Archive for the ‘Dark Mountain’ Category

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery

November 22, 2018

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery, a trek out to south east London, a nightmare to find.

Before setting off, I ask of the Baldwin Gallery, a fee, need to book, how to find?

Sadly clueless on the use of social media. No reply, by the time I do eventually receive a reply, too late, but they did have the courtesy to apologise.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network – many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social network.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford, alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no.

When in the vicinity and unable to find, I ask a passing local. No he has never heard of.

I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

I expect to find no one there, I am surprised to find quite a few have turned up, maybe twenty or more.

The original concept of Dark Mountain, thought provoking essays and short stories, art and poetry, was excellent. I was happy to support. But the reality, incomprehensible writing badly written, very little worth reading, the art badly reproduced. And then to be insulted with a poor quality paperback when had subscribed to what Dark Mountain describe as ‘Each issue takes the form of a beautifully-produced hardback.’

The evening was reading from Terra.

Nothing more boring than reading what has been written, I can do that myself. Public reading of poetry a different matter, it is meant to be read out loud. Far more interesting is for the contributors to talk about the subject they have written about.

Reading of a short story, a postman posted to back of beyond, I must have missed something, as the end was back at the beginning.

Reading of two essays, a native Indian massacre, the struggle of Palestinians, deserved deeper exploration, which would have been been possible had the contributors discussed their contribution not read from it. Worse still, it was a waste of there being present.

One of the criticisms of Dark Mountain, apart from too much pretentious badly written incomprehensible drivel, is the typeface, too small, not easy to read.

What was Terra?

I thought next volume, but when I saw a tiny slim volume, I thought no, must be a supplementary book, especially when I learnt this was the second book launch.

The topic was travel, a sense of place, how we interact with the landscape, how the landscape interacts with us.

Terra is the next volume, the typeface microscopic, needing a magnifying glass to read.

Copies of Terra were on sale. I did not see any sold. Nor did I see early volumes of Dark Mountain on sale.

At £20 for a slim volume, too pricey, especially when paid for by subscription, unlike most publications which go from publication to remainder to pulp.

It was only later when I checked the Dark Mountain website I learnt why no other volumes on sale, all sold out. Only available as a pdf file. I would recommend upload to leanpub and have in an e-format that flows as is more suited to reading on a tablet or e-reader or smartphone than pdf, though pdf would still be a format to select from.

Interesting exhibits at the Baldwin Gallery, strong Mexican influence, or at least Cenrtral America.

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Changing a light bulb

November 15, 2018

What did you do today?

Changed a light bulb.

Somebody has to change out that lightbulb at the top of those tall TV towers!

This is tower climber Kevin Schmidt making the climb to the very top of the now inactive KDLT TV analog broadcast antenna near Salem, SD.

It was a beautiful fall day for a climb and the views are stunning!

Watch at 1080 HD in full screen to get a small taste of the experience.

Iceland’s palm oil Christmas commercial banned

November 9, 2018

Palm oil plantations are among the biggest driver of deforestation, threatening the orangutan with extinction. — Iceland Foods

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil plantations, it is an oxymoron.

Palm oil plantations are monocultures devoid of life apart from the plantation trees.

Palm oil plantations are destroying rain forests.

Palm oil is high in saturated fat, higher in saturated fat than pig fat. At room temperature palm oil is solid. It used to be known as axle grease as that was what it was used for. The only reason it is liquid at room temperature is because it has been chemically processed.

Palm oil is used to bulk out products from foods to cosmetics. It is used because it is cheap.

It is ok to advertise and sell products containing palm oil, even though bad for people and planet. Even to mislead people that it is healthy.

Whole Earth peanut butter is padded out with palm oil.

M&S are selling so-called healthy spreads where the main ingredient was palm oil, and yet called olive spread.

Oxfam shops a couple of years ago were selling peanut butter in a plastic jar padded out with sugar, palm oil, and salt.

OK to advertise palm oil products, but try to air an advert that highlights why palm oil is bad, and your advert will be banned for being political, as Iceland learnt when their Christmas advert was banned.

We have an obesity epidemic. We have a type-two diabetes epidemic. But it is ok for McDonald’s to promote their junk food, Coca-Cola their sugary drinks, but not to suggest we eliminate palm oil.

M&S have a stupid Christmas advert claiming they went around the country asking people what they wanted for Christmas.

Would it have not been better to have toured their shops, sorted out their piss-poor service, tills not manned, lights turned out ten minute before store closes, fresh produce wrapped in plastic?

But then M&S is a failing retailer, and with this level of contempt for customer service, it is easy to see why.

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee supply coffee to British Airways

July 24, 2018

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee are supplying coffee to British Airways for serving from automated machines in airport lounges and by stewards on their flights.

