Wednesday 28 March 2018

Silence is golden

I have a nice 32gb HP workstation, but it's unusable because the fans are too loud. So I decided to do something about it. I bought three things from eBay..

Computer cooling fans can be loud when they run fast. There's two ways to slow down a fan. One is to use a lower voltage than the 12 volts they're designed for, the other way is PWM, pulse width modulation. PWM means that you switch the fan on and off rapidly, umpteen times per second. Less power, means it runs slower.

My first purchase (£2) is a little board that takes 12 volt input, and has three header blocks for fans, one for a thermometer and one for a buzzer. You set the desired temperature ranges with the dip switches.

Next, I bought a few PWM controllers each for a single fan, £2.25 each.

And third, I bought five 4-pin extension cables, to make life easier.

I installed the board and connected up the two external fans, and the fan that blew down on the memory. This immediately made the box a lot quieter. But still a bit noisy, so I used one of the single-fan controllers to slow down the fan cooling the memory, and that was good.

So I put the board inside a plastic box, to make sure it wouldn't cause a short circuit, and I'm happy with the result.

Monday 26 March 2018

A health tax?

Jeremy Hunt believes that there should be a dedicated tax specifically to be spent on the NHS and social care.

What a bad idea!

If you don't think very hard, it sounds like a nice idea. More money for the NHS!

Or is it? If you have a "Health tax" that garners £10 billion per year, then hey! We could reduce the NHS money that comes out of general taxation by £10 billion!

If the NHS needs more funding (which is a separate question), then wouldn't it be a good idea to simply raise income tax, which would bear harder on the rich than on the poor?  Rather than invent a whole new tax system, with a herd of civil servants to administer it, with bookfulls of legislation to enact it, and providing an whole new source of revenue for accountants as they sought ways to minimise clients exposure to this new tax?

If you want more money, raise income tax. And don't try to fool us into thinking that some new tax is ringfenced for the NHS.

Jeremy and the Mural

I am not a great fan of Jeremy Corbyn, and I am definitely against antisemitism in any form. But.

Jeremy is being attacked because of a mural. The mural was being removed, and jeremy said that he was opposed to the destruction of art.

That was a while ago, on a Facebook group. And now, just recently, it is revealed that Jeremy supported an antisemitic mural.

But look at this.

I see a monopoly board resting on the backs of people. I see six men sitting round that board. The implication is that these six men are exploiting the guys under the table.

What I don't understand, is what is it that tells you that the six guys are Jewish?

None of them is wearing a skullcap. I see no star of David. No clothing as per orthodox jews. No payot (the curls that hang down by the ears of orthodox jews. Only one has a beard.

Behind them, there's the pyramid with the eye. That's what you find on dollar bills. It's not any kind of Jewish ting that I'm aware of.

I can't actually see anything that says "These are Jews".

What they are, is old white guys.

So I really really don't see how this is being portrayed as antisemitic.

But what do I know? The witchhunt has started. And everyone (other than me?) seems to have accepted the mural as antisemitic.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Give that man a medal

Never mind about the flat-earth nonsense, this guy is a hero.

He built a steam powered (!) rocket (!) strapped himself into it (!) and soared to 2000 feet.

“Mad” Mike Hughes - give him a medal.

Friday 23 March 2018

Healthcare should not be left to religion.

Healthcare should not be left to religion.

Dr Prakash Chandra Saxena, principal and superintendent of Government Ayurveda College and Hospital in Pilibhit, said, "Not just for medicinal purpose, we will promote cow urine as a health-giving drink. We have prepared a plan and will discuss it with Ayurveda department in Lucknow for approval. Drinking 10 ml to 20 ml cow urine daily will act as a preventive against seasonal diseases, like fever, cough and stomach-related ailments. Daily consumption of cow urine will also help increase people's immunity. Our aim is to make cow urine easily available to common public."

But don't laugh.

Narrated Anas:Some people from the tribe of 'Ukl came to the Prophet and embraced Islam. The climate of Medina did not suit them, so the Prophet ordered them to go to the (herd of milch) camels of charity and to drink, their milk and urine (as a medicine).
Sahih Bukhari 8:82:794

Stop giggling, there's more.

A woman has died after undergoing bee-sting therapy, a form of treatment backed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

The 55-year-old Spanish woman had been having live bee acupuncture for two years when she developed a severe reaction.

She died weeks later of multiple organ failure.

And that's not funny. Neither is this:

2-Year-Old Girl Dies After Faith-Healing Parents Refuse Medical Treatment

Jonathan and Grace Foster attributed the Nov. 8 death of their daughter, Ella Grace Foster, to "God's will," according to a police affidavit.

And, of course, there's homeopathy, the belief that plain water is medicine.
Well, at least it can't hurt, can it?

Right on its packaging CVS' homeopathic constipation relief says it's safe and non-habit forming. Yvette d'Entremont disagrees."I was an analytical chemist," said d'Entremont.These days d'Entremont uses her mastery of chemistry on YouTube as the 'Sci-Babe" debunking what she calls medicinal myths with science. As for the claim here of a non-habit forming laxative"There was 20% alcohol listed as an inactive ingredient," said d'Entremont. "This is 20% alcohol by volume which means it's 40 proof."That's 40 proof, by standards for purchasing liquor, yet sold over the counter with no age requirements.

Wow. That's as strong as whiskey!

Thursday 22 March 2018

The divine origin of the Quran

After speaking to Muslims, I find that for many of them, the reasoning
goes as follows.

1) We follow Islam because the Quran came from Allah.

2) We know it came from Allah because of the many scientific facts in the Quran that we now know to be true.

3) These facts could only have been known by Allah at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) 650 AD.

The problem with this logic, is that 3) isn't correct.

Dozens of examples are given. I don't want this post to be too long, so I'll look at three of them that are commonly given.

1) The Big Bang. The Quran 21:30 tells us that the Big Bang happened, but scientists have only recently rediscovered this.

Not so. The Ancient Greeks proposed this. Anaxagoras in the 5th century BC
proposed this, 1000 years before the time of the Prophet. And the Hindu Rigveda proposed this also, 2000 years before Mohammed (pbuh).

But how could an illiterate Mohammed (pbuh) have read the writings of the ancient Greeks?

He had Companions. Not everyone in that region was illiterate. And people talk to each other. The origin of the universe is an interesting question, and would have been discussed often.

2) The different stages of development of the human fetus. How, before X-rays and ultrasound, could they have known about that? Quran 23:12-14

Because of miscarriages. And the Ancient Greeks, 1000 years before the Quran was revealed knew this. And the Bhagavata Purana, 100 years before the Apostle of Allah, gave an accurate account of the development of the fetus.

3. The waters salt and fresh, not mixing, Quran 55:19:20. This explains that you can have water that is salt, and water that is fresh, side by side, not mixing.

If you live by the coast, near a river, then you can go out in a boat and see this for yourself. It isn't hard to check. Fishermen would have known abuot this for thousands of years. But how would an illiterate man, not living by the coast, have known abut this?

Again - people talk to each other.

And, by the way, if you think that salt water and fresh water can never mix (as suggested by the Quran), try it yourself. Take a half glass of fresh water and a half glass of salt water, pour them into a single glass, stir well, and taste. It will be half as salty as the original salt water. And you don't need to take my word for this, you can try it yourself.

So here's my suggestion to Muslims. Look through the Quran, and find some true scientific fact that could only have had a divine origin. And I will undertake to show you that this fact was already well known at the time of the Prophet (pbuh).

Wednesday 21 March 2018


Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, called black people "monkeys".

And then his office made it worse, by explaning that he was quoting the Talmud.

If that's true, then we need to revise the Talmud. Call it Talmud, second edition.

We might need to revise the Old Testament, while we're at it.

But we definitely need to replace Yitzhak Yosef.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Annoyance number 4,592. Videos autoplaying.

When I go to a page that has a video, maybe I'll play it, maybe I won't. If I'm already playing another video, I definitely won't, I can't listen to two videos at once.

But HTML 5 lets videos decide for me.

To disable this in Firefox:

Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
Confirm that you will be careful if the notification comes up.
Find the "media.autoplay.enabled"
Double-click on it.

Blessed silence.

Monday 19 March 2018

The Irish question

There is an important question hanging over Brexit, that has not been resolved, and I can't see how it can be resolved.

It's the Irish question.

The Republic is in the EU. Soon, the UK will not be in the EU. So there will be a border. On one side of the border is an area with EU tariffs, on the other with UK tariffs.

When the UK was in the EU, this was not a problem; Eu tariffs = UK tariffs. But what now?

If we had a single free-trade area, there would not be a problem, even with the UK outside the EU. But this isn't going to happen. The hard-liners in the Tory party would rather cut their own throats.

If we had free trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic, that would solve the problem, but then there's a trade barrier between Northern ireland and the rest of the UK, so that isn't going to happen, the DUP would eat Theresa May *and* Boris before they let that happen.

So we are going to have a tariff barrier between Northern Ireland and the Republic, with customs barriers and infrastructure and everything that goes with a land border. Except that we've promised we wont. The Republic won't wear it, and they get a veto, as part of the EU27.

It's a problem like a fidget spinner, with three sides that you keep turning. Why didn't The Powers That Be see this coming two years ago?

Saturday 17 March 2018

Italian scam for VAT part 2

Well, it turned out that it wasn't a scam. I really did pay my VAT to Italy in 2015 1Q, three months late. I can't remember why, this was three years ago, but I have a feeling it was because the HMRC Vatmoss system wasn't fully operational yet.

I contacted HMRC, and they confirmed the late payment, and my records said the same thing.

So I've paid them, Well, it was only 65 euros.

Poo in the post

I put some poo into the post box near me today.

Every two years, the NHS sends me a bowel cancel screening programme test kit. I have to take six samples of my poo, using the method they explain, and post it to them. They check it, and tell me if I have bowel cancer. So far, so good.

This is one of the benefits of a healthcare system where the priority is the health of everyone in the country. If the NHS's priority were profit, they wouldn't do this.

Aren't you glad we live in England?

 ... later ...

Result came back normal.

Sunday 4 March 2018

School shooting shelters

When it became clear that WW2 was imminent, the UK government designed air raid shelters for families. These were called Anderson shelters, and they were effective against anything except a direct hit. So when there was an air raid warning (you usually got several minutes) the family would dress warmly, and get to the Anderson shelter in their back garden.

Anderson shelters were simple, cheap and effective. You got six pieces of corrugated iron, 1.95m by 1.35m. You dug out an area of the garden to a depth of a couple of feet, then covered that with the corrugated iron. Finally, you heaped earth over the top.

It worked. A family taking shelter in their Anderson, could emerge after the raid to see their house demolished by a bomb, which was terrible, but at least they were alive.

So how does this apply to school shootings? I went to Ebay. You can get 8ft by 3ft corrugated iron for £11 per sheet.  So if you bought six of these, and put it in the corner of a classroom, that would give you an area nine feet by nine feet by eight feet high; you should be able to get a teacher and a couple of dozen kids in there quite easily.

But will it be proof against bullets from an AR 15? I don't know (that could be tested easily). I'm assuming that it isn't, So what you do, is buy eight more sheets, and put those up as an outer shell, leaving a gap between the two shells. Then you fill that gap with sandbags; cheap and easy to handle.

And that will give you a shelter that would resist bullets. Add a door with a lock, and you have an Anderson Shelter. Total cost, £200. You would need one for each classroom. I would have thought that parents would be willing to stump up the necessary £10 per head, to keep their kids safe against a school shooter.

The bullet resistance comes from the sandbags. The corrugated iron is just a cheap way to make the structure.

Of course, I did all this in UK pounds, which is silly, because if you suggested this in the UK, people would say "Why?". But I'd guess that corrugated iron costs about the same in the USA (more after the Trump Tariffs start to bite) and that American parents wold be really keen on this idea.

Thursday 1 March 2018

The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

Sir Oswald Moseley was the blackshirted scroat whi led the British Union of Fascists (usually known as the Black Shirts) until just before war broke out with Germany in 1939, whereupon he was confined to quarters until we'd dealt with his much-admired chum Herr Hitler.

Meanwhile, P G Wodehouse wrote a great spoof about a party he called the Black Shorts, led by a pugnacious bully called Lord Roderick Spode,

who usually got his come-uppance from Wooster and Jeeves well before the last chapter of the book. Recommended.

After the Battle of Cable Steet in 1936, when Moseley's Blackshirts were unable to intimidate the East Enders, his influence waned, reaching its nadir when WW2 started

Oswald Mosely had a son, Max. Young Max was involved in politics when he was a teenager, and the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

In 2008, there was this.

No longer a callow youth, Max turns out to have an interesting taste when it comes to his fun.

So he sued the News of the World in privacy grounds. After all, if someone wants to dress up as a Nazi and do sexy sado/masochistic things in private, that's not anyone else's business.

Max won the case. His private proclivities were, the judge said, not a matter of public interest.

But in the course of that case, reference was made to an unpleasant-sounding leaflet, with racist content, used in a political campaign that he was involved in, and signed off by him. Unfortunately, no-one had a copy of the leaflet, so his denial was accepted.

Now the leaflet, which says it was "published by Max Mosley" has surfaced. It includes ""Protect your health. There is no medical check on immigration. Tuberculosis, VD [venereal (sexually transmitted) disease] and other terrible diseases like leprosy are on the increase. Coloured immigration threatens your children's health."

He's in a bit of a pickle. Did he commit perjury? I don't know, but the penalty is seven years if he did. Here's Max being interviewed by Channel Four News.

 The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.