5 checksum, 'cbbe1ba21cf44955827d5c906a55aa21'. For those who are lazy, I've uploaded updated files to:,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Music Organisation From the Linux CLI

Over the last few days, I've been ripping music (using Windows Media Player) in locations where there has been no Internet access available. Previously, I had thought that if I navigated through the correct menu options I could get my music collection organised correctly. Apparently not. What I've found is that based on my recent experience Windows Media Player only seems to get the ID3 tag information but doesn't seem to alter the filenames and folders correctly.

These series of scripts attempts to rectify the problem by using this information to alter the ripped files. You then simply copy the files back into the music library for re-scanning by the program in question (Microsoft Windows Media Player or Apple iTunes are the one's you'll most likely encounter and the ones that I tested with.) They seem to work but more testing may be required.

########Start Quote########
ID3 Music Organiser Script

These series of scripts are used to organise a group of ripped MP3 files that have ID3 tags but not the correct file and folder names. It does so by calling a series of commands to rename files based on ID3 tag information and then attempts to move or rename files and folders based on artist or album. Using just '' you can organise by album/artist but by using '' you can organise based on the more conventional artist/album system as used by Microsoft and Apple.

Either way, Windows Media Player should eventually figure out how to reorganise your files based on the information, files, and folders that are supplied (WMP only seems to get the ID3 tag information based on my recent experience which is why I built these scripts) by these scripts.

Obviously, you can run these scripts on an ad-hoc basis and/or you can also run it continuously with a scheduling program such as 'cron'. You also need the following utilities to be installed, id3, eyed3, and uuid-runtime.

As this is the very first version of the program (and I didn't have access to all test data  while I was cleaning this up it may be VERY buggy). Please test prior to deployment in a production environment.
########End Quote########

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Car of the Future, some Random Intelligence, and Defense Thoughts

A follow on from:

Some of the following technologies are obviously extremely far off into the future while others are very easily adaptable and can be implemented basically immediately.

