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Francis Anderson
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Francis Anderson

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Sunset over Cape Hill
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Wow, well played China, however I do think the age of the MEGA facility is coming to an end, rather arrays of smaller nodes will far outstrip the capacity of mega telescopes. Still, this is mighty impressive and does still play an important role. 
The world's largest radio telescope has received its first signals from space and is now entering an intensive testing phase.
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Wasps ... in the Bathroom ? 
In the past week scores of Twitter users have shared tales of emerging from the shower to find themselves surrounded by wasps. What's going on?
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This article hits the nail on the head when it comes to why technology companies find it near impossible to start up here in the UK, unless they have money already.

Here's the bottom line, imagine I turn up to a British bank, I tell them my fantastic idea, the bank manager shows interest but is clearly uncertain about what it all means. I then deliver my own knock out punch .. "It will be a 12 to 18 months before I even begin to earn a penny, and I'll need 1 to 2 million to cover me during this period".

Put that way, the risk alarm bells in any financiers brain is going to ring loud and clear. A project with unknown risk, which will burn money initially without even having a product ..

So what's different in the US, why would the same set of circumstances be any different.

Firstly, silicon valley attracts people like me, and as a result, those bank managers can better quantify what I'm talking about, because I won't have been the first tech guy to have pitched an idea.

That's an important distinction, having experience of the technology world means you're going to spot a Google from a fly by night. For a financier understanding the risk and reward is central to being able to find terms which accommodate the situation fairly.

Additionally, the options for finance will be greater, because private investors will come to such a place, wanting to back the right horse, such people are generally much more able to "get it".

All of this leads to a "Can do" culture, where you're encouraged to try and find similar people who can help you make it happen.

Britain is uniquely placed in some respects, it has the talent, it has the financiers, but they seem to live in two different worlds. The dreamers are expected to have the cash when they don't, and the financiers who have the cash just see a huge black box they don't understand and can't define the risk.

Firstly, the UK needs to stop naming roundabouts in Central London as some kind of Tech equivalent to Silicon Valley, this is not only ridiculous it also speaks volumes to how the UK views itself. There needs to be a designated tech hub, I'm not talking about a roundabout, or anywhere near central London with its impossible rents, it needs to be cheap, it needs to be large enough for people to flock to, it needs Government support.

Secondly, we need to be teaching finance students about IT projects, to help them understand the risks, and they should be given encouragement to set up near the new tech hub area.

Finally, when students leave University, they should feel they have 2 options open to them, to go and work for somebody, or to set up their own technology business. Imagine how many people have the most amazing ideas, yet are stuck in "Ok" paid jobs, trapped by mortgages from being able to make the leap.

There needs to be a total change of mind, to put Britain back in line to be the great inventor it has been and still can be.

Finding their options limited, some of Britain's most talented tech entrepreneurs feel Silicon Valley is the only option.
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The Virtual Democracy

There are as many flavours of Virtual Democracy as there are people who've wrote about it, so in the absence of a easy definition, I'll say this isn't merely online voting, this is a system of Government where decisions are agreed upon by voting remotely. The numbers of those involved and in what they are involved will differ but the idea is that similar to the original Greek democracy, decisions are taken by voting rather than via a centralised Government.

This raises a lot of possibilities as well as complications. Putting aside the obvious "Hacking" issue, the idea that our country could be ran remotely without a traditional Government to some would have a lot of attraction, and would certainly empower many more people to both voice their opinion but lead on issues that otherwise they would be ignored on.

That of course also means people who are not suitable for leadership roles may also flock with their own agenda's.
The other issue is the general education level of the populace, we are not all experts in diplomacy, we don't all know when it's right or not to raise taxation or to go to war, we may know what we want from health care provision, but do we know how to make best use of money ? Should people not educated in medicine have a voice in deciding which drug is and isn't available for example ?

