Wednesday, October 22

White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why

This is a very USA centric opinion piece son so one has to be careful in extrapolating it but I've seen the similar behaviour in many other countries like in Europe, UK, some countries in Asia. The idea of going out in the wild where you are walking the paths, cold or hot. Sweaty. Hungry. Carrying water and swatting fleas and other biting insects. Not quite fun is it? My feeling is that poorer sections of the world are too close to the time that they had to work outdoors to make their living. So for them to voluntarily head outside into the wilderness is strange and doesn't compute for them.
And you're too young to perhaps appreciate this son. At this moment you need friends, lights, music, company and and and. Which is perfectly fine. Because you're at the age where you are still finding and defining yourself. Looking externally and understanding people. Which is right and do more of it.
When you reach my age perhaps you will be more comfortable with just being with yourself. Curious attribute -- loneliness son. I've got to admit that I usually don't feel that but that could be because I'm ok with being alone. Lol. Who wants to be with this messed up mind anyway?
But once in a while I feel the need to get away from it all son. Just me, my legs, camera and you head off into the mountains or forests. You don't need company and you definitely don't need groups. At best have one person with you but select very carefully son. The wrong choice and you will regret it as then the beauty of Mother Nature is lost in the cacophony of I'm hungry, I'm dirty, I'm cold. I'm hot. Whatever. :) try to find somebody you can be quiet with son. Quietly standing by a little stream in a forest or mountain and observing a dragonfly darting about and sharing that moment with somebody. You will burn that memory in your brain and it will live on for decades compared to memories of expensive gifts or holidays which disappear quickly.
But there is huge joy in wandering the forests and mountains. Sometimes you feel like weeping with the sheer beauty of what you're seeing. The majestic sweep of mountains receding into the horizon. Clouds roiling over. Shadows on the ground. Grassy plains. The silence broken with bird song or chirruping of insects. If you're quiet and are very lucky, you can hear God talking to you. It's such a wonderful feeling.
White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why.

Tuesday, October 21

More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat

I attended a lecture on Wounded Minds at the old alma mater. Fascinating stuff. the lecturer talked about the following:

The First World War not only shaped the lives of thousands of young men and their families but also sparked a significant transformation in the treatment and understanding of mental illness. For many the trauma of war didn’t end with the final gunshot; the phenomenon of shell shock saw soldiers return home still reeling from the horror of what they’d seen. Whilst many of their symptoms – dizziness, loss of appetite, and deafness – were typical of having sustained a head injury, many soldiers had no such wounds and some hadn’t even been on the front line.
Leading physicians and neurologists alike, baffled by what they were seeing, began to think differently about psychiatric disorders, producing new causal theories and treatment initiatives. By the end of the war over 240,000 cases of shell shock had passed through British Army medical facilities. With treatments researched and out-patient units emerging, psychological medicine had truly arrived.
Whilst the term ‘shell shock’ has since become redundant, with psychologists preferring ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ (PTSD), there’s no doubt that what this phenomenon taught us about mental illness remains as invaluable as it ever was.
As we mark 100 years since the start of the Great War, we are delighted to invite you to join Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War studies, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Director of the
King's Centre for Military Health Research, and Professor Edgar Jones,Professor in the History of Medicine and Psychiatry, to examine the appearance of shell shock during the First World War, the struggles faced by affected soldiers and exactly how it impacted our understanding of mental health then and now.

anyway, there was one point which they mentioned which made me go look for more information. And this was the story of George McQuay.

Here’s the soldier before he left for the war.


then he left for the war. mental health treatment was pretty much rudimentary. Shell Shock was considered to be “cowardice”, he came back to Australia with complete loss of memory, depression. So they ran a campaign to find out who he was. After many many misses, his mother found him, from NZ!

meeting2[1] stroll[1]

Such a tragic story. But you know what fucks me off? Is how easy we think of sending our troops into battle. Here are some statistics about the PSTD incidents. I quote,

Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.

