The veneration of crap.

[it’s not actually me who said that]

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Design wise, there is nothing actually ‘wrong’ with this advertisement. I’m liking/sharing this post, because designers & creatives need to see how some of their ads are being perceived out there in the real world. There’s nothing actually ‘wrong’ with the design. It’s the content that is the problem.

What I would like to see is creatives grow some balls for once, stand up and say to these companies:

“you know, it’s getting harder for us to be able to sell these fossil fuel vehicles”.

People just don’t want them. Pretty soon, graphic design alone will not be enough.

“The veneration of crap.” — Cathal Rabbitte

 

What can we all learn by this?

I love it, indigenous people using technology against us.

Businesses, don’t start new pipeline projects and expect it to go to schedule anymore!

Investors, don’t invest in oil pipelines, because there will be delays! And you won’t earn as much as you think you will. Most people don’t want fossil fuels today, they want renewable energy alternatives. That’s what you should be investing in. That’s what I’d be investing in.

Governments, stop supporting the fossil oil industry! How many tax dollars are you spending on those military police to be there for all this time? Why isn’t that cost factored into your energy/cost calculations?

Citizens, don’t drive your car as much, buy less plastic!

Meanwhile… mainstream media falls strangely SILENT.
What are they going to do on December 5th? Bring in tanks and armoured personnel carriers?
Two words come to mind: Tiananmen Square. 1989. People don’t forget that shit. The more brutal the tactics get, the more the media will follow.
The media today cannot be controlled like network TV, because news is now a social media phenomenon.
If I was there I would be standing my ground.

I think I just cured myself of “gear aquisistion syndrome” (GAS).

A strange thing happened to me today. Desire left my body.

A B&H catalogue duly/dutifully (pick whichever word you prefer) arrived in the mail. Even though I never ordered one. I thought I would open in anyway. If only to separate the polyethylene plastic covering from the paper so that I could recycle it properly.

Now I will admit that one of my past times is photography. And about the only money I spend these days is on food, clothes and work stuff…

Nevertheless, I am living in the first world. And first world people are told to buy. To consume. We’re hardwired for it from birth. From before birth even. We’re not even born yet and there are presents waiting for us. As we get older, they make “infant sized” shopping trolleys.That’s how bad it is.

So I obliged and flicked through the thing. All 340 pages.

I know enough already to avoid catalogues at all cost. Because they make you want things. Unecessary things. Here are two great articles, one and two, on how to cure your GAS.

But this was my first B&H catalogue. My very first one. “Just a peek” I thought. “To see what’s new”.

Anyway, I was quite surprised to find that as I was flicking through the thing, there was not one item that I actually needed. And believe me, I looked quite intently. I looked at photos. I even scrutinised the product descriptions. More surprisingly, there was not even even one item that I  wanted to own. The desire was gone. Gone I tell you.

No USB 3.1 peripherals. No more usb hubs.  No thunderbolt devices. No thunderbolt dock. No ‘other’ computer accessories. No new mice or keyboards. No new routers. No modem. No high-end scanners and printers. No network attached drives. No portable wifi drive enclosures. No optical drive. No new SDXC cards. No cloud. No data bank. No more storage space required. No storage case. No software. No  ipad. No new drawing tablets. No graphics card. No new motherboard. No interruptible power supply. No power strip. No new lenses. No teleconverters. No filters. No new cameras. No new micro 4/3rds cameras. No large format cameras. No flash. No tripod. No parabolic slider. No underwater housings. No more spare batteries. No video equipment. No projector. No DVD player. No flast screen television. No curved screen television. No 3D television. No holographic television. No television bracket. No television antenna. No streaming media hub. No HDMI extender. No digital voice recorder. No microphone. No headphones. No rechargeable power pack. No audiophile cables & connectors. No turntable. No AV receiver. No speakers. No sound bar. No sound system. No graphic equalisers. No digital preamps. No joystick. No steering wheel. No GPS navigator. No dashcam. No thermal imaging camera. No night vision binolculars. No multimeter. No new smartphones. No bluetooth cradle. No cordless phone. No smart watch. No heart rate monitor. No sleep monitor. No activity monitor. No other monitors. No drones. No security camera. No alarm. No 3D printer. No 3D goggles. No virtual reality. No new bags.

