Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gotta get one's hands dirty!

Without conducting experiments, building prototypes, having failures, and engaging in reality, an intelligence can have thoughts but not results. It cannot think its way to solving the world's problems.

- Kevin Kelly

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ai maar dis mooi by die see, ne!

We've just had an absolutely fantastic weekend with kirsten and carl down by the riverside; okay it's actually a dam. We left after work on friday a little worse for wear after a hard week at the grindstone and it was quite difficult to rustle up the energy to load the canoe and the bikes onto the car and go driving all the way down to the vaal even though it is only an hour and a bit away.

We haven't been down for a while so we took an accidental detour through vereeniging, of which the less said the better. We were relying on the GPS that is part of caron's new Nokia E71 but the maps are somewhat outdated so the closest we could get to vaal marina was vaal dam which only has 400km around it's perimeter so it was lucky that caron recognised the road as we approached and that we could find our way from there. I can see that navigating with the GPS is going to be a bit of a learning experience.

Saturday, carl and I started with a 90km ride at an average of 26km per hour which meant that I was pretty tired before we started the boating and canoeing and finished the day up with a braai and lots of whisky, cigars and wine. The ride was great and I managed to finish it quite strongly. There was only one real hill on the ride and it is quite a hill, fortunately it is quite short but it nevertheless managed to push my heart rate up to 107%; I think I need to adjust my max heart rate to 190bpm so that I only just get to 100%.

Sunday was a bit more relaxed and we all rode to the local cafe to have breakfast and then rode back, me pushing caron up the minor hills along the way. Caron really needs to get out and exercise some more. This was followed by more paddling around the vaal marina section of the dam with the kids which was quite hard work since they don't really paddle much leaving me to paddle into the teeth of the gale that was blowing. Alistair and I found the perfect canoe mooring between two jetski moorings, it couldn't get any more snug. When caron got in the back of the canoe it felt like we were on turbocharge but unfortunately we ran out of time to get a real workout for caron in.

Back to the house, pack up and leave; get home, unpack; pack a picnic basket and head off to the RMB starlight classical concert with kim and maureen. The concert was engagingly conducted by richard cock; what were his parents thinking when the named him "dick cock" on purpose, I mean really!

The concert was a little chilly and one could see one's breath as we watched the performers, several of which were truly excellent. Dick the conductor wasn't joking when he noted that there was a excess of talent when they had to choose the 20 tenors to make up the "20 tenors" (Duh!) group. What a fantastic group, they're already great and they've only just been formed. There was also a saxophonist called shannon something or other who was great but the soprano singing verdi or something or other left me totally cold. I'm not old enough to appreciate opera and I like it that way!

A fantastic if a trifle busy weekend. The moral of the story is not to let a little tiredness get in the way of going places and enjoying your time with the people around you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

US Communist Flag

The US Flag post Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ...

As unlikely as it seems, the Communists win!

Quiet weekend

What a fantastic weekend! Caron and I did about as close to nothing as we, or more specifically, I could without being in a coma. Saturday morning I rode with Hennie on a 70km training ride which was quite tough, hennie obviously enjoys the pain because we averaged about 25km/hr over the fairly hilly course. Carl couldn't join us because he decided that, since he was making use of the corporate entry, maybe he should have a ride with the guys and girls before just meeting them on the start line. It sounds like it wasn't the best of choices. From the finish of the ride to the end of sunday evening I didn't do a stitch more exercise, we read, drank wine, went to dinner with kim and generally were as lazy as possible. It was great because it was a change but I don't think I could do this every weekend.

It has been a very pleasant experience not having a TV and DSTV to gobble up huge amounts of time. All the things we normally complain about just not getting time to do - we find we have time for. I'm actually thinking of making a TV less life the norm although I don't think I am going to get that past Caron.

On the political front in south africa, it is VERY interesting at the moment as we don't have a president. Mbeki resigned which is a diplomatic way of saying he was pushed and rather hard too. Zuma can't be the president as he is not a member of parliament at the moment so nobody knows who it is going to be. I guess it will be announced soon. I find it quite ironic that zuma was evicted from the deputy president position due to a court case in which he wasn't present and in which he never had the opportunity to defend himself from accusations. Mbeki, likewise, is being forced from office due to court case in which he never had the opportunity to defend himself from accusations. Methinks this is going to come back and bite the zumaites at a later stage when it is pointed out that the injustice meted out to zuma that they are complaining about so vociferously is exactly what they in turn are meteing out on Mbeki.

All this excitement and this is on top of the meltdown in the US which is keeping everyone glued to the internet. Personally, I wonder when the hypocrisy of US is going to be realised by everyone that it's ok for the US to nationalise private institutions like fannie mae and freddie mac but it isn't ok for venezuela to nationalise their oil assets. I think I'm going to do some doctoring of the US flag seeing as they seem to have come over all communist now. Fidel must have tears rolling down his cheeks with laughter!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The day of the dog

The sunday mountain bike rides are turning out to be quite eventful these days. Although there weren't any dead bodies blocking the path this week it was just as interesting. The day started at 04:45 and it is amazing how much having the first digit on the clock being a 4 makes it feel so much earlier than if it was a 5. Met up with Jason at his place and watched the sun rise over the horizon as we cycled down to meet Vaughn before heading over to Nothern Farm where we met Vaughns brother Scott and a couple of his mates.

While we were milling around waiting for scott to get his kit together there was this dog wandering around not taking too much notice of us but when we set off he followed us. After a kilometer it was clear that he was keen on a real run; keeping up with the bicycles quite easily, especially on the uphills. At the tops of hills he would wait for us, maybe have a lie down in a pool of water as if to say "... so what took you so long?" By the 15km mark jason was starting to work out how he could entice the dog to follow us all the way home. He was clearly very experienced with bicycles because when he was going downhill and he could hear you coming up behind him he would jump off the track and wait for you to pass before getting back on the track. By the 25km mark Jason was in awe and the dog was in danger of being muttnapped! I'm not sure exactly how far we rode with the dog loping alonside but it must have been quite close to 30km although you could see that he was getting at bit tired right at the end; one can easily understand being tired after a 30km run.

Jason's rear brakes have been binding a little which makes it very difficult to pedal; this I know from experience! While I enjoyed getting to the top of the hills ahead of everyone else, I think I may be in for a tough time when jason gets his brakes sorted out.

On our way home we were cycling next to each other about a metre apart and a snake crossed our path slithering in front of jason and behind me; clearly terrified and moving as fast as he/she or it possibly could. That would have been an experience getting a snake wrapped up in one's wheel.

Cathy and her sister Robyn, Vaughn's wife plus attendant children met us at northern farm for coffee so that the husbands could take the children for a bit of a ride. This seems to really work out well for everyone and if it wasn't for church I'm sure Carl and Kirsten would enjoy it was well.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fractally wrong!

"The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet--in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums--your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time."