23 August 2005

Interpretation and Perception

I don't mean translating. I mean how we construe what other people say, or write. Interpretation is at the heart of all interaction and is practically always overlooked. Failure to consider how ones words are perceived can, with some certainty, be placed at the core of all bad communication.

The words themselves can be well-meaning, or innocuous, but we derive as much, if not more, information from the sub-text, the nuance. For example, if your female significant other (for those of you that have one) says "Get to bed early last night?", you know painfully well she's not making a airy inquiry and that she's all too aware what time you crept into bed with your tail between your legs.

Politicians are the few people for whom interpretation is foremost in their minds, and still they're rubbish at it. People see through their lies and stories, see "spin" and deception, even if nothing is spinning. It may be that being aware of how your words are perceived, and actively trying to alter that, merely makes your words seem hollow, regardless of their substance.

The rise of email as a method of communication has thrown the perception of the meaning of your words into even sharper relief. Since all nuance is removed, the original meaning can be even more easily misconstrued. Emoticons (;-b) were invented to counter this problem. This is why, even in this day and age, face to face meetings and conference calls are still commonplace.

Now, if human interaction contains nuances that alter our perception of the meaning of the words, wouldn't that make written or electronic communication less susceptible to these misinterpretations? Given the continued use of meetings, it would appear that we would prefer to retain this extra information, even if it results in misinterpretations. So, if we're stuck with speaking to people face-to-face, we should pay more attention to how our words are perceived.

It would be interesting to know how this ramble is perceived. And does my calling it a ramble reinforce or change your perception of these words thus far? Were I, if I haven't already, to veer off on some random tangent, would that denigrate that which I have written thus far? Does the fact that I have a propensity for using big words make me come across as elitist? Or that I have an intellectual inferiority complex? Does it turn you off? Have you even lasted this far?

Who knows, because the major unknown factor (in terms of perception) is the person with whom you are communicating. Their entire life, and its constituent experiences, alter how they perceive what you have said. This is why communication has to be pitched; aimed at its target audience.

This is where what has laterly come to be known as "spin" comes in; delivering the information in such a way (usually altered) so that its meaning can be mandated to some extent. Spin is a powerful weapon in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. If Shane Warne could put the revolutions on a cricket ball that government spin doctors put on a press release, he'd be looking at rather more than 600700 Test wickets. However, once people become aware of spin, and its effects, they see spin everywhere. And they don't like it.

People don't like to be spun, what I'll call "active" spin. They prefer passive spin; spin that they apply subconciously. Which is where the spinners have their problem. The unadulterated truth is not an option, yet spinning a yarn isn't an option either.
So spin, in the political arena anyway, has had its chips.

Spin, and perception, and interpretation will continue to be part of our interactions with other people. It derives from our evolutionary roots, where elementary vocal communications had to be heavily backed up by a range of body language.

It's an interesting topic and I'm pretty sure I haven't come up with any answers, merely more questions. I should note that I'm not a psychologist, or behavioural scientist, so it's more than likely that all this is bollocks.

Driving #1: Middle Lane Hoggers

This may be a phenomenon limited to those countries with motorways (freeways, autoroutres, autobahns, autostradas) with fewer than four lanes (so not America), but my number one hate about motorway driving is people who sit in the middle lane when there is nothing to stop them driving in the inside lane.

I say limited, but my definition above encompasses several hundred million people. It does of course assume that in every country there are thoughtless people who drive with their thumb up their arse and their mind in neutral, which is probably a safe assumption to make.

Rule 238 of the UK Highway Code clearly states "You should drive in the left-hand lane if the road ahead is clear.....Return to the left-hand lane once you have overtaken all the vehicles or if you are delaying traffic behind you." Crystal, right?

Now, it's not just that 95% of all drivers forgot the contents of the Highway Code the instant they passed their test. People just do not pay attention when driving on the motorway. I have spent many years traversing the arteries of this fair isle (in the absence of a usable public transport system, we have no choice). Even spending 8 hours driving to Scotland I manage to maintain lane discipline. It's not difficult. It's safer and keeps you alert as well.

If only I could be a Special Constable with the power to give people tickets for hogging the middle lane. Boy, would I abuse that power!! I would be a proper constable!!

Driving #2: Indicating

Annoyingly, Dictionary.com doesn't provide the necessary ammunition for the definition of indicate but I'll include anyway.

Indicators, Turn Signals, whatever you want to call them, are on cars for a reason. You pay for them so you might as well use them. I believe that not using them is an offence in the States. But sleeping with your sister isn't. Well, in Alabama anyway1.

The point of indicators is to indicate your next manouevre in advance of that manouevre. I don't need you to tell me what manouevre you are making. I have eyes. I want to know what you're going to do, not what you are doing. When we're doing 70 on the motorway and you switch lanes in front of me, indicating halfway through merely enforces my opinion of you as a moron.

Again the UK Highway Code has various rules about this sort of thing.

In town, its different but no less annoying. If you're sat in a queue and someone wants to be let out, but they aren't indicating, they give you a look which means "Please let me out" to which you respond with a look that means "I would, but I haven't a fucking clue where you want to go! So No. Read the Highway Code while you're waiting!"2.

Roundabouts (or "keepleftis" in Swahili) are a good invention for getting several roads joined together without undue lights and waiting. However, people's perception of the rules governing the use of roundabouts is as varied as the nature of moron who abuse them. Some people dispense with indicating full stop, which means that no-one else can join without the distinct possibility of getting a car in the lap, thereby turning a great invention into a circular scrapyard.

So, a plea. We're all trying to get home as quickly as possible, with as much of our hair and cars intact as possible. Pity the other poor souls sharing the road to hell and keep them informed. Use your indicators. Or.....I'll bitch and whine at my inability to do anything about it.

1 No offence, Alabama. I reached for a sterotype and you were closest.
2 I can convey a lot in a look.

22 August 2005


Planning is something that everyone does but very few people are any good at. Most people won't even call it Planning but, since that's what it is and to reduce confusion, that's what I'll call it.

Planning is tricky for many reasons, not least of which because of the old military adage "No plan survives contact with the enemy". This at least means that Truth and Innocence have someone else to talk to in hospital. Planning also requires taking into account myriad things that are often, by definition, unknowable. Which is why any half-decent plan spawns legion sub-plans. This is where things get sticky.

In the event that the original Plan goes south, you need a Contingency Plan1. Why a Contingency Plan is going to last any longer than the original plan, no-one knows2. But one is still prepared. Standards, don't you know.

Then there is a Risk Plan, which details all the risks associated with following the Plan and how you're going to make them go away. Number 1 Risk should always be "Plan A Goes South", the answer to which is "Switch to Plan B". If care is not taken, a Contingency Plan can consist of nothing but references to the next plan in the alphabetical sequence.

Next up is the Quality Plan, which details how you're going to make sure everything goes the way it should3. Quality Plans are generally full of high-minded ideals that function perfectly in theoretical environments but unravel spectacularly quickly in the real world.

From here on the Plans get very application-specific and are consequently less amusing. However, the common thread is that they are all there to address the inadequacies of the plans which reference them. Man's attempts to prepare for the Unexpected and the Inexplicable.

The amount of money spent on Planning is proportional to what is at risk. If you're planning meeting friends in town, a 30 second phone call is all the planning you need. If you're going to Mars, you might want to spend a bit longer. However, amid the variables, there is a constant; that which is inconstant, unmanageable, unknown. No amount of planning can ever address the nature of the universe.

The root of Planning is Man trying to grasp the fabric of the universe and shape it to our will. It's a cry in the vacuum, trying to attract the attention of something that isn't looking.

1 Commonly referred to as "Plan B".
2 Maybe its idiot-proof, but let's not go there.
3 i.e. Not South.

Why does everyone hate America?

They don't. They hate what America is, not America.

America are the self-appointed Rulers of The World and, as such, see it as "a matter of national security" to intervene in the internal workings of other countries. I'm not pointing the finger here; the British Empire once covered a quarter of the globe because, to paraphrase Eddie Izzard "we had a big old navy and a bunch of flags......we'd land on a beach, stick a flag in it and say 'I claim this land, and everything attached to it, for Britain! Where the fuck are we?'".