  • there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million "Vietnam Era Veterans" (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
  • at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
  • out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get "minimally adequate" treatment (RAND study)
  • 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than  previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
  • 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
  • rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
  • in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
  • recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
  • PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
  • recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. "Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan." Susan V. Eisen, PhD
  • Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
  • More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

I hate war, and I hate a foreign policy which requires needless deployment of soldiers. By all means, defend the country, but to send them to Kurdistan? why? So the Islamic State will win over, sod it.

Monday, October 20

one of the most destructive but strangely seductive sights


i love volcanoes and lava flows. there is something abut their sheer destructive power that just fascinates me. plus the colour red. and how relentlessly it flows. and how it transforms the landscape. and how it gives birth to new life and new land. love it. i can watch this for hours transfixed.

Friday, October 17

A little slice of heaven

I saw this photo today. And for some strange reason, I just stared at it for a long long time.

this is just an amazing image. this is my dream place…and I WILL have it :)

Wednesday, October 15

Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage


The unprecedented popularity of the social networking site Facebook raises a number of important questions regarding the impact it has on sociality. However, as Facebook is a very recent social phenomenon, there is a distinct lack of psychological theory relating to its use. While research has begun to identify the types of people who use Facebook, this line of investigation has been limited to student populations. The current study aimed to investigate how personality influences usage or non-usage of Facebook. The sample consisted of 1324 self-selected Australian Internet users (1158 Facebook users and 166 Facebook nonusers), between the ages of 18 and 44. Participants were required to complete an online questionnaire package comprising the Big Five Inventory (BFI), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory – 29-item version (NPI-29), the Revised Cheek and Buss Shyness Scale (RCBS), and the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults – Short version (SELSA-S). Facebook users also completed a Facebook usage questionnaire. The results showed that Facebook users tend to be more extraverted and narcissistic, but less conscientious and socially lonely, than nonusers. Furthermore, frequency of Facebook use and preferences for specific features were also shown to vary as a result of certain characteristics, such as neuroticism, loneliness, shyness and narcissism. It is hoped that research in this area continues, and leads to the development of theory regarding the implications and gratifications of Facebook use.

Tuesday, October 14

Elevator accident

Well, i always thought that the best way to survive an elevator accident which is in free fall is to just pray. Well, more importantly, to jump just before it crashes. it was an idle thought, of course you cannot really figure out when exactly to jump as you don't have any external references and you will end up into a little paste. So this article tells you what to do, the answer is “lay down flat with your back to the ground”to spread the impact.

Monday, October 13

But Is It a Book?

You are right, kids. We do have too many books. We also have a ton of e-books. But this was the best overview that I've read about the basic difference between an ebook and a physical book. There are differences kids. We have so many rare and antiquarian books. The difference I'm seeing in reading a book published in the 18th century versus the same book downloaded is so different. You have a sense of reverence and history when you're reading a book. A feeling of togetherness with the ancients. 

Still form and functionality are being diverged. Bit sad but we have to move with the times. 



But Is It a Book? - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Howard spent a week in early July at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, taking a course on “Born-Digital Materials: Theory & Practice.” This is the first in a series of posts on the experience.

Charlottesville, Va. — What makes a book a book? For Michael F. Suarez, director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, a collection of texts on an e-reader doesn’t qualify in the fullest sense.

Over macaroni and cheese in early July at the Virginian, an eatery across from the university’s Grounds, Mr. Suarez talked with The Chronicle about how much more there is to a book than the words that go into it.

“When you take the text of Moby-Dick and pour it into a Kindle, you strip out the bibliographic codes and you strip out the social codes,” he says. “You lose that hermeneutic surplus of meaning that the book is.”

Friday, October 10

Jaywick provides fertile ground for Ukip’s anti-politics


A fascinating move is happening in the UK but the same behaviour is being seen in most of the developed countries. That's the rise of the underclass. The poor. The left behind. The white majority. The tea party in USA. The northern league in Italy. The national front in France. The alternatives party in Germany. The true Finns in Finland. The anti immigration Swedish democrats in Sweden. And then the UKIP here in the UK.
You see son, the political system we received in the 20th century has left behind a large number of people who aren't up there. There's some very rich people. Then there are the professionals upper class and middle class who are the lawyers bankers teachers nurses etc etc. And then the rest of the socio economic class. It's this very large lower socio economic class which is seriously fucked off. And are supporting these parties. Why? Because they don't have jobs. Technology has ensured that basic processing and manufacturing or farming jobs are no longer available to soak up these people. So the governments thought that they will provide welfare to keep them quiet. But then they started to run out of money so the welfare state is starting to be shrunk. And when this happens, the proletariat starts to complain.