I am done. I am done with consumerism.

I know none of it will make me ‘happier’. I already know. I am happy now, in this instant, with what I have. Happiness is not an accumulation of possessions. It is a state of mind. None of it will make me more productive, either.

I did want a 24mm Nikon AFD lens. Because my 12-24mm lens is “too slow” at 24mm (being f5.6), fairly large, fairly heavy. And my next focal length autofocus lens up from that is 35mm. Because it’s ‘only’ about AUD$400. And I was so close to getting that a few months back. But you know what? I know, wisely, that if I get that lens, it will always be “just one more”. So I am going to stop right here. 24mm is still very wide, too wide, for a normal lens. And I have a small little 28mm lens. I have a 35mm lens also. So that is enough. Enough is enough. “!Basta ya¡” (enough already) as they say in Spain. “ya está.” (that’s it). “Ya bastante.” (another way of saying “enough already”).

I am done and I am happy.
I am done and I am happy and I just wanted to share that with the world.
Leslie.

The ultimate cure for cancer.

Every time I see this “cure for cancer” thing mentioned, I feel compelled to inform people…

There is already a ‘cure’ for cancer. All you have to do is avoid carcinogenic chemicals! (of which many synthetic materials are made). Benzene in petrol is one. Plasticiser additives used in polymers like PVC is another. And there are a *load* of others, especially the aromatic ‘organic’ compounds.

Now if you don’t want to accept the scientific evidence for some reason (lord knows there are a lot of deniers these days), then I’ll share with you a personal anecdote: our university laboratory demonstrator… who worked in the organic chemicals lab… contracted cancer.

So now you know. That new car smell is probably not good for you…

What is the goal of humanity?

What exactly are working towards?

Is the ultimate goal happiness? Or just to survive? Or something else?

This seems to be a popular question on the quora and TED forums. I’m sure most people don’t even stop to think about it.

It seems strange that your average doughnut factory has more of a business plan than the whole of humanity.

I think it’s because there seems to be some unspoken notion that at the rate we are going we won’t really even last more than about 300-500 years, let alone 50,000 or more years. So why bother thinking about it?

Talking about our long-term future is almost a taboo subject with some people. Why is that? Is it because we have no fucking idea at all what we are doing? Is that it? Are we embarrassed? Is it because we already know that we are ‘doomed’? No? Then, what?

If we are going to survive, I think it is worth thinking about. Otherwise you have to ask yourself “why are we working so hard now?” What’s the point of it? If we’re all so doomed already, why do we bother still going to work forty or more hours a week? Eh?

So we must be working towards something. We just don’t collectively know what it is (yet). And note that I’m not talking about an ‘afterlife’. I’m talking about what will become of humanity, the world, in one million years’ time.

Assuming something terrible doesn’t happen, wouldn’t it make sense to have a “humanity plan” that we can all refer to? A humanity plan might even give us a reason to avoid WW3, WW4 and WW5. A reason to exist.

We don’t really know what we are doing let alone why we are doing it. People are feeling lost, hopeless and depressed. I think that’s why there were so many volunteers on that Mars one space mission.

The hugely controversial Dutch-based Mars One mission has admitted that only 4,227 people actually completed its application form properly, rather than 200,000 … 202,586 applicants registered their interest online in 2013.

I think the first thing we need to do is not let go of our hope. Because that’s what most people [adults] tend to do in fairly hopeless situations, isn’t it? They lose hope and then they give up. I think we need to try to remain optimistic about the future. Hope is what normally keeps us going. Hope is what motivates people. So let’s start by hoping for a better future, not a worse one. I personally think that there is hope. Not a lot of hope, but maybe –perhaps– just enough.

Hope starts with an idea. A dream, if you will. Visionaries inspire us all. Because now is the time to choose. Are we even working towards the same goal?

I ask google and the people who are asking these questions are individuals. Not governments, but individuals. Shouldn’t there be some kind of a long-term “mission statement” for each country?

Even the ancient Egyptians had more of a plan… build pyramids…

I think we need a one year plan. A ten year plan. A hundred year plan. A thousand year plan. A ten thousand year plan. A hundred thousand year plan. A million year plan. It surprises me that our entire civilisation is wandering almost completely aimlessly through time.

For example, do we want to be so addicted to technology? Won’t we become a bit borg-like if we continue unabated down that path? Is it even sustainable? Can we even know? Do we need to know? Can we still have a plan that encompasses future discoveries and inventions?

To answer this question, I think we need to ask ourselves a very important question: What de we want to become? What makes us happy? If we didn’t have to work, what do we want to do in our spare time? As soon as we know that we will know how we are going to get there.

What do you, the reader, think the goal(s) of humanity should be?

Someone posted this on LinkedIn…

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And here is my internet response:

Nice looking car BUT it still has exhaust pipes. Why?

*glares at everybody in the room* [that’s right]

For fuck’s sake, companies were meant to be phasing out the internal combustion engine more than a decade ago. I know that is not what you want to hear, and actually I don’t enjoy speaking out, but honestly, someone has to. Because in today’s world, this is bullshit. You should not be allowed to even build a 503 horsepower car in the year 2016, let alone sell it.

It may *look* cool, but it is most definitely *not* cool. Do you want to know what I honestly think? I think that while it still has exhaust pipes, no combination of advertising, graphic design or industrial design can make it cool.

It’s like mechanical HDDs. We know the technology is all but dead, but people still buy them.

You can make the exterior as stylish as you want, but if there’s still a fucking combustion engine lurking in there somewhere underneath the bonnet (or wherever new place you want to put it), you –as customers– should all turn your fucking noses up at it. You should all turn your noses up in disgust. You should put on a posh voice and say “oh, darlings, exhaust pipes are so 1992 don’t you know?”.

Now, you don’t often see scientists speaking out on such matters. We tend to shut up and stay in our laboratories. Stuck behind all sorts of weird instrumentation and computer-controlled devices. And I’ll admit that most scientists have always traditionally appeared very uncool. We were usually the clever ones who were picked on most at school. As scientists, we might know a lot of shit, but the trouble is, we don’t have the power to actually persuade anyone of anything.

Well not this scientist. This scientist has also recently studied design. That’s what makes me ‘dangerous’. And among other things, design is most often used to pursuade people to buy new products and services. There’s a conundrum here though because this scientist has studied science before design. What difference does that make, you ask? It makes all the difference. It means to me, science will always drumpf design. Not the other way around.

I believe that scientists (and ex scientists for that matter, because I fall squarely into that category) all have a DUTY OF CARE to planet Earth, to call out whatever they see as unsustainable. Otherwise, you non-scientists would all be whinging in two hundred years time: “Why didn’t you tell us anything a hundred years ago? Why didn’t you warn us then?”.

Well we are warning you, now. We are all waving our fucking arms in the air effectively saying “Danger Will Robinson, danger! Climate emergency!”.

Here’s the thing: we can’t appear too emotional, because we’re scientists. It’s our job to be as unemotional and as Spock-like as humanly possible. Right? Otherwise our data, our results and conclusions may be biased by our mere ‘feelings’. And we just can’t have that. We have to be as objective as possible. So we usually keep ‘feelings’ out of it.

But I think this is actually half the reason people are still not listening to us — because there’s not enough emotion in our collective voices.

Jesus fucking Christ. What more do scientists need to do before the world starts getting it? DO YOU WANT US TO SHOUT? Do you want us to dance up and down? What!?

Now, I know that 7999 people will most probably not like my reply. But there will be a few wise ones that do like it. And gradually, I hope that small percentage goes up with time. That is the purpose of me speaking out. That is the purpose of this blog.

Why I love books and hate iPads.

I don’t own an ipad. I never have. And I never will. And I’d like to share with you why that is…

Why? Because I’d rather read a book, that’s why. A book doesn’t need batteries, and –if anything– supports the growth of forests, which in turn is providing oxygen to our Earth’s atmosphere [as opposed to mining and extraction industries, which are needed to make an ipad].

