New Technology

One day Bill complained to his friend that his elbow really hurt. His friend suggested that he go to a computer at the drug store that can diagnose anything quicker and cheaper than a doctor.

”Simply put in a sample of your urine and the computer will diagnose your problem and tell you what you can do about it. It only costs $10.”

Bill figured he had nothing to lose, so he filled a jar with a urine sample and went to the drug store. Finding the computer, he poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer started making some noise and various lights started flashing. After a brief pause out popped a small slip of paper on which was printed: “You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water. Avoid heavy lifting. It will be better in two weeks.”

Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, he began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. He mixed together some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it off, he masturbated into the concoction.

He went back to the drug store, located the machine, poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer again made the usual noise and printed out the following message:

“Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren’t yours. Get a lawyer. And if you don’t stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get better.”

If you want some comic relief go to UniJokes.com

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2014

firewworksWell I didn’t achieve that much in 2014 feel it was a bit of a nothing year. Loved my time with Storm in Second Life. Bought a new computer system , a tablet and a smart phone so technology is up to date. Feel I’m getting a bit stale as to hosting , need to up my game. Sigh. However I did stop smoking (YAY) and joined the gym.  New years resolution? Be more energetic. Have a cold at the moment and feel awful.

Hope you all have a super New Year 🙂

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New System and I love it!

Yes its super. Great processor oodles of RAM and a good graphics card. Second Life flies without any jerkiness. But as i realised many years ago the front end aka monitor is one of the most important things. I bought a computer in 1994 spent over half of the total cost on the 17 inch monitor which I still have. I have a 22 inch with a blemish on the bottom but its still usable. I didn’t “need” a new monitor. BUT this was a computer upgrade so it had to be better than my last system. I was scared about spending so much money on a new 27 inch monitor. I debated whether to buy a higher resolution than 1920 x 1080 but the price doubled. And now I am glad I didn’t. As my old 22 inch runs at 1920 x 1080 I discovered I can merge the two into one without any disparity in the resolutions. There is no need to resize any window for the smaller to larger monitor and vice versa. One screen slides seamlessly into the other. In the video below you will see second life captured over two monitors seamlessly. The clarity of the new monitor is great and trust me 27 inches is far bigger than 22 inches. Having trouble with the capture but below gives you an idea. YouTube isn’t big enough LOL. Heres the capture but it doesn’t do it justice….



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Moving Pictures

I love making videos, especially using second life. If you need one for a club or function fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you. My main production site with the videos I love best ( made in the last month) is on Ravens Kiss (dot ) org. With modern software it is amazing what you can do if you use your imagination. If any one needs lessons likewise fill out the form and advice for me? Fill out the form …..smiles. I manage on disability but don’t charge much for making a video, it depends what you want. I charge €8 or $10 an hour and I’m pretty quick. Here is a list of the programs I use.

Expression Studio (there is a free version , highly recommended, lessons given)
Microsoft PowerPoint Excel Word 2013 ( I have MS Certs in them, lessons given)
Camtasia Studio ver 8 ( this is my main program you can pick up a lower version for very little, lessons given)
Autodesk 3DS Max (I’m learning this at the moment)

I use anything I can get my hands on. Its surprising the free stuff out there. Anyone using Paint to do graphics is daft! lol. Just as an example I have captured a PowerPoint transition and saved it as an animated gif on a loop. Ok I have been doing this for some time but to be perfectly honest its not rocket science. I studied PowerPoint online and then went up to Dublin to do my exam which I passed with flying colours! Cost? Nothing except my time.

curtainsites

Having your own domain, a personal domain is so much fun. I mean I just tell people to google me ( Philip Finlay Bryan ) and there are links to everything I do. My email address is me@PhilipFinlayBryan.com [I actually use a different one, Philip@IrishSecure.com, I forward all my email addresses there] So be a member of the 21stCenturyNetworks (dot ) com . Come join the fun.

RavensKiss (dot) org

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50 years on Inequality is still the message

Its been 50 years today since Martin Luther King addressed the American nation. A must listen to BBC compilation is here I decided this video is too important not to be disseminated so I copied it on to youtube!

below is Thomas Pogge’s video on poverty and inequality. The message is clear inequality is the root cause of most of the ills that beset society. THIS CAN BE CHANGED IF THE RICH GIVE UP A FRACTION OF THEIR WEALTH. I HAVE A DREAM!!!!

400 million deaths in the last 22 years killed by poverty. Inequality!

A quarter of the worlds population have over 90% of the worlds income!

I have a dream but the nightmare continues!

Below taken from The Guardian review of The Spirit Level

We are rich enough. Economic growth has done as much as it can to improve material conditions in the developed countries, and in some cases appears to be damaging health. If Britain were instead to concentrate on making its citizens’ incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks’ holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would each live a year or so longer, and we’d trust each other more.

The Spirit Level
: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
(Click for the pdf stats in the Library)
Below are the slides >>>>

inequalitygif
Epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett don’t soft-soap their message. It is brave to write a book arguing that economies should stop growing when millions of jobs are being lost, though they may be pushing at an open door in public consciousness. We know there is something wrong, and this book goes a long way towards explaining what and why.

The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet’s resources.

Wilkinson, a public health researcher of 30 years’ standing, has written numerous books and articles on the physical and mental effects of social differentiation. He and Pickett have compiled information from around 200 different sets of data, using reputable sources such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and the US Census, to form a bank of evidence against inequality that is impossible to deny.

They use the information to create a series of scatter-graphs whose patterns look nearly identical, yet which document the prevalence of a vast range of social ills. On almost every index of quality of life, or wellness, or deprivation, there is a gradient showing a strong correlation between a country’s level of economic inequality and its social outcomes. Almost always, Japan and the Scandinavian countries are at the favourable “low” end, and almost always, the UK, the US and Portugal are at the unfavourable “high” end, with Canada, Australasia and continental European countries in between.

This has nothing to do with total wealth or even the average per-capita income. America is one of the world’s richest nations, with among the highest figures for income per person, but has the lowest longevity of the developed nations, and a level of violence – murder, in particular – that is off the scale. Of all crimes, those involving violence are most closely related to high levels of inequality – within a country, within states and even within cities. For some, mainly young, men with no economic or educational route to achieving the high status and earnings required for full citizenship, the experience of daily life at the bottom of a steep social hierarchy is enraging.

The graphs also reveal that it is not just the poor, but whole societies, from top to bottom, that are adversely affected by inequality. Although the UK fares badly when compared with most other OECD countries (and is the worst developed nation in which to be a child according to both Unicef and the Good Childhood Inquiry), its social problems are not as pronounced as in the US.

Rates of illness are lower for English people of all classes than for Americans, but working-age Swedish men fare better still. Diabetes affects twice as many American as English people, whether they have a high or a low level of education. Wherever you look, evidence favouring greater equality piles up. As the authors write, “the relationships between inequality and poor health and social problems are too strong to be attributable to chance”.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of reading this book is the revelation that the way we live in Britain is a serious danger to our mental health. Around a quarter of British people, and more than a quarter of Americans, experience mental problems in any given year, compared with fewer than 10 per cent in Japan, Germany, Sweden and Italy.

Wilkinson and Pickett’s description of unequal societies as “dysfunctional” suggests implicit criticism of the approach taken by Britain’s “happiness tsar” Richard Layard, who recommended that the poor mental health of many Britons be “fixed” or improved by making cognitive behavioural therapy more easily available. Consumerism, isolation, alienation, social estrangement and anxiety all follow from inequality, they argue, and so cannot rightly be made a matter of individual management.

There’s an almost pleading quality to some of Wilkinson and Pickett’s assertions, as though they feel they’ve spent their careers banging their heads against a brick wall. It’s impossible to overstate the implications of their thesis: that the societies of Britain and the US have institutionalised economic and social inequality to the extent that, at any one time, a quarter of their respective populations are mentally ill. What kind of “growth” is that, other than a malignant one?

One question that comes to mind is whether the world’s most equal developed nations, Japan and Sweden, make sufficient allowance for individuals to express themselves without being regarded as a threat to the health of the collective. Critics of the two societies would argue that both make it intensely difficult for individual citizens to protest against the conformity both produced by, and required to sustain, equality. The inclination to dismiss or neuter individuals’ complaints may, Wilkinson and Pickett suggest, go some way towards explaining the higher suicide rates in both countries compared with their more unequal counterparts. Those who feel wrong, or whose lives go wrong, may feel as though they really do have no one to blame but themselves.

What Japan and Sweden do show is that equality is a matter of political will. There are belated signs – shown in the recent establishment of a National Equalities Panel and in Trevor Phil lips’s public pronouncements on the central place of class in the landscape of British inequality – that Labour recognises that its relaxed attitude to people “getting filthy rich” has come back to bite it on the rear.

Twelve years in power is long enough to reverse all the trends towards greater social and economic stratification that have occurred since 1970; instead they have continued on their merry way towards segregation. Teenage pregnancy rates have begun to rise after a period of decline; there is a 30-year gap in male life expectancy between central Glasgow and parts of southern England; and child poverty won’t be halved by next year after all (though it wouldn’t make as much difference as making their parents more equal).

There are times when the book feels rather too overwhelmingly grim. Even if you allow for the fact that it was written before Barack Obama won the US presidency on a premise of trust and optimism, its opening pages are depressing enough to make you want to shut it fast: “We find ourselves anxiety-ridden, prone to depression, driven to consume and with little or no community life.” Taking the statistics broadly, they may be correct, but many readers simply won’t feel like that.

However, the book does end on an optimistic note, with a transformative, rather than revolutionary, programme for making sick societies more healthy. A society in which all citizens feel free to look each other in the eye can only come into being once those in the lower echelons feel more valued than at present. The authors argue that removal of economic impediments to feeling valued – such as low wages, low benefits and low public spending on education, for instance – will allow a flourishing of human potential.

There is a growing inventory of serious, compellingly argued books detailing the social destruction wrought by inequality. Wilkinson and Pickett have produced a companion to recent bestsellers such as Oliver James’s Affluenza and Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety . But The Spirit Level also contributes to a longer view, sitting alongside Richard Sennett’s 2003 book Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality , and the epidemiologist Michael Marmot’s Status Syndrome , from 2005.

Anyone who believes that society is the result of what we do, rather than who we are, should read these books; they should start with The Spirit Level because of its inarguable battery of evidence, and because its conclusion is simple: we do better when we’re equal.

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green screen

One of the features of Photoshop is the ability to make the background transparent. It is then possible to paste the image on top of any background. This was how I was able to have my avatar in the Google offices. This was done by taking the first picture in front of a “green screen” a single colour background to facilitate its removal.

dudesuitblack copygoogledudesuit

I am now able to do this with video.

Pretty good for my first attempt. I will be able to run a movie as a background. This means that one of my goals, that of bringing sl into rl is closer to being realised.

My choreographer friend Arabella has already come up with an idea of Halloween dances performing in front of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She needed to see her video again so here it is.

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A Bundle Of Pixels

jiselleinfoGetting a virtual pet in second life is quite a remarkable experience.  You go to the shop and choose your pet, in this case a cat.You can see the genealogy of your cat. Opposite are the details taken when she (!) was three days old. The “birth” is an experience in itself. You buy a box with your kitty in it and rezz it. You have to wait 15 minutes and you are presented with a dialogue such as ” Your kitty’s eyes are just opening and she is fumbling around” This goes on for 15 minutes detailing what would be the birth of a real kitten. You, well we did, you sit and wait and watch as the box starts to move. Then the kitten is born. A kind of reverse imprinting occurs.

A rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal of its own kind or to a substitute or an object identified as the parent.

The kitten is tiny and has a name. You can see its menu detailing its love, happiness, food status and age. You set its area of travel . She can sit on your shoulder during the first week . (Sorry having trouble with “she” and “it”).

This is a bundle of pixels. Yet psychological mechanisms are at work here. Throughout second life a process goes on whereby identity is given to an onscreen representation of yourself. Here an identity i.e. your cat is a being. It is a primitive expert system that responds to your input.

 jisellelarge

This kind of behaviour is not uncommon in children. Their toys take on a life of their own with likes and dislikes, a pure projection of the child’s imagination. How much more real is having a “toy” that  has a degree of autonomy but is still dependent on you for love and food in order to grow and live? Bonding occurs. But the bonding is with the avatar so we are even further removed from the actuality. Isn’t this wonderful. first we have an identification with the avatar which becomes an extension of ourselves then we anthropomorphize even further to give life to a bundle of pixels.

 

Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle
Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle

 

You notice that set above the animals head is a menu. This shows the cats energy, love factor, happiness factor and if it is hungry. These change according to your interaction. The more you pet the cat the greater its happiness factor. In the first seven days your cat will grow. Initially she or he will sit on your shoulder but after six days will become to big to do this. Food is rezzed and the cat will find it (Its placed within the roaming range) . Your cat will roam around sniffing at things, cleaning itself and will chase butterflies from an emitter. There was an incident with Ormond where Storm (my partner) made a mistake with deeding him to the group. Ormond became sick and lay in his basket not eating and was covered with a blanket. It was quite upsetting.

Kill The Robot

In the 80s while researching expert systems I came across the following study, reference lost sorry. A small robot was created with LED lights and could traverse a counter top. It had sensors whereby when its batteries became low it would plug itself into a wall socket. It would emit “happy” beeping sounds and its lights would pulse and glow. A subject was asked to observe the robot then was given a hammer and told to “kill” it. It was after all just a bundle of transistors and servos. The subject was reluctant and the robot with the aid of proximity sensors was able to avoid the hammer. It could run away. Eventually the subject caught the robot a glancing blow disabling one of its wheels which began to leak oil. It ran around in circles bleeping. The subject became very distressed and demanded that the researcher kill the robot and put it out of its misery.

Eliza

Many of you might know of ELIZA (after Eliza Doolittle , Pygmalion)  created first in the 60s. It had a sub routine called DOCTOR. It was not AI but simulated it so well it became famous. Based on Rogerian psychotherapy a dialogue would go something like this:

Patient: “Everybody hates me”

DOCTOR: “Why do you think everyone hates you?”

Patient : Because my mother told them to”

DOCTOR “Tell me about your mother”

etc……key words could be identified or a response could be simply turning a statement into a question. It was phenomenal how people reacted. Some said when discovered using the program that it was confidential or personal even after having the program explained to them.

Paro, a robot used in the treatment of dementia.

Paro was developed by Takanori Shibata, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Paro is a therapeutic, pet-type robot with the appearance of a baby harp seal.

paro

Paro has tactile sensors and moves its tail and flippers and will respond by opening its eyes and moving its face toward the sound of voice. Paro’s sensors monitor sound, light, temperature and touch and Paro respond’s appropriately, such as responding to its name and being stroked.

Paro can show various emotions including surprise, happiness and anger, and Paro will cry if it is not receiving sufficient attention.

Anthropomorphism, or personification, is attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being.  This isn’t good enough to explain what is going on here with cats.  (Got to laugh there is a group on Facebook: P.E.T.R.A: People for the Ethical Treatment of Robot Animals. ) Our cat are robots coz  they are exhibit AI. They have there own mechanisms to handle their environment and respond to avatar owners. They can be petted and will reward the avatar with an increase in happiness. Just as a real cat responds to stroking with purring. But all they are is a bundle of pixels.

 Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. Suspension of disbelief often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, and horror genres, as well as in professional wrestling.

Can it apply here? We have already come some way with this with our avatars in second life we consider them to be real. We go beyond them being merely representations and almost have given them a life of their own. Our cats have a certain autonomy but just like their real counterparts need food and attention in order to flourish. We are also “fooled”  into bonding with them through psychological techniques. It is therefore easy to pretend they are real.

I think this is worthy of further study. I think second life itself is worthy of further study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Second Life

It was in April 2012 that I got the all clear about cancer. I rejoined second life on 14th June 2012 after an absence of 3 years. On the 4th November 2012 I registered IrishSecure.com again. On the 12th of December I set up the hosting company around IrishSecure. I wrote a paper on Cyberculture that the few that have seen it, well,  it has been well received and thought to have original ideas. My goal is to get or rather help move second life into the world wide web.

I see no reason why clubs should not have a domain where they can put up advertisements, events and schedules. DJs could like wise have their own sites. Is this difficult? No it takes 10 minutes. Does having a web site take up a lot of time. No it does not its a piece of cake. What are the advantages? With a simple link you can tell your clients exactly what is going on day to day as well as announce special events. It will also serve to drive those new to second life to your venue. I can be of great assistance. AND I will do it for a donation. The strange thing is second life  users seem scared to go onto the world wide web. Why? I dunno. I have gone as far as taking the piss. I believe everyone should have an internet address, just as you would in rl. I believe every group or organisation or club or professional should have a web address. The first question I will ask is : “Why not?”

I have two clients covering 4 domains. The last domain I registered number 45 was fuckim64.com on my 64th birthday. When I was 61 / 62 I did not think I would reach 64. Therefore is is with some amazement that I reached 64. Nor did I think I would become a Domain Registrar again. Yet here I am at 64 with my domains. Here is a video of the domains I have registered, its a bit long 19 minutes but the music is great and can be watched full screen. The music is great.

 


All in all things are looking bright tho I think much work has to be done. I have not made a dent in second life. I have not made serious effort only feelers. I have become a host in Junkyard Blues and this is going well. I failed miserably with Sideroads.

As to personal domains the research I have done still points to this being a good idea.

8 Reasons Why Having a Personal Domain Name is Essential

  1. Search Engine Rankings
    With the world of the web run by Google, Yahoo and Bing, having your own domain automatically places you higher in search engines for your name and in many cases on the first page. Assuming you can secure yourname.com. If you can’t secure a .com, than try .me, .tv, or .info. If you have a common name, then get a name that references your profession like www.merrillmarketer.com or www.digitalmerrill.com. One more reason to secure it now before someone else does.
  2. Professionalism
    Having your own domain name and email address provides a higher level of professionalism and trust. If you have your own domain name vs. some long hotmail.com address it instills a higher level of integrity. If you are in marketing or tech it also shows you understand branding and technology and the value of SEO
  3. Brand Recognition and Recall
    How much easier is it to remember yourname@yourname.com than Joe356TX@aol.com. More importantly, every email you send is your name. If folks can recall your name when they think of a need they have, you are more likely to get a referral or a sale.
  4. Same Email Address Forever
    This one is a no brainer. As I mentioned above, you can now keep your email forever even if you change your ISP or hosting provider. Your domain stays with you as long as you pay the hosting fee every year.  The other added benefit is that jobs may come and go, but your personal email address will always be the same.
  5. Security
    Even if you don’t plan to do anything with the domain other than redirect it to your LinkedIn profile, secure it so no one else can. Especially if that person could be some worthless celebrity, convict or questionable politician. Remember, very few folks look past page one on Google.
  6. Advertisement Free Emails
    The best thing about having your own domain and email address is you don’t spam your friends with ads with every email you send
  7. Your Homebase on the Internet
    If you ever decide to start you own blog or consulting business, you will have a URL you can immediately point your blog to and start promoting.  Your blog becomes the hub of all of your social sites and drives everyone back to content you own forever. Don’t forget to of course back it up.
  8. Just Google Me – Similar to number one, wouldn’t you love to tell folks to “Just Google Me”. Crowd sourced

Of Course I have PhilipFinlayBryan.com

cyberidentitygraphicfinal

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The Crime of Poverty

MY THIRD POST ON POVERTY!

humanrights

The Declaration of Human Rights by

“Welcome To Your World” it says at the top of the page of The Declaration of Human Rights. This is a joke. The world does not belong to us it belongs to the rich. The top 7%. The crime of poverty kills, has killed many many more than The Holocaust. It is a crime far worse than any in human history. If the rich gave up a small percentage of their accumulating wealth millions would be saved. Millions of kids would survive. Millions would not live in Poverty, in misery. I DEMAND AS A CITIZEN OF EARTH THAT THIS SITUATION CHANGE! NOW! I DEMAND THAT THE VERY RICH BE BROUGHT TO ACCOUNT! THEY ARE MURDERERS! THEY ARE COMMITTING A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY! THEY ARE DOING IT WITH OUR PERMISSION THEREFORE WE ARE ALL MURDERERS UNLESS WE STAND UP AND DEMAND AN END TO EXPLOITATION OF THE POOR SO THE VERY RICH CAN HAVE GOLD BATHROOM TAPS!!!!! YES THEY ARE LIVING IN DECADENCE FAR WORSE THAN ANY OTHER PERIOD IN HUMAN HISTORY> THEY CONTROL GOVERNMENTS> THEY CONTROL US! STAND UP AND JOIN ME IN DISSEMINATING THE CRIME OF POVERTY CHARTER WHICH SIMPLY STATES:

____________________________________________________________

WE THE PEOPLE OF EARTH DEMAND THE END OF INEQUALITY THROUGH THE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH!

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WE HAVE THE POWER OF NETWORKS SO LETS NETWORK!

Philip Finlay Bryan B.Sc (hons) MA

 

http://poverty.com : 25,000 people mainly kids die everyday through not having enough to eat. I lived in India for a couple of years. One day I was sitting at a cafe in Bodh Gaya Bihar (the poorest state) and a westerner was walking along being hassled by street kids. This is standard practice. Anyway he was eating sweets. He didn’t like the one he was eating so he threw the half eaten sweet on to a rubbish dump. 5 kids fought over it.

poverty

The Power of Networks

AND TO MOTIVATE YOU:

 

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