Since the time for Empires is past, America are just doing this century's equivalent of sticking flags in beaches. They're on top and, understandably, they want to stay there. This, however, does rather annoy the people whose beach it is. Britain was lucky because the people who owned the beaches into which we stuck our flags were primarily clad in dead animals and brandishing nothing more troubling than "viciously sharp slices of mango" ('Blackadder goes Forth').

America's foreign 'policy' appears to be mainly a smoke screen for the fact that they have an awful lot of bullets and nowhere to store them. All the deserts are full of surplus airplanes and all the underground bunkers full of stuff they're probably not meant to have, so it's cheaper to go abroad and fire a load off at whomever they encounter, friendly or otherwise. And if abroad happens to have oil and someone nasty in charge then, bonus, we'll call it liberation. Everyone's happy and we can be home in time for tea and medals.

However, progress being what it is, the people who own the beaches now all have AK-47s and were trained by the Soviets, which makes for unattractive scenes on the news.

Britain had her time and is still trying to shake off the remnants of her Imperial past. America is still at the peak of her powers, but the beaches are getting rockier by the day. As Britain's Empire declined, so will America's, although not in the timeframe that people might like.

The universal truth is that nature abhors a vacuum. Someone else will come along to fill the gap. So be careful what you wish for - you might just get it.

19 August 2005

Science discovers the obvious....again

Being an engineer by trade, I look down on scientists because, without engineering, everything they come up with would be unusable. And they get paid less. However, my scientist friends argue that if it wasn't for science, there would be nothing for engineers to do. So I guess we're stuck with each other.

The government bemoans the falling number of people doing science-based subjects at school and university. Part of the reason is because they get paid nothing and part is because of what gets called research these days.

How the government (note the lower case?) expects to have more scientists when they throw money at projects whose aim is to determine how high one must be when jumping onto a spike before it becomes lifethreatening?

This is a silly example, but every week in the news you see a headline like "Eating rocks is bad for you, research shows" and "Don't fall under buses, scientists claim". Almost without exception, everything they've "discovered" is something we've taken to be self-evident for quite some time.

Plus, scientists are always positive they're found the answer to everything, until next week, when some other experiment shows it to be a sack of horses business, or they realise they were looking at the numbers upside down, or they'd forgotten the twenty pages of assumptions they'd had to make in order to make any sense of it at all.

Any research that produces a interesting result like "Drinking Coke increases chance of lottery win, scientists find" is devalued when it is appended by "Research funded by The Coca Cola Company". How can science be objective if it's funded by organisations who proscribe the results?

All this means that when Science unearths anything at all, we are Stunned. But we're stil waiting to be Stunned.

Why Women Think Men are Bastards

It's a relatively simple reason. It's because, below our witty, urbane, noughties exteriors, sometimes not very far, lies the feral, snarling beings from which we evolved. If you can call it evolution.

When we were feral, snarly things, you attracted women by basically being the biggest swine you could possibly be to everyone. The women, who at this point really did only want to have babies, looked at the big swine and thought "Ooh, isn't he snarly! And so very feral. Grrrrrr! He is big and strong.". Then then go over to the big swine, grab him by his feral areas and say "I want you to father my babies!!", to which the big swine thinks "Result!".

Fast forward not very long to nowadays. The feral, snarly things are now swathed in witty, urbane, noughties exteriors and populate wine bars and clubs. The male feral, snarly things revert to type and start being swine again. The female feral, snarly things also revert to type and demand babies.

A middle ground is struck and, as the Noughties requires, a relationship ensues. The female feral, snarly thing decides that living with a big swine of a male feral, snarly thing isn't quite what they'd hoped. They then confide as much to their fellow female feral, snarly things over a chilled Chablis, adding "Why are men such bastards?".

Put succinctly, we'll are still animals under the surface, no matter how much we drape ourselves in Burberry and language and opposable thumbs. Sometimes I think we forget that.

University vs Trade

This is a short one.

Dear Prime Minister,
Why, oh why, oh why, MUST everyone go to University? When its 4 o'clock in the morning, pissing rain and there is a hole in my roof caused by, I don't know, de-orbiting Branson-craft, I do not need a Media Studies graduate. I need someone qualified to fix my shagging roof!

Not everyone in the country, even if it is steered1 by New Labour, a) knows what they want to do after school and b) has the ability or finances to complete a degree.
So, why force more people to go to university if they don't want to or won't make it? All that's happening is that you've got people part-qualified in something completely useless to the world with thousands of pounds in debt! It's basically a stealth tax.

Let the people who probably won't make it though (and let's face it, a significant proportion don't, regardless of their class, or brains, or finances) go do something useful, because I guarantee they're far more likely to get a job and get paid WAY more money being a plumber or a electrician.

So if you're undecided about higher education, DON'T throw two years and several grand down the toilet. Become a plumber. You'll be living in a four bedroom house inside two years.

1 I use "steered" in the biblical sense. What does that mean anyway?

Men vs Women

There has been a lot made recently of whether men still have the upper hand over women, or whether men are being devalued as women take a more dominant role in society. Most notably, Michael Buerk, newsreader and presenter of Police! Stop! Bang! Ouch!, has rather rashly gone public and whinged that women getting all the top jobs in unfair.

Since men have had the top jobs for ages, we can't complain if women get their share. I'm all for a meritocracy where people succeed based on how good they are. However, there are concerns that the pendulum is swinging a bit too far in women's favour and we're heading towards where we were a few decades back, except with the roles reversed. It'll be The Two Ronnies' "The Worm That Turned" come to pass.

Women should have the same rights as men and should be given equal opportunities as men. That's not up for discussion. However, what society has overlooked is that, even when men were in all the top jobs, women ruled the world. Whoever said "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" was spot on. Everyone in the world, regardless of anything, has a mother who, in most cases, is the biggest influence in how people turn out.

It's instinct. Just because we don't run around naked, sniffing each other and hitting each other with sticks, doesn't mean we're not still driven by the same basic urges as every other creature on the planet, the thrust of which is "propogate your genes".

That's a bit of a tangent, and a separate post for a rainy day. My point is that one half of the planet should be able to do what they want without it having to come at the expense of the other.

18 August 2005

Vicks Prayer

Our Vicks, who art inhaler, Hallowed be Proctor and Gamble.
Thy product come.
Thy nasal stick be done, Up noses as it is inserted.
Give us this day our daily breath.
And forgive us our sneezes,
As we forgive those who sneeze over us.
And lead us not into nasal congestion,
But deliver us from stuffy noses.
For thine is the Menthol,
and the Camphor,
and the Siberian Pine Needle Oil,
for ever and ever.

Is Nothing the new Stuff?

Minimalism isn't a new idea. In fact, it probably wasn't originally even an idea. Not having anything because you haven't got any money isn't an idea, or if it is, it's isn't a very good idea. So I don't think I can call not having much stuff minimalism. Minimalism is about having not much stuff in a deliberate way and calling it Art (which is another bag of mess entirely).

Since the advent of TV, we have all become brainwashed into being consumers. Buy this, buy that, smell nice, attract (wo)men and so on. Advertising makes us believe that if we don't buy the newest thing, we will be shunned / sacked / dumped / killed / eaten / none of the above. Now, I might just be a bit slow, but as I near the twilight of my existence (30), it is beginning to dawn that having stuff isn't all that great.

Consider this; you go into town on Saturday, wander round the shops and you buy: 1) A glossy magazine because a) (m) it has a picture of a bird with big tits on the front, or b) (f) it has an article on how to have multiple orgasms. Cost: £3.50.
2) 3 DVDs for £20, regardless of how many times you've seen them or how crap two of them are.
3) a new video game for £30 because it involves killing Nazis or something.
4) a new shirt / blouse for £50 because the label has some acronym on it that may or may not mean it's good.
Total Cost: £103.50.

So you're walking home, on a bit of a high because you've got some new stuff. You spend the rest of the day watching the DVDs, reading the magazine, playing the game until you get stuck and then go out in your new shirt. The new day dawns. The DVDs go on the shelf, the magazine joins the pile on the coffee table, the game stays in its box because you don't like the gameplay (i.e. you got stuck on Level 1) and the shirt, after being washed goes into the closet, never to be worn again.

So that £103.50 has resulted in maybe 12 hours of gratification. And all you're left with if the memory of some crappy movies, a frustrating game, a magazine full of adverts you skipped past and a shirt that still smells of tequila / cologne / vomit / Red Bull.

Now we get to the rub: How many times in the next 5 years will you watch those DVDs, read that magazine, play that game or wear that shirt? Five? Ten? Twenty? The answer is probably five, at the very most. But do you sell them, or give them away, or the throw them away? No. They get put in a cupboard because of one of the following reasons;
1) it might be useful for something,
2) I'll read that again,
3) I can watch that movie whenever I want,
4) I have a nice shirt to wear when I go out.

But do you ever do any of those things? No. Because next Saturday you go out and spend £103.50 on another lot of crap you'll never use.

So, what is the alternative? Show a little restraint, keep the money, stay in the house all weekend and feel superior about how much money you're saving? That's an alternative. It might not be for everyone, but at least when you're 75 and the government pension is bringing in £50 a week, you won't have to lose your dignity by wearing a lurid green fleece and help pack shopping in Asda.

There is a lot to be said for not consuming. When you first take the plunge, you realise that you don't really miss wasting two hours watching some crank-the-handle-release-the-movie Hollywood shitbuster, or flicking past adverts for penis enlargers / overpriced stereo equipment / mobile phone bloody ringtones / sports cars / 0898 numbers. You can spend it doing something else that requires less money and will have some tangible result. Which is the problem. Not buying stuff is social suicide if you're a teenager. If you don't have the latest phone-the-size-of-a-grain-of-sand, complete with annoying ringtone, or latest £400 trainers, or a nose job, you may as well wander through town naked, spraying people with liquid manure from a bucket. But it works fine when you're in your late twenties / early thirties, married, a tiny version of you (or two), possibly a starter home and money is that thing you used to have.

The problem is that the economy is driven by how much stuff we buy. If we stopped buying things, the web of belief and probability that is the world of finance would grind to a messy halt. Which is fine in many ways but has all sorts of messy repercussions like rioting / looting / general lawlessness / wearing of leather / killing people for their shoes in an apocalyptic wasteland.

So, I guess that if leather is not your thing, you have the money and living on cabbage when you're 70 sounds OK, keep buying stuff. But for everyone else, don't buy stuff. You'll thank me later.

Teenagers: How many are there?

In reality, there is only one teenager in the world. He drives a white, 1.3 Vauxhall Nova with alloy wheels, sports exhaust (both of which cost more than the car), red padding round the seatbelt, blue LEDs where the washer jets should be and the drivers seat set so far back and down that all you can see of The Teenager is the peak of his beige Nike baseball cap. He wears a tracksuit, Nike trainers (which also cost more than the Vauxhall Nova), a grade Two haircut (moussed / gelled / clayed / whatever!) and, I'm told, would smoke Marlboro Lights if they could afford them.

The multiple teenager effect is done with mirrors.

Only two Smints Left

It climb the steps to the dojang, the temperature rising a degree with each step. The dehumidifier is broken; stuck on humidify. My tie is non-regulation.

It must be thirty degrees in here and we're wearing suits. Sat snugly behind a cramped table which is wrapped in black, heat-friendly fabric. There is only one fan and it is oscillating. I am the only person to whom it affords any respite. The ranks of red and white sweat in their thick cotton suits.
Tea and biscuits arrive. I avail myself of an orange squash and a bottle of water. In our delerium, the biscuits are scoffed, not savoured. The few reminaing crumbs are fastidiously picked up, regarded sorrowfully and then consumed. Steve's bottle of water has a deformed bottom and will not stand up.
The Smint Siutation has not improved. A tentative shake of the box brings worried looks from the table.
It's....so hot. We are out of biscuits and have only two Smints left. Water is in plentiful supply, but there is no end in sight. The sea of foam rubber floor blends in the haze with the asbestos ceiling. The single ceiling fan shimmers in the heat haze. It could be stationary as far as I know
The Smints are gone. We gaze longingly at the empty dispenser. We occasionally shake it, but to no avail. There is division at the table as the two girls are clearly hoarding biscuits. Not wanting to disrupt our final hours, we yawn at the sweating throng.