I’m not so sure that “virtualising everything” is better for the environment. Is it? I choose not to own an ipad/kindle. I buy real, physical books instead. Partly because I believe that keeping books is better for the environment. Partly because I still like to read real books. Yes they are made with paper.

When the tree is growing, it is giving us oxygen and taking CO2 out of the air. It is life-giving. Can the same be said of metal extraction, electronic component manufacture & final assembly? No.

Yes books require physical transport. But they don’t require a supply of electricity. They don’t require me to keep an additional device (and subsequent replacement devices that supercede the original ones).

Books don’t require continual minining + extraction of all the elements, chemicals and compounds that go into manufacturing electronics.

A book is biodegradeable and compostable. In that sense it is *completely* recycleable. Worms and other insects will willingly eat books. For free. They will organise themselves. They will even eat around any of the plastic parts they don’t want. And their crap can eventually be used to make more books.

So once I am finished with a book, even if I can’t resell it, I can always burn it or compost it. What is really the liklihood of us making biodegradeable or compostable electronic devices? We are a long way from that; the way we are making them now is not at all sustainable. To my knowledge, we do not recover any of the elements from a circuit board other than gold. That right there is very wasteful. So right now I try to avoid all electronic devices like the black plague…

A book costs less than a meal. You could even eat the pages of a book if you wanted to. You can’t really do that with electronics because they are too toxic… *many* of the organic chemicals used in plastics manufacture are carcinogenic.

A book already has a 300dpi interface. A book doesn’t require batteries. A book doesn’t go obsolete. You can pick up a book several hundred years after it was put on a shelf and start reading. Will you be able to do that with your ipad?

Books don’t have start-up and no shut-down delays. You just… open and close the cover. It’s a physical thing that you can touch.

And as for ipads vs desktops vs laptops, I do my [real] work sitting at a desk. Why would I want to use a *smaller* screen? Why? Why would I want to use something that is *slower*? Why would I want to use something that can’t handle half of my software? Why would I want to use something with a smaller keypad (or no keyboard at all)? Something that cranes my neck every time I look down at it? Ditto for laptops replacing desktops.

And that’s great. Microsoft has invented a computer the size of a pack of gum. Fantastic! But seriously, I’d rather go for a nice long walk [yes without the earphones I might add] rather than sit in front of yet another screen… Because sometimes it is nice to disconnect completely.

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

Ok. I am sick to death of hearing people rubbish climate change at this very late stage. Especially by the people who contribute most (manufacturing/engineering).

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” …. down here on the Florida coast, the water-line remains the same it was fifty (50) years ago. Same goes for southern California, the high tide line remains the same as when I lived there in the early 1950s … hello Al Gore? you remain 100% wrong. The first thing that needs to be done is to ban any and all lawyers from any and all discussions about CC. — David Hubbell

David, I see you are a clever bloke. Engineers are always spouting off about how the world couldn’t work without engineering. Well ok. Fair enough. But it wouldn’t work without science either.

I put my trust in engineers every time I cross a bridge or catch an elevator. And you accept that your computer ‘works’, don’t you? So people put their trust in electronics every single day of the week. And who studies that stuff? Physicists. Materials scientists. That’s who.

But do you people ever question the theory behind semiconductors? No, because that enables computers. Do you question anything else to do with science for that matter? It’s these very same science and technological advances and principles that have enabled consumerism to spawn in the first place. These are the same people who invented MRI machines for Pete’s sake! And yet deniers say nothing about electron theory, magnetic domains or PN junctions.

What am I saying? I am saying that I think it’s time we showed the same level of respect for climate scientists. It looks to me the ONLY reason there are deniers today is that it means you have to “give up” something. And that something is called ‘lifestyle’.

Personally, I think that’s why you are on the denying side of the fence. Because if you accept what is happening, suddenly you’d have to take a long hard look at your own career choices. Because they contribute, don’t they? And you don’t want to do that, so you have these pre-conceived ideas about the world

Kindly educate yourself on the CO2 composition of the planet Venus and it’s surface temperature. And to all my connections, this is the real problem. The social intertia. That’s what I’m tackling here. It’s time to call out the bullshit “personal observations” for what they are. Personal observations.