Nikola Tesla

Sure he was a little insane. He was an amazing crazy person. And is responsible for a LOT of the technology we use today and yet he is quite an unsung hero. He is the mastermind behind AC Electricity, the foundation for our whole modern world. The man also created the first electric motor and the first hydro-electric motor (with George Westinghouse), was in a race with Marconi to create radio, only his radio was going to be very different and was going to provide free and clean electricity to the world. It is also worth note that while Marconi was considered the first to produce an audio radio transmission and is still seen as the father of radio, Tesla was granted the patent and granted the right to be called the inventor of radio six months after he died.

Tesla’s free and abundant energy was to come by sending a large bolt of electricity into the ionosphere and as it travels around planet building on it’s journey and then being fed on by towers. I’m sure I have also seen a unit based on Tesla’s work where small generators have been created that literally pull power out of the air around us.

It’s a shame a lot of Tesla’s patents and incomplete works were apparently some are still held as classifieds by the US government. There is no doubt the guy had some more amazing work to do.

There is even a rumor that Tesla created the ultimate weapon that could destroy the world and split the plans for this weapon between four countries, believing that they would never . A death ray (a particle beam) and perhaps the basis for today’s Star Wars system.

From what I can figure Tesla’s biggest problem was not knowing when to hold’em (as Kenny would say) often selling off his patents of which he acquired over 700 in his time. He still ended up dying alone and pennyless in a hotel room.

But go on and find out more about him, perhaps someone out there can easily take up where he left off. Here’s Nikola Tesla on Wikipedia and Google Video The Missing Secrets of Nikola Tesla.

Considerations of Vegetarianism

Lentils

I think David has probably heard it from me a thousand times in the 12 years we have been together: “I’m thinking about becoming a vegetarian”.

Sometimes he laughs as if he knows it may never happen, perhaps it’s because he knows just how I eat meat, practically raw. What he may not know is that is part of it. What he may also not know is just how much time I have seriously spent thinking about it. A lot.

But there are many barriers to becoming a vegetarian. Some in plain sight, some well hidden and perhaps not considered buy some vegetarians.

The obvious barriers are:

  • Nutritional supplementing
    We’re designed to eat meat, at the very base of our make-up, our teeth tell us we are built as omnivores. Eaters of both plant and animals. To supplement the loss of protein we’d need to look at legumes, fungi, bean curd and other ways to bring the protein back into the diet.
  • Socialising
    A massive part of the human culture is gathering around food and vegetarians are not well catered for, unless you go to a vegetarian restaurant and they are few and far between. It can impact visits to a friend’s house or even limit invitations from friends who don’t care to prepare two meals or to limit everyone to a vegetarian option.
  • Social Stigma
    Probably could have been listed above, but it is more than about socialising. There is a weird look people get when you tell them you’re a vegetarian. It’s true, I’ve seen it and in my younger days probably delivered the look a few times. People think vegetarians are weird and their vegan cousins are even weirder and will often avoid them.
  • Convenience
    As we become a busier society it is near impossible to avoid the need to eat out on occasion and almost no fast food restaurants provide vegetarian options, nor can they assure any vegetarian that their meals haven’t been cooked with animal fats and other animal by-products to provide taste. If you’re a vegetarian, you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to preparing meals.

You might ask why, at the age of 35 I’d even consider the switch and why would a near-raw meat eater think he could be satisfied going “vego“. Well I have plenty of answers for you.

  • Animal Cruelty
    First and foremost is the intolerable cruelty many of our food producing animals face during their lifetime. Mistreated and often miss-fed. We have cows that are not properly sedated before being carved up on the slaughterhouse floors. Herbivores that are fed ground up livestock served as pellets, in essence cows eating cows because it is cheaper to do this than provide them with grain feed. We have all kinds of animals existing in cages barely large enough to hold them, but perfect of containment. They are in these cages from several days after birth until they are loaded on over-packed trucks and taken to the slaughter houses.
  • Loss of environment
    Not the animals that we eat, but ours and the other animals and cultures we are displacing to provide grazing lands. Huge swaths of the Amazon forest and the orangutan jungles of indonesia are being wiped out to make way for industry. Not just food-product industry but some of it is for this purpose. The animals we eat don’t have an environment and it most cases shouldn’t even exist in the numbers they do, we’re buggering up the ecology of Earth to cater to ourselves and it’s not even about not needing the food, we do, but it’s about…
  • Wastage
    Our huge farms and exports can’t be eaten all by us, we throw so much away. I consider what it was like when I was a kid, going to the Grace Bros (now Myer) food all in Mt Druitt in the western suburbs of Sydney. That’s where we’d do our weekly shop. In the cold storage areas would be meat, in the store would be a butcher. The fridges wouldn’t be stacked to the top like they are now. There would be a selection of items available and if they didn’t have what you wanted pre-packed you could take a number and request your cut from the butcher and he do it for you then and there.Now I find that our meat is all trucked in, pre-packed and in abundance. Partly because mass production, storage and delivery has become cheaper  and partly to reduce labour costs within stores. But with this trucking in of food comes the need to have more on hand and I have to believe that a whole lot of the stock goes to waste, resigned to the dumpster when it is past its due date and written down by the store as spoiled stock. That’s a lot of animals who have lived and died without purpose. It makes me sad to think that anything has breathed air, had conscious thought (which I believe all animals do) and then lost its life without purpose.
  • The Chicken
    I don’t know how they have done it, but another recollection, when I was a kid we’d have the traditional Sunday roast and only on some sundays would this be a chicken. Back then most chickens were used for egg production, there wasn’t a massive industry in chicken meat. These days it is practically a staple. Something we have to thank for this is hormone therapy and genetic manipulation. Them ol’ chickens aren’t what they used to be. Some say that hormone therapy never really happened or that it wasn’tIn 1945 it took 98 days to grow a chicken to full-size (about 1.8 kg), by 1986 they had this count down to just 37 days, an unnatural growth rate, combined with crowded conditions cause the chickens we eat to suffer severe and painful deformations in their legs and backs during their short life. Some are killed and removed, but many remain and are sold to us as food. After all once the lower-leg and feet are removed we wouldn’t see that they were mangled. There was even an ad campaign run around 15 years ago detailing that this fast growth of chickens resulted in liquefied internal organs, the chickens dying slowly and painfully and all for our benefit.

    But even dead chickens are of use to us. Often collected and ground down into a paste that forms granules that are fed back to the other chickens and other livestock meant for human consumption, or provided as fertilizer to farmers and the general public.

  • Cattle
    Practically kept pregnant through artificial insemination and in some cases provided hormones to convince them they have just given birth, dairy cattle don’t fare well. Those that do give birth have their calf removed within 24 hours, the belief being that this prevents bonding of the mother and calf, but many people report that recent mothers bellow for days and search for their missing calf. These calves are raised on reconstituted milk replacement, never to have suckled from their mothers’ teat instead drinking from buckets. Some of the female calves are added to the herd, male calves can expect to be destroyed immediately or raised to 4 weeks of age and sent to slaughter houses to become veal. There is of course also the common held belief that cow’s milk is for calves and not really a good food for humans.Meat Cattle fare even worse. Kept in sometimes bad conditions and sent to slaughter houses where they are sent up runs to receive a bolt to the forehead to knock them out and they are carved up. It is commonly understood that these herd animals communicate and know on their way up the killing run that those in front of them have met their demise, meaning the last few moments of their lives are incredibly stressful. In their life they can expect to be fed animal products, sometimes the waste from slaughter houses is recycled in granular form, much the same as with chickens.
  • Fish and other water dwelling creatures
    I was walking along the dock near work the other day and saw a man remove a fish from a fishing line and toss it on the dock. Bait his line and resume fishing, all the while this poor fish was gasping from breath and flopping about on the dock slowly dying. That is just plain disgusting. The fish deserves a little more respect. But more than that we are fishing out the oceans, removing octopus from the ecosystem by over fishing the baby octopus and downright cruel in our treatment of catch.I’m also concerned about prawns (shrimp), lobsters and the like. Because while we think the best way to prepare them is to put them in a pot of boiling water, ALIVE, it has been shown that they suffer right to their death. In humans we know that if extreme shock is placed on the nervous system, the system shuts down. The pain receptors in the brain go offline and therefore in extreme cases pain ceases while the cause of the pain may go on. This doesn’t happen in crustaceans.  The pain receptors in their brains and their nervous systems continue to function until their are dead. Sure the sound you hear when you drop a live lobster into a pot of boiling water isn’t it screaming in pain, it is the superheated air escaping from the shell, but I sure bet if they could scream they would.

But all of the above is only a small part of it, there are many other reasons to either start local farming again or to become a vegetarian. The massive amounts of water the industry uses is another consideration.

And there there are the hidden things I have thought about that make me think. Such as the growing of fruit and veg, even if done by way of organic means could still be fertilised by blood and bone type fertilizers, therefore animal products. I suppose being a vegetarian would still reduce the use of animal products on my part.

I’m not one to be ignorant about where my food comes from, I think it’s important for us to be aware that something has died for us to eat. And it would be nice to know that the animal died in the best way possible. It’s important to me to be grateful to the animals who have given their lives for our meal.

Maybe I’ll become a part-time vegetarian. It could be a good start. And then slowly ease into it. That way I could still socialise, choose veg options when available and still not impact my friends and family when they decide to host us for dinner.

Sure this is a muddled mess of thoughts, but then I guess that’s what my blog is about. Might have to tidy it up as I put some more thought into it.

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek Wallpaper

Star Trek Wallpaper

Do not read this if you haven’t seen the movie, I repeat, do not read this if you haven’t see it this post will contain spoilers and you don’t want to know them before you see the film.

So yeah, we went and saw Star Trek at IMAX on the weekend. First thing’s first, don’t see the movie in IMAX. The screen is too big and when there is a lot of swirling motion it is really hard to see what is going on. I’m planning on seeing it again on a smaller screen.