Politics: Magic? Art? Irrelevance?

On careful reflection, I think magic is too strong a word. So I'll go for Art, since people who understand it bang on about it and everyone else thinks it's a big waste of everyones time, Hats Off!

Having read recent articles on BBC News, it transpires that politics is actually really good. The problem is with the media constantly rubbishing all political claims and ideas so that the public become totally cynical about the whole thing. Yeah, right...

The only worthwhile element of politics is the ends to which the English language is put in order to pour scorn upon the Right Honourable Person sat opposite. The term Right Honourable applied to politicians shows just how seriously politicians take themselves. How they can keep a straight face...

Jeremy Clarkson was quite right when he said that the government has little or no impact on how you live your life on a day-to-day basis. That's the reason why nobody bothers to vote. That, and the fact that once bunch of lying scumbags is as good as the next. If the political parties were companies providing the public with a service (which they kinda are, if you can call it a service), then the regulatory body would be down on them like a ton1 of bricks.

If there was an equivalent of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission that dealt with political parties, we could have them all done for an Unfair Lack of Competition.

A particularly cleverly-engineered virus could do away with all politicians2 and no-one would notice, apart from political correspondents who would turn up and there would be no-one to interview. In fact, political correspondents are about the only thing politics-related worth watching. Seeing Jeremy Paxman make the most senior (I won't say powerful) politicians wriggle in his grip is almost worth the stealth taxes and TV license fee alone.

The rise of Politics is mainly because society doesn't like it when politicians actually stab each other in the back. But society is perfectly happy if you only figuratively stab people in the back. And you don't even have to look them in the eye when you're doing it.

1 Or tonne. Whichever is heavier.
2 Not that I'm advocating such a course of action. Just so you guys in the listening posts don't get your knickers in a twist over nothing.

Music vs Four Stroke

It is depressing how basic things are revealed to be when you expend some effort into understanding how they work. The following revelation came about when discussing how difficult it is to play the drums. The conjecture was that it is easy to play the drums badly, because, to quote the learned gentleman in question, "music is just banging things together".

I countered this posit with the rejoinder that concert musicians would take no small measure of umbridge in having their considerable skills reduced to "banging things together". Especially since "banging things together" only really describes the Percussion section, if a little rudely. But then, he's a rude guy. So, after some discussion, it appears that music can be created in the following ways;

* Banging things together,
* Rubbing things together,
* Blowing into tubes,
* Sucking.

Sucking is a bit of an outsider, since it only applies to the Harmonica, although I have seen musicians on TV sucking big style. And not in a good way.

Put simply, Bang, Rub, Suck, Blow. Music reduced to four words.

So where, I hear you cry, does "Four Stroke" come into it? Well, the Four Stroke Internal Combustion Engine is so named because it goes through four stages during a combustion cycle. Again, put simply, these are Bang, Blow, Suck, Squeeze. Which is very close to the way music has been so succinctly characterised above. Coincidence?

Granted, there is no place for Rubbing in an engine. Large amounts of money are spent making sure engine parts rub against other engine parts as little as possible. Because, as I'm sure you'll agree, rubbing is tiring, and a tired engine is no good.

So, rubbing has been replaced by squeezing. Which is fine. Musically, this only applies to the Accordian and the Bagpipes, neither of which are found in the traditional symphony orchestra. Neither, strictly, are Harmonicas (or is it Harmonicae?). Maybe they should be. Maybe Harmonicas and Accordians and Bagpipes should be included into symphony orchestras. They let new sports into the Olympics, they should let new instruments into orchestras! Yeah. So, where was I?

My point? There wasn't one. It started off interesting but kind of got wierd at the end. I'll try harder next time.

Art: Is it just bollocks?

Yes, it bloody well is.

To make my point; if someone with bad teeth and worse hair can look at a green square and say, in all seriousness, "I like the way the artist has juxtaposed the background with the four dogs and the banana, don't you think?", then that makes it a load of bollocks.

More evidence for The Prosecution. On more than once occasion, people have rolled up at a gallery with a "piece of art", to have the arty types within pee themselves at its wonderousness, only to then bluster like an April lunchtime when it is revealed that it was created by a toddler with lots of crayons and not much supervision.

If, as it would appear, that everything is art, then does it even warrant its own word? I would argue that the term "Art" is of no value, since there are many other far more interesting words for "everything"; "things", "stuff" to name but two.

This does rather make Art students look foolish.


No, its not a typo. Aurodynamics is a term wot I just invented.

In the same way that aerodynamics is a measure of how well an object behaves in an airflow, aurodynamics is a meaure of how well a song will behave in the charts.

Aurodynamics also explains why all modern, mainstream music sounds the same. I will illustrate this point by drawing parallels in the field of aerodynamics.

Aircraft all have the same basic design; wings, tail, engine, cockpit, etc. The reason for these things is that, if any were not present, the aircraft just wouldn't work.

Cars are designed in computers these days, all of which take into consideration aerodynamics when creating the shape of the car; hence the reason why all cars are much the same.

In order that a song reaches Number 1 in the charts, Aurodynamics requires that the following are present;

  • Drum,
  • 'n' Bass,
  • optional string section, for 'flava',
  • Urban / Street / Ghetto theme,
  • 3 - 20 twentysomethings with as much variety in race and sex as possible,
  • vocalists ability to sing twenty notes when three would do,
  • 'bling',
  • one rap verse by caucasian band member,
  • minor gangsta connection,
  • appeal to mid-teen girls,
The presence of these attributes guarantees the big buck. Since these can be thought of a constants in the recipe for success, is it little wonder that all music sounds the same and less attractive, background, promotional types make large sums of money cranking the handle on the Fame Machine, which picks the next 3-20 twentysomethings from the queue, gives them a wash and a squint haircut and assorted street clothing and puts them on TV........and we buy it. We can't get enough of that shit.

So, is there any hope? As with all those for whom aerodynamics is a consideration, pushing the envelope is the only thing that keeps progress...progressing. It is these pioneers, nay, these frontierspeople who drag the rest of the sheep forward into new things.

The Laws of Aurodynamics are constant, but as with any great theory, there are small variables; arbitrary constants which those with vision can tweak in order to push things forward.

So, hats of to all those who push the envelope.

Generation Y vs Technology

Generation Y are the first demographic to have used computers to the extent that their operation is second nature. Our parents, on the whole, are flummoxed by the whole idea.

But, and hear me out, will there come a time when The Nintendo Generation is, itself, flummoxed by new technology? Has our presence at the inception of a such a pervasive technology future-proofed us against new ideas?

Picture the scene; you're sat on the couch playing the latest beat-em-up with Junior using the thought-controller and he's Kicking Your Ass. Do you; a) accept defeat gracefully?, b) ignore the fact that he was deliberately not trying too hard so you don't feel bad?, c) curse loudly, colourfully and at length that, if you'd had a joypad, you'd have kicked his ass?,

When we finally give in and get one of those new-fangled cranial implants (after swearing blind for years that "you'll never catch someone sticking one of those things in my skull!"), will we be unable to do the next-gen equivalent of double-clicking?

The answer, certainly and depressingly, is yes. Because, even if our mental faculties render keeping up possible, the relentless tide of technological advancement will be such that, at some point, we'll realise that trying to keep up is pointless and make do with what we've got. Either that, or, since keeping up requires the equivalent of the defence budget of small Middle-Eastern military states, fiscal constraints will kick in, as they are wont to do.

So it looks like, as with our parents, we are destined to fall behind in the great march towards technological oneness. To be honest, by that point, we'll probably be quite happy not to have peed ourselves.