This is is not good news, indeed it is very bad news.

It is not good news if care about coffee, if Union care about their reputation, if care about the planet.

Global warming is killing coffee. The only people who will be able to afford coffee, the 1%, the very same people sitting in airport lounges pontificating on the delights of Union coffee being served by British Airways, now BA as not British owned.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. Does Union really wish their name to be linked to a major climate polluter?

In the northern hemisphere we are seeing record high temperatures this summer. This is not the new norm, this is the beginning of relentless rise in global temperatures as climate change kicks in.

How are Union to explain to the poor farmers when their crops fail due to rising temperatures that they were a willing party?

Supply coffee to other than speciality coffee shops harms the reputation of Union. On the other hand, if profit is the driving motive, then maybe a good deal.

Union supply coffee to Waitrose. On the shelf can be found coffee at least two months old. If lucky, only a month old.

Union supply coffee to Gail’s Bakery. The coffee at Gail’s Farnham is undrinkable.

Clifton Coffee supply coffee to Cosy Club. A corporate chain of fake 1930s bars, so fake a parody of fake. The coffee served in Cosy Club Guildford is undrinkable.

Jamie Oliver has a coffee kiosk at Gatwick serving Italian corporate brand coffee, barely drinkable coffee. A tragedy. With many excellent coffee roasteries locally the coffee kiosk could be used to showcase excellent local coffee.

If care about reputational damage, take care where supply coffee.

Yet one of life’s ironies, Grocer and Grain in Brighton, the owner passionate about coffee, has a good range of coffee on the shelves, including Union, but that on the shelves not as fresh as could be, he would love to serve Union coffee, but Union will not supply, therefore obtained through a third party, thus that on the shelves not as fresh as he would like it to be.

rCup

July 8, 2018

Waitrose had their own reusable cup on sale at £3, now the rCup at £12.

Claimed to be made from a dozen recycled coffee cups,  which makes the point, plastic is not recycled, it is down cycled.

Designed by Dan Dicker a former designer for Dyson. Maybe should stick to vacuum cleaners as not barista friendly, something fairly basic for a reusable coffee cup.

Will not be popular if walk into a coffee shop with rCup and many baristas will quite rightly refuse to serve.

It is opened by pressing the top, then press again to seal.

Why though would anyone wish to drink a coffee as though a baby or an invalid?

Yet another inferior KeepCup clone.

If wish for a reusable cup, buy a KeepCup from a coffee shop, where they will also give a discount if used.

Sale of rCup should be seen for what it is,  greenwash by Waitrose to distract from fresh produce in plastic.

Nor are reusable coffee cups the answer, they are addressing the symptom rather than the underlying problem of grab it and go takeaway throw away culture, pointless consumerism.

We have to introduce a latte levy, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop serving speciality coffee in glass or ceramic.

Plastic Free July

July 1, 2018

You may not know, I did not know, I only know because it came up as I was typing a hashtag, it is Plastic Free July.

The place to begin is your local coffee shop.

Are those takeaway coffee cups compostable, do they sell reusable coffee cups, for example KeepCup, do they offer discount if bring a clean, barista friendly reusable coffee cup?

Not that compostable coffee cups or reusable coffee cups are the answer, they are not, they are addressing symptoms, but at least they are a small step in the right direction.

Why are you still drinking coffee in a chain, it is not drinkable coffee, they opposed the latte levy, many dodge tax, they drain money out of local economies?

As always it is indie coffee shops leading the way.

Support your local indie coffee shop. Relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic. Ditch your bad takeaway habit, not unless you bring your own cup.

Question over packaging in supermarkets. Worst offenders Waitrose and M&S.

Buy fresh produce off your local market or farmers market.  It will be fresher, cheaper, pick what you want and pop into a brown paper bag.

It will be interesting to see what Guildford farmers market, Winchester street food market and Godalming street food market are doing. The environmental standards on these markets appalling.

 

 

 

Sustainability Fayre

June 9, 2018

In Gostrey Meadow in Farnham a Sustainability Fayre.

I recall passing through last year, not busy, not many stalls, but maybe I passed through as closing.

A good variety of stalls, far better than at the Farnham Carnival. Something the Farnham Carnival should take note of and act on.

Sadly no coffee stall.

A burger off a farm stall was very good. Though unfortunate not fresh off the grill.

A brief chat with Farnham Town Council. They must exact higher environmental standards in the park for events, get rid of the Tony Fresko ice cream van belching out noxious fumes at the height of small children damaging their brains. They do not own the park, but did not disagree with what I said, maybe we will see change.

A bowl of soup from the vegan cafe that has opened in Downing Street. Far better attitude than the failed deli, and busy. The bread was black. I have never come across black bread.

Excellent cold brew coffee off Krema. Once had one, desire another. Very refreshing on a hot day. Far better than the V60 earlier in the afternoon off Karuna Coffee during a fleeting visit to Aldershot Victoria Day.

Official opening of International Bomber Command Centre

April 12, 2018

To coincide with 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force today saw the official opening of International Bomber Command Centre.

Veterans of Bomber Command were invited from all over the world. Some like the Poles and other Europeans, had escaped with their lives from occupied Europe to then put their lives on the line to serve in Bomber Command to help defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Europe from German occupation.

Invited they came, from as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Australian government met the expenses of their veterans who came. Three hundred veterans, the youngest 92 the oldest 100.

Military personnel too, from US, Canada and Australia milling around.

The surrounding roads were closed, causing a long diversion.

Parking in an adjacent field, even for the veterans. Those in wheelchairs somehow managing not to get stuck in the mud.

A guard of honour mounted by RAF personnel, all in dress uniform, bedecked with their medals.

Once in the marquee, reserved for veterans only, would you like sir tea or coffee, from an airman.

Wandering around, the site shrouded in mist, the trees on the site vanished in mist, not even possible to see the South Common, let alone Lincoln Cathedral the other side of the valley.

The site has special significance. It overlooks Lincoln, it overlooks Lincoln Cathedral. A spire that is the tallest war memorial in the country, the height the width of a Lancaster wing span. For the airmen who flew on a bombing raid, Lincoln Cathedral was the last sight of what they called home, on return if they made it back, the first sight they saw. Many did not make it back. Their names, over 57,000, their names are cut in the panels. They may not have made it back, but they live on in spirit, with their laser cut names. The average age of the aircrew, 23 years old.

Also on site the Chadwick Centre named after Sir Roy Chadwick who designed both the Lancaster and the Vulcan.

The Chadwich Centre houses an interactive museum, in conjunction with Lincoln University, a digital archive, which is hoped to go on-line in the summer.

Between the Chadwick Centre and the Memorial Spire, a path alongside are tablets with a dedications to those who lost their lives.

All too soon, everyone was herded out of the warmth of the marquee, where lunch was to be served later, out into the misty cold, for the opening ceremony.

And cold it was. Survival blankets had to be handed out to keep people warm.

An address by someone from the Lottery, who provided some of the funding (the majority was donated by the public), Lord Howe defence minister in the Lords and Nicky Barr chief executive of IBCC whose hard work, plus her army of volunteers, has made everything possible.

There was to have been a Lancaster flypast, but to the disappointment of everyone, not possible.

No official bigwig, Royal Family or RAF Top Brass. Instead, which was a nice touch, the veterans cut the ribbon. A long ribbon unravelled across where the veterans were sat, scissors handed out, and the ribbon cut.

The Last Post, then everyone, no one sure what to do, headed back to warmth. The opening ceremony had not finished, there was more music, drama, but the cold was too much.

In the open reception area of the Chadwick Centre, on sale books, tea, coffee, craft beer.

At the entrance, complimentary copies of Lincolnshire Life featuring IBCC.

Back in the marquee lunch served for the veterans their guests had to make do with the various food stalls parked outside. A choice of burger, burger or burger, one stall had noodles, and another cakes.

The lunch, three sausages one assumes Lincolnshire sausages, served on a bed of potatoes, carrots and peas. The serving staff volunteers from a local college catering school.

BBC Look North excellent live coverage in the evening by Peter Levy and the Look North team, a pity about the crass comments from the weatherman which were uncalled for, and unfortunate cut short by five minutes by a party political broadcast.

One of life’s ironies, as the opening took place, high level meetings in London, the US and across Europe on whether or not to bomb Syria for its use of chemical weapons on civililians.

In the evening a concert.

On Saturday, world premier of the digitally remastered Dambusters.

Evening Thursday 24 May 2018, RAF 100 Centenary Concert in Lincoln Cathedral will also mark 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid.

Facebook is not a social network

April 10, 2018

Watching Mark Zuckerberg walk through the corridors of power escorted by Capitol Police was like watching a perp walk, when the police tip off the media. The only difference, he was not facing any charges (yet) and was not handcuffed.

Showing his usual contempt for facebook users he ignored questions fired at him by journalists.

Appearing on his first day before questions from a committee of politicians, it was as though Facebook had sent not a human but a malfunctioning avatar. Was this a human or an avatar representing Facebook?

He claimed facebook was inspirational. Claimed the credit for facebook for any action by democracy activists. Anything bad, that was bad actors. And yes facebook had made mistakes letting in the bad actors to play on their platform.

The only reason Zuckerberg was there was because of the collapse of facebook stock market value. He is still showing contempt for British facebook users by refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee, refusing any requests for media interviews.