Some may argue to go the whole hog, if you've got rid of Government, get rid of centralisation all together, and it may be that the Virtual Democracy would need this in order to function properly, as otherwise it would be a government not by the people, but by the people who can be bothered enough, and some people are always bothered to tell you what you can and cannot do, while others don't really care as long as they are not being forced into something.

I don't believe the Virtual Democracy will work, firstly because of the technical challenges. No system is fool proof, and any such government would be very easy to infiltrate, disrupt and even control.
I also don't believe the people are ready for such a system, I don't think I am. If a decision needed to be made about the most appropriate material to use on our new fighter jets, I wouldn't have a clue, and even if somebody explained all the options to me, I'd probably not have the time to spend trying to get to the bottom of all the details to make a reasonable decision. This is why we employ experts to make decisions for us, but then hold them accountable through elections, if they do a reasonable job I'm happy, if they mess up in a big way, they are out.

Of course, Democracy hasn't really functioned this way, people have been voting (and still do) based on which politician or party they like more than others, rather than a cold look at their record and usefulness and if they deserve the position. If we can't even run our democracies that way, there is no chance we are even remotely ready for making the decisions ourselves.

Of course, virtual democracy can take on whatever shape it likes, it doesn't need to be a fully fledged version, it can be a layer within the government, and that is much more likely to happen, particularly in the UK, where a house of Lords has slowly been changing from a hereditary chamber to a technocratic chamber, that could be replaced by recognised citizens in all walks of life that represent the public in terms of a variety of topics.

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The Corporate Republic

The Western World, land of the free, rule of law and a good standard of living, all things we grew up not just thinking, but knowing.

But over the last 20 years or so, things have started to change. Our votes no longer seem to result in anything different, our rule of law seems to be favouring those with deep pockets, and our standard of living has been reducing.

This isn't just an American thing, it's been happening here in the UK, and across Europe and all Western nations.

Sovereignty, an issue which fooled so many in the recent EU referendum in the UK, the ability of Parliament to make decisions, but it's all a sham, because parliament is not sovereign as it once was, it is subservient to big corp.

Google and Apple alone have special tax deals that I personally would love to have also. The argument is, if we go after them they will go elsewhere, and better to get the jobs and income tax than not at all.

In effect, the employee's of these companies are paying the tax for the employer.

As a gamer, I first came across the idea of the Corporate Republic while playing an Activision fail "Call to Power". I actually liked the game, however it placed the corporate republic as the natural replacement for Democracy.

This seems to be coming true, and very insightful by the game designers. However, it's not a new vision, as the link above shows, it's been in popular sci-fi culture for many many years.

However, in Sci-Fi, the belief was that while the Corporate Republic places the needs of the corporation above all else, it also returns the favour by giving its employee's a share in its wealth, albeit in some dystopian way.

The truth has turned out much worse, the corporate republics we now live in, have robbed the vast majority of their workers of their living standards in order to enrich its elites, and all the bluster of elections which seem to be swinging from one extreme to another, there will be no change, the corporate puppets will remain the most wealthy, and the living standards of the average Joe will continue to fall.

At the next election, it is likely that while it may say on the voting ballot "Party A, Party B" (or Individual A/B). . what it really should say is "Google or Apple".

Can it change ?

Unlikely, our world is so connected yet divided, only a multinational approach can temper the power of the Corps, and that's why organisations such as the EU are so important. Sure they are not perfect at all, they force us to compromise where we don't always want to, but the alternative is to have no sovereignty at all, no power to force organisations as large as countries to bow to the people's will.

Sadly for the UK, having just voted to leave such an organisation, it will now play wife to it's corporate grooms, and it will be the people who pay for it all.

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What could we do with Dinosaur DNA ?
Well, for the time being, forget about Jurassic park, however this new insight that DNA could be extracted from animals that existed millions of years ago, could transform palaeontology.
DNA can help us understand how these animals worked, what they looked like, why they were so successful. 
Scientists extract fossil proteins - some of biological tissue's building blocks - in a 3.8 million year-old ostrich eggshell.
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I remember as a kid finding a wasps nest in my outside shed, it was about the size of a football, absolutely nothing like this monster.
A "colossal" wasp nest the size of a "barrel" with a 1.4m tunnel attached is found in an attic.
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*1 in 3,408 chance of choking to death on food

1 in 3,640,000,000 chance of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack*

and that's good food, not poisonous food.

Another reason why this kind of ill thought out comparison is invalid is because it assumes that all the people in the US currently will not harm you, including the ones running around with guns (yes, the police are included in that group).

This breaks rule 7 of Carl Sagan's rather well thought out Baloney detector "Observational Selection", looking at a particular issue in one group and ignoring it completely in another.

But the comment shows a greater truth in that of the speaker, that to him, some human lives are as worthless as a skittle, something he devours as a momentary snack.

Should this really surprise us from the son of a billionaire, that he see's other people as worthless ? Probably not.

I'm not an advocate of open migration at all, I do believe there are severe issues to be considered, such as resources, cultural and educational problems that need to be addressed, but comments like this say so much about the perpetrator, and very little indeed about the refugee's or the problem of dealing with such issues.
Donald Trump's eldest son causes uproar on social media by comparing Syrian refugees to the fruit-flavoured sweets Skittles.
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More Media led moral panic

Nobody in their right mind is going to argue that it's ok to play smart phone games while you drive, but what's interesting about this article is as Carl Sagan called it (in his Baloney detector) "observational selection" ! Spotting the hits, and ignoring the misses or any other distraction that may cause drivers to take their eye of the job.

I've been driving for about 15 years, and I've seen and experienced many distractions while driving. Women putting makeup on is one of the most common, people changing the tape/cd on their sound system or switching channels on a radio, children in the back screaming, partners arguing !! Babies throwing up at critical junctions.

Some of these distractions are not our fault, but clearly many of them are.

Concentrating on a couple of thousand incidents yet statistically ignoring all others makes your argument invalid. There is no reliable evidence of the number of people who are playing and not having accidents or admitting to it, how many people text, or check their facebook or whatsapp while driving ? how many have accidents ? how many don't admit to it ?

We can only guess, because we simply don't know.

Yes, playing Pokemon Go while driving is idiotic, but is there need for moral panic ? Is Pokemon Go the only game people are playing while driving ?

There is no reliable information, only observational selection which plays into the "Computer games are Evil" media madness, often put about by people who just don't get it.

That's fair enough, I don't get bowls or bungee jumping, but I don't feel the need to cause a moral panic about it.

According to one source, The risk of sudden death during a marathon: 0.8 per 100,000 people .. Now considering we are only talking about "thousands" out of hundreds of million drivers, I'm not going to start a moral panic about running marathons (and I'd be wrong to do so).

Thousands of people are playing Pokemon Go while driving, say US researchers who have studied social media posts.
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The passenger issue is the problem, but additionally, the GPS glitches that make it think you're traveling when you're not.
On my view it's an ethical issues for drivers, don't do dumb stuff while driving, if it's not, it should be a condition of your driving licence. Guess the issue is, one man's dumb is another's good idea.
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Bovine security as Google blurs a cows face, just in case you (or any other bovine) recognise them on street view.
A cow which had its face blurred by Google street view proves a hit on social media.
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Some people are so poor, all they have is money
Google plus is my only social media platform, I don't do facebook or twitter.

I love to get to know new people, so everybody is invited to add me, follow my posts, comment and say Hello from time to time. If you post interesting stuff or don't have dodgy photos I'll almost certainly add you back.

I'm an IT and Science geek, so I will write quite a lot about it, if your into the same, your ideas and thoughts are always welcome, if not, you can troll a little for fun ;) I won't mind :D

Most of all, enjoy life and have fun. 
Bragging rights
I survived hell, twice !
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I love big johns, fantastic spicy food options along with burger and chips and a great price
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Fantastic mix of food from all over the world, something for everybody and a good price
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