- a variation on shield technology I've been thinking of is pulse wave shields (we probably haven't reached energy density levels in small enough packages to enable medium/long term/time shields so I've been thinking of using super capacitor technology in combination with conventional projectile interceptors to send shock waves/ pulses as missiles come in). Obvious issue is altitude and also efficiency issues related to
May also be used in combination with constructive interference to break through accelerate through to supersonic speeds more quickly (possible to offset onset of sonic booms through destructive interference?). My preference is to power once more on environmental technologies. Peltier modules will once gain use the air temperature differential between engines and the external atmosphere in order to power shield/pulse wave generators. They could serve to give off decoy radar signatures (especially in the case of low RCS aircraft), may also reduce the IR signature of the aircraft by converting heat into electricity, slow down/reduce/stop the range of incoming missiles, concussion waves (similar effect to so called flash bangs) for non-lethal combatant control, etc...
- a lot of renewable energy systems such as street lighting shorts to ground/wastes energy when not in use. Would like to send this back into grid whereever possible/reasonable. All lighting systems must have an output. May require an open standard here?
- would like car manufacturers to reconsider seating format. 2+3 or 2+2 seems to be standard nowadays but as previously stated would like to see other lower seat capacity options/configurations. Single seater with 'Transformatech' capabilities, 1+2, 1+3 configuration also. Obvious reasons include reduced weight, easier export to alternative markets, etc... However, since we're removing so many extraneous parts it also means that we can have more room to move ballast. In this case, I'd probably try to move the front passengers directly over the front wheels for better traction (this is likely to be a rear mid engine configuration but numerous alterations will be made to aide safely because we'll me making more alterations to the front end of the car as you'll discover shortly)
- move towards plastic windows. Obvious issues regarding shatter/safety though for emergency services. Propose purposely embedding weak points (grooves) or else a lattice framework within the window so that the structural integrity is weakened at known points in case of emergency
- move towards resin/glue on cars as a means of saving weight on welds, increasing strengh becoming more commonplace. Would like to see this filter down to all cars at some point
- am considering abolition of electrically based power windows/central locking systems (am unsure about efficiency/convience gain over current systems though. Will have to do some experiments). Moving to hydraulic system based on compressed air or a liquid system that is unlikely to require replacing we use high quality parts/fluids. Would be controlled through a central reservoir with a series of vales which would open/close and a pump which would dispense the required air/fluid to deal with each door/window
- have also considered moving towards a braking system that is basically based on air but it's clear that there are compression/latency issues. Moreover, since I envisage moving towards superconducting brakes which don't generate heat (but are more effective and are used on Jetcars) it's likely that if we use high quality parts/fluids the brake fluid may never deteriorate/require replacing
- considered using ride height changes/dynamic rake (see Formula 1) but am concerned about reliability cost
- considered dyed plastic which means that if there is a scratch you can buff it out most of the time. Moreover, it saves the cost/time associated with painting parts
- consider using Coanda style aerodynamic solutions/vortex generators to clean up airflow around rear end (used on many super/hypercars). Air inflow will come from 'gill' like serrations that will open/close on the side of the car
- consider using hinged flaps over door hinges in to further clean up aerodynamics (these will seal the air flow flat to the side of the door with no indentation)
- mandate minimum drag coefficient levels?
- have considered using HUD's but am worried that they aren't easily readible in daylight. Have concerns that modifications to screen required to maintain good visibility may make price of screen prohibitive
- it's likely that I'll try to reduce the size (or get rid of) the dashboard (I'm only likely to keep a small portion of it for redundancy safety purposes) or get rid of it completely where possible. It will be replaced by a tablet like computer which will replace many of the onboard electronic systems and other functionality such as the ECU, security system, stereo system, etc... This will obviously result in large weight savings. It will also add a lot of extra functionality which I will details alter on which may have a dramatic impact on the way we drive in the future
- conventional speakers will be replaced by flat panel speakers. The difference in sound fidelity/quality is problematic but is diminishing based on what I've been reading
- I previously said I'd like to get rid of rack and pinion steering. I've changed my mind for safety reasons. Gears will be replaced by a circular superconducters that are sliced up like pizza slices. Each slice will alternatate the polarity with the ratcheting mechanism on the steering arm. It may be suppemented by extra electromagnets that would allow you to adjust the amount of power steering assitance that you require. I'd like my version to have the same system on the back end as well while being connected with a central pole? This would reduce turning circles considerably (consider abolishing differential?)
- the other steering mechanism that I had with 'fancy differentials' that dealt with each wheel would have offered some benefits though. It would mean that the tyres would never angle outwards. This meant I could create door like covers on each wheel (no more wheel flares/edges which would impact on aero. They would be flattened to the side of the car now) itself. This would benefit aerodynamic obviously
- switch to racing style/bucket like seats. Almost as comfortable but at a lower weight. Unlikely to use power seats for weight savings
- since there is no major dashboard anymore some of the safety provided from it's presense is lost. We're going to replace it with honeycomb pattern of plastic/metal which is liked to vehicle telemetry which will alter the amount of charge applied to these crumble zones. This will increase the strength/weaken the strength of doors/bumper bars, etc... depending on the speed likelihood of an accident. This means that in lower speed accidents you're less likely to incur significant damage while in higher speed accidents you'll have more crumple protection (I'm guessing that in some cases if we can make enough progress in these materials we may be able to have cars which can basically repair themselves someday)
- would like to see them offer the option of being able to remove seats from car during purchase and add later on if need be for cost reasons as stated previously
- obvious option is simply to reduce dimensions of the car but it's unlikely I'd do too much of this to remain higher levels of comfort
- want to move to steel/composite hybrid engines. My hope is that we reach the stage in superconducter/materials technology where the walls of the piston chamber and piston itself are repelled only via 'magnetic forces' and there is enough compression to be adequate for power but not enough to generate significant friction which would require a radiator
- want to see slightly more aerodynamic design of moving parts in the engine. This means that in combustion engines the top of valves and pistons will be shaped to become slightly bullet like to reduce drag. Am aware of experiments with piston shaping to increase efficacy. Would like to attempt to experiment with flexible face technology, hollow cores, as used in golf club drivers as well... Obvious issues related to lifespan though if using flexing to change shape of piston head as it moves up/down through cylinder
- as I've previously said I'd like to move towards low friction/frictionless technology across the board including engines. This obviously reduces cooling requires but also means that we can do away with a lot of other parts such as the radiator, radiator fluid, radiator fan, oil filter, oil sump, oil, power steering, power steering pump, power steering fluid, most of the transmission (I have an alternative design which is roughly based on the power steering system technology that I mentioned above), transmission fluid, etc... To give you an idea of how much this changes the car weight equation as it stands we use about 300-400kg for many current engine/transmission combinations
- would like to get rid of spark plugs as well. Achievable by altering fuel but that may require 'additives' or significant engine modifications which may detract from my desire for it to be truly 'multi-fuel'
- dirt repelling undertray which will result in less losses through lost fuel efficiency
- believe traction problems can be overcome through an array of measures. Obviously, better tyre compounds but am considering an array of other options. Among them are multi-chamber tyres, heating the rim of the types to attain the optimum temperature/pressure, tyres which have an electrical membrane/circuit (a number of independent sections) that are built into the wall. Each time the tyre comes into contact with the ground the switch/circuit is triggered metal/plastic built into the tire is flattened so that maximum tire adhesion/traction is achieved, another is a tire/rubber compound which becomes more tacky on contact with air (far off into the future), another is dynamic inflation technologies which involves a centralised inflation system working in combination with LIDAR/RADAR scanning technologies which would open up tiny pressure release valves in the wheels/tires. Once a tricky section had been bypassed the tire would be re-inflated to the original desired pressure. Another concept that I've been examining is using a concentric wheel/ball bearing configuration. The outer wheel/shell would be connected to the tire, the inner wheel/rim would be in the same configuration as a conventional ball bearing that you see in roller blades. The balls at the bottom would be significantly heavier though which means that you effectively have extra ballast pushing down at each tire which will increase it's traction
At some point though I'd like to move away completely from pneumatic tyres to tires with just the membrace structure once we achieve gains in materials technology. Either way, with the increases in traction and the reduced weight my hope is that tires will last the entire life of the vehicle itself. Moreover, if we no longer have to rely on air we can no longer have 'flat tires'
- previously I said I'd like to move towards ground effect style vehicles which make better use of aerodynamic (dynamic aerodynmamics in particular). I'm wondering whether we should use a combination of passive and active dynamic aero technologies? The front/rear spoilers and floor would be passive with active technologies such as 'winglets' added/extended out of the sides of the car if desired/required
- would like to move toward more organic technologies in cars including the air filter which is currently mostly paper
- I think one thing we should keep in mind that we shouldn't be afraid to start car design from scratch once more. We've come a long way with many technologies but sometimes it seems as though the basics of car technology haven't changed over a long time
- curious to know whether we could create heat absorbant roads to suck up extra heat and put it back into the ground? Passive metal heatsinks/pipes? A coating? how would this impact on road car performance?
- would like to get rid of car battery or at least reduce it's influence. Will be replaced by a supercapacitor that is charged through mains, wirelessly, or via an auxiliary battery system that is carried by the driver themselves. Battery/alternator only added if extra equipment added
- more efficient tech doesn't necessarily mean less power usage overall. Recently, I heard a stat which said that with the advent of flat panel televisions people have moved to increasingly larger screen sizes. However, the size of the screens have reached the point where power efficiency gains have been wiped out
- recently a town in Spain installed sensors everywhere to turn their city into a 'smart city'. I think there may be a cheaper way of doing this but I'm not sure whether sensor technology has reached the required level as yet. If you've ever poured a glass of liquid into a cup and then 'tapped' it when empty, half empty, full, etc... you'll notice that the sound/frequency changes. The same principle can be used here. Using wide spectrum, spread spectrum radio waves over the long term and in short periods/bursts of time we can determine the frequency of what is inside of an object at any point in time (similar to biosensory technology that you see in science fiction movies but which is basically a step up from current siesmograph technology). It's likely that such technology will require a leap current sensor technology as well as extensive tuning though. This technology obviously has other uses as well especially in the arms control arena. Sufficient advancements may even allow you to gain the blueprints of any remote device by pointing and shooting just like a camera. Another way is to have a smaller number of sensors from a high point. For instance, if you have cameras in streetlights you can take pictures of many car parking spaces and detect which ones are and aren't empty. This is also less likely to be tampered because it's less likely to be reached by potential vandals
- this leads me to another point though if you have a proper computer in a car as we would here you open up a world of possiblities. Using wireless networking you can broadcast details of which spaces are empty in a car parking lot and direct drivers from one point to another using direction/triangulation. Moreover, if you get lost and your car is still connected to the car parking lot's computer you can use direction/triangulation to provide you with a 'compass' of how to get back to your car. While we're at it we could probably get rid of parking tickets as well. Collision avoidance technology is basically not too dissimilar to the logic used in games such as battleship but on a significantly more complex level so it's likely that if you have the sensors then you can add this and other functionality (such as driverless mode and automated parking) to your car anytime you desire 
- considering using a gyro which will basically swing ballast in the car to increase cornering speed or increase stability (depending on needs/requirements)
- we often use salt or other additives such as radiator anti-boil/freeze fluid as a means of reducing/increasing the freezing point/boiling point of water. Wondering whether there is a substance we can add that is non-toxic that we can use to alter freezing point in polar ice regions? Obvious issue is tidal flow but as we've seen with oil wondering whether if increased viscosity and a 'long rope' may be enough to keep the substance where you need it? Moreover, would it be possible to time things so that we can change where the ice actually lies?
- guesttimation leads me to believe that many of the measures outlined here will result in huge weight savings (about half which means road cars will approach Formula 1 race car weights of about 650 KG. We could go below Formula 1 car weights if we're willing to move toward composite construction but this would likely come at huge financial cost. I recall a documentary which stated that a carbon fibre drive train alone could cost $200,000! Moreover, it doesn't deal with the issue of dynamic aerodynamics as I'd previously envisaged). This would likely mean a switch to 1 to 4 (it's unlikely that you'd require more than two cylinders based on the weight savings and subsequent power to weight ratio) cylinder normally aspirated engines (super/turbo charging would be my preference for a sportier ride) Would like to use these savings to add independent suspensions systems, stability control, more air bags, and other extra safety features for all cars from now on
- for an idea of what such a vehicle is likely to resemble look at the movie 'Tron Legacy'. A motorocycle version is likely to look very similar to the one in the movie and the car would bear some similarities to the buggy/style car in it
- there are huge problems if we move towards to some of the technologies mentioned here in particular with the automotive industry. Cars are already becoming more reliable which has meant lower sales over the long term. This car would significantly remove wear and has far fewer fluids (my desire is for no toxic materials which need to be 'dealt with' upon disposal/service/repair), moving parts which can fail on top of this. This means less repairs/servicing (possibly/probably none if you take adequate design steps. All you'd need to do is hook it up to a computer with relevant software it would tell you what was wrong since many of the systems are centralised and are easily accessed/diagnosed). It's likely that some of the cost of these one off technologies and the overall reliablity (once perfected) would lead to an extremely expensive up front vehicle as well
- there's a lot more that I've thought about but I think these are the major points. Will leave other points regarding future/sustainability technology (including plans for making travel beyond our own planet much (hopefully) easier) for another time

