Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Higgs Boson

The Fermilab thought it had found the first evidence of the elusive Higgs Boson during an experiment conducted in the Tevatron particle accelerator or atom-smasher as it's often called.

However it was a false alarm, no doubt triggered by the determination of the scientists to find the particle ahead of CERN's Large Hadron Collider which is currently building up power in Geneva.

It is my opinion that this sub-atomic particle an never be found in a machine that cannot measure negative dimensions, described in terms of the square root of minus one.
For further explanation click on my web site and look under cosmology. Or click on:-

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Gambling ( and Pakistan cricket)

Not for the first time, the Pakistan cricket team is embroiled in scandal.
The police are investigations allegations that members of the team are playing to a plan to defraud bookmakers in a 'spot' betting scam.
It is alleged that a middle-man arranged for two bowlers to bowl 'no-balls' at specific times in the match. A News of the World investigation found that the occurrences of some 'no-balls' in the 4th test match against England at Lords, exactly matched those provided by the middle-man. The said no-balls were so exaggerated that it was commented on by a television commentator.

Some years ago, the Pakistan team was accused by an umpire of ball tampering, an accusation that led to the abandonment of a test match and umpire Hare's eventual suspension. Later the Pakistan team was acquitted of any wrongdoing and Hare was re-instated two years later only to resign because of the lack of appointments he was given to officiate at test matches.

This is not a victimless crime, if it is eventually proved to be one. Besides the bookmakers, two England batsmen who scored over three hundred run in a partnership that set new world standards, will have their achievements diminished, if not extinguished altogether.
Then again, there are the Pakistani people. Whilst they are suffering unprecedented horrors at home with the monsoon flooding, they will be horrified that cricketers playing under their National banner are behaving inappropriately for money. The National pride will slump, especially if the team is eventually barred from International cricket.

Fraud in the betting industry is not new. It is, I believe, rife, especially in Asia where it is an obsession with many communities. Even in countries such as Thailand, with no officially sanctioned gambling industry, it survives, indeed thrives, underground, fuelling the treasuries and therefore the power of the gangs, triads and tongs.

Gambling is an inevitable pastime of men. It cannot be stopped in the same way that playing sports cannot be stopped. However, because it is addictive and can cause personal and familial distress, it should be regulated and supervised. Whilst advertising for tobacco is banned on television and there is pressure to change the regulations with regard to alcohol, the last Labour Government sanctioned the advertising of their products on television by Gambling companies. Perversely, this has enabled the Commercial channels, like ITV, to stay in business during the recession, as the airwaves seem to be full of Gambling ads including those for on-line Bingo.
However, I believe this a wrong step forward and will encourage vulnerable people, especially those on lower incomes,to lose their money. If it was a move by the Labour administration to increase tax revenues from this industry, it was an abuse of power for the Government to permit this advertising.

One will probably never know the full story of the 'No-ball' controversy. It may be that a young bowler will sell his soul to these middle-men, not because of monetary gain but because their families have been threatened back home. Al Qaeda may be involved. It is worth remembering that gambling is very big business and where large sums of money are involved, the gangs will stop at nothing in their ruthless and greedy chase for cash. Innocent people will die and it may well be that amongst the collateral damage, the lovely and essentially peaceful English game of cricket will also become a victim.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer

Every now and again you come across a product that makes you ask why nobody had thought of it before.

Yesterday I tasted Crabbies new alcoholic ginger beer and asked the same question. It was sensational.
Now I know I live in Spain and the temperature of early evening was still in the thirties, but that glass of cold ginger beer was pure nectar, refreshing and packed full of tingly tastes to excite the palate. Make no mistake this drink ought to be a sensation.