Facebook is not a social network. Facebook is not a community. What we are seeing is not down to a few bad actors or facebook letting them gain access to their platform. Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

The bad actor is facebook.

If Cambridge Analaytica is a bad actor, how many more bad actors, how many more facebook apps harvesting our personal data?

  • facebook has to be regulated
  • facebook has to be broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp
  • facebook has to be handed to the users

Users have to do their bit.

  • overwrite then delete all personal data
  • turn off location tracking
  • disable facebook apps
  • do not tag friends
  • do not use Instagram
  • do not use WhastApp

What facebook has engaged in is digital rape.

It beggars belief there are still facebook users who have not yet taken these very basic measures.  Are they naive or just plain stupid? Maybe they do not care about their own data security, but what of those they are connected to?  Their behaviour is equivalent in the digital realm to someone spreading HIV/Aids.

Cambridge Analytica Brexit and election fraud

April 2, 2018

We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles. — Christopher Wylie

We couldn’t have done it without them [AIQ]. — Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave campaign manager

I voted Leave for reasons of sovereignty and democracy. Isn’t it ironic that this is exactly what we’ve now lost? — Shahmir Sanni

Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

Facebook apps, surveys, quizzes, games, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica used a facebook app to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users then used that data to manipulate them.

Two weeks ago, Channel 4 News broke the news of what Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were doing with the data, the lengths to which Cambridge Analytica was prepared to go to rig elections. The Channel 4 scoop of the decade has subsequently reverberated around the world, US, UK, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mexico.

Compelling evidence has been presented by Channel 4 News, Carole Cadwalladr, Christopher Wylie, Shahmir Sanni and others of waht appear to be criminal activity between AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Vote Leave, BeLeave, senior Tories and their advisers, to rig the European Referendum.

Carole Cadwalladr:

‘Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

Did this alleged criminal activity sway the Brexit result? I think not, despite the persuasive  testimony from Christopher Wylie.

Carole Cadwalladr:

In total, £3.9m of leave campaign funds were spent with AIQ. Four different groups used the firm, even though all these campaigns were supposedly separate and could only “work together” if they shared their spending limits. Vote Leave spent £2,697,000. There was the £675,000 via BeLeave. A sum of £100,000 that Vote Leave donated to Veterans for Britain, which Veterans for Britain then paid to AIQ. AIQ also received £32,750 from the Democratic Unionist party. Whichever way one looks at it, AIQ would seem to be fundamental to the data-driven targeting of “persuadables” in the final days of the campaign.

These four campaign groups mysteriously and independently found the same tiny data analytics firm, located in a sleepy town on an island off the west coast of Canada, 5,000 miles away.

In April 2017, Dominic Cummings told me by email that Vote Leave had found the firm “on the internet”. Darren Grimes told the Electoral Commission the same thing. The only problem? Online archives show that AIQ’s website didn’t show up in Google searches until after the referendum. “I looked at the time,” says Sanni. “I was, like, ‘Who is AIQ?’ And there was nothing. No website. Nothing.”

Both sides lied to swing the result. From what little we have seen, IAQ told the truth.

European Union was established as a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone. And nothing has changed. An Empire that centralises power, that brutally crushes any dissent on the periphery, as we have seen with Greece.

No Empire lasts for ever. The EU is on the verge of implosion. We must plan for that eventuality, to create a Europe-wide network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries.

Where though I do agree with Christopher Wylie, is where there was cheating, those involved must be held to account. And that also applies to the overspending by Tory candidates in the last but one General Election uncovered by Channel 4 News for which there has still to be criminal prosecutions.

Deathly silence from Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook stock valuation started to crash. He is still showing contempt for facebook users by his refusal to testify before a House of Commons Select Committee.

Facebook must be regulated to stop the collection and abuse of personal data, broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp, and ultimately handed to over to its users to function as global commons and open coop.

No one disputes the value of facebook as a social network, what is at issue is the collection and abuse of personal data.

The activities of companies like Cambridge Analytica, a threat to democracy, must not be permitted to operate.

Facebook users must also take personal responsibility for the safeguarding their personal data. They would not hand personal data to a stranger in the street, leave cash lying around, why therefore so careless with personal data.

Facebook users need to act now. Overwrite then delete all personal data, never post live links where you are, disable all facebook apps, disable location, do not use Instagram, do not use WhatsApp.

The most valuable data on facebook, is your personal data, where you are.

Facebook apps, games, surveys, quizzes, harvest personal data.

Instagram is owned by facebook. Pictures posted act as bait to draw into the Facebook walled garden. Instagram claims ownership rights to the pictures. The pictures are not visible on twitter. If you wish pictures to be visible post direct to twitter.

There are superior alternatives to WhatsApp, for example Skype.