Monthly Archives: January 2014

Prejudice and jumping to conclusions

One of the most interesting things I find with people is viewpoints. The world is a mismash of diverse and unique individuals and we all look at things in our own way, a slight slant depending on the person in particular if you will. Now in regards to a lot of things viewpoints and understandings overlap and it’s used to define what is “normal”, we group things together in order to make things easier on our minds it saves space, time and in a lot of ways having to actually think about things.

However just because you have a personal belief it does not always mean that it is going to be correct, and there are plenty of instances where this conditioning can lead to jumping to conclusions most of the time these can be harmless and don’t really harm anybody (except potentially making you look like an idiot) but in some instances there are jobs where if you are unable to either:
a) Separate personal beliefs about a subject/group of people/situation
b) Draw conclusions and group things together when they may not be remotely related
In these situations there are several lines of work that you really should avoid in my opinion.

I have a great deal of respect for nurses, whilst doctors come up with diagnosis and treatment plans a lot of the grunt work associated with the ongoing care of people is taken care of by nursing staff. Long hours, not always the greatest of conditions or necessarily given the deserved respect from either patients or those around them (friends/family). Being sick and hospitalized sucks no argument there but there is no point making the person who has to look after you lives miserable, they may be skipping meals or be busting for the toilet but ensuring that you or your loved ones receive the care that is required.

I don’t believe it is an easy job, there are demands emotionally as well as physically and it takes a special kind of person to be able to do that for others and to be constantly surrounded by the sick, aged and dying but by the same token it is a profession where I feel you need to leave any preconceptions, judgments and classifications at the door or consider an alternate line of employment; Whilst yes there will be a lot of things that are very similar not every similar situation will be exactly the same and they must all be treated as different and approached with an open mind.

In the link below the nurse in question appeared to be biased towards someone simply because they were in a wheelchair and spoke with a thicker accent. Now this didn’t necessarily need to pose a problem the nurse could have turned to the friend and said I am having difficulty understanding her could you please relay this required information for me and they likely would have been able to meet somewhere in the middle, but the nurse went as far as telling the person to their face that they are not a real person.

Now that is just ridiculous, to dehumanize someone on the basis of your own beliefs is not something I would expect from a decent human being much less someone who is supposed to deal in compassion and care and is something I would have thought would have been identified considerably earlier on and addressed by her supervisors. The trouble is a lot of people go unnoticed and are not necessarily spoken out against because it is too much effort, the fact that the doctor observed her behaviour was a good thing as it was immediately addressed.

No one has the right to make someone feel less than they are simply because they are different.

But because you see a large number of cases with the same things does not mean they will all be like that; According to the triage nurse at Armadale Hospital my sister was drunk and high on drugs and she was annoyed at her that she couldn’t get herself out of the car. Now my sister hasn’t drank in years and has never done drugs but I am sure she would have got out of the car under her own steam if she wasn’t unconscious and flopping around. Just because you see a lot of drug users doesn’t automatically mean everyone will be one, and if you can’t treat each case as different you should be doing another job.

Our species has been blessed us with a number of useful things, opposable thumbs and a mind/intellect we should use them. It may save space/processing power in our minds to just lump everything together but there are plenty of jobs where this should not be the case.


Head in the clouds

Ye gods, I knew I did a lot of flying around last year but actually just added it all up and it surprised the hell out of me. All up I caught 30 individual flights to various places around the world and covered enough kilometers to circumnavigate the planet no less than 3 times.

Perth – Dubai 9,050km
Dubai – London 5,476km
London – Dubai 5,476km
Dubai – Perth 9,050km
Perth – Guangzhou 6,138km
Guangzhou – Los Angeles 11,659km
San Diego – Washington DC 3,657km
Washington DC – Providence 577km
Providence – Newark 260km
Newark – Los Angeles 3,926km
Los Angeles – Guangzhou 11,659km
Guangzhou – Perth 6,138km
Perth – Melbourne 2,725km
Melbourne – Sydney 714km
Sydney – Los Angeles 12,087km
Los Angeles – Washington DC 3,696km
Washington DC – Providence 577km
Providence – Newark 260km
Newark – Los Angeles 3,926km
Los Angeles – Sydney 12,087km
Sydney – Melbourne 714km
Melbourne – Perth 2,725km
Perth – Kuala Lumpor 2,259km
Kuala Lumpor – Kathmandu 3,240km
Kathmandu – Kathmandu (Flight around the mountains) 100km
Kathmandu – Pokhara 144km
Kathmandu – Kuala Lumpor 3,240km
Kuala Lumpor – Perth 2,259km
Perth – Lombok 2,595km
Lombok – Perth 2,595km

Total Distance 129,009km

I think I may have to keep my feet on the ground a bit more this year!

Heralding A New War?

“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do;
Our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.” ~ C.S. Lewis

North Korea has been the white elephant of the peninsula ever since the United States was unable to defeat the regime of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (how an effective one party dictatorship can claim to be democratic is beyond me) although I guess they didn’t lose the war as technically it did not end there is only a cease fire in place and the division of the country at the 38th parallel and the one thing that you don’t want is a white elephant with thermonuclear bombs.

It has never been a well kept secret that North Korea has been working on their nuclear program on and off for the last 20 years or so, they have the capability of developing and deploying the things at least locally with 3 successful tests over the last 10 years with the weapon yield increasing exponentially with each subsequent deployment (the first being an estimated yield of 0.7 – 10kt and the most recent 6 – 40kt) reaching a 400% increase in blast yields from their first successful test. In a warfare based deployment Japan bore the brunt of two nuclear warheads Fat Man and Little Boy with the larger of the two being a 21kt yield meaning as of now they have the capability to potentially deliver a warhead with twice the destructive force of what was dropped on Nagasaki and the destruction that caused is well documented. a handy little website for mapping predicted effects of a nuclear blast shows that 3 40kt bombs would be enough to pretty much wipe all of Seoul off the map.

Now given the 400% increase over the last 6 years if that rate is able to continue and given they have now appeared to have reverse engineered the hardware required to further process and enrich the resources of uranium that they have within their borders it means that potentially warheads in the megaton ranges would not be unreasonable to accept, now a single 5MT warhead would be able to effectively wipe Tokyo off the map, and in the case of Seoul not only the city but a fair amount of the surrounding countryside would also be gone in an instant. The ability to make a nuclear warhead is one thing, you learn the basics when you study Physics, essentially all you require is enough fissionable material to reach critical mass and boom and when you have access to Uranium in your country mass producing these when you have the technology is easier than trying to come up with something from scratch the issue then becomes delivery. Thankfully they still seem to be somewhat lacking in this regard, however their home grown Taepodong missile program does seem to be gaining traction.

The fact that their tests to date have failed does allow a sigh of relief to be breathed as although they may be nuclear they at least can’t deploy them *yet*. Now a country that can make several nuclear warheads from scratch with massive trade embargoes on a whole bunch of stuff should be able to solve the issue of a suitable delivery system if given enough time, and the trouble with this missile program is the range it is theoretically capable of aiming for, the lower section of the US being a potential target for example; The plus side for Australia however is we are a tad out of range to really be a target. But if they choose to downsize their range to pull it off it still spells trouble for South Korea or Japan.

Dropping a 1-5MT nuke on Seoul would effectively smash the United States military presence in the region not to mention the command structure of South Korea and even equipped with outdated tanks and weapons the sheer weight of numbers of the armies of the North they could effectively take a reasonable amount of South Korea in under a week, but if they wanted to send a message to the West Japan would be a good target as a lot of our tech comes out of there not to mention all the trading that takes place on a daily basis on the Nikkei.

Thankfully their closest friend in China is pushing them to behave, however China is also a growing military might in its own right, and they have eyes set on several islands as it is and old scores with the Japanese from their annexing and subsequent mistreatment of the Chinese before and during World War 2 so it would be interesting to see which way that would swing as it would give them an opportunity to act on the confusion caused by the little guy to move in and “liberate” and solidify a position whilst the rest of the world scrambles, and to be honest once entrenched it is usually easier to condemn actions but not reciprocate for fear of that sword being brought down on you.

The main cause I have for concern with North Korea is the change over of leadership, he is young and yet to really prove himself or test his mettle aside from some saber rattling and internal cleansing. Overall it does not appear to be the most stable of environments there, and nuclear weapons and nothing necessarily to lose are not a good combination I really hope it doesn’t come to that but the next decade on the peninsula will be interesting, and reminds me somewhat of the introduction to the video game Homefront released in 2011 with some disturbing parellels.


Distance Record for Quantum Teleportation

Whilst we may be nowhere near the Star Trek age beam me up Scotty in the field of teleportation I have been watching with interest the continued developments in the field of quantum mechanics/physics that seem to be increasing in pace the last few years. The concept of entanglement is not entirely new in the physics world but practical applications and the ability to manifest theory into workable solutions often takes considerably longer, especially in what is still somewhat the wild frontier.

For something that is only just 20 years old it is progressing quite well. The initial validations of the hypothesis took about 5 years with an incredibly short range experiment being successful at the time with the workable distance steadily increasing over time. By 2004 this was up to 600 meters however this decade has seen numerous leaps and bounds in the technology; There are a lot of different groups of scientists working on it around the world and by 2010 the a team of Chinese from Shanghai had this up to 16km, and by early 2012 they were smashing their own record by pushing this to 100km across a lake in China.

Impressive that they could continue to set and break their own records however later in the year saw time for someone else to carry the candle and take the technology to new heights (come on China you can beat it!) a team of scientists from Austria, Canada and Germany were successful in transmitting information between two of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain for a new record of 143km. Friendly competition especially in relatively new things is a good thing as evident by the large growths in the last few years which will likely lead the way for entangled based satellites as against current microwave / radio based transmission from terrestrial base stations.

Whilst I believe we are likely at least a century off the science fiction version of teleportation the modern world is an incredibly data hungry beast and the ability to transport higher and higher amounts of bandwidth at a faster rate will become in high demand within the next 50 years and current “standard” methods of satellite communication introduce far to much latency for the average users and their demand for near instant access to information as no one seems to want to wait for things to load anymore and is likely to continue to fuel the further development of quantum based communication, and if we end up settling other areas of our solar system Moon/Mars/Asteroids it could lead to the birth of the quantum solar system extranet to replace or at least further compliment our now aging internet. Will be interesting to see how things continue to develop in this field.