Mind you at just under three euros for half a litre, it is almost ten times as expensive as the lager I normally drink, so I won't be having it often. So come on Crabbies; send me a crate for this unsolicited plug for your product.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Bill. TV Programme

I can't believe that ITV are screening the last ever 'Bill'. Amongst the plethora of rubbish that they broadcast; the reality shows etc, this programme stood out for me as a programme of quality. Well written scripts played out by actors and actresses that lived their parts in believable and up-to-date plots.

Shame on you ITV! I just hope that someone will somehow try to keep the cast and the programme together.

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Chairman of M & S

Mr Swannell, who helped M&S in its defence against retail tycoon Sir Philip Green's takeover bid in 2004, will join the board of Marks and Spencer on October 4 as non-executive director before he replaces Sir Stuart Rose as chairman on January 4.

The former chairman of US bank Citigroup's European operations and current chairman of HMV will pick up an annual salary of £450,000 for the non-executive job.

Mr Swannell is also non-executive director of property investor British Land and infrastructure investor 3i.

I may be wrong but does the hiring of an investment banker to head these diverse companies tell us something. That no matter what product or service you are trading, it cannot beat investment banking for churning out huge profits. I wouldn't be surprised if these companies will be looking to make more money from the City than they will from their core businesses.
Look at BAA. It's hard work making a profit from running airfields. Staff are a continual problem with their demands for better pay and conditions. Returns on money invested drop as the recession means less people flying whilst overheads continue to rise with inflation. How much easier it must be operating from the luxury of an air conditioned building without ever getting your hands dirty or dealing directly with the public. Selling clothes in the fickle fashion industry is risky. No wonder M & S are turning, not to a man with years of retailing experience but a banker with 'connections'and years of experience trading cash and lots of it.

Why should anyone enter business to do anything but investment banking? Something has to change to make banking less attractive and manufacturing and innovation more rewarding.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The future of Capitalism

The Banks are reporting their profits this week and pretty good reading it makes if you own or are a shareholder in one. The truth of the matter is this that Banks, because of their greed, almost brought the world to its knees and yet whilst economies round the globe are still in recession, they come up smelling of roses. Something stinks in the capitalist wood pile. I'm not an advocate of socialism; it doesn't work, but its self evident that whilst most companies have to do something, make something or generally have to get their hands dirty, parasitic Banks use other peoples money to make more money for themselves. With this wealth comes power and with this power comes the corruption of the Capitalist system leading to corrupt governance. There has to be another way.

Let me be clear here. Basic retail banking is not in the dock over the recent scandal. Money is a commodity to be bought and sold on a supply and demand basis.

The trouble has been the arrant greed of bankers who, having cellars full of other peoples money, weren't happy to let it sit there. They devised more and more ingenious products to introduce to a market, primed to encourage populations around the world to borrow beyond their means. These people are no better than conmen. If anyone ever arrogantly tells you that they work in the City, automatically think leech; bloodsucker. They are not interested in creating wealth for the common good, like say a company drilling for oil or a mining company that earn their profit. No! They are only interested in accruing money and power for themselves. In fact why would any company ever want to do anything else but run a Bank. Everything else is surely too much like hard work.

Bankers who speculate must be considered as no better than betting shops. They must never be allowed to speculate with money or assets that aren't theirs. Bankers shouldn't be allowed to trade with assets they or their agents do not physically own. It's a simple idea that I don't doubt will be difficult to police but I believe we have to try. Taxes in the trade should be high and penalties for infringements should be severe. Speculation with people's pension funds should be outlawed, as well as all the extortionate fees charged by fund managers, who still exact fees even when their funds lose money. Then there is the scandalous charges for the electronic movement of money.
The whole brigade of those managers involved in the financial markets should be brought down a peg or two and don't tell me it isn't the way to attract the best talent. Who wants to attract the most talented people, those most able at relieving people of all their hard earned money?

What is the answer? Is there another way? It may already have gone so far. I read, today, that Liverpool football club may be taken over by a Chinese company financed by the country's investment arm. The Banks are already so huge in economic terms that they are worth more than the country's they operate in.

