Anton Aylward

New evidence may shed light on mythical sea monter

Shonisaur Painting at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State...

Let’s leave aside one of Clarke’s laws – the one about reputable scientists saying what is and isn’t so (heck, I’m an engineer and engineers take a dim view of the limitations imposed by physical laws) but lets just focus on how some scientific theories were pooh-poohed for a long while.

Most pre 1970 authorities and encyclopaedia classified ‘tectonic plates and drift’ as ‘junk science‘, pretty much in the same class as Velikovski. Issac Asimov wrote a long science article on that.

And why shouldn’t giant whale-sized ichthyosaurs have predators?

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Anton Aylward

A photographic study in light, Rembrant style and others

The Night Watch by Rembrandt, c.1642 (or The M...

The Night Watch by Rembrandt

This is important, but it isn’t quite what I want to say.

Lets leave it at this is an excellent first order approximation.

Where I differ is the ‘studio‘.
If you’re in a studio everything changes vs being on the street.
Its the ONE situation where a fixed lens is so superior to a zoom lens that nothing else count. Its the one situation where having plenty of aperture doesn’t count since you’re supplying all the light and in the place you want.

But I picked up on the Rembrandt because of the light and the dark.

I’ve seen these pictures at the Tate in London and at the Met in NYC I’ve seen others, one in particular in a private collection that is almost all dark black and brown except for the pinpoint of light catching the cheek the eye and the nose. Its fabulous.  It was position in a ‘dark corner’ with a pin-spotlight on the face — all to enhance the dramatic effect of the light and dark.

Rembrandt: Self Portrait (Altman)

Rembrandt: Self Portrait

The point here is Light and Dark.

And that’s not something most studio shots have … any way, any how.
All to many look like the shots of the the author on the back flap of a hardback book or something from a fashion magazine. Oh, and that includes the you-can-never-get-it-to-look-like-that pictures of food in adverts and on packaging.

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Anton Aylward

Augmented Reality Contact Lenses


English: This is the logo of Wikitude World Br...

This is the logo of Wikitude World Browser, a mobile Augmented Reality software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add this to the iPhone app that you can point to the night sky and it overlays the names of the planets and constelations …

or perhaps


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Anton Aylward

Could you live without your iPhone, Facebook or coffee?

  Nearly 15 percent reported they would rather go without sex, and 40
percent would abstain from coffee instead of disconnecting.  18 percent wouldn’t mind forgoing their daily shower. That’s dedication to electronics.

Coffee cup icon

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Anton Aylward

On being taught what you already know

There’s an interesting article in this month’s ISSA journal about awareness by Gordie Stewart..  I think it can be generalized to all of education, not just adult education in technology.

The mainstream approach of teaching topics regardless of what audiences
already know or perceive seems an extraordinarily wasteful approach of
people’s time — both ours and our audiences. Lance Spitzner from the SANS
Securing the Human Program makes an interesting point about humans being
just another operating system (OS). I think we could take his analogy even
further. If we were asked to secure a Windows operating system,
we’d inspect it to see what security controls were missing.
To suggest that we just fire patches at it blindly without
knowing what was already installed would be ludicrous. But that’s
exactly what we do with human operating systems. Where’s
the awareness equivalent of the Microsoft Baseline Analyser?

and later …

Rick Wash did a fantastic piece of re-search on security mental models and
clearly demonstrated the value of understanding audience perspectives.
Wash found that there was a common perspective held by American home
computer users that the Internet threat was mostly mischievous hackers.
This fundamental misunderstanding then infuenced people’s attitudes
toward security behaviors such as patching and antivirus. The
audience had heard the advice about patching and antivirus, but
their belief about the nature of the threat overrode the recommendations
they had heard from the experts. The mistaken perception about the threat
prevented them from acting on good advice. Reiterating general advice
about patching and antivirus is unlikely to help this audience.
However, with a greater understanding of their perceptions in regards
to the nature of the threat, the approach for this audience is now obvious.


Anton Aylward

Great New Word

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – a system of government where
the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of
achieving, and where the members of society least likely to
succeed are abundantly rewarded with goods and services paid for
by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Economic theory suggests an excessive minimum ...

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Anton Aylward

A Reason for Vegetarianism

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow
livestock use 30 percent of the land surface of the planet, generate more greenhouse gases than transport:

The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent — 18 percent — than transport.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land, [which is] used to produce feed for livestock

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, euthropication and the degeneration of coral reefs.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20 percent of all terrestrial animal biomass.

Perhaps we need a Kyoto Accord for livestock as well.

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Anton Aylward

Dumbing Us Down

There is a maxim attributed to the Jesuits that goes: “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man”, meaning that the childhood years are formative. More ancient philosophies going back to to the Greeks and Chinese voice a similar outlook. Modern psychology, thanks in large part to Freud, supports this outlook.

I want to show how the bad stuff we learn at school harms us as individuals, in our relationships, in the workplace and how it damages society as a whole.

So its frightening when that principle is used for subversive ends. We feel horrified when we hear of children being recruited by rebels and terrorists in Africa and the Middle East, being armed with automatic weapons or being used as involuntary human bombs. What frightens us most, perhaps, is that their minds and outlook are being perverted, just as in another age children living in totalitarian societies were encouraged to “report” the “subversive” activities of their parents and other adults.

We, especially in the contemporary West, value our children and their innocence. We take the view that crimes against children, exploiting them or abusing them is particularly pernicious.

Why then, asks John Taylor Gatto, do we do so systematically, and have this deeply embedded in our culture and educational system? Gatto has written books and essays on this subject. The essay you can read on-line, the book is worth reading in its own right. Continue reading