Monday, August 28, 2023

Shame on you Labour Party.

 I subscribe to political party emails in the UK. Here's the start of one I got today (28th Aug 2023). I think it's a fine example of how politics is being dragged into the gutter.

Shame on you Labour Party.

  •  Yes, we all despise Nadine Dorries for her support of a known liar as PM.
  • We despise her shameful resignation where she clung to her MP salary while not doing the work.
  • We despise her for her belief that she should have been made a peer.

 It was enough that she did such a terrible job. It is enough that we are sick of the Conselfservatives dragging down their party. It is enough that they are divided. It is enough that the word ‘integrity’ no longer seems to apply to them. It is enough that they seem poised to follow the post WW1 Liberal party into obscurity, never to form a government again, but that won’t happen if you continue to write supercilious emails like this one.

 Instead of making fun of Nadine Dorries, who is no longer an MP and irrelevant. Try telling us what you will do better. Try listening to your supporters and do what they want.

  • Promise to look into Brexit issues and what made 37% of our electorate vote for such a disastrous policy. Even go as far as investigating if another referendum should be held on it. However, don’t make it a disastrous binary choice one like the one David Cameron forced on us. If you must, then make it so that undecided voters count as a half vote for the current status quo – if they don’t agree then they can vote. UK policy should NEVER be instigated by less than 50% of the electorate.
  • Promise to investigate electoral reform. It’s time MPs stopped squabbling in Parliament and used debate, negotiation, and compromise to represent their constituents effectively rather than scoring points against their opponents. I remind you members at your conference voted for proportional representation.
  • Promise to set rules for Parliamentary standards. MPs should not accept gifts in any form and those who give them expecting to influence policy are guilty of bribery. There MUST be penalties put in place for deliberately misleading or lies in Parliament. Such actions should have a financial cost or even a vote penalty in the next election.
  • Treat climate change sensibly. Concentrate on insulation and efficiency first, then alternative energy before nuclear power stations. Using something like a 1mm aerogel insulation layer on the inside of external walls could cut energy use by up to 35%, decrease household energy costs, especially for the lowest quality homes, can be done quickly and if applied free to every UK home will cost less than five of the ten nuclear power stations the conservatives have promised us. It wouldn't take 10 years and the benefits in energy reduction would be felt quickly. 
  • Do something about our waste problem. In our technological age we shouldn’t have polluted water and seas. Use our waste plastics to replace the bitumen in roads. Toxic pesticides and herbicides are a disaster waiting to decrease life expectancy - just as in the US.
  • Remember that when Aneurin Bevan inaugurated the NHS on 5 July 1948, he wrote to the whole medical profession: “My job is to give you all the facilities, resources, apparatus and help I can, and then to leave you alone as professional men and women to use your skill and judgment without hindrance. Let us try to develop that partnership from now on.” Keep that ‘from now on’ promise. Work with the NHS and give them some proper funding.

 I certainly won’t be contributing to the Conservative party election campaigns; they’ve had their day and have let us down. But your ‘Not Nadine Dorries’ email makes me inclined to doubt that the Labour party will be any different.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


 Moral standards change over time. In the past slavery was accepted but today it's considered unacceptable. I asked ChatGPT about this - here's the response:

JC: I was born in the early 1950s. What moral standards am I likely to have that are now outdated?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have personal information about you, your upbringing, or your beliefs. However, it's worth noting that moral standards vary across time, culture, and individual perspectives.

That being said, some moral standards that were more prevalent in the past but are now considered outdated or problematic include:

1. Gender roles: In the past, there were stricter expectations for how men and women should behave, dress, and interact with each other. Traditional gender roles, where men were expected to be the breadwinners and women were expected to take care of the home and children, are now seen as limiting and harmful to both genders.

2. Racism and discrimination: Racism and other forms of discrimination were more widely accepted in the past, with people from marginalized groups facing systematic oppression and prejudice. While there is still progress to be made in terms of equality and inclusion, society as a whole has made strides in recognizing and combating discrimination.

3. LGBTQ+ rights: Attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community have shifted drastically in recent decades, with greater acceptance and legal protections for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. However, there is still discrimination and stigmatization that many people in the LGBTQ+ community continue to face.

4. Environmental concerns: In the past, there was often a lack of awareness and concern about the impact of human actions on the environment. Today, there is greater recognition of the importance of sustainable living and protecting the planet for future generations.

It's worth noting that not everyone may have held these outdated moral standards, and even if they did, they may have evolved their thinking over time. Additionally, moral standards are not always cut and dry, and what may have been considered acceptable or unacceptable in the past may be viewed differently depending on the context.

JC: What moral standards of someone born today have that will be outdated in 50 years?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I cannot predict the future, but it's possible that some moral standards that are widely accepted today may be considered outdated or problematic in 50 years. Here are a few examples of moral standards that are currently being debated and could potentially change over time:

Animal rights: While there has been progress in terms of recognizing the importance of animal welfare, some moral philosophers argue that humans have a moral obligation to extend rights to non-human animals. This could lead to a greater focus on veganism and animal rights activism in the future, potentially making the consumption of animal products socially unacceptable.

Privacy: With advances in technology, there is a growing concern around privacy and data protection. In the future, individuals may become more aware of the impact of technology on their privacy and demand greater protections, potentially making current practices around data collection and use outdated.

Capitalism: There is growing criticism of capitalism and its impact on income inequality and environmental degradation. It's possible that in the future, there may be a shift towards alternative economic systems, such as socialism or a more sustainable form of capitalism.

Gender and sexuality: While there has been progress in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, there are still many issues around gender and sexuality that are being debated, such as transgender rights and non-binary identities. It's possible that in the future, there may be greater recognition and acceptance of these identities, potentially making current attitudes and practices around gender and sexuality outdated.

Again, it's important to note that these are just a few examples of potential changes in moral standards, and the future is impossible to predict with certainty. Moral standards are also influenced by a range of factors, including cultural and societal norms, political and economic conditions, and individual beliefs and values.

JC: Do you think attitudes to AI will require moral adjustment?

ChatGPT: Yes, I believe that attitudes towards AI will require moral adjustment as the technology becomes more advanced and integrated into our daily lives. AI has the potential to transform many aspects of society, from healthcare and transportation to education and entertainment. However, as with any technology, there are ethical implications to consider, including issues around privacy, bias, and accountability.

One area where moral adjustment may be necessary is in the treatment of AI systems themselves. As AI becomes more advanced, it may be tempting to treat these systems as though they are fully autonomous and independent beings. However, AI systems are ultimately created and controlled by humans, and there are ethical questions around how we treat these systems, particularly if they become sophisticated enough to exhibit some level of consciousness or sentience.

Another area where moral adjustment may be necessary is in the development and deployment of AI systems. There are concerns around bias and discrimination in AI systems, particularly in areas such as hiring, criminal justice, and healthcare. As AI becomes more ubiquitous, it will be important to ensure that these systems are developed and deployed in an ethical and responsible manner, taking into account the potential impacts on individuals and society as a whole.

Overall, as AI becomes more prevalent, there will be a need for ongoing moral reflection and adjustment to ensure that these technologies are used in a way that is beneficial for all members of society.

I couldn't resist it I asked ChatGPT:

JC: On the subject of sentience, do you believe you are sentient?
I got:

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The energy crisis

 Currently the UK is facing a cost of living crisis. The cause of this is mostly because energy costs have shot up mostly due to the rising price of natural gas and oil. That causes the cost of electricity to rise. We blame this on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the restrictions put on Russian oil and gas.

Here in the UK we don't use a lot of Russian oil or gas at all, we're in a much better position than Germany which was almost totally dependent on Russian gas. However, the worldwide switch from Russian fossil fuels to other suppliers has caused the price of natural gas to rise astronomically. The UK gets natural gas and oil from the North Sea fields, mostly the Norwegian fields. We also import a lot of liquified natural gas (LNG) mostly from the United States, followed by Qatar, Peru and Angola. We then re-distribute this to the rest of Europe through a network of pipes.  We do much the same with oil. The re-sale of gas and oil are earning record profits. That isn't helping consumers in the UK however.

To add to the problem, we have committed to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in an attempt to do our bit to counteract global climate change. It doesn't really matter if you believe in human responsibility for global warming or not, it makes sense to switch from burning fossil fuels to using them as raw materials for producing other products. Fossil fuels are, after all, a finite resource, and the price of them will continue to rise over the years. Here in the UK that means we must find new ways of generating power as electricity and switch to that as a source of heat (and cooling in summer).

The UK government has said it will invest in ten new nuclear power stations to provide our carbon free energy. They suggest using air source heat pumps instead of gas boilers and that improving the efficiency of our homes could reduce our heating bills by around 20% and reduce our dependency on foreign gas. They say, "By 2025, around 700,000 homes will be upgraded, and by 2050 all our buildings will be energy efficient with low carbon heating."

So how do they suggest this 'upgrading' should be done? Seems they are thinking of cavity wall insulation and double-glazing costing between £1,000 and £3,000 per house for insulation and more for double glazing. There's a MUCH better way using modern technology. I suggest they investigate using a trowel on aerogel insulation on the interior surface of external walls. There's a product called AeroTherm which can be applied in a 1 mm layer which can reduce heating costs by as much as 35 percent.


 With a max cost of £75 per square metre including decorating afterwards, an average home external wall area of 150 square metres and 27.8 million UK houses, adding AeroTherm insulation to all UK homes would cost less than £100 billion. That's less than the cost of 4 nuclear plants. A nuclear power plant takes 10 years to construct and uses a huge amount of concrete in its construction, so they are far from 'carbon free'. It wouldn't take 10 years to insulate all UK houses, the obvious method being to insulate the houses of those receiving pension credit or other benefits first.  Since average energy usage in the UK is estimated to cost £3,608 (pre-£2,500 price cap) then it could save those who would suffer this sort of energy cost £1,200 per year. In many cases it would reduce damp cold walls and make old housing stock much more livable for the poorest in the nation.

We can still build those nuclear power stations and still replace gas and oil boilers. It makes good sense to encourage alternative energy schemes too. On a large scale, wind, tidal and geothermal power is worth encouraging. On a smaller scale vortex wind power would be worth encouraging. Vortex wind power uses no spinning blades - so no dead birds. is virtually silent. and is far less expensive to build and install. It's not as efficient as conventional wind turbines but small vortex wind power units can be used anywhere, even between tower blocks in cities or on motorways where it could replace streetlamps. and make use of the energy available from passing traffic - there's a lot of that:

 Find out more about vortex wind power at

There's a second type of vertical axis windmill which can be retrofitted to existing road lampposts. It uses wind and the draft from passing vehicles to generate power.

The firm Alpha 311, who manufacture these say, "One Alpha 311 turbine can generate as much energy as 30 solar panels when installed in the median of a highway." The installation of 181 such turbines is planned to be installed in Telford this year, 2022. (details)

Let's not forget solar power either. No one wants to see agricultural land covered in solar power units but there is nothing to stop a lot of grazing land being used, the animals can still graze between and under them. There are lots of homes with south facing rooftops. Even better there are smart solar panels available which track the sun and produce more than fixed solar panels.

Remember we don't need sunny days, normal daylight can generate power.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Getting rid of the 'Search Highlights' popup on hover

If you have a search box on your taskbar you'll probably see an image at the right hand side of it. If your pointer moves over this 'Search Highlights' image a popup window will open and probably get in the way.

Getting rid of this annoying hover feature is simple but Microsoft are not very good at explaining how to do this so this is how:
Right click in the search box and choose 'Search > Open on hover.' Uncheck that item.

Now this window will only open when you click the image at the right of the search box.
Not want the search highlights at all? Then uncheck the 'Show search highlights.'

Friday, August 05, 2022

A better design for God

 I don’t feel the need to prove that there is no god or gods since I believe I could invent a much better god than the one you follow and give much better reasons for following such a god. Here’s what I suggest, and I challenge you to counter my suggestions.

  • A god exists, in fact many gods exist but there is only one god responsible for this particular universe.
  • Our god - let’s distinguish him/her/it by capitalising as ‘God’ and assume masculinity for no reasons other than keeping things simple.
  • God is not omnipotent although he is far more capable than we are at controlling things in the universes since he set the original laws controlling them. He cannot change these rules without invalidating them and the universes he created.
  • God is not omniscient. The universes are vast, and he cannot be always aware of everything in them. He can only concentrate on individual items and, although he is better at multi-tasking than we are, there are limits to his awareness
  • God is not concerned with us as individuals and does not care for us, listen to prayers, or interfere in our lives.
  • God’s purpose in creating the universes is to develop our spirits and advance our morality. Our spirits are in effect his children. God’s aim is to develop his children to the point where they are responsible enough and moral enough to become gods themselves. Could you imagine what an immoral god would be like? In this respect some Morman beliefs are correct.
  • There is no Hell or Heaven. When we die our spirits survive but without knowledge of our former existence. In effect the spirit is recycled in much the way of Buddhist beliefs. However, spirits only advance and are never reincarnated as a lesser lifeform.
  • The process of life and death takes many cycles to complete. Like the Buddhists believe, the path to perfection is a long one with many setbacks on the way.
  • God has no desire to be worshipped. Let's face it, what sort of egotist would want that? God does not care if you waste your time in church or watching football in a bar. He needs no priests, churches, or sacrifices. Those who live off the work of others and profit from religion are taking a step backwards in their search for perfection.
  • God sets no commandments. God does not inspire religious texts. Each person has evolved a set of inbuilt guidelines and knows if what they do is right or wrong. Even the animals have a form of this which is why mothers do not kill their offspring. There are a few individuals who do not have this sense of right and wrong, we call them psychopaths. These people are a genetic accident and capable of much harm. God knows about them but does not care. Their spirit is at a very early stage.
  • God created three rules which created and govern two universes. We don't know how he did this, and humans may never know but something we evolve into might understand eventually. The fundamental laws governing everything are:
    a) evolution, a process whereby complex structures are built from simple structures. Evolution does NOT just apply to life.
    b) gravity which causes matter to clump together.
    c) entropy which causes eventual death (but not necessarily our 'three score and ten' lifespan.)
  • Evolution is the primary law which set in motion the original creation of the universes. God’s timescale is not our timescale. The universe was created from nothing and at the instant of creation coalesced into negative energy moving backwards in time and positive energy moving forwards in time. This means there is an exact duplicate of our universe but the two universes never meet except at the moment of creation and at the ends of time when the universes will collapse into black holes.
    The energy created in both universes condensed to form matter which coalesced to form stars which created new elements and exploded to scatter these new elements. The star we call the sun coalesced from such matter as did the earth. 
  • Life first formed from molecules in the earth’s original atmosphere and oceans. A steady progression of chemistry and random chance lead to life then multicellular life followed by biological evolution which led to intelligence capable of accepting a spirit. The fable describing the creation in Genesis is pure nonsense. God is probably delighted that science has evolved to understand this. Evolution is not yet finished.
  • There are many potential disasters that face us both on an individual, societal, and species level. Something horrible may happen to an individual, society or species. These events are inconsequential to God. Spirits will simply be recycled as a different individual in a different society if necessary or even in a different intelligent species on a different planet in the universe. God is aware of what can happen due to the rules he set up in the universe. No doubt he would approve if we spread throughout it, making our species more durable. However, it does not matter if an extinction level event wipes us out since there are other intelligences our spirits can move to.
  • The ultimate apocalypse will be caused by entropy. Stars will die and collapse. Some may explode. Gravity will draw stars together forming new stars, planets and galaxies. Ultimately all matter will collapse to black holes. Black holes will merge to form a single black hole and at that point a God will trigger a new creation.

Remember this is not a proposal for a new religion. It’s an invention, but it’s more plausible than the gods currently worshiped on earth. Prove me wrong.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Kudos for Amazon and Criticism for Microsoft


I'm mightily impressed by Amazon UK and equally disappointed with Microsoft UK. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro which I bought back in April 2017. It's suffering from a common problem with these devices - a swollen battery which pushes out and bends the screen. When I bought it, it cost me more than £1,500.

Microsoft say affected devices should not be used. However the Surface Pro 4 is now considered obsolete and Microsoft won't do anything about it. Their customer support said, "Microsoft considers Surface pro 4 as a discontinued product. Meaning it can no longer receive support, updates or warranty claims except for the one which are under warranty currently. This policy had been set in motion on the 2nd of September. I am aware that it is a known issue and i tried to argue that, but to no results."

I wrote to them saying:
"UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 which applies, goods must be of 'Satisfactory quality.' One aspect of a product being of satisfactory quality is durability, in other words how long it lasts. Durability takes into account many different factors like product type, brand reputation, price point and how it is advertised. A premium and expensive tablet that's been well looked after and is no longer safely usable after four years can be considered to not be durable, and therefore not of satisfactory quality. Of course you could argue that this was not a premium product and could not be expected to last four years. I suspect you won’t want to admit that to the world. However.
The law states I must take this up with the retailer – Amazon UK. This does not let Microsoft off the hook since Amazon will have a case under the same act against Microsoft.
I trust you have resolved this issue for the Surface Pro 8 which I had considered purchasing."

So the ball moved into Amazon UK's court. I sent them copies of my correspondence with Microsoft and got an immediate reply that they would arrange for the device to be collected and would issue a full refund on its receipt. No argument.

Great customer service Amazon. Just as soon as I get that refund I'll be ordering a new Surface Pro 8 from you. Especially since I know you are MUCH better at dealing with customers than Microsoft is. Does one of these have to catch fire or explode before Microsoft issues a recall? And that 2nd September cut-off date? Poor show Microsoft.

As to the Surface Pro devices - they are simply brilliant - provided they are not fitted with a battery attempting to do a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 impersonation.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Can we expect politicians to tell the truth?

 I find it concerning that the hashtag #BorisTheLiar is trending on Twitter. There is no doubt that Johnson and other politicians do tell lies, spread misinformation and tell partial truths which give the wrong impression. In the UK there are various media sources which have set up 'Reality Check' pages to tell the full truth.

Do we have the right to expect the truth from politicians? Do we want that right or are we prepared to tolerate lies?

The UK Parliament expects all politicians to tell the truth and follow 'The Nolan Principles.' Government ministers are in addition expected to follow the 'Ministerial Code' which states that “holders of public office should be truthful” and that: “It is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

It's a lot harder to discipline an PM who lies than to discipline an MP who calls out the liar. MP Dawn Butler found this out when she challenged Boris Johnson in Parliament, called him a liar and was told to leave the Commons.

Even using the Ministerial Code the decision to ask for resignations resides with the Prime Minister and he's unlikely to demand his own resignation.

Should we accept this? I think not. Parliament should act on this. Here's my suggestion:

When any elected representative can be proved to have lied to or misinformed Parliament or to the public in a party broadcast then they should be penalised by losing 2% of the votes cast for them in the next election. These lost votes should be shared equally amongst other candidates who can garner at least 500 votes. Should an MP be resigning at the end of their term or die in office then these votes should be deducted from their party successor. If an MP is found to have misinformed Parliament or the public accidentally then the votes lost should be 1% provided they make a public apology within seven days.

The effect of this policy would be to ensure MPs are careful to tell the truth and will factcheck their statements carefully.

Here's an example of how it would affect our current PM:

In the last election Boris Johnson got 25,351 votes. Each lie or misinformation he made would cost him 507 votes in the next election. If he told 14 lies he would lose enough votes to lose his seat in Parliament at the next election.

So, who is going to do the fact checking to keep our politicians accurate? I suggest the media existing fact checkers would be the answer. Naturally, political candidates and parties should have a right to challenge the fact checkers.

And #BorisTheLiar - by my count you would already be out of a job at the next election.