Sunday, June 02, 2013

Drone Army

The argument for drones is pretty much the same argument as for any of the new smart weapon systems. Less people killed, the right people killed. Not pretty, but makes perfect sense; better to snipe, than to blindly shotgun everything with your fingers crossed. Very surgical, like Dr. House with a kalashnikov, shooting cancer, unconventional - but great TV. Or "Wall-e goes to Iraq" maybe. Oh, hang on, Wall-e has already gone to Iraq.

Well, that saved me half-an-hour on photoshop. Thank you internet.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Practice of Beneficent Death.

Let's talk about Euthanasia. Anyway. Eu-Thana-sia. What is it..? Where does it come from..?

Well, 'Eu' means 'good' as in utopia. Uh, eutopia. For some reason they fucked up the spelling somewhere, and now everyone thinks utopia means 'noplace', but it actually means 'goodplace'. 'Good' is a bit lame though in my book, so let's dub it 'beneficent' instead - a little more vavoom. And 'thana' stemming from the old God of death, as any Sandman-fan will know - Thanatos. 'Sia' gets tacked on to make it doable.

Leaving us with "the practice of beneficent death."


I'm a bit of a bastard on the sly. I'd quite happily dispose of half the populace of the planet without them actually having to be old and infirm. Where you might think that puts me at a disadvantage - being as I am the white knight in this - it doesn't. Being able to think like a bastard allows me to see what would happen if euthanasia did become an accepted practice in wider society. It ain't pretty.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Ethics Lesson

Sometimes my professionalism slips for a week or so, and instead of discussing the usual run-of-the-mill conversational bullshit, I throw my students a bone of contention to gnaw on. A couple of weeks ago it was some of Kholberg's classic moral dilemmas. I'd better quickly mention I teach young adults at university level. The first dilemma to go under the microscope of the young and hormonally disturbed mind was this one - concerning money and family indebtedness:
Ali is a fourteen-year-old boy who wants to go to a summer camp. His father promises he can go if he earns the money himself. So Ali works hard and saves 400 TL, enough for the camp. But just before camp starts, his father changes his mind. Some of Ali’s father’s friends have decided to go on a fishing trip, and Ali’s father doesn’t have enough money to go. So he tells Ali to give him the money he saved for camp. Ali still wants to go to camp, so he thinks of refusing to give his father the money.
      What should Ali do..? And why..?
Anyway, after giving the little darlings a couple of minutes to think it through, I asked them what they thought Ali should do. The answers were pretty much universal - a big fat "No teacher, Ali shouldn't give his money to his father." A few said they'd fork it over, but they didn't feel too happy about it. 'Grudgingly' was the adverb they were looking for I think.

Part of what I do is to keep conversations going, and just about the best way to do this is to piss people off. Well, erm okay, not piss them off so much as to try and get them to re-think what they've said. Luckily, this almost always boils down to the same thing. Gotta love my job in this respect, it's not often middle-aged leather-elbow-patchers like me get paid to mess with teenage heads.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stuff That Makes Me Happy

A little bit of a materialist post. I know, I know, stuff doesn't make you happy etc. and money is the root of all evil blah-blah (spoilers - it's not actually, don't be so narrow) but sometimes stuff just gets under your skin and you find yourself staring at some inanimate object in either your hand or leaning against the wall or whatever and saying - "I love you, don't ever leave me, I couldn't live without you..."

Anyway - Beyond the usual human sources of happiness - the wife and kids - and the mundanities of housing and food on the table, I have three possessions that really just improve the fuck out of my life. To whit:

Number 1: The Kindle.

I've had my Kindle for just over a year now, being pleased to see that it's not exploded, cracked it's screen or otherwise renedered itself unoperational. Living in a non-English-speaking country as I do, one of my biggest niggles with my otherwise happy life here was either a lack of books, and/or the huge postage fees involved in getting them over the net. 

No more.

Now it's a just couple of presses on the keyboard, a small blow felt directly in the credit-card and *poof* I can has book.

I love you my Kindle, don't ever leave me. 

Number 2: The Bicycle.

Okay - that's not actually my bicycle - mine's got disc brakes and a bigger front cogset - cos my thighs are made of steel, and the average cogset is for people with legs like noodles, but you get the idea - it's big, sturdy, high-visibility and does just one thing really well - a trait I admire in objects - ie. gets me from A to B really quick in all traffic conditions. Plus, it costs nothing to fill it up, unless you count air and marmite sandwiches, doesn't need a garage, road tax, MOTs, insurance arggh - all those Goddamn things that piss you off about cars. Keeps me fit too, and allows me to wear skin-tight spandex with deniability. "Oh - well, you know, I don't wanna wear all this stupid gear, but erm, ah, it's hmm - aerodynamic..."

I love you my bicycle, don't ever leave.

Number 3: E-Cigarettes.

I'm sorry, despite all the 'wisdom' I've posted out on this blog I smoke. I smoke like an active volcano and have done for far too long. Sometimes, just to make myself crazy I tot up how much money I've spent on the damn things and it's like a new car or something, and not a crappy new car either, but a really jazzy one, one that comes with a turbo and a dishy blonde stuck in the passenger seat as standard. Sometimes I calculate how much space all those cigarette packes would have taken up, had I stored them in the house rather than chucking them in the bin. (I have too much free-time you may note here) anyway, I'd have had to have moved out, the house would have been full to the rafters. Past sins.

Didn't I ever just give up..? I hear you smug non-smokers out there ask. Well duh, yes of course. Multiple times even. Best I ever managed was 5 months. Okay, I felt better, lung capacity shot up etc. But I found the side-effects of not getting my daily influx of nicotine worse - I got stupid. Seriously, my usually turbo-charged brain, able to purr through byzantine curves of logic and inspiration suddenly started to chug. The IQ-blonde stepped out of my head to look for someone else's brain. The horror. So I quickly sparked up a ciggie and waved her back into the neural-car.

Newsflash non-smokers, you are dumber than you could be.

Anyway, long-story short, I gave up giving up, and looked for substitutions. Patches, no, unsocial and a bit, I dunno, foppish I suppose - for want of a better, and more offensive, word. Gum - ditto. I want that behavioural punctuation - the cigarrette-shaped full-stop after a good meal, that break on the balcony away from the kids, that something to do with my hands.

E-cigarettes. Not good for you but better than the tobacco version, by about 1000 times according to the net. It'll do.

I er. well, it's not love exactly, more like need. Don't ever leave, at least not until those clever scientists find something even less harmful.