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Memorable Quotes - Part 3

A follow on from:
- His mild, owlish looks certainly belie his attraction to women and, tasty as a creme caramel might be, French president Francois Hollande, aka "Monsieur Flanby", cannot relish being compared to a baked custard pudding.

Nonetheless, he stands, blinking anxiously, at the centre of a tumultuous love triangle, as his former partner of 30 years and the mother of his four children, the fellow socialist politician Segolene Royal, and his current lover, the journalist Valerie Trierweiler, rage like Furies around him.
- "Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other morale factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted."
- The film takes its title from remarks by a former CIA director Michael Hayden: "Let me be very candid. We steal secrets. We steal other nations' secrets ... Some of the activities that nation-states conduct in order to keep their people safe and free need to be secret in order to be successful." Assange presumably would reject that argument, but I would have liked to hear his response to it.
- "In France, we have the feeling that we moved in the past year from denial to zigzag," Saint-Gobain's Chalendar said. "There's been some important progress, but a lot remains to be done."
- It is generally accepted that in approximately 90-95% of all road traffic accidents, human behaviour is partially or fully responsible. Autonomous driving opens up the possibilities of improvements in safety which would reduce these figures significantly, as well as offering improvements in fuel economy and traffic efficiency. However, the challenges hinge on public acceptance, legality, liability and infrastructure.
- Kevin Rudd is not always the person to give credit where credit is due, but his latest proposals about Labor Party reform owe quite a bit to the Paul Keating theory of resolving logjams. This involves throwing a hand grenade, or a lit stick of dynamite, into the middle of the blockage.

One never has any real idea of what will happen, what will be drowned by which ripples, and what species of animal, reptile or fish will float to the surface. Whatever, it will be different. And at least while everything and everyone is massively disturbed and shell-shocked, there is an opportunity to get some movement in the direction one wants. The essential problem - the obstruction - may not be actually dislodged, but it is now of a different nature, and debate will shift from settled positions.
- "I don't have to concern myself with a question that is not being asked at the moment. If a donkey were a cat, it would sit in the tree most of the day."
- "Europe is walking in place, yet moving forward"
- "Monetary policy is a serious issue. We should discuss this in secret, in the Eurogroup ... I'm ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious ... I am for secret, dark debates"
- We wanted dictatorship to be replaced by democracy. Instead it was replaced by the escalating collapse of nation states. In the squares and streets of Cairo, we can watch this in real time. There are plenty of men with weapons in the mob; guns have been flooding in from the Libyan surplus stockpiles and amateur armourers make improvised ones, called fards, that fire birdshot.
So the West's dilemma is more or less the same as it was two years ago: do we accept a military takeover that brings a semblance of stability to a strategically important country? Or do we speak out for a democratic process that is in part the product of our imaginations? My bet is that, in our funk, we will accept the army as the least-worst option and pretend to believe its self-portrayal as the guardian of the people.

But here's the rub: you can't have a coup d'etat without an etat. And there just isn't much of a state structure left, not in Egypt, not in Libya, not in Syria.
- Dempsey not so subtly drew a parallel between the past and Iraq/Afghanistan, saying, "As with Vietnam, negative impressions about our character eclipsed the courage and sacrifices of many of the men and women who served honorably." He added, "As we emerge from more than 10 years of war, we've got some rebuilding to do," which Dempsey compared to Yeats's famous quote about "the struggle between the swordsman and the saint."
- When you're an adult, no one can force you to keep reading or learning, any more than they can force you to eat your greens or go to bed early. Workplaces are becoming increasingly demanding, and after a day of being challenged and provoked by your job, it's tempting to come home to a night of sitcom repeats and cereal dinners. You might only pick up a book because you can't bear to tell your colleague you spent another night Instagramming your cat - but that book might stretch a muscle or trigger an idea that makes you try something new. Some people are afraid of being found out as philistines, but if that fear motivates us to learn it might give us the confidence to respect and add to the culture around us.
- In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though chequered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- He had a good job working at a government aerospace laboratory in California, but he wanted to do something more with his life, something of value that might last, even outlive him. Then it came to him. In a single stroke he had what might be safely called a complete vision of the information age.
- We need muscles of moral courage, we need to flex them, we need to find them, we need to help others recognize them and find them in themselves. Nothing more is needed and nothing less will do at this moment of great turbulence, great promise, great peril.*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1
- "Until you experience the complete loss of anonymity, that there is never a moment outside your most private of spaces that you're not observed or commented upon, until you actually live through that, you can intellectually understand it but really in your guts you can't feel it."
- "The mind's creations are no mere commodities and can't be treated as such."
- "What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they're not really telling you not to do these things. They're saying, 'You know, we've had a lot of bad experiences with improper involvements. We're skeptical of this. We're not sure it's our fight. We don't have all the money in the world. For God's sakes, be careful. That's really what they're telling you,'" he said. "They hire you to win. The president and the Congress are hired to win for American and for our values and our interests, to look around the corner and see down the road."

"When people are telling you 'no' in these situations, very often what they are doing if flashing a giant yellow light and saying, 'For god's sakes be careful, tell us what you are doing, think thinks through... But they still hire the president to look around the corner and down the street," he said. "In the end, trust the American people, tell them what you're doing, hope to god you can sell it, and hope you turn out to be alright."
- "Your role... consists in proposing laws, amending them or even repealing them," the pontiff told a delegation of MPs from France, adding that it is "necessary... to inject them with something more, a spirit, a soul which does not just reflect fashions and ideas of the time."
The laws should "provide the indispensable quality which raises and ennobles the human person," the 76-year-old said.
- Vladimir Putin said: "It's like frying a whole herring for the sake of the roe." Well, he didn't actually use those words, but his remark yesterday about chasing Edward Snowden, the leaky fugitive from US justice, amounted to the same thing. "It's like shearing a pig - plenty of squealing but not much wool," he said.
- Hurd, who has just published a book on the 19th-century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, said his position was borne from his understanding of Britain's vocation. Disraeli believed nations could be glorious, and Britain should push itself to be so. Hurd said he equally felt that the country's future was not to be the equivalent of Sweden or Norway, benefiting from the single market but absent from the top table leading the continent.

"For me it is a political argument," he said. "And that is the basis on which Margaret Thatcher fought that campaign [to stay in the common market] all those years ago. She believed that Europe needed increasingly to work together in order to pull its weight in the world. What is the position of William Hague going to be as British foreign secretary, outside the EU? OK, we will be like Norway, we will be like Sweden; that may well be right, but is that really our destiny, is that what we want to be? We have got a different history, we have got a different background, a different contribution to make."
- "His shortcoming is that he's a man of checkers rather than chess."
 - "Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks," Mr Aso told a seminar in Tokyo. "There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that's not true at all.

"Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that's why they didn't buy," he said.
- "I think the thesis of deglobalization is a reactionary thesis, like all those theses that call for a return to the past," Mr. Lamy told Europe 1 radio. "What matters is not the past but the future."
- Humans suffer from a mismatch between our thinking about what we do and the truth of what we do. Our brains make sense of a multifaceted world by ignoring much of its complexity -- a trait Van der Leeuw calls "low dimensional" thinking. In engineering a dam, assessing how agricultural runoff influences an estuary or figuring out how automobile emissions might alter the atmosphere, our conceptual models (or those of our scientists and engineers) at best consider only a few of the true pathways of cause and effect. As Van der Leeuw puts it, "every human action upon the environment modifies the latter in many more ways that its human actors perceive, simply because the dimensionality of the environment is much higher than can be captured by the human mind."
- It is politicians, not public servants, who are the final arbiters of how much outspokenness can be tolerated. Ministers and government members take exception if a public servant's comments give political ammunition to the opposition. Opposition politicians, in turn, object if a public servant's enthusiastic support for government policy compromises his or her capacity to serve them when they return to office. Where these lines are drawn varies over time and with the political context. But professional public servants, who are obliged to maintain the trust of all sides of politics, learn to watch their step.
- It's only right and proper that Tony Abbott has been pants down all week, getting measured up for a drawer full of brand spanky new prime ministerial Speedos. For come September he will surely plunge into the pool at the Lodge and it would not do to have the prime ministerial junk, engorged with the excitement of high office, suddenly sprung on an unsuspecting nation by some disastrous wardrobe failure. Abbott will be waving his junk in our faces for many years to come and it is best he and we prepare.
- [Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
-- Richard Collins
- The obvious truth is no economists are consistently good at forecasting the economy. It's those non-economists who forget this - ... - who are the fools, not the economists who cater to humankind's irrational but unquenchable desire to pretend the future can be known.
- Part of the problem here is linguistic: nuclear weapons are not themselves "the deterrent"; rather, they "produce" deterrence when deployed correctly. Deployed incorrectly, they produce aggression incentives, crisis escalation, and elevated nuclear danger.
- "Young people today are faced with three options if the current eurocrisis is not resolved -- leaving Europe, staying in Europe without hope or going into politics and starting a revolution."
- After next year's elections "as much as a quarter or third of MEPs could be Eurosceptic," said Prof Hix.

But for the first time the main political blocs in the parliament will field candidates for the powerful post of European Commission president.

"That will change the debate about Europe - what kind of Europe do we want?" said Prof Hix, adding that national parties would have to express their views about the rival candidates.

Mr Verhofstadt agreed that "more than in the past the elections will turn on European issues - up until now they have been national".

The debate in Westminster was hosted by the European Parliament office in the UK.
- Joseph Stiglitz and others have been arguing to the point of exhaustion that the working and middle classes are more likely to spend to keep the economy moving and hence to produce jobs for the abandoned young. More wealth for the wealthy generates more frequent and more severe booms and busts. This is not a future worth having but it is the future we are getting. The experience of the west since the crash has taught us that the rich are always with us. The novel question for today is: can the rest of society afford them?
- as a human being... born... asking the question...

HMRC have been asked... it appears they can't point anyone to a law that says what you say is true...

they simply say 'of course you have to pay tax..'

i'm not disagreeing that what you say 'is commonly held' to be truth.. but who says it is? on what authority can they demand and force a human being to pay tax...

What if .... over many years it became 'commonly held belief' that the 'TV collector man' could come into your home and take your television. Your dad told you you had to .. his dad told him...

.. of course he would have a nice photo I.D. now and also be able to take your iPhone audio... because the law says

You might not like... but i guess you'd let him take.. and tell your son/daughter too..

Sounds stupid... no-one would believe in the 'TV collector man'?

Law is assumption and presumption - im not arguing the point of whether one should morally pay tax... or claim benefits..

What gives any 'body' - the right to demand money .. unless you agree or they have authority over you (own you).
- A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. - Thucydides
- "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte
- In the global maneuvering of big powers, "weakness is provocative," as former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once warned.
- "What is at stake is social unrest and a risk of a lost generation," said Brzeski from ING. "A generation that was supposed to embrace the idea of Europe, but is now turning its back on it."
- "The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable [...] The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Memorable Quotes - Part 2

A follow on from:

- "When we focus on the past for solutions rather than the future, we're in trouble,"
- "We don't have a God-given right to prosperity," she said. "Northern Europe's future lies in services and innovation, not in big factories, but we need governments and banks behind us. If we can't reform, why should our businesses even exist?"
- Harry Mitchell: [voice over] Most people live life on the path we set for them. Too afraid to explore any other. But once in a while people like you come along and knock down all the obstacles we put in your way. People who realize free will is a gift, you'll never know how to use until you fight for it. I think that's The Chairman's real plan. And maybe, one day, we won't write the plan. You will.
- "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- "The theory goes that the ideological warriors have to go the brink before sanity prevails."
- "The slow death was self-inficted in Japan and the austerity that is now prevailing in Europe is also self-inflicted. The task of macroeconomics is to avoid avoidable mistakes and there are so many of them that it is very important to udnerstand it. The consequences for people's lives are very far-reaching."
- The Chinese have a saying about the difficulty of passing inherited business empires to two generations beyond the founder: ''Wealth does not pass beyond three generations.'' It's a common syndrome in business families everywhere. The vision fades, the drive is lost, a privileged upbringing dulls the competitive spirit. And rivals close in.
- The skeptical mood was underlined by one member who quoted former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt as saying: "The problem is that you Americans think every problem has a solution." Well, not anymore -- not after Iraq and Afghanistan.
- "You don't really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try."
- "In a world where clowns wield nuclear weapons, the laugh-track rings hollow."
- "The more power a country has, the more criticism it has to accept. This is the case for the United States on the global stage, and Germany in Europe," he wrote.
"It's the price of greater stature. He who has the power also gets the responsibility and, when things go wrong, also the blame, whether as a lightning rod or scapegoat."
- "To paraphrase Karl Marx on religion, the demand to abolish banking is a demand to abolish the state of affairs that needs banking."
- "Trust, in a family, in a country, is what takes the longest to build up and is the easiest to lose."
- "The real reason, the effective reason that causes men to lose political power is that they have become unworthy to retain it."
- "One in 10 members of the Italian Parliament has had a run-in with the law. One in 10 has a criminal record! In the Bronx, New York, the number of people with a criminal record is estimated at one in 15. The Bronx would fear our Parliament."
- "If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."
- "That belief that tomorrow is more exciting than today, you just have to have it permeate the organization," he said. "The world does not belong to the pessimist. Believe me."
- "Our nation honors our sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met"
- The most important lesson of World War II lies in the fact that states with different ideologies could unite in the face of a common threat. "Today, when the world faces the rise of extremism and terrorism, such an experience of unity is especially valuable."
- "So for me, Europe was always hope, always a common future, always an ideal," he said. "And if Europe is no more to be any of that, but just common rules that lead to pain, then how can people love Europe? That's why we need to regain that part of the idea. If we don't, then we're in serious trouble."
- I think it's always good to be working on two things: The next most important thing, and the next most interesting thing.
- "The barbarous gold barons do not find the gold, they do not mine the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them."
- Economists have been taught in graduate school that advances in their discipline make it possible to stabilize and, within broad boundaries, control economic activity. But what if that's not so? The ferocious debates among economists indicate that the consensus has broken down. Inevitably, there are better and worse policies; but in real time, it's not always clear which is which. Business cycles endure. Market forces still dominate; the ability to subdue and reshape them remains limited. Time, as much as policy, may promote recovery.
- "You have to think more about every decision and every move. Every wrong move you make has an influence on the future. You need to work more closely with the board in the financial area, you have to have a different perspective and a different look at the players on loan and youth football. It's more global. Instead of just focusing on your team, and your targets and ambitions, it's an overall view. It's a different profile of job and I'm happy, I'm enjoying that."
- "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
- "We cannot be left behind," Merkel warned, stressing her maxim: "Build on successes and go after what has yet to be accomplished."
- In his treatise "Vom Krieg (On War)," Karl von Clausewitz demonstrated that wars are lost by the adversary whose "trinity" first collapses. By trinity, Clausewitz meant the harmonious belief in the value of the war by the military, government and the people of the belligerent.
- "There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
- "Throughout history, capital has always followed the ideas that have shaped the era - and those who come up with the ideas. Whether it was Michelangelo or Christopher Columbus, the financiers of the day knew that it was the adventurers, artists, and creators who were building the future - not themselves."
- "The management literature, in trying to figure out how to bottle charisma to boost productivity, has stripped away its mystical aura in bloodless style. Apparently charisma is found in managers in varying degrees throughout the hierarchy. It's a quality that can be learnt. Circulate the office memos and cue the magazine articles: five ways to boost your charisma.
Less mercantile thinkers have come up with five elements seen to be crucial to building charisma: you need an extraordinarily gifted person, a social crisis or desperate situation, a set of ideas offering a radical solution, a set of followers attracted to the exceptional person who come to believe he or she is directly linked to transcendent powers, and repeated successes that seem to validate the extraordinary person's transcendence." - "The perplexing truth is that governments do not understand, and cannot motivate, the iconoclastic researchers of the world. They walk to a different beat. The great scholars do their work because it is burning inside them and because it is simply those individuals' destiny, beyond even their own power to control. You may as well tell Picasso not to paint or Einstein to stop scribbling and get on with his clerical duties. A REF cannot stop these people. Or start them."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Some Fun and Bugs

First the fun...,30379/ 

Now the bugs...
Sega's/Sports Interactive's Football Manager 2009
- look around you'll find further details. Apparently, a known but unfixed bug. Seems as though there may be some hard limits built into the program. Even if you have more than sufficient physical RAM you'll still get into trouble. A few dialog boxes with the following text,"Football Manager 2009 is running dangerously low on memory. Please quit and free up some memory." and "Football Manager 2009 has run out of memory and will now quit."
- need a better way to change contract offer during negotiations especially if another club makes a bid

- sometimes not preserving cross references for chapters in text
- consistent issues autocompletion/autoformatting across the board. Example of this is following hyperlink.\02\17\story_17-2-2013_pg4_7 -->\02\17\story_17-2-2013

- requires modification in "init.d" script. Notice lack of whitespace between "squidCreating"? 
user@system:/media/sdc1$ sudo squid restart
user@system:/media/sdc1$ sudo service squid restart
Restarting Squid HTTP proxy: squidCreating squid cache structure ... (warning).
2013/02/16 23:59:42| Creating Swap Directories

Indian Express Website
- too technology dependent. Linking to other pages works fine JavaScript on but when off end up with permission problems (I'm using NoScript add-on)... ->
You don't have permission to access /news/us-close-to-ok-on-arming-syrian-rebels-
reports/1127205/2 on this server.

- not really a bug but it clearly requires a more informative error message. If file system doesn't support greater than 4GB (FAT32) you end up with the following...
user@system:/media/location/Downloads/CentOS$ wget -c ""
Cannot write to `CentOS-6.4-x86_64-bin-DVD1.iso' (No such file or directory).

Commonwealth Bank ATM
- this was bizarre one. I actually came across an ATM with an IE scripting error problem a while back. I didn't quite believe my eyes so I took a picture of it. Perhaps I'll show it someday?

Google News
- sometimes branching is slow to replicate across their network. Means you end up with orphan/non-existent links from time to time. First time I've encountered this with Google News...

Google Maps
- after Apple's recent problems with their maps service someone in the media said that we shouldn't become overly reliant on such services. I concur. I recently went on a trip to a distant area and had some minor problems. Luckily, i carried a map with me...

Google Translate
- didn't realise it wasn't able to deal with HTTPS well. Ended up with URL invalid errors. Apparently, it's a known problem though...

