Every now and again life sends you an unexpected container.
Sadly for Robert Redford, his came in the middle of the sea right smack into his luxury yacht. The film (All is lost) is one of my favourites, not because in itself it is a particularly exciting movie, but because it's the tail of a wealthy man, very knowledgeable in sailing and in control, until .. one fine day along came the container, and slowly but surely despite his every attempt to survive, fate robs him of everything until he has nothing left.
It's a beautiful analogy of life, and whilst I hope unlike Robert Redford we all find the hand offered earlier than he does (or does he??) but irrespective of who we are, where we are, that container comes our way.
And when it comes, no matter how smart you are, how resourceful, how rich or experienced, it is the hands of others who ultimately may be the only thing which can help you.
Often, we are those others !! Be the difference in somebody elses life, be as unexpected as the container ..
So they left it that way. I do like an ambiguous ending, where the viewer sees what they imagine, rather than what the director intended.
First time I saw it I was convinced he'd died, second time, I wasn't so sure.
It's a slippery slope !
Who is the arbiter of what is and isn't extreme ? Of what constitutes a viable counter argument to that view of the world ? Where is the line drawn between that which needs censorship and that which is free of it.
Does Google apply the same logic to communist or anti capitalist commentary, some of which is extreme to the ears of many. Then maybe Christians that advocate creationism, considered by many to be extremists who undermine the education of children.
I'm all for extreme views being challenged, but for me, this needs to be coming from within those communities, from the parents, not just when they think there is a problem, but as general discourse in the home. Children do listen to their parents, and if they have only ever heard anti Jewish and anti western comments being made, and total silence or excuses for extremist views or behaviour, then we shouldn't be too surprised when they grow up with a clear view to who the enemy is and who isn't.
By the time they are capable of searching, it's too late.
Interesting news, otherwise dumbed down by the BBC who seem to think planets circling other stars can be referred to as "Solar Systems".
Sol is our own star, so THE Solar System (singular) is a collection of planets that circle our own star, not a generic reference to all planetary systems other stars may have.
Anyway .. is it a planet or a brown dwarf ?? Most stars have another star circling with them, and some have MUCH larger distances from each other than this guy.
Still, amazing to hear so frequently of new things found.
I had never really thought about it until I read this rather illuminating article entitled "Chins are a bit useless..."
Must confess, I can't think of anything I use my chin for, apart from a good wag occasionally ;)
Never thought I'd find myself in agreement with Nigel Lawson, and I still thing a multilateral agreement is a better way forward, however, clearly corporation tax is meaningless if the richest businesses can play the system and avoid their fair share of contribution.
Afterall, business benefits from the stability and wealth of a nation, it's only fair it too pays and contributes to the society it derives its profits from.
A sales tax levied on the company per transaction would work in a similar way to VAT, would allow us to get rid of corporation tax as a whole, however it would need to have a few safeguards.
Like VAT, there would need to be category's exempt or charged at a different rate, it would need to be only on the profit section of the transaction (which is already the case with corporation tax) and give small businesses the same benefits they currently enjoy in terms of a tax free amount before it kicks in.
Charged at the source of the sale, basing yourself anywhere in the world will be meaningless.. Not payment, no transaction. Would be infinitely easier to collect and administer. Potentially also in the future regional areas could set their own levels (such as Scotland already has the rights to vary the amount).
For me, the key is simplicity, the more complex it is, the easier it is for big companies to hire clever lawyers to avoid.
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
If you've been reading the news, you'd be forgiven for thinking they have indeed found a new planet in our Solar System. I have to say, I met this news with a huge amount of skepticism and upon reading several reports from this, I am still not really convinced that this is what they have found.
So, what have they found ? a mathematical correlation in the orbits of some Kuiper belt objects.
This is indeed good evidence of something influencing these far flung objects, and we cannot rule out the existence of a new planet, but there seems to be a more obvious possibility that isn't being explored.
We tend to think of planets as being things that circle stars, however it's highly likely that most planets do not actually have a star, having long been kicked out from their host star by the gravitational actions of larger planets.
In our own system, it has been recently speculated that Jupiter has indeed been on the rampage earlier on in the life of our star, and may have both removed planets and destroy them.
The vast majority of space is the void between stars, and it is proposed that this space could be littered with planets, both large and small, ejected from stars that may not even exist anymore.
Add to this the fact that stars are not static, they are moving around the centre of the galaxy, and so the stars close to us today were not the stars close millions of years ago, the chances of rogue planets passing near to our star are high.
Could a planet of the description passed near our solar system at some point, changing the orbit of some of the further out planets, almost certainly !
Very little is known about the potential numbers of these rogue planets, but in my view, it is highly likely that rather than Planet X being a planet of our own system, it could have been one that passed by at some point, and so all the searching will turn up nothing.
However, in finding nothing, we find something .. we find out that there is evidence for the potential for rogue planets to influence our own system, and if they have in the past, they could do so again in the future, with devastating impact.
I get a message telling me my expiry date is lifetime, only to receive a message a few moments later saying it's Aug 16.
I did read it was being changed to no subscription, but wonder why it switched to Aug16 ..
I'm forever watching documentaries, I find it fascinating to listen to somebody who has dedicated time and effort to understanding something. Occasionally there are ideas and notions new and novel which change how I think of things, often there is some small insight or opinion which just adds to my overall picture, and of course, there are things I just totally reject (Ancient Aliens anybody ;) ) ..
I recently watched this interesting documentary (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06vngp4/my-mediterranean-with-adrian-chiles-episode-1) by Adrian Chiles, a Roman Catholic himself, travelling around Europe and being introduced to various religious groups and trying to understand them.
If you have access to BBC IPlayer, do watch it, it was quite interest, even if it's merely a personal exploration, and doesn't try to come across as having any answers in itself (to which, I think it made it all the better).
What I found interesting was not so much what he himself thought, but what he was told.
Evangelical Christians tell him "This is what WE believe", Muslims introduce him to Islamic prayer and tell him "This is what Muslims do" .. and again with Jews and various other denominations.
I guess for the purpose of the show, it made sense to show the various faiths in a rather "Black and White" way, however the truth is, they are not like that.
When a person tells you, "This is what WE believe", I instantly convert the WE to I , because my experience is, you'll almost certainly find somebody within that faith that disagrees.
Part of the issue is what I see as the onion of faith, and I see this often in Science too. There is a kernel, a core element which is believed, then from that stems knowledgeable assertion and inference, then there is un-knowledgeable assertion and inference. In addition to this, there is hearsay and personal account where the credibility is on the individual, then there is 2nd/3rd and so on hand accounts of all of these matters.
In essence there is an onion, with a core and then surrounded by an array of observations and inferences.
For many people, they convert all these into a single solid item which they will refer to as their faith, but for others, unafraid to peel back the layers of the onion, there are elements of grey .. not black and white.
It's important to understand why it is people think what they think, and in my personal view, too much is based not on the kernel but on the array of man invented thoughts that surround it.
I have heard far too many people say "Oh, but he was a learned man of ....... (insert faith here), so who am I to question !" ..
That really gets to me, who are you ?? who was he that he deserves the detachment of reason and rational and the suspension of what otherwise is an intelligent human being's capability to think for oneself. Nobody is above question .. and sadly, that includes the interpretation of the kernel.
The kernel you may think is unquestionable, but sadly, it is obvious that where people cannot even agree on the meaning of simple words, the interpretation of the kernel is as questionable as the 4th hand account that claims that they heard that somebody said that a person told them that their aunty knew a guy who said that the prophet had said ....... (insert outrageous claim here).
That's not to dismiss all the cacophony of views surrounding any particular event, when Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote what they had experienced and heard, a story emerges, some of which adds other that agree, some may say bits that don't, but either way, it should be seen as an account some bits of which are potentially witness statements, others that may have been lost in translation or altered before it got codified some 400 years later !!
Is that the "WORD OF GOD !" .. I'll leave you to decide on that, but it doesn't lack credibility simply because it's only a human account of something that happened.
In Islam things are a little more clearly codified, there is the Quran, then there is Hadiths, the Quran being that revealed to the prophet, and the Hadiths being those things observed, inferred and codified later on in schools of thought. Still, there are those who see the entire thing as "Their faith" .. those who believe the hadiths have various levels of reliability, and those who question all hadiths as merely the words of men.
This is what I mean by the onion of faith, the layers we add to the core which we believe in or observe, but yet, isn't directly part of the central faith.
A perfect example is Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The date was derived from the pagan holiday of solstice and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, both absolutely nothing to do with Jesus at all, but lets face it, people love a good festival, and the Romans were clever in converting their previous celebrations into Christian ones. Truth is, the Romans did this long before Christianity even occurred. When the Romans came to Britain, they found a beautiful hot water spa, revered by the locals to the God Sulis .. So the Romans called the town "Aquae Sulis" and adopted the God as there own.
So the celebration of Christmas is part of the onion, and not even one derived from the faith anyway, in the same way as in some parts of the Islamic world, people still ask for dowry from the ladies family, despite the fact that the Islamic teaching is the man's family give.
Understanding a faith isn't as simple as visiting a Synagogue, Church, Mosque and asking "What do you believe!" .. it's a journey of discovery, peeling back the onion, and understanding the complex matters which led to people doing what they do, to believing what they do. To anybody who says "This is what WE believe" .. just remember to ignore the WE and substitute with I .. even if, they are in a majority, because there will always be somebody who follows the same faith who disagrees, and understanding why is fascinating !
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