My site has gone back to an earlier state of its development, and I will be gradually bringing back the 2016 content. Reason: I had to restore my site from an old backup, due to being hacked. Hacking – so much of the world’s human and physical resources wasted! Interesting that ALL my sites were hacked together, which my hosts and security companies assure me does not happen except rarely, and that when it does, it is a strong indication of a targeted personal attack. Now why would someone launch a targeted personal attack against me and try to take down all my websites? They don’t spread spam, they have no defamatory or offensive content, they are not commercial, no money passes through them, no juicy contact details are stored on them, I am nothing special, don’t hurt anyone or rip anyone off, but do my best to bring some good value to the world. The ONLY reason for someone wanting to attack me is that they don’t like me speaking the truth about anything!
It gets away from you: so much to do on the web, and it’s always changing and expanding so fast it’s hard to keep up.
I’m learning Drupal now, a new website building content-management system, so will be playing with that for a while.
The environmental and social cost of money on this planet
I suddenly wondered how much of an environmental issue it is to have money existing in the world. I typed into Google advanced search: “environmental cost of money” and only 3 results came up! And of those, only one had anything to say on the subject I was after – a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece in the South China Morning Post (extract at the end of my post) that nonetheless had some new perspectives.
So, rather than spend the next 3 years of my life online researching the answers to my question, I jotted down a list of the things one would want to consider when exploring this subject. As I wrote, more and more issues of global and individual significance arose. Head over to The Cost Of Money to see my list!
A few years back I worked for a largish institution and had occasion to do a stocktaking job with lots of minute detail, of the kind that no-one in their right mind would care to do twice. The computer crashed and died and all my painstaking work was lost and had to be done again. The same scenario repeated itself in other offices and eventually it was found that a computer virus had taken out many of the institution’s computers. The virus was traced to another large institution, which was totally computer-disabled for 2 days as a result. It turned out that someone in our institution was married to someone in their institution and they were sharing disks on their home computer.
The investigation went deeper (as one of the affected institutions was a law organization). It was found that the perpetrator of the virus was actually the owner and principle of a company making anti-virus software! They were keeping pace with all the new computer viruses appearing on the scene from ‘who knows where’, and doing very good business (surprise, surprise!). He’s now in jail, where he belongs….
Now what’s this got to do with biology?
Well, for one example, when I see the profits of the vaccine manufacturers skyrocketing into the billions from our tax money, while they make a plethora of new vaccines to keep pace with all the new people-viruses appearing on the scene from ‘who knows where’, I can’t help noticing the parallels with our married couple sharing computer story. Perhaps with “tech” rapidly out-distancing “bio” in certain stretches of the human civilization race, some of the bios taking a page out of the tech’s manual and learning how to do new and profitable (for themselves) things with biological materials (at our expense)?
WordPress round 3. It’s been 10 years since I last built a website and things have changed very noticeably in that time. Those of you who’ve been doing it continuously have probably not noticed the extent of the changes as it creeps up on you gradually. Boiling frog syndrome!
The first thing I noticed is that moving files around has become infinitely more complex with all the firewalls and security checks, like getting through LA international airport post-9/11! It says unfortunate things about the state of humanity that so many spend their time intentionally doing harm, cheating, disrupting and ripping off others. If there were no spam, crime, hacking and deception, imagine how much bandwidth and memory that would free up!
The second thing I noticed is that the clarity of people’s communication has declined considerably. People do not seem to organize their thoughts or information, or put themselves in the reader’s position very well; instructions are often incomplete and hard to follow; techies write through their own eyes and leave out things that they take for granted but which leave a novice floundering in mystery. This is a generalization of course, and there are those who do make an excellent effort to help others.
The third thing I noticed is the crazy amount of overlapping information, software, systems, etc, like the way umpteen models of cars keep coming out with minor changes in body shape, badging, interior decor, etc. What we really need in this 21st century is a small set of very functional, efficient car designs for which changes and upgrades are really meaningful, progressive and a good use of resources, and I’d say the same about cyber-life. The outcome of this chaos is that for anyone who’s got more to life than being buried on the computer for 20 hours per day, how to quickly find the best tool for the job, what to choose and what to focus your efforts on, has become a very time-consuming and significant problem.
All this results in a situation where novices become so frustrated and overwhelmed that they feel forced to pay someone else to do the basic things they ought to be able to do themselves, but often cannot afford to outsource. Not only that, every techie has their own flavour, biases and limitations, and those may not suit what the cyber baby is looking for but doesn’t know yet. It is quite disempowering to have to hand over your dream to someone else who then “sets it all up for you” but leaves you dependent upon their rather unreliable follow-up, unable to take over yourself, like a lost child in a foreign-speaking environment.
So it has been quite a journey to re-invent the website construction process on my own, with no more budget than my broadband and monthly hosting bill, and no more help than a plethora of how-to sites that I’d love to have the time to re-write properly, and forums of helpful people who thankfully often do have a decent answer! Qualities you need in navigating this cyber-labyrinth are patience, persistence, determination, the ability to jump sideways in your thinking and get out of your own box, the ability to detach when things get tough, and a clear feeling of what your innermost wants to express. The former ones I have in abundance, the latter, developing rapidly in response to the challenges and running in parallel with my soulful development. As one great wise person once said: “Let us learn to rejoice at obstacles, knowing that the welcomed obstacle can be used to speed success” – El Morya, Agni Yoga.
How big is the internet? About 5 million terabytes, according to Google CEO.
How much of the internet is spam? Pingdom says: 512 terabytes per day!
And I just read on Wikipedia that Spam averages 78% of all e-mail sent!
Boiling frog syndrome: