Saturday 20 July 2024

Hollywood has run out of ideas

I've been saying this for a long time because it has been a long time coming. Hollywood has run out of ideas. We are seeing constant rehashing of old ideas, old genres but the new versions are probably worse because they use an excessive amount of CGI (and AI?) very often and the product can look very plastic and lacking in gravitas and depth. It appears that the modern movies are made for youngsters who like froth and frivolous stuff. Not serious and well made films but just frothy cartoon stuff.

Hollywood has run out of ideas
Hollywood has run out of ideas. Image: MikeB


Perhaps I've got that wrong but that's what it looks like to me. However, I am sure that I have got it right when I say that Hollywood has run out of ideas. That's because you might notice that you've seen things before. Or if not you will be seeing things again that you've seen before on the movies. That's because a quick glance at the list of forthcoming Hollywood films provokes a deep feeling of déjà vu.

You will be seeing Channing Tatum, 44, in a remake of Ghost. She plays the role originally played by the late Patrick Swayze in 1990.

And you may remember that great film Officer and a Gentleman in which Richard Gere starred. He is now 74 years of age. Paramount has lined up Miles Teller, 37, to take on the role again.

And you will see Glen Powell, 35, starring in Twisters. A sequel to the 1996 disaster film Twister.

Glen Powell is attached to remakes of The Running Man, originally featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987, as well as Heaven Can Wait, based on the 1978 fantasy starring Warren Beatty.

And The Times says that the list goes on. You will see Sydney Sweeney, 26, one of Hollywood's best-known young female actresses starring in a remake of Barbarella. This is a 1968 space fantasy film that featured Jane Fonda who is now 86 years of age.

And the list goes on! This month, The Times reports that it's emerged that A Fistful of Dollars, a 1964 Western that launched Clint Eastwood's career will also get an updated version.

Hollywood is stuck in an era of reboots, remakes and revivals at a time when it appears the industry is in peril. And my argument is and has been for a long time is that the Hollywood whizzkids and gurus have run out of ideas for movies.

And this thought of mine comes about because there is a limited number of ideas! That might seem implausible to some people but I think it's a reasonable suggestion. There are only so many ideas for films. There are only so many storylines.

It brings to mind the problem of music. Ed Sheeran who was sued for copyright breach said that "There is only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidences bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify".

He saying that there are only so many songs that can be created that are fresh and entirely new. Everything is ultimately rehashed in the music business. It's just repositioning each cord and each note so that the music sounds different.

And the same goes for the film industry. There are only so many ideas and Hollywood has run out of ideas which is why they are rehashing old movies. The other reason why they are rehashing movies is because the cost of production has become very high and they have become very risk averse. They know these movies were successful so they simply remake them in the expectation that they are almost certain to be successful.

Stephen Galloway, Dean of Chapman University's film school in California said that "In entertainment, an idea is worth it's weight in gold".

Ghost with a highly successful film starring Demi Moore. It became the highest grossing film of the year and an Oscar winner. It is considered to be "irresistible to studios" in terms of a remake.

It said that costs have gone through the roof in the film business and marketing is expensive which eats into profit margins. And then you've got streaming demands on Netflix and Amazon Prime et cetera which places greater demand on more and fresh film and series.

The public want fresh, new stuff all the time. But there's a limit to it. Ultimately they are rehashes. Even stuff which looks different is based upon an old idea and rehashed.

There is another threat to Hollywood which is AI. AI can make films or will be able to and it can write scripts and stories. This arguably will undermine the work of writers and animators leaving them jobless. The same fate will befall background actors. Hollywood has reverted to tried and tested film ideas but it seems to me it puts Hollywood in jeopardy of collapsing.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Purebred stray Burmese cat trapped in St Paul's Cathedral

This is a rather strange story because we are told that the Burmese cat that fell 15 feet down a shaft in the basement of St Paul's Cathedral was sold (apparently) by a breeder and she is also micro-chipped.

The RSPCA rescued the cat. They named her Paula after St Paul's Cathedral which I think is a nice idea.

Purebred stray Burmese cat trapped in St Paul's Cathedral
Purebred stray Burmese cat trapped in St Paul's Cathedral. Name Pauls after St Paul's. Image: RSPCA.

A teenager in the Cathedral yard raised the alarm after seeing Paula vanish under a slab. The teenager was playing in the churchyard after school. She saw Paula run off. The teenager became upset but she was able to give the RSPCA a geotrack location which helped the RSPCA officer to pinpoint the cat's position. Well done to this teenager.

The officer spoke to the Cathedral's security about gaining access and discovered that it is an old storage basement that apparently no one had used a key to get down to for 25 years.

She walked down a steep and narrow staircase into complete darkness before discovering a chamber which led to several corridors and found the cat hiding, covered in fleas. Clearly Paula had been a stray for some time.

It is fortunate that she fell onto a bed of leaves which broke her fall and she was pretty well okay except for a slight graze on her chin and in desperate need of flea treatment; indicative of the fact that she had been astray for some time. Although she doesn't look as if she was starving.

The RSPCA contacted Paula's registered owner as per the microchip details and discovered that the cat had been sold four years before. It appears that the microchip relates to a cat breeder and that the purchaser of the cat did not change the microchip details.

Therefore the RSPCA don't know the current owner if one could argue that Paula still has an owner because she's been astray for a long time and it appears lost or abandoned.

The RSPCA have put posters around St Paul's Cathedral in in the hope of finding her owner. Paula was treated at RSPCA Finsbury Park Animal Hospital before being moved to the RSPCA Laybourne Animal Centre near West Malling in Kent.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Friday 19 July 2024

Mumsnet sues OpenAI and wants the information deleted

Those who have followed the development of ChatGPT know that it is a chatbot using OpenAI software which has hoovered up from the internet billions of words of useful information contained on millions of websites and which it reformats and presents in answers to questions posed to it by internet users who would normally have used Google or Bing search and visited a website for the information such as mumsnet.com which is why mumsnet.com is suing OpenAi for breach of copyright. And they want their data deleted and a cessation to its use. Microsoft has a 49% stake in OpenAI - see more at base of page.

Others are also suing, including The New York Times and the Writers Guild of America.

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Julia Roberts, CEO of mumsnet.com said:
They [OpenAI] are basically hoovering up the whole web. And I think it's an existential threat to lots of small websites. What they are building is things that can answer questions without you having to visit those websites.
Precisely, I have been saying that (as have millions of others) for ages. The current situation is a killer for websites and frankly website owners are too passive. They need to form a 'union' to fight the big, bad corporations.

Mumsnet claim that ChatAI has 'scraped' (like scraping a barrel) six billion words from its website without permission resulting in a genuine threat to the very existence of mumsnet.com.

Think of the tasty food as tasty internet information and the spoon as OpenAI 😎👍

ChatAI claim that they have 'trained' their software using the information and 'training' is not breach of copyright (laugh 😀🤣). Microsoft also argues that their actions were lawful under the US doctrine of 'fair dealing'. 

Mumsnet is also claiming for breach of terms of use and database rights infringement.  They also argue that there is no 'fair dealing' doctrine in the UK where mumsnet is based.

Comment: What about the other AI chatbots? There is Google's Gemini and Poe and Bing's Copilot? Is mumsnet suing them as well because all of them have allegedly 'stolen' billions of lines of data on the internet.

And, yes, mumsnet.com is correct. All independent websites have suffered a double whammy shock both with the aforesaid problem with AI chatbots which means internet users avoid visiting websites and with Google's vicious and catastrophically damaging algorithm change which has crucified millions of smaller websites.

Also Google emphasised the need to fully meet their Search Engine Console Core Vitals metrics in order to achieve good search results but in my first hand experience this is simply not true. Your website can have perfect Core Vitals and great content but still be shunned by Google search. 

Conversely you can have crap Core Vitals and be successful.

It is troubling times for websites and I wonder why Google think that it is a good idea to kill-off websites. Also ChatGPT works against Google Adsense as there are less visits on the face of it.

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More info on OpenAI:


OpenAI is an American research company focused on artificial intelligence (AI). Their goal is to ensure that AI, specifically artificial general intelligence (AGI), is developed in a way that benefits humanity [OpenAI: Artificial intelligence company]. AGI is a hypothetical type of AI that would be as intelligent as a human, able to perform any intellectual task that a human can.

OpenAI conducts research on safe and beneficial AGI, with the aim of making sure this powerful technology is used for good [OpenAI: Artificial intelligence company]. They believe that AI has the potential to be incredibly beneficial to society, but also recognize the potential risks. Their research focuses on developing AI that is aligned with human values and that won't pose a threat.  

Ownership of OpenAI:


OpenAI has a unique ownership structure. Here's the breakdown:
  • Microsoft is the biggest stakeholder, owning around **49%** of the company. They've invested heavily in OpenAI, providing both funding (over $13 billion) and computational resources through their Azure cloud platform [Wikipedia: OpenAI].
  • The remaining 49% is divided among other investors. Some notable names include venture capital firms like a16z, Sequoia Capital, and Founders Fund [Techopedia: Who Owns OpenAI? Here's All You Need to Know].
  • It's important to note that there's also a non-profit arm, OpenAI Inc., which retains some control and aims to preserve the organization's original goals [Wikipedia: OpenAI].
  • So, while Microsoft has a significant stake, OpenAI isn't solely owned by a single entity. It's a collaboration between a tech giant, investors, and a non-profit organization. 
The above information comes from Gemini. I can't see how it can benefit humanity when it kills off websites and harms many thousands of small businesses dependent on internet traffic via Google search.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Ghostly Evan Gershkovich at Russian trial

The espionage trial of US journalist Evan Gershkovich is concluding. He looks like a ghost. He was smiling before at earlier hearings but I am pessimistic about his prospects. I am sure that he hopes that the US will do a deal and swap some Russian spies for him. That is why the Kremlin detained him on spurious charges. But he could end up in some crappy Russian hell-hole of a jail for years and see his health wane to the point where his life is in jeopardy.

Ghostly Evan Gershkovich at Russian trial
The ghostly figure of Evan Gershkovich at his trial. He is fading away before our eyes. Image: ABC News.

Russian prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 18 years for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

"Gershkovich, 32, was arrested March 29, 2023, while on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. Authorities claimed, without offering any evidence, that he was gathering secret information for the U.S. He pleaded not guilty, according to the court, and The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government have called the trial a sham." - ABC News.

Russian court has sentenced US journalist Evan Gershkovich to 16 years in prison, Russian news agencies report from the court in Yekaterinburg. As mentioned he could well die in a Russian prison. A lot do. He is going to start his sentence in a "high security correctional facility" which is where the judge sent him. His employer says that he was simply doing his work as a journalist. He did not admit guilt during the trial. The prosecutor asked for 18 years. It is claimed to be a sham trial for political purposes.

This is how he looks normally:

Ghostly Evan Gershkovich at Russian trial
Image: DPA


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Destruction of democracy in the UK in silencing climate change campaigners

A shocking threat to rights of free speech in the UK has just occurred. This is not just about the right of free speech, it also about climate change in how governments deal with it. 

The UK is edging towards a fascist state as far as I'm concerned. This latest criminal court judgement supports my thinking.  Please read Hallam's enormous tweet which is at the end of this article. You get first hand reporting. The judge was arrogant and wrong. Very wrong.

I can't find the judge's reasoning. I think he referred to the campaigners as 'fanatics'. I also think he was very biased against them and it would not surprise me if he did not believe that climate change exists and drives an enormous SUV. Yes, I am pissed off with this judge. It is not just me.

The former lord chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton said that he was 'uncomfortable' with the sentences although Sir Robert Buckland said they were justified.

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A record five-year jail term has been handed out to Roger Hallam, 58, for coordinating the climate change protests under the Just Stop Oil banner which disrupted the M25 in London over four days in 2022. 

45 protesters climbed gantries on the motorway, forcing police to stop the traffic. Four others, campaigners in the Just Stop Oil organisation, were each jailed for four years. They were found guilty of conspiring to cause a public nuisance under a new draconian law which curbs free-speech and peaceful protest.

This is controversial legislation introduced by the previous government to get tough on disruptive tactics used by environmental protesters. They were charged under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

There is shock over this sentence which is a record for a person engaged in peaceful protest. Yes, I will capitalise that: PEACEFUL PROTEST.

The previous Conservative government got their knickers in a twist over these Just Stop Oil protests because they were very disruptive. That made them effective. These campaigners felt that they had to be disruptive in order to make their statement clear to everybody. That's the nature of a peaceful protest. But the right wing government now ousted by Labour, decided to clampdown on them and at the same time clampdown on free speech. And also at the same time to ignore climate change.

It's utterly shocking to people like me. And to Chris Packham, the naturalist and broadcaster. He said that the sentence of five years handed down to Roger Hallam, was a threat to free speech and he has called for a meeting with Richard Hermer KC, the attorney general, "as rapidly as possible so that we could address this grotesque miscarriage of justice".

He also said that we need to be "clear, be very very clear this is not just about climate activism. The laws that have been drafted, the injustices that are being wrought, threaten all rights of free speech. We stand here today because our future security may be compromised by the reckless and irresponsible erosion of human rights, of our fundamental freedoms. I stand here because I believe this represents the direct theft of our freedom, the destruction of our democracy, the deliberate and calculated intimidation of our protesters, and that, unless we resist this, the very real danger is our species will destroy life on earth will stop"

He's of course referring to climate change which really concerns him as it should concern all of us. He is a conservationist. He was to protect wildlife which is increasingly under dire threat across the globe because of global warming.

The sentencing is particularly grotesque as this government has decided to release criminals after 40% of their sentence. The country is releasing genuine criminals early in order to make room in overcrowded prisons while at the same time clearly, over-punishing genuine people who are concerned about the future of humankind on this planet. It is BONKERS.

There have been calls to repeal the above-mentioned act. The sentence was also criticised by Tom Southerden, Amnesty International UK's law and human rights adviser. He wants the act repealed. He said that "These lengthy jail sentences for people seeking climate justice should increase the alarm over the ongoing crackdown against peaceful protest in this country, which violates all our human rights. With our overcrowded prison system already described as a ticking timebomb by the new Lord Chancellor these jail terms are all the more indefensible."

The judge who handed down this grotesque sentence is Judge Christopher Hehir. Shame on him. He is not worthy to be a judge.

Update:

Hallam said this (and a lot more - see his tweet below):

The crime? 
Giving a talk on civil disobedience as an effective, evidence-based method for stopping the elite from putting enough carbon in the atmosphere to send us to extinction. I have given hundreds of similar speeches encouraging nonviolent action and have never been arrested for it. This time I was an advisor to the M25 motorway disruption, recommending the action to go ahead to wake up the British public to societal collapse.
His tweet:


From Just Stop Oil:

Professor McGuire, Emeritus Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London, said:

“The trial and verdict were a farce. They mark a low point in British justice and they were an assault on free speech. The judge’s characterisation of climate breakdown as a matter of opinion and belief is completely nonsensical and demonstrates extraordinary ignorance. Similarly to suggest that the climate emergency is irrelevant in relation to whether the defendants had a reasonable case for action is crass stupidity.” 

Sir David King, the government’s former Chief Scientific Adviser, said:

“This is so disgraceful. We are all hoping that the change in UK Govt will also change the situation in our courts.”

As mentioned, this legislation is controversial. It provides for stiffer sentences for protesters who block roads. It was backed by the current Prime Minister. But it has been condemned by the United Nations human rights Commissioner as "deeply troubling" and "disproportionate".

In sentencing, Judge Christopher Hehir, told the activists: 

"The plain fact is that each of you some time ago has crossed the line from concerned campaigner to fanatic. You have appointed yourselves as sole arbiters of what should be done about climate change."

Comment:
it appears to me that he is introducing his personal opinion about these campaigners. It seems to me to be biased to describe the most fanatics.

Hallam described the criminal court that he attended as a "kangaroo court".

The trial was criticised by the UN's Special Rapporteur for Environmental Defenders, Michel Forst, who described the threat of a long sentence against Daniel Shaw [one of the defendants sentenced to 4 years] as potentially unlawful. Speaking on the eve of the first day of the trial, he warned: "The imposition of such a sanction is not only appalling but may also violate the United Kingdom's obligations under international law."

The danger is that the harsh sentences will fire up the campaigners to do more. It will be a catalyst for more extreme action against climate change inertia.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Was the world ONE INCH AWAY from a US civil war and world war?

There is a reasonable argument that suggests that the recent failed assassination of Donald Trump was an event that put humankind one inch from civil war in the US followed by world war.


The bullet missed his head by one inch because (he says) he turned to his right - something he rarely does. A God given head movement he claimed. But if he hadn't moved his head and he had been killed, it might have led to a civil war in the US.

This would have led to the US stopping making payments to Ukraine to support the country and donating billions of dollars or armaments upon which Ukraine depends to defend itself from the terrorist leader of Russia, the evil Putin and his acolytes.

This would lead to Russian winning the war in Ukraine which would lead to a new world order in which Russia continued to expand by taking other countries that Putin believes should be in Russia's orbit.

This new world order would eventually lead to world war as the terrorist state called Russia placed too much stress on the West to accept their behaviour. 

There would have to be military intervention. China, North Korea and Iran would also be involved as they would became emboldened by Russia's success.

The reasonably plausible but shocking suggestion is that the world was one inch from US civil war and world war.

Crooks was a bad shot at school. Perhaps he was trying to prove to his school colleagues who bullied him that he was a good shot. Thankfully he was not.

But the event highlights how fragile the world is right now. How stressed the world is. It only takes one silly wrong move under these circumstances to begin and avalanche of violence.

And I believe that people feel this. There are signs that citizens of the West are more stressed. The canaries in the coal mine are the kids. They feel it more. In the UK there are clear signs that they are going through a kind of collective nervous breakdown with suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Self-harm is a mental health state in which the victim is trying to wrestle back control of their lives. In a an increasingly chaotic world it is understandable that school kids feel that their lives are out of control.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 18 July 2024

JD Vance is a bad Christian as his actions do not follow his faith

JD Vance is one of the most overtly religious major politicians in America. He is described as a conservative Catholic in The Times. He is Donald Trump's running mate and therefore a potential vice president when Trump is elected president which seems likely at the moment. 

But he actions do not follow his declaration to the world that he is a Christian. He is a bad Christian.
Declared Christian JD Vance by Michael Broad

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Being a Christian is good politics it seems in America. And Vance appears to be a strict Christian. He is a student of the Latin Mass, an opponent of abortion and gay marriage, and given to quoting St Augustine. 

An old-fashioned Christian with old-fashioned values which I think he promotes for political advantage. And I think Donald Trump does the same thing and indeed is one reason why he chose J.D. Vance as his running mate.

So what does Christianity say about helping the vulnerable; the needy, those in need? Well, the people of Ukraine are vulnerable and needy. They need all the help the rest of the world can give them. 

Helping those in need is a core principle in Christianity.  Here are some key points:
  • Love thy neighbor: This teaching from Jesus (Matthew 22:39) emphasizes helping anyone in need, not just fellow Christians. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) reinforces this idea.
  • Caring for the poor and oppressed: The Bible includes many verses urging followers to help the less fortunate. Proverbs 14:31 says, "Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
  • Following Jesus' example: Jesus himself ministered to the sick, poor, and marginalized. His teachings on compassion and generosity inspire Christians to do the same.
  • Putting faith into action: James 2:14-17 emphasizes that faith without works is dead. Helping others demonstrates genuine faith.
But about Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent long-standing war employing trench warfare, JD Vance says the following: 
"I gotta be honest with you, I don't really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another," Vance said in February 2022."
He added: 
"I do not think that it is in America's interest to continue to fund an effectively never-ending war in Ukraine"
So he is against helping Ukrainians who are desperately in need of help. That, I would argue, is very anti-Christian. It is not the kind of statement that a genuine Christian would make.

Therefore, I have to conclude that he is not a genuine Christian. He is a Christian for political purposes. It looks good. It makes him more popular. Perhaps he had an eye on being Donald Trump's vice president years ago and he knew that Donald Trump would use Christianity to his political advantage.

This is exactly what he has done after Thomas Matthew Crooks tried to assassinate him with a rifle. Donald Trump has used God after that assassination attempt by saying that it was God that saved him. And it is God who is dictating that it is Donald Trump's time to be the president again. God is paving the way for him. God is on his side.

He knows that there are millions of Christians in America living in the Bible belt. Perhaps he is trying to capture them as followers, acolytes, voters.

But the point here is that JD Vance is, I would argue and allege, a fake Christian.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Britain is first country to approve lab-grown meat for pet food

The UK is the first country to permit lab-grown meat in pet food (The Times newspaper) which is manufactured by the company Meatly. The company has worked with Britton's regulators to ensure a smooth introduction of this animal friendly meat. The company intends to spend the next three years scaling up production and reducing the cost of its product.

Owen Ensor the chief executive said: 
"We're delighted to have worked proactively alongside the UK's regulators to showcase that Meatly chicken is safe and healthy for pets. We can now continue our mission to give consumers an easy choice; ensuring we can feed our beloved pets the real meat they need and crave, in a way that is kinder to our planet and other animals."
Israel, Singapore and the United States have approved it for human consumption.

The company likes to call their meat "cultivated" rather than use the term "lab-grown". Cells are taken from chicken eggs which are encouraged to multiply inside vats of nutrient-rich broth.

The product will be on sale later this year.
Britain permits Meatly cultivated meat in pet food by Michael Broad

A study by the consultancy CE Delft reported that it could cut the carbon emissions of meat by 92% while using 95% less land.

Brexit has allowed this development to occur before the rest of Europe.

An interesting development of this announcement is that farmers have for some time been fighting the development of cultivated meat because it undermines their businesses.

Sadly, farming is, you might argue, inherently linked with animal abuse because farmers have to make a profit and in making a profit one is encouraged to undermine animal welfare. The concept of profit-making within commerce is a barrier to good animal welfare.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tiger Woods' false self-belief deceives him into believing he can win

Intro: this is my opinion. It is tough language but I respect the man as almost everyone does.

Tiger Woods has consistently said that he believes he can win another major championship - make it 16. He always wanted to beat Jack Nicklaus's 18 majors. His back and leg injuries destroyed that dream. He even had the number 18 embossed into his golf shoes at one stage.

UPDATE - FIRST DAY OF THE OPEN: Woods shoots 8 over and will miss the cut. He is almost in last place! He is wasting his time. He looked terrible. Sir Nick Faldo agrees. He questions why Woods puts himself through it all as did Colin Montgomerie who Woods criticised. It is time for him to stop and to think that he can win a major is fanciful nonsense.

Roe, a former European Tour professional, said on a ‘featured groups' international TV feed overseen by organisers the R&A: "You look at the eyes, you've got to think there's a lot of painkillers being taken to cope with the pain. It's not easy." - Planet Sport.


That's the only reason why he's playing in major championships - to WIN. He is at Troon, Scotland, at the moment. And he's there because he believes he can win The Open championship. Actually win it. And he said the same thing about other major championships including the recent US Open Championship. And the UPGA before that.


And yet we see a man, with a wonderful golfing legacy, looking as if he is in permanent distress; almost zombie-like. He walks very slowly. My bet is that he takes drugs to manage the pain in his right leg (and back). His leg was re-fabricated after his horrendous car accident. They thought they were going to have to amputate it but they rebuilt it and I'm sure it causes him lots of pain even today.

He built up his upper body to compensate for the lack of muscle and strength in his right leg. He is also altered his swing slightly to accommodate this change in his anatomy.

Tiger is 48 years of age. The oldest age at which a professional golfer has won a major championship is nearly 50 when legendary American golfer Julius Boros won the 1968 PGA Championship.

The point I'm making is this: Tiger Woods has supreme confidence in his ability as a golfer. And rightly so because of his enormous history of success in winning 15 majors. But his confidence has evolved into arrogance and his arrogance has deceived him into believing you can win a major. He cannot.

The world has moved on in any case. It isn't just about Tiger Woods's age which is a barrier to him winning a major championship again. It isn't just about his injury to his leg which is a major barrier. 

Remember, that a lot of the power and control of the golf swing comes from the lower body. You need strength in the legs to have a really good golf swing. You need to use the leg muscles, the big muscles, to generate power. 

You can't just rely on the upper body and Tiger Woods has to do this. It's a compensatory golf swing working in a way which is totally contrary to the way it should be working. He's trying to buck the system and he simply not the golfer that he was.

He misses cuts, finishes quite low down if he does make the cut and all in all he looks like a sorry figure walking slowly across the fairways, gingerly, almost robot-like with a blank expression on his puffy face.

What concerns me is this blank facial expression. As mentioned, his face looks a bit puffy as well. I would allege that this is because he's taking painkilling drugs in high doses. His accident in a Genesis car happened as I recall because he was on a lot of drugs, painkilling drugs, prescription drugs I remember which knocked him out while he was driving. He fell asleep and his car careered over the central reservation of a highway and down a ravine.

That occurred before he had the leg injury so before the leg injury he was on painkilling drugs because of his back which has been operated on several times. His back injury is due to the enormous amount of stress his golf swing placed upon it over many years of golf. Top pro golfers not infrequently suffer from lower back injuries for this reason. When you hit the ball as hard as top pros the body takes a hammering.

It is not just about his right leg which can't generate power, it's about the painkillers he's on, his age, his attempt to recreate a golf swing (and one stage the greatest golf swing on the planet) which bucks the system which altogether means that he can't win a major any more.

There are many really excellent golfers these days challenging him. Even if he hadn't been badly injured and was is good physical condition, he would struggle today to win a major because of the tougher competition. Some great players have come through e.g. Scottie Scheffler.

The conclusion is that Tiger Woods's arrogance and heightened self belief are colouring his thought processes in a bad way. Colin Montgomerie has said that he should retire gracefully. Tiger Woods criticised Colin for saying that.

Tiger said that he would continue to play in The Open championship as long as he wants to and as long as he believes he can win because he is exempt from qualifying until the age of 60. He criticised Colin Montgomerie because Colin never won The Open championship and therefore has to qualify. Therefore Colin has no right to criticised Tiger. That's Tiger's argument.

I am afraid to say that Tiger would do well to retire gracefully. I'll be pleased to be proved wrong.

Telegraph headline: The Open 2024 predictions: Victory for Bryson DeChambeau, misery for Tiger Woods. Sounds near the truth.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Donald Trump's ear bandage is oversized for political advantage

Trump uses his ear injury to political advantage by an oversized ear bandage by Michael Broad


I am guessing (hopefully intelligently) but it occurs to me that Donald Trump is making 'political capital' as it is called by ensuring that the bandage covering his right ear wound from the rifle bullet almost covers his entire ear and looks very visible when the injury (which is hard to see) appears to have been a small nick in the top of the ear. 

The nurse could have used a plaster over that area but that would have been almost invisible and I am arguing that Trump - ever the political mastermind - is milking the attempted assassination to the maximum. 

He is ensuring that his followers see that he was injured and is a miraculous survivor by the Grace of God. God saved him. It is a God-given opportunity to get the most out of this. To become the hero and saviour of America. To Make America Great Again. He is the chosen one.

And he has to make sure that the world and his followers see the bloody injury to get that message across. The oversized bandage achieves that purpose.

What do you think?

Update: his followers are showing their support! Like lemmings. The Messiah. Trump knew the power of this bandage. He knew it would be a visual signal of success. Of surviving. 


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is a known animal lover and loves cats. He currently has two cats, I believe, living in his home within the Palace of Westminster A.K.A. Houses Of Parliament. 

He lives just behind Big Ben in very beautiful accommodation; quite extensive and I believe that his Maine Coon cat 'Attlee' lives there with him. And he has adopted a black stray cat who wanted to be taken in and who he has named 'Clem'. Both of these names come from the former Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster
Attlee as an adult Maine Coon who lives with the Speaker in his house within the estate. Photo: Richard Wheeler PA.


He is a very popular Commons Speaker and was re-elected to the post after the general election. There appears to have been no issues about his re-election. And he says that there should be "cats across the House." The idea is to take care of the rodent population and provide therapy to stressed politicians! 💕

The Palace of Westminster is a very large estate adjacent to the Thames River and is in bad condition requiring constant repair and a major upgrade which would cost billions of pounds. The reason why I am saying that is because you can see that there is a great possibility of there being mice and rats on the estate which is the case.

And Attlee, his Maine Coon cat, is sometimes called upon to deal with mice. MPs come up to him and ask if they can borrow Attlee for a while to get rid of mice in their office. That kind of thing.

And Sir Lindsay Hoyle would also like to see a "Bring Your Pet Day" in Parliament. I think he would like to see members of Parliament bringing their pets to the establishment.

Sir Lindsay has a number of pets including a tortoise named Maggie and a parrot named Boris. These are named after Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson, two more former prime ministers.

There was a study about the possibility of employing cats to keep down the rodent population on the estate. The conclusion appears to be that the estate is too big and that there would have to be too many cats in order to make it work which would be unmanageable.

His brown tabby Maine Coon cat also helps to keep the peace and keep people calm. Cats can do that for you. He is a therapy cat as well as the chief mouser at Parliament. He goes out to visit people to make them smile and be happier.

He said that "We've had the odd MP ring up and say, including the Clerk of the House, 'there is a mouse in my office, can we borrow Attlee?'"

His cat loves Dreamies which is a dry cat food and a particularly tasty one. The reason why he wants cats across the house, as mentioned, is because "There's nothing better than seeing a cat. Anybody who likes cats are nice people."

He's right. A slight problem is that some people don't like cats or some are frightened of cats but I would thoroughly agree with him. I think more cats at Parliament would be beneficial. And a dog or two would help to of course but there would have to be some management because you don't want dogs chasing cats! The issue is about managing the cats. Feeding them and providing toilet facilities etc.

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster
Sir Lindsay Hoyle soon after adopting his new Maine Coon kitten Attlee. They touch noses in a friendly greeting

When he was interviewed for the article to which I'm referring and which is published on the Independent newspaper online he said that his tortoise, Maggie, was on the terrace. That is the area outside the Houses of Parliament in between the building and the Thames. It's a very pleasant area where they sometimes have marquees for social gatherings I believe.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Jackdaw rather than family cat killed blackbird

The infographic-style image explains. But the story goes wider in saying that Corvids can and do attack intruders. The second letter below reports on magpies killing ducklings and magpies often attack cats! They think the cats are a danger to their offspring in nests nearby

I'll add a bit by quoting this letter to The Times in today's newspaper from Dr Mark Taylor of Coalville, Leics, whose letter is headed: Cruelty of nature.
Sir, David Noble's letter (July 15) about the effect that cats can have on the local bird population triggered feelings of guilt over finding the body of a young blackbird on my driveway, one I had been watching with delight for the previous few days as its father fed it. Fearing that one of my seven cats was responsible, I nervously reviewed the CCTV and discovered the assassin to be a jackdaw that had targeted the blackbird mid-flight. Nature indeed read in beak and claw.
Dian Pollock writes to The Times as follows:
Sir, Councils in Australia have introduced curfews on cats at night and strict regulations about identifying trespassing felines. Maybe it's time for one here. We also have issues with magpies. On Monday I saw the last duckling on the University Lake being attacked by one.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Andover residents honour stray cat Jess with bronze statue

The infographic-style image made by me explains the story. For me - and I am sure many other animal and cat lovers - to see the residents of Andover, England raising £5,000 to commission a sculptor, Amy Goodman, to create a bronze statue in memory of Jess, who made the railway station her home, is a delight. 

No doubt Jess's presence at the railway station pleased countless numbers of commuters. She must have made them smile; brightened up their lives on a damp Monday morning on their commute to the office. I love to see this happen. It is good for cats. I have just written an article about a story that was bad for cats. Click this to read it.
Amy Goodman presents her mold for the bronze statue of Jess by Michael Broad

Whose fault? House cat brought to remote Island (1894). A year later a species was extinct.

This article is a reminder that we should not blame the domestic or feral cat, as an invasive species on the continent of Australia and New Zealand, for the destruction of a part of the wildlife of those countries. At root, this is not the fault of the cat. 

Whose fault? House cat brought to remote Island (1894). Year later a species was extinct.
Lyall's Wren. Image credit at base of page.



In fact, the cat is an innocent victim as much a victim as the wildlife that they kill. It is the human who is the creator of invasive species by transporting animals across the globe. We must remind ourselves of that. It may help us treat the feral cat more humanely. 

This is not happening in Australia where they blame the feral cat as a horrible invasive species attacking and killing their vulnerable, native small mammals and marsupials which are ideal prey animals for feral cats.

So why have I addressed this problem again today? Well, Forbes have an article about a "house cat" brought to a remote island in 1894 and a year later a bird species was extinct.

That species was a charming bird adapted to live on an island called the Lyall's Wren. Because there was an abundance of food on Stephens Island they never evolved to fly. 

This was a small, flightless bird once native to Stephens Island, New Zealand, known for its unique adaptations to a predator-free environment. It relied on its agility and camouflage rather than flight to get around its habitat but once the domestic cat was imported into the island by a lighthouse keeper in 1894 to keep them company in the solitude and monotony of that job, the bird rapidly became extinct through incessant attacks by this domestic cat and the cat's offspring.

The cat brought to the island was called Tibbles and she was pregnant! An instant family of cats brought to the island where they were allowed to roam outside of the lighthouse, into the habitat of this sweet flightless bird who suddenly became catastrophically vulnerable to predation, something they had never experienced before.

It was a unique set of circumstances but the fault lies firmly at the feet of the lighthouse keeper. The cat didn't make their way to the island by themselves. The lighthouse keeper allowed the cat to out into the habitat of this bird as mentioned. Back in the day they didn't understand the problems of conservation and predation by domestic cats.

But this single act has stained the international reputation of the domestic cat ever since. It's one more reason why the Australian authorities go diligently about their business of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of feral cats on the continent. The authorities there constantly recite this story of the destruction of an entire species of bird at the hands of a ravaging predator; the humble domestic cat.

The lighthouse keeper was David Lyall. The bird was named after him. He brought his family, his wife and at least one son and their cat to Stephens Island. He was an amateur natural history enthusiast. He was delighted to be sent to the island. He knew there would be species to study and discover. He didn't understand the dangers of bringing his cat Tibbles.

Tibbles was equally delighted because all around her was wildlife to be attacked and eaten. She would bring this small bird subsequently called Lyall's Wren back to her owner who would perform amateur taxidermy operations on the deceased animals.

By the time the catastrophic conservation problem of Tibbles had been realised, it was too late. The last known sighting of a live Lyall's Wren was in 1895, just a year after Tibbles was brought to Stephens Island.

Image credit: By John Gerrard Keulemans - Ibis 1895, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11097962

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 15 July 2024

Barack Obama admired Arthur Ashe as a man and learned from him

I'll keep this short. Arthur Ashe was a great man born into a poor family and a disciplinarian father who suffered a lot of bad luck but he was born with a great talent as well. He was born with intelligence and athletic ability. He is known for his tennis; as a great tennis player with three grand slam wins and 76 titles but he did not want to be remembered for his tennis. His mother died when he was young and he said he can't recall ever holding her hand.

Barrack Obama admired Arthur Ashe as a man and learned from him
Barack Obama admired Arthur Ashe as a man and learned from him. Ashe playing against Dennis Ralston at the 1964 Southern California Intercollegiates. Image: Wikipedia.



He wanted to be remembered for what he achieved in contributing to bettering humanity. He fought against racism and he fought for a cure for AIDS because he contracted AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion he received after a heart operation when he was aged 36.

He needed a heart operation at the age 36 because he had a heart attack. He inherited a heart problem. And then the hospital who treated him ultimately killed him slowly because they gave him blood that was infected.

He dealt with AIDS with great dignity because at that time there was a lot of misconceptions about it and people with AIDS were stigmatised. Of course he was stigmatised as a black person as well.

Throughout his life he acted with great intelligence and dignity combined with passion and a commitment to right wrongs and better the world. He used his superb achievements as a tennis player to achieve, for him, more important goals in achieving better rights to people of colour for instance. His tennis gave him celebrity and an entry into white society and he used it as a platform to change attitudes.

He married a woman who was intelligent too and she was a photographer. She used Leica cameras which interests me because I was once a photographer.

But the point here is that Barak Obama, another intelligent person, looked up to 2 sports men as people from whom he learned how to be a man; men who he admired as sportsmen and as men you had the right qualities. These two men were Arthur Ashe and Muhammad Ali.

Arthur Ashe died of pneumonia related to his HIV-positive illness. He died aged 49 in 1993. A life cut tragically short. I believe his brother is still alive.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Personality is the key to finding your happiness

I don't have an awful lot on this because I can't find the study which by the way is published in the Journal of Personality and Psychology. But according to The Times newspaper report, "Personality is key to finding happiness".

Personality is the key to finding your happiness
Image: MikeB



The author goes on to state that "Your personality has more of an impact on your level of life satisfaction than your circumstances", according to a study. That says to me that the important thing is about how one responds to changing circumstances that seem to be beyond one's control. And that is down to personality.

The researchers hail from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Tartu in Estonia. They wanted to cross check what other people thought about the happiness of other people and what these people thought about their own happiness. There were 20,000 participants.

The cross referenced responses suggested that 80% of the differences in people's life satisfaction could be traced to their personalities according to the researchers led by Dr. Rene Mottus.

Comment: I take this to mean that one's personality dictates how one responds to life events. I think this is about the classic argument that the way you deal with life is how you respond or react to events. 

You can deal with these events positively and find solutions and a good way forward or you can succumb and become a victim to events that happen around you, seemingly beyond your control. With a good personality, a more positive personality, a more optimistic personality you can be happier in getting over these life problems.

That's my personal interpretation and Dr. Rene Mottus said that: 
"Broadly speaking, more satisfied people were more emotionally stable, extroverted and conscientious. But more specifically those satisfied with their life felt understood, excited and decisive, while less satisfied people felt envious, bored, used and unrewarded.... ..Personality tends to be stable, gradually shaped by a mix of thousands of experiences and genetic factors so the more satisfaction is about personality, the less it is expected to react to life's ebb and flow."
In the paragraph above we see two contrasting personality types. One is emotionally stable and conscientious and "extroverted". I take that to mean a person who is confident enough to express their views and optimistic enough to be as positive as one can be when faced with life's problems.

The other personality type is one who is less likely to be positive and conscientious in working towards a better lifestyle. They are perhaps less energetic and therefore become bored. They appear to be envious of people who are more energetic and more conscientious. But when they are less energetic and less conscientious they might tend to decide that they are being 'used' by society (victims). And if they decide they are unrewarded it is perhaps because they are not working hard enough to gain reward, to be rewarded.

This seems to be the difference between a personality which takes a more positive view of life and someone that is prone to negativity. The half full versus half empty mentality. That's my interpretation.

It can be very hard to maintain a positive attitude, I fully accept that. But it certainly pays to be as active as possible and as positive as possible. To get up when knocked down and keep trying. It is hard to do but the rewards are there. 

They are there for all to see. The problem is it can be hard to drag oneself out of a situation where one is bored and feeling unrewarded but the best solution is to start becoming active. In short, to work towards a goal. To be productive. To have a target. That takes effort and self-discipline. But people need targets and PURPOSE in life. We must find purpose to gain life satisfaction.

I sense that self-discipline is behind these results. It's a very important aspect of life and a very difficult one, I fully understand.

Is it possible to change your personality? We inherit personality and it is moulded throughout our lives. It's a bit of nature and nurture. I think it's possible to change one's personality slowly and conscientiously. It takes effort. Sometimes meeting a person can change one's personality and lifestyle.

If you find it difficult to become more conscientious and positive, it would help to get support in some way. The bottom line is it takes effort unfortunately. And I wonder whether today there are too many Gen Z people who tend to think that the world owes them something and they don't really have to apply themselves very hard for a very long time to get rewards. But you do unfortunately.

There is an element here of the positive cycle going upwards and the negative cycle going downwards. The more effort you put in the better things become and the better things become the more motivated you are and the more motivated you are the better things become because you put more effort in. The reverse can happen.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Metropolitan Police has axed its Wildlife Crime Unit


The Metropolitan Police, the largest police force in the UK which provides law enforcement around London and Greater London, has axed its Wildlife Crime Unit, a fortnight ago. There is now a single Metropolitan police officer with specialism in wildlife crime employed by the force. Essentially, the Metropolitan Police force have, apparently, abandoned the protection and conservation of wildlife. This is a very bad backward step for animal advocates considering the increase in wildlife crime globally.

The Times newspaper states that the disbanded unit played an important role in tackling the smuggling of animal parts and plants through Heathrow Airport. They had a good history of seizing live animals and body parts at the airport as part of Operation Thunder.

But the Metropolitan Police decided to abolish the unit and its two detectives were redeployed to local policing. Since then one of the detectives has resigned. This leaves one concerned with wildlife protection and enforcement.

The point is that crimes relating to the international trade in wildlife body parts and living animals is expanding. It is a multi-billion dollar trade annually.

The Metropolitan Police's deployment of resources in protecting wildlife is frankly abysmal. We are told that the unit's expertise was domestic and international in, for example, helping to enforce the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). 

This is an international treaty which is persistently abused by the way because the treaty members who have entered into an agreement with other countries simply fail to enforce the treaty adequately which I would argue is reinforced by the Met police decision to abolish their specialist unit.

It admitted that "the main consequence of its closure was that protection for wildlife crimes would be less likely." The quote comes from The Times.

John Scanlon, chairman of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime and the former secretary-general of CITES, said in a letter to Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner: 
"Dismantling the Met Wildlife Crime Unit is not only bad for London, and the United Kingdom, but it will impact source countries, and send the wrong message to those who are inclined to engage in wildlife crime."
The unit still exists but has only an advisory role. Unlike the abolished unit it is unable to prosecute directly, which means that the police officers from the disbanded unit will now focus on tackling local crime.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Would you dive in and wrestle with a dog attacking a cat?

If you saw a Pitbull-type dog attacking a cat would you dive in and wrestle with the dog, pull the dog off the cat and then dominate the dog while ushering them away from the cat? I am pretty sure that most people would be very reluctant to do this for fear of being badly injured themselves because the dog's blood is up. The animal is enraged and might redirect their attack from the cat to the person.

But this man did it and it looks great. He has got a lot of praise. Here are some screenshots from the video and the vide itself which is on TikTok. Below the image and video I discuss one caveat. It is an important point.


Here is the TikTok video which is embedded here. If it disappears on TikTok it disappears here too! ヾ(≧▽≦*)o


Caveat

What I mean here is that the video may not be all that it seems. The guy looks brave and he is. And he respects animals as he does not harm the dog. He just grabs him and dominates him to keep him away from the cat.

But the issue is this: does he own both the cat and the dog? Or does he own the cat but not the dog? We are told that he owns the cat but not the dog.

If that is true he is brave and not a lot of people would put themselves so obviously in harms way to save their cat. A lot would but a lot would not. Or they'd find a weapon to beat the dog off and protect themselves. Not dive in an use their arms and hands.

But if he owns both animals he could be criticised for allowing the attack to occur. And it would explain why he is so respectful of the dog. 

You know, if you are driven to save the life of your cat from being killed by a dog you'd do anything to get the dog off. You'd harm the dog if you had to and it would be justified although very unfortunate.

We don't have the full backstory. The area where it occurred does not look typically residential. That's important. 

If it is residential, it may have happened outside the front door to his home which would make me believe that the dog and cat are his.

But if it is a public place and he was a passer by and decides to intervene, bravo to him.

Would you dive in and use your hands and arms to save a cat from a dog attack?

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 14 July 2024

Infographic explains why cats are described as having nine lives

We know that cats are great survivors. It seems that they have the ability to avoid death when other animals might succumb under similar life threatening circumstances because of their superb athleticism and acute senses. Some put it down to luck. But why describe this skill as having nine lives? Why not three lives or five lives? Why nine?

Well, here is the answer in an infographic that I prepared today based on the words of a great animal behaviourist and author. The answer is simple in one sense and awfully complicated in another because I am yet to find a good explanation for the what the 'trinity of trinities' is.

But here is one from Google Gemini. It does not explain how 9 lives signifies luck but I think we infer that the number 9 is special for the reasons described below and because it is special it can be attached to luck.

The term "trinity of trinities" has two main interpretations:
  • Christian Theology: This refers to the concept of the Christian Trinity itself, where one God exists in three persons: Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. Proponents of this view reason that the number three and the concept of a trinity appear throughout creation, reflecting the nature of God (https://www.icr.org/).
  • General Numerology: More broadly, "trinity of trinities" simply refers to the number nine (3 x 3). The number nine holds significance in various cultures and belief systems due to its mathematical properties and its frequent appearance in natural phenomena (https://www.bookofthrees.com/contact/).


Infographic




Bing Copilot says this about the trinity of trinities:

The Trinity of Trinities is a concept that represents the ultimate expression of divine unity and complexity. It’s challenging for relative beings to fully grasp, but here’s a simplified explanation:

  1. The Doctrine of the Trinity: In Christianity, the Trinity refers to one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. These three are one in essence but distinct in person.

  2. The Shield of Trinity: This iconic diagram visually represents the correlation between the three Persons of the Trinity. It’s often depicted as an equilateral triangle with each corner labeled as “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” The lines connecting them signify their eternal relationship.

  3. The Trinity of Trinities: Beyond the basic Trinity, this concept suggests a deeper understanding of divine relationships. It encompasses the interplay of the three Persons within the Godhead, revealing their harmonious unity and mutual love. While challenging to comprehend fully, it invites us to explore the profound nature of God.

In summary, the Trinity of Trinities invites us to contemplate the intricate unity and relational dynamics within the divine nature. 🙏✨

Are you any the wiser? I am not. (✿◡‿◡)
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Polarised American society, gun access and aggressive rhetoric led to Trump shooting

Polarised American society, guns and aggressive rhetoric led to Trump shooting
Image: AP - Getty Images.

American society has become more polarised. Discourse is more black-and-white. I am not referring to black people and white people. I'm referring to strong views at either end of the political spectrum. People are less inclined to have thoughts in the middle ground. The grey area. The area of compromised solutions.

In general there are more extreme thoughts and that kind of issue is occurring across the Western world I would argue. It's why we have far right groups doing so well in France, Germany and the UK for example.

Trump attempted assassination
Photo-edited version by MikeB

And there are more stresses in society I feel. The world has become more stressed. People have become more anxious and fearful. That's partly because the background tension in the world has increased. This is due to various factors such as climate change and Putin's invasion of Ukraine. And we are still post-Covid which caused a lot of financial stresses, still felt today.

And then in America they have more guns than there are people (433 million guns and 341 million citizens). No country has so many guns available. And if you combine these polarised viewpoints as I've called them plus aggressive rhetoric with the easy access of guns which are not, some may argue, regulated as well as they should be in America, you end up with the Trump attempted assassination.

Of course, he is a divisive character. You either love them or loathe them. And I'm sure a lot of people are unsurprised that he was shot. He was shot in the right ear so the shooter was targeting his head apparently with a rifle from a roof from which he had visual access to the rally which apparently (ironically) was supported by a gun lobby.

But underpinning this attempted assassination of Donald Trump is the black-and-white nature of American politics and society being somewhat split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats. Some might argue that there will be a civil war as this split is so severe.

The argument now is that Trump's attempted assassination will boost his campaign to be the next president. A strong survivor compared to Biden, the weak and rapidly declining geriatric.

One remarkable aspect of this assassination attempt is that Trump immediately knew that he should use it to his advantage because we see some amazing photographs of him with his fist raised showing a very strong, dominant character and behind him is the American flag. 

Surrounding him are Secret Service personnel trying to recover him and take him to a safe place. It's an amazing photograph which he will no doubt use from now until he becomes the next president.


Update a few hours later:

There's a lot of talk about the aggressive rhetoric, which I mention. The general consensus now is that it should be dialled down in order to stop provoking these sorts of incidents. Freedom of speech is important but it can cross the line to inciting violence and there needs to be a fresh look at that. This would apply not only to the United States but the UK as well because there has been violence and intimidation in the UK during the latest general election.

And there are ructions in France with their recent elections and extremist views coming out.

The shooter is Thomas Crooks. He lived at Bethel Park and his home is being searched by the FBI as I dictate this.

He was seen on the roof opposite the stadium where former president Trump was speaking by a bystander and a Trump supporter. This man saw the shooter very clearly and he pointed it out to law enforcement but apparently they took no action. There was confusion before the actual shooting.

There are concerns about the lack of efficiency of law enforcement and Trump's security team in allowing this to happen. The man who saw the shooter before he was actually shot by security staff said he was up there for about three or four minutes and he shot five bullets one of which grazed Trump's head and took a nick out of his ear. That bullet went on and killed a man behind him it seems.

Two other people behind Trump were injured. They are hospitalised.

Trump immediately after being shot in the ear apparently shouted "Fight, fight, fight!". This further incited violence. It's understandable he said this but the argument is that the shooter was incited to violence and now we have former president Trump responding by also inciting violence. It is a very unhealthy situation. Trump's post on his Truth Social website is far more conciliatory however.


Some Democrats have stated that the shooter was working on behalf of the Democrat party. They blame the Democrats for organising this attempted assassination. This will further polarise the Democrats and Republicans.

Incidentally, Thomas Crooks was a registered Republican interestingly. We don't know his motivation for the shooting. But a large segment of Democrats appear to have assumed that his motivation was to shoot the leading Republican, the Republican candidate for the presidency to knock him out of the race. But that's an assumption which has not been verified as yet with evidence.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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