On the whole the movie was very cool. It was a nice clean look at the Star Trek franchise. New looking cast, but a lot of  it stayed the same, as it should.

The storyline was a bit of a weird choice though for two reasons and you’ll understand if you’ve seen it and are familiar with other Star Trek installments. Firstly the idea of a Romulan with a planet destorying ship hell bent on the destruction of the Federation was the premis for the last movie; Nemesis. Shinzon, while not officially a Romulan was working with the Romulans and the Remans and had this big ship that could destroy planets. Further we add in a dude who wants to change the course of history to recove his planet that was destroyed and therefore return his loved ones to life by preventing the Romulus eating star from going supernova… now think Year of Hell from the Voyager series, a group of people who exist outside of time in their temporal ship able to make adjustments to space time as they see fit in an attempt to restor their planet and people.

It just seems a little too similar to storylines that have already happened.

But none of that bothered me too much, what really killed me probably should have been evident from the working title Star Trek Zero. Instead of the Year of Hell ending (where none of the events from the two part episode ever ended up happening) we see the Star Trek universe reborn, the events of this movie basically negate the future movies as we have now branched onto an alternate time line where the planet Vulcan has been destroyed and the once proud and powerful Vulcans have been reduced to 10,000 refugees (not that I can believe that the star-faring Vulcans hadn’t already colonised other worlds).

I know they use this method in comic books A LOT, there are many alternate time lines / universes in the X-Men series and it is also present in other comics too I believe but this is how I see it. Basically someone has come along and decided that the old way of doing things was crap, it looked crap and it was a little on the lame side. And that may well be, but then that was always part of Star Trek’s appeal. What they have done is basically co-opted the franchise, and the fans and taken us into their version of the Star Trek universe.

I’m not entirely bitter about it, but it does taste a little sour… of course I’ll still watch because it’s sci-fi but I don’t believe they had to change the whole future and wipe out 10 movies worth of history to make a good movie, nor to continue on with making good movies. And that’s enough bitching about it for me.

It really was a great movie. I’ll see it again and will no doubt buy the blu-ray when it comes out. Big props to Chris Hemsworth, formerly of Home and Away for his part as George Kirk. Also look out for (if you didn’t see them already) Winona Ryder and Jennifer Morrison. Great casting and a lot of funny inside jokes.

Captain Pike

Flickr Find 0043

La philosophie est à l'étude du monde réel ce que l'onanisme est à l'amour sexuel (Marx)
La philosophie est à l’étude du monde réel ce que l’onanisme est à l’amour sexuel (Marx), originally uploaded by Benoit.P.

Benoit, a French Canadian, takes some amazing shots. I usually have to use the Google translation tool to see what the captions say but even without them his photos are amazing.

Not only abstract art like the one here, Benoit also takes some amazing portraits and does so of strangers he meets on the streets and in his daily life.

Great colour, great concepts, a great photographer. Check out Benoit.P’s Flickr Photostream.

Fake Tilt-shift

Fake Tilt-shift
Fake Tilt-shift, originally uploaded by tyroga.

It’s true you can fake the look given by a tilt-shift lens, and it’s something I have to do because it will be a while before I can afford a tilt-shift lens.

To do this effect you basically have to do several stages for blur and manipulate your photo here and there to squish it up a bit.

But I didn’t do that, I cheated even more than not having a tilt-shift. I downloaded a free action from Designed by Joe.

As with all tilt-shift effects it works best if your point of view is up high.

Of course while this is now a standard use for a tilt-shift lens, it isn’t why they were created. Tilt-shift lenses are actually used to fix the parallax error that occurs when you take a photo of a building from below. You know, how they get all fat at the bottom and pointy at the top. The tilt-shift will fix that for you.

Happy Birthday Lil’ Sis

Today is my sister’s birthday, she’s 29 today, well she was 29 at about 5:30 am, or was that when we got the call. I was 6 and very excited about the idea of getting another sibling. I wasn’t excited, none of us boys were, of the idea of having to eat Dad’s cooking for the next few days while mum was in hospital.

Dad basically made beans or spaghetti on toast and poached eggs. I’m pretty sure we had a bbq for dinner one night and one other night my older brother (8 at the time) cooked us some sausages that, if I remember rightly and I’m sure he’ll correct me in the comments, were supposed to be for sausage sandwiches but they split and became rissoles, that still worked on sandwiches.

But after a few days we had a little sister at home. It was different, we went from my little baby brother having his own room to sharing a set of bunks and three of us boys in one room while the baby got a room of her own. I didn’t mind.

I think my sister Jennifer was the first baby I was really fascinated with. Watching her grow, was very cool. I was too young when my brother Greg was a baby and while I guess I got to see him learn to speak and walk and all that, Jennifer was the one I was cognitive enough to understand the process with.

And now she’s 29, has a good job, her own baby who is already not a baby. Unfortunately she lives in another city (I’m the one who moved away) and I don’t get to see her anywhere near as much as I would like.

I spoke with her tonight and wished her happy birthday. The rest of the family is going out with her tomorrow night to celebrate. I’m sorry David and I can’t be there, I hope they have a drink for us.