Recently on BBC's Hardtalk, Professor David Harvey was talking about just this. He argued that the world economy grows at 3% compound each year, which was fine when the world was growing but now after years of globalization, there is no room for this sort of growth. The wealthy are investing in assets such as property and 'devices' that make yet more money out of money such as derivatives. Where one they invested their wealth in 'production' or manufacturing, they now invest in assets. The result of this is that the working and increasingly the middle classes will be squeezed out as the wealthy become mega rich as polarization of money supply chokes off prospects for the cash poor.
Professor Harvey didn't really say what he thought was a good alternative to 'capitalism', only that he thought there may be fighting on the streets to bring about a more equitable society.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Unite Union and BAA Strike threat

The Threat of Strike action by BAA staff at six UK airports is nothing less than blackmail, trading on the misery of the long suffering travelling public. If the company don't give us what we want we will stop the company trading.

I don't know the BAA Company position but I do know that the BAA staff have jobs and their pay and conditions are far removed from those of a sweat shop. The people they are using as pawns in their dispute are not confined to the travellers. Hotels and other businesses at the destinations are going to pay the price, as are the actual airlines that use the airports. Its tough enough for businesses where I live in Southern Spain as it is without further reductions in visitor numbers. Its not about getting a few quid more in the pay packet down here, its about people going out of business altogether and losing homes. Talk about selfish!

I believe the time has come to ban union strikes altogether unless it is balanced by a Companies right to withold employment. I've never understood why it is acceptable to withold labour and not the other way round. If a BAA employee is unhappy with their pay and or their conditions then they should resign and go and find a better deal. Simple!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Hawking predicts

Stephen Hawking has said that mankind must move to outer space within a century or it will become extinct, Professor Stephen Hawking cited war, resource depletion and overpopulation as three of the reasons the existence of the human race will come under pressure.

As things stand at the moment it is hard to disagree with him, but he isn't allowing for the earth's ability to self regulate. Throughout history, the earth has purged itself of unwanted inhabitants, recycling all the waste products and producing alternative life forms in the eternal ebb and flow of existence. Even man made war is somehow factored into the future direction the earth takes. In other words, no matter what course of action mankind  takes, nature has already taken it into consideration.

Hawking worries about war. Why not? Despite the prospects of war amongst the strongest nations is diminished, there are several 'rogue' countries who could trigger a global conflict. Religious based conflict, too, is becoming likely with the accelerated proselytization of Islam, disturbing older entrenched religions.

Depletion of resources can be a worry, especially hydro-carbons, but I believe that new resources can be found including the increased use of primal solar power. Nuclear power is also an abundant potential source of energy. With energy all the resources we need can be synthesized.

Overpopulation will put a huge burden on the ability of mankind to grow enough food. New methods of growing food and more efficient use of the land will be found but as natural disasters seem to be increasing, more and more previously fertile land is being taken out of production.

In recent years we've had the SE Asian tsunami, the Haiti earthquake and now the Pakistan floods. It seems that the earth is already taking steps to reduce the population. This could be just the start. The recent bird-flu scare was a warning of what could happen if a pernicious virus takes hold. Huge communities could be wiped out on a scale unheard of with meteoroligical or geological disasters.

Airline attendant flips

I love this story.
A man, Stephen Slater, has taken so much from passengers over his twenty odd years as a flight attendant and then one day he flips. A woman passenger calls him a after he tells her to sit down until the pilot turns off the seat belt sign.
He grabs a couple of beers from a trolley, deploys the emergergency shute and escapes from the job he's successfully done for years.
I think it was a french hotelier called Ritz who coined the phrase that 'the customer is never wrong', subsequently changed to 'the customer is always right' by the Selfridges store owner in London and delivered years of undeserved attention for countless customers worlwide and their unreasonable demands.
Having worked in the  hospitality industry, at the front edge with the public, I know what its like. Having said that most of the time it can be stimulating and fun but unfortunately you only remember the bad cases of usually acute unreasonableness. Sometimes you can go to bed unable to clear from your mind the upset these stupid people cause. I can remember shaking with the experience at the hands of people so infused with evil intent that I've been incapable of coherent thought for a full day and more.
Maybe I wasn't cut out for it but after twenty-five years I thought I'd put in a good stint. Most people serve the public with care and attention but there are some who push staff to the limit with their demands or behaviour. This man fulfilled, I imagine, an ambition to make a point. The Staff-client relationship in any transaction is a two way relationship-not Ritz's carte-blanche appeal to subserviency. He had reached his limit with a customer who flouted the normal rules, not once but at least twice during the flight. He was making a point for all those who attend to their duties and only expect to be treated with respect and dignity by those they serve.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mini-golf revolution

Cricket has had a timely make-over. Slowly dying from lack of interest in the three or five day game, it has surged on the introduction of the one day, limited over game.
Snooker, too, was suffering from matches that took two evenings or sessions to complete. Now, we hear, a new, faster game of snooker has been devised that is set to revolutionise the game.
Could the same trend happen to mini-golf? Boring and childish are two criticisms that could be levelled at a game requiring little skill and strategy.

Has the time arrived for Two-Ball Golf and Titan, the two putting games I have devised. Both require skill and strategy and little room. For more information on the game go to my web-site by clicking on the link on this blog or to see the game played click on the link below.

For ideas on how this game can be made television suitable, contact me.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A universe could exist 'inside every black hole,' claims scientist

A universe could exist 'inside every black hole,' claims scientist
A hidden universe could exist inside every black hole, a Polish cosmologist has claimed.

By Amy Willis
Published: 4:25PM BST 02 Aug 2010. Daily Telegraph

Using an adaptation of Einstein's general theory of relativity, Nikodem Poplawski, of Indiana University, Bloomington, analysed the theoretical motion of particles entering a black hole.

He concluded that it was possible for a whole new universe to exist inside every black hole, which could mean that our own universe could be inside a black hole as well.

"Maybe the huge black holes at the centre of the Milky Way and other galaxies are bridges to different universes," he told New Scientist.

Explaining his theory in the journal Physics Letters B, he said he used the Einstein-Cartan-Kibble-Sciama (ECKS) theory of gravity, in his analysis to account for the angular momentum of particles in a black hole. Doing this it made it possible to calculate a quality of space-time called torsion, a property believed to repel gravity.

He says instead of matter reaching infinite density in a black hole called "singularities" in Einstein's theory of relativity - the behaviour of the space-time acts more like a spring being compressed with matter rebounding and expanding continuously.

Dr Poplawski explains that this "bounce-back" effect is caused by the torsion of space-time having a repulsive force against the gargantuan strength of gravity in a black hole.

Dr Poplawski also claims that this recoiling effect could be what has led to our expanding universe that we observe today and could explain why our universe is flat, homogeneous and isotropic without needing cosmic inflation.

It is hard to see how we could test whether or not Dr Poplawski's theory is correct; the force of gravity in black holes is such that nothing can escape, so no information about what is going on inside one can ever reach us.

However, according to Dr Poplawski, if we were living in a spinning black hole then the spin would transfer to the space-time inside, meaning the universe would have a preferred direction - something we would be able to measure. Such a preferred direction could be related to the observed imbalance of matter and anti-matter in the universe and could explain the oscillation of neutrinos.

Ah ha! Scientists are beginning to think outside the box. How long will it be before they realise what I have been saying for some time now, that black holes lead, not to another universe but the other 'negative' part of our own universe; the one we all exist in.
The black holes serve only to equalise the total energy in the Universe. The two halves sum to zero energy but in the creation process, more energy is left in our, 'positive' portion.
The other portion of our universe gives rise to what is referred to as our 'spiritual' state and is omnipresent in the way that God is meant to pervade everything.