Curious why they don't just run it via a proxy such as the following?
Don't think it would be too hard to replicate given the right modifications?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Going Green - Part 2

This is a continuation of my previous post:
If you haven't already figured out already I'm a big fan of using the environment to aide us. To this end I've been thinking of some changes to current technology (obviously, some ideas are extremely feasible but others are probably best left for the distant future) to allow us to live a more sustainable future:
- been thinking about better use of aerodynamics in cars. Provided the car is light enough and there is sufficient speed we may be able to make use of dynamic aerodynamic technologies. For instance, in Formula 1 teams were recently playing around with 'Drag Reduction Systems' which basically involved a opening/closing a flap on the back of the rear wing. Let's take this a step further. We have a channel at the front which runs through the middle of the car which when adjusted can send air over the back or under the back end of the back of the car (whose shape could possibly be dynamically altered at will?). In affect we have what amounts to variable aerodynamics and therefore theoretical weight). Ultimately, at higher speeds the effective weight of the car will become lighter which means increased fuel efficiency, reduced wear on car parts (remember in my re-design we would be throwing away a lot of parts as well so the effect is compounded), more than likely a car which requires less servicing, etc... Of course, a lot of tweaking may be require to ensure 'safe' levels of upforce though at all times though I suspect this may be computer controlled... Moreover, if the design already has aerodynamics in mind we may be able to retro-fit wings and turbines for air flight at some stage.
Curious to know efficiency levels of flying cars? Are we ready to fly en-masse as yet?
- been thinking about ECU modifications further. At traffic lights, we shut down our engines so that only one cylinder is used (a button somewhere or perhaps even automated)(we shut down cylinders as opposed to entire engine to reduce wear on batteries which is a problem with some existing systems). We should also have the ability to deal up/down cylinders, change timing at will, etc... The options are to provided would be similar to what is provided to Formula 1 currently but the options provided obviously be determined by manufacturers. Mandate transmission/engine modes performance, fuel efficiency/mix, etc... like they do in higher end cars?
- thinking more about reducing effective weight further without requiring extra power. One way is by altering our roads so that they are slightly magnetised. At the bottom of our cars (possibly the tyres/wheels (strategically placed to increase contact area)?) are also magnets/superconductors. They will repel one another and may possibly increase fuel efficiency.
Such technology could possibly be investigate on existing rail based vehicles?
- reduction of hydraulics/mechanical techology and increased use of electronics and fly-by-wire technology in cars. For instance, instead of relying on power steering, differentials, rack and pinion steering mechanism we use electronics and other techniques. While power distribution would still be centralised we would have what basically amounts to two mini-gearboxes at the front wheels (or on each side) of the car. Changing the gearing in these gearboxes allows each tyre to turn at a different rate which ultimately means that not only can get rid of a lot of extra mechanical parts (and weight) but we can get better turning circles as well. Obviously, a lot of testing is required to get this right/safe though.
- make seats (and other non-essential components) entirely removable (apart from drivers seat?). Significant reduction in weight, allows people the flexibility of increasing cargo/seating capacity of car at will as well, and obviously means fuel savings as well. Consider same technique in aircraft as well? I've been on a lot of aircraft where there was only a small number of people aboard. Curious to know what the fuel savings would be? Should be stop particular flights from running if there isn't enough demand?
- thinking about the large/small car debate further. Let's say we go with one seat cars from now on but they also had the ability to be able to communicate with one another (similar to technology used in high end military systems such as the JSF). In effect, they could 'connect/communicate electronically' and take you to the same place at the same time (I'm thinking driverless as well as driver based world) anywhere/anytime. Moreover, we could dedicate a particular car to taking cargo in 'driverless mode' and if we so desired we could physically connect/detach them at will as well like in Lego/Transformers (I prefer to call it 'Transformatech').
- need to think about insulation further. As I previously indicate in other post films are one way of achieving it with windows but I think we should think further about using insulating materials in cars (impact of fuel consumption on cars?).
- thinking about means of further reducing effective volume of engines, power and fuel consumption but believe that cylinder reduction as outlined above may be enough?
- thinking about introducing something akin to 'suspended seating/shock absorption' in seats. If you've ever been involved in any form of accident (even low speed ones) you'll realise the level of shock that goes through the car. This would hopefully would reduce the number of whiplash incidents.
- obviously to make some of the technology above work we'll need to make our cars out of lighter materials. Cost is the big issue though...
- rig our traffic lights so that we don't have to start/stop so often (acceleration/decceleration are the biggest contributors to fuel consumption)
- consider dynamic speed limits/signage as well which will mean that traffic flows as quickly/safely (increased average speed in low traffic areas will mean you arrive at destination quicker, which means less time road and less chance of accident?) as is possible?
- need to examine better methods of manufacture of technology.
One alternative means of dealing with the waste of silicon production I've been thinking about is by liquifying it and then spraying it on to a non-stick material (similar technique that they use in cooking). The resulting silicon is then 'peeled off'.
- further research into lubrication required. Longer term, I think we need to think about less mechanical/physical contact technologies though (superconductors, wireless, electromagnetic fields, etc...). If there is no contact there's no lubrication required...
- been thinking of this thermodynamic control issue. I've been thinking about something akin to a 'heat bubble'. Basically, we have a gaseous atmosphere around is more amenable to heating/cooling... Of course, finding a substance which is capable of doing this and is non-toxic/explosive? Possibilities with regards to cooking?