So what do you do? In my view son, you need leaders who are brave and can tell some seriously clear messages. Secondly the only way to fix the problem of the underclass is to fix two things. 1. Fix the educational system so that they get the right education. And 2.  Make it easy to setup business. Make it easy to get funding. Land. Shops. Equipment. Training.

Basics son. People forget the basics. You're so lucky that you're in the UK but you and your children need to address the problem of the underclass. At our Homestart charity that's what I'm trying to do. Improve their financials. Make the family stay together. Get them jobs or get them to setup their own business.

And then there's immigration. I'm an immigrant. So I'm biased. Also the nation state isn't going anywhere. So you have to have utmost loyalty to the UK son. No questions asked. This country has been good to me and you and you need to give something back to it. But immigration is an emotive subject and yea the populace's views need to be taken into account. If not they will react badly. Europe doesn't do immigration well son. Down history, Europe has mistreated and massacred immigrants left right and centre. So one has to be very careful about letting the immigration genie out of the bottle son.

I don't blame the UKIP like others do. Understand them. They have a legitimate reason to complain. And you as a future leader and citizen need to understand their complaints.

Anyway. It was good to hear you finally managed to get a good nights sleep son. Freshers week can be a rush. But you're having fun and that's more important. And all I could think about was how you're going to wash your clothes and bring back the laundry as you don't have a laundry basket. Such is the thinking of your father. From the sublime and structural political discussion to banal washing baskets. :)

Love you son. And missing you :)


I saw this article when using the Financial Times app and thought you might be interested:
Financial Times,

Jaywick provides fertile ground for Ukip’s anti-politics
Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent
The Clacton suburb of Jaywick is the most deprived place in the UK
Read the full article at:

Thursday, October 9

Big Law Firms in Trouble: When the Money Dries Up

A rather interesting view of big law firms son. I've told you before what my view is when needing to deal with lawyers. Try in the first instance not to need one but that's not always possible. Second is to be totally transparent with the lawyer. And third is to speak to the opposite party if possible. Give them a chance to rectify the situation. Not fun to get dragged through legal aspects son. 

But remember as I keep on telling you, always have a technical skill or two son. Coding, writing, photograph, sculpture something that you can fall back upon. 



Big Law Firms in Trouble: When the Money Dries Up | New Republic

Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner.

There was the generous salary, the esteem of one’s neighbors, work that was more intellectual than purely commercial. Since clients of white-shoe firms typically knocked on their doors and stayed put for decades—one lawyer told me his ex-firm had a committee to decide which clients to accept—the partner rarely had to hustle for business. He could focus his energy on the legal pursuits that excited his analytical mind.

Above all, there was stability. The firms practiced a benevolent paternalism. They paid for partners to join lunch and dinner clubs and loaned them money to buy houses. When a lawyer had a drinking problem, the firm sent him off for treatment at its own expense. Layoffs were unheard of.

Wednesday, October 8

The Way of All Flesh

A rather interesting life of a slaughterhouse inspector. We don't see this. We see the beef steaks nicely packaged in the supermarket but how does it get there? These inspectors check the process.
Very interesting life.

there is an art to removing the meat from the bones from an animal. I don't have that art, I tend to hack about but guess what? your Didu knows how to do this :) she is an amazing lady, you have to spend time with her son, she has so many skills and qualities that you will be gobsmacked. hunting, swimming, acting, playing, teaching, researching, directing, radio, TV, stage, translations, songs, drama, interior decoration, exterior decoration, languages, geography, history, ecology, environmentalism, Sanskrit, etc. etc. etc.

anyway, happy meat eating son :)