musings

Toward an objective reality

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at 2018 G20 Summit | Dan Scavino / Public domain

Seth Goddin earlier this month wrote about the notion of "objective reality". I quote:

Objective reality is measured. It’s not based on talking points. It’s repeatable and verifiable. When humans share an understanding of how things are objectively, we’re able to make enormous progress, because this objective reality is consistent.

Remembering Fela Kuti because music

Beasts of No Nation album cover
Beasts of No Nation album cover 1989

Driving my 12 year old daughter to school this morning, and the iPhone god of randomness popped by Shakara by Fela Kuti.

And I told 12 that Fela had been beaten to death by Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, and she asked why, and I said that's what dictators do. But that I would check my recollection and get back to her.

Actually, I had misremembered. It was not Sani Abacha; it was Abacha's predecessor General Olusegun Obasanjo. Fela was not beaten to death; merely close to death.

The real value of Boomers

US Treasury 1907
US Treasury 1907

The United States is braced for the single biggest transfer of wealth in history.

"Boomers" make up about 45 million households, worth about US $68,4 trillion, according to Cerulli Associates. an asset management research group. As they die over the next 25 years, their heirs will receive most of this, and those heirs are mostly millennials.

The question is, what will those heirs do with the money?

Every so often, the Internet gives us something truly wonderful

The Internet Archive of Vinyl

Fancy listening to Folk Music of Afghanistan from 1971? Or Afro-Cuban Jazz from 1966?

The Internet Archive has begun digitizing long out-of-print vinyl and making it freely available.

As I write these words, I am listening to "Profiles" by Gary McFarland (1966). It was post bop contemporary jazz at the time. Now, it's a half century old.

A plague on both your houses!

Locust

"And I miss you... Like the deserts miss the rain..." went the 90s track from Everything But The Girl.

Desert rains also bring chaos. An abundance of rain leads to an abundance of foliage, which encourages breeding of locusts.

These have wreaked havoc around the Horn of Africa.

A "small" swarm contains about 40 million insects, and they can eat as much food in a day as 35 000 people.

Not that there's anything unusual about this. Plagues of locusts have been documented in the Bible and the Quran among other sources for centuries.

Looking for the elevator in the gym?

Donald Trung Quoc Don (Chữ Hán: 徵國單) - Wikimedia Commons

Ever stop to observe the behaviour of vehicles entering a shopping center parking lot?

They will generally circle close to the entrance of the shop they want to go to. Frequently, they will stop in a row, hazards flashing, waiting for someone to leave their space.

Eventually, when someone does leave and another vehicle approaches from the other side, our driver waiting for the parking space will furiously flash lights or honk or wave or all of the above.

Here's my strategy for parking lots: I will generally grab the first unoccupied parking I find.

Up in my air balloon, air balloon...

Whenever I watch "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade", I'm filled with longing for the majestic beauty of airships.

Three times longer and twice as tall as a 747 – to put that in perspective, the Hindenburg class machine was as long as the Empire State Building is tall – these magnificent machines had 25 cabins (yes, cabins) holding two passengers each, a dining room, a passenger lounge with a piano, a writing room, a smoking room.

Biting the bullet butter

A monk pours butter tea in Tashilhunpo Monastery, Tibet.

"Have you got any butter?" I asked the barista at the Slow XS Lounge in Lanseria. He had just passed me a double espresso. "Sure," he said, and passed me a couple of single serve tubs. He then watched in fascination as I tipped both into the espresso.

"I bet you've never seen this before," I said. He shook his head slowly.

"Is that Bullet Coffee?" asked the woman in line behind me. "Sort of a poor man's version," I said.

"Why?" asked the barista.

"It stops you getting hungry," said the woman. "Exactly," said I.

So Ramaphosa delivered, sort of...

Yesterday, I said there are three very simple things President Ramaphosa can do today that will immediately give an uptick to our economy:

  1. Let SAA fail
  2. Take the money that would be spent on SAA and use it to upgrade Metrorail rolling stock and stations
  3. Hand over control of Metrorail to the municipalities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban

Here's what he said in the State of the Nation address:

A key priority this year is to fix commuter rail, which is vital to the economy and to the quality of life of our people. 

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