Another method is actually embedding heating pad style channels in our clothing (charged by putting them in the oven/microwave) so that we can basically have heat on tap.
- based on what I've read most cars use a form of heat pump to deal with heating. What if we start to use some of the heat from the engine itself though? We control the level of heat by changing level of seperation between car body and engine? and mix of ambient air and engine heat? Something else that probably needs to be looked at is air extraction. Based on what I've read a combination of extraction and new infusion of air is far better mechanism of ensuring new air circulation and hence termpature control.
Would also like to see stronger use of chemically based heating technologies. If we use conventional electrical means in order to heat up something similar to a heat pack, then use chemical based heat energy from the actual heat pack itself thereafter, we can can further reduce further 'active energy consumption. The benefit is that based on what I've read 'Heat Pack' style technologies are quite re-useable and may actually be easier to maintain in the long term. Possibly consider 'magnetic cooling' or other sources of more efficient cooling?
- thinking about introducing materials into wallpaper, carpet underlay, ceramic tyles (only where appropriate), paints and dyes so that they they provide a layer of insulation as well?
- use the ground in a better fashion as well. Based on what I've seen the temperature of the ground/sea is generally cooler than that of the air. If we had thermally conductive pipes that actually built into architecture and could be lowered raised at will (they could even be left in there permanently as a means of regulating overall temperature depending on ground temperature fluctuations with insulation being used when higher temperatures are required) we may be able to gain some form of passive cooling (heat tends towards cooler areas)?
- would like to see another design philosophy addition to our technology. We shouldn't think about energy being generated at centralised points only. We should try to de-centralise it as well. In previous post outlined using environment as a means of gaining energy. Believe that we should take it a step further. Whenever possible, we should take the position of not only mitigating energy requirements but becoming 'energy neutral' as well. Namely, the object in question should be able to have it's own source of power generation and storage. For instance, there have recently been stride into transparent solar panels. It's clear that efficiency is a problem but given time we may get to the point where our windows, walls, and even lights may be able to power our buildings.
In keeping with this theme of self power generation is something I called 'Tendril Technology'. For a while now, scientists have been experimenting with nanotechnology and tiny motors. What if we do the reverse? If you've ever seen a wind tunnel you'll see that they sometimes use strips of paper in specific locations to determine direction of flowing gas/liquids. Let's take it a step further. Rarely are the aerodynamics of any object perfect. If we can design tiny electrical generators that stick to particular circuits/areas of a vehicle (like tendrils) than we can make use of the movement of the car itself to generate free energy as the car moves. Of course, this will possibly come at the cost of drag and I'm unsure of the economics of the concept itself? Possibilties are of course endless if such technology is viable/works... We could generate energy ourselves by virtue of our own personal movement. In the meantime am thinking about kinetic based generators being used on cattle and other animals. If insted of just a cow bell, a power generator was also installed I'm curious how much 'free energy' we could create (similar technology to road/pavement based power technology as outlined in previous post)?
- been thinking of other 'free energy' possibilities. One is based on sound. A speaker is driven through electrical current but it can also act as a microphone and generate current as well. How much electricity could you generate using such technology at airports, shopping centres, concerts, etc?
- more intelligent use of solar panels. One design that I saw for a solar farm involved a large number of materials directed towards a group/central point of solar anels. Take this further. If we use parabolic mirrors or have a series of moving mirrors that re-direct sunlight based on the position of the sun we can gain even further gains in efficiency?
- have been considering shield concept further. One option is to use space junk (old satellites, space stations, etc...)(we may need to develop a 'Scooper Bot' to herd junk into the correct area before we can commence building obviously) to build part of the structure for the final shields (one at both poles in geosynchronous orbit. Else low Earth orbit may be fine as well depending on the impact of the shield, size required, etc?). Others things to think about is whether we should make it static or do we allow it to have varying levels of power (like a blind that you can open/shut to varying degrees)? Whether we have multiple shields in regional areas to allow for better climate control around the world? If this is the case would we be able to finally control the weather? Would these sheilds provide any protection against solar flares? Could we also connect satellites/space stations to them? Would they have any impact upon our existing satellite networks and other operations? We'll likely require improved methods of joining/construction in outer space (we need to do this at some point down the line anyhow).
- even if we can't mandate use of green technology but we may be able to guarantee orders. Government forms huge proportion of GDP in a lot of developed countries and if we were able to guarantee orders of truly revolutionary green technologies that may increase the incentive for companies to make a bet on green technologies.
- better access/marketing of recycling facitilies require? Should we mandate levels of recycled product in appropriate areas?
Possibly better develop better means of providing means of transferrance of recylable goods? Clear that we need some local options though we'll debate this issue in another post.
- have been thinking about methods of automatically sorting landfill (it's clear that at some point we should be able to use robots). One uses pre-defined shape/colour coding of packaging. Another involves using facial recognition and then sorting based on a database of goods commonly found in supermarkets and shopping centres...
- it's clear that we still have significant problems with regards to reaching other planets.
Perhaps we should consider setting up a moon base in the meantime? Experiments with life support, energy/food production, and mining in particular?
- should we start to have environmental efficiency levels on buildings as well?
- based on what I've seen a lot of energy storage technologies I've come across are thermally/environmentally dependent to extract maximum performance. Do we design them with insulation and active thermal management systems as well (already present in Lithium based technologies to some extent)?
- don't think we're dealing with Chinese dumping situation particularly well. Clear that many countries have issues with the Chinese though so it's obvious that they have a case. Problem with tariffs is that they will drive overall prices up. Consider taking it to the WTO? If tariff is preferred, make it smaller/take it and then use this to subsidise (partly or completely) local industry? It will hopefully drive prices downwards overall (dumpers now have to drive prices down further to compete or run the risk of being un-competitive (they may be willing to do so in the short/medium term)) and make adoption of such options much more easier/sensible down the line?

- some countries are clearly protectionist with regards to clean energy generation technologies in Europe or else don't want/have the resources to invest in such infrastructure. Consider opening up grids/lines between countries and provide excess energy across borders? Consider setting up joint ventures between countries? Thereafter, use equity shares to perhaps sell off to re-invest? Sovereignty/percentage share still remains the same ideally as was originally.
- as state previously more alternative fuel research required...
use thermal conditions/enzymes/catalytsts as a means of controlling electrical discharge rate?