Saturday, November 15, 2014

Writing eBooks For Profit

Over the years it's been clear that I've had a propensity for writing. What hasn't been so clear was how to monetise this. Recent research has indicated that if you're a writer it isn't as difficult as you think. If you work with standard word processors and office suites then it becomes clear that it's possible basically to just type things up, export to PDF, and then publish this.

- a good example of this are the 'Building a Cloud Computing Service', 'Convergence Effect', and 'Cloud and Internet Security' (has been cleared by Australian Intelligence Services for sensitive material so it's not a problem if you're curious) reports which are now available via Amazon and Google Play Book stores for 5 USD each (pretty decent content and research for the price to be honest. Will be curious to see how this experiment goes...)
For those who are curious here are some interesting notes:
- there are some plugins and standalone applications which will allow for this but at the end of the day you need to be able to run your book through the automated checkers to be able to get anything actually posted on to the online store
- another option could be paying someone to manually convert your chosen file. The problem is that you never know the quality of the work that you're going to get so I suggest going on your own
- most if not all stores will take a cut of what you sell
- though there are other options out there if you want to sell in a different way
- some sites will ask for ISBN details while others will supply them for you for free
- depending on your status you may need to sign up to have a Tax File Number in the United States. There are often taxation agreements with more developed countries though
- many book stores will require you to use specific file formats or applications
- note that there are are many options/programs out there that will let you preview, manage, and convert your eBooks

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cloud and Internet Security

If you've been watching this blog you may have noticed that there hasn't been a lot of activity lately. Part of this has to do with me working on other projects. One of these includes a report that I call "Cloud and Internet Security" which is basically a follow up of "Building a Cloud Computing Service" and the "Convergence Effect". If you're curious, both documents were/have been submitted to various organisations where more good can be done with them. Moreover, I consider both both works to be "WORKS IN PROGRESS" and I may make extensive alterations without reader notice. The latest versions are likely to be available here:

Cloud and Internet Security
A while back I wrote two documents called 'Building a Cloud Service' and the 'Convergence Report'. They basically documented my past experiences and detailed some of the issues that a cloud company may face as it is being built and run. Based on what had transpired since, a lot of the concepts mentioned in that particular document are becoming widely adopted and/or are trending towards them. This is a continuation of that particular document and will attempt to analyse the issues that are faced as we move towards the cloud especially with regards to security. Once again, we will use past experience, research, as well as current events trends in order to write this particular report. 

Personal experience indicates that keeping track of everything and updating large scale documents is difficult and depending on the system you use extremely cumbersome. The other thing readers have to realise is that a lot of the time even if the writer wants to write the most detailed book ever written it’s quite simply not possible. Several of my past works (something such as this particular document takes a few weeks to a few months to write depending on how much spare time I have) were written in my spare time and between work and getting an education. If I had done a more complete job they would have taken years to write and by the time I had completed the work updates in the outer world would have meant that the work would have meant that at least some of the content would have been out of date. Dare I say it, by the time that I have completed this report itself some of the content may have come to fruition as was the case with many of the technologies with the other documents? I very much see this document as a starting point rather than a complete reference for those who are interested in technology security. 

Note that the information contained in this document is not considered to be correct nor the only way in which to do things. It’s a mere guide to how the way things are and how we can improve on them. Like my previous work, it should be considered a work in progress. Also, note that this document has gone through many revisions and drafts may have gone out over time. As such, there will be concepts that may have been picked up and adopted by some organisations while others may have simply broken cover while this document was being drafted and sent out for comment. It also has a more strategic/business slant when compared to the original document which was more technically orientated. 

No illicit activity (as far as I know and have researched) was conducted during the formulation of this particular document. All information was obtained only from publicly available resources and any information or concepts that are likely to be troubling has been redacted. Any relevant vulnerabilities or flaws that were found were reported to the relevant entities in question (months have passed).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Music Production and Experimentation

Of late, my interests have diversified into music production and composition. It's likely that over the next the next few blog posts I'll be detailing some of what I've been working on.

Sources for some of the better DAW software currently available:

Sources for some of the better VSTs that I've come across:

Manufacturers of music hardware:

Sources for songs and samples:

Sources for media and other resources:

Friday, August 30, 2013

'Firehol' Updates

Recently, I've been working on various software projects. One of them has involved integrating 'firehol' (a firewall management system) into a larger project of mine (more details later). Even though it is clear that the project was fairly mature it hasn't really been kept up to date of late. One of the main problems in my situation was the automated building of 'RPM' and 'DEB' packages. Digging through the various configuration files it was obvious that there some things that needed changing.

The first alterations required included the '.spec' file located in the root directory of the uncompressed archive. The 'COPYRIGHT' tag has to be changed to become the 'LICENSE' tag, a 'cheat' to get around the versioning problem when building the RPM is to change the line containing '#Source: %{name}-%{version}.tar.bz2' to 'Source: %{name}-1.tar.bz2'. This is required due to the way in which the tarball is dealth with at build time.
####Start Quote from .spec file####
Summary: An easy to use but powerfull iptables stateful firewall
Name: firehol
Version: 1
Release: 0
#Version: 1.273
#Release: rh7up
#Copyright: GPL
License: GPL
Group: Applications/Internet
#Source: %{name}-%{version}.tar.bz2
Source: %{name}-1.tar.bz2
####End Quote from .spec file####

Another problem is that it's still looking for a particular file called '' in the '' script. You can either manually create the file to or else delete all references of this file from all relevant build files.

Several of the checking/scanning mechanisms in the '' file need to be re-examined. The obvious problems include the address from which the file is extracted, the mechanism which is used to parse this particular file (a rough approximation is given below but it should be given further review as my work is a quick hack to get things working), and also a file which is supposed to be generated '/etc/firehol/RESERVED_IPS' but isn't (via ''. It may simply be a case at examining the file further and working on it). The required changes are outlined below. The lines which are commented out represent the original content. The lines which aren't represent the altered files.

####Start Quote from file####

#wget -O - --proxy=off "${IPV4_ADDRESS_SPACE_URL}" |\
#        egrep "^[0-9]+/[0-9]+.*${IANA_RESERVED}"  |\
#        egrep -vi "${IANA_IGNORE}"                |\
#        cut -d ' ' -f 1                           |\

wget -O - --proxy=off "${IPV4_ADDRESS_SPACE_URL}"  |\
        egrep "^\ {1,}[0-9]+/[0-9]+.*"             |\
        egrep "(RESERVED|UNALLOCATED)"             |\
        egrep -vi "Multicast"                      |\
        sed 's/   //'                              |\
        cut -f1 -d ' '                             |\
####End Quote from

NOTE - the maintainer of the project has been contacted but has thus far not responded to any communication. The file involved is 'firehol-1.273.tar.bz2' downloaded from, with the following MD5 checksum, 'cbbe1ba21cf44955827d5c906a55aa21'. For those who are lazy, I've uploaded updated files to:,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Music Organisation From the Linux CLI

Over the last few days, I've been ripping music (using Windows Media Player) in locations where there has been no Internet access available. Previously, I had thought that if I navigated through the correct menu options I could get my music collection organised correctly. Apparently not. What I've found is that based on my recent experience Windows Media Player only seems to get the ID3 tag information but doesn't seem to alter the filenames and folders correctly.

These series of scripts attempts to rectify the problem by using this information to alter the ripped files. You then simply copy the files back into the music library for re-scanning by the program in question (Microsoft Windows Media Player or Apple iTunes are the one's you'll most likely encounter and the ones that I tested with.) They seem to work but more testing may be required.

########Start Quote########
ID3 Music Organiser Script

These series of scripts are used to organise a group of ripped MP3 files that have ID3 tags but not the correct file and folder names. It does so by calling a series of commands to rename files based on ID3 tag information and then attempts to move or rename files and folders based on artist or album. Using just '' you can organise by album/artist but by using '' you can organise based on the more conventional artist/album system as used by Microsoft and Apple.

Either way, Windows Media Player should eventually figure out how to reorganise your files based on the information, files, and folders that are supplied (WMP only seems to get the ID3 tag information based on my recent experience which is why I built these scripts) by these scripts.

Obviously, you can run these scripts on an ad-hoc basis and/or you can also run it continuously with a scheduling program such as 'cron'. You also need the following utilities to be installed, id3, eyed3, and uuid-runtime.

As this is the very first version of the program (and I didn't have access to all test data  while I was cleaning this up it may be VERY buggy). Please test prior to deployment in a production environment.
########End Quote########

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Car of the Future, some Random Intelligence, and Defense Thoughts

A follow on from:

Some of the following technologies are obviously extremely far off into the future while others are very easily adaptable and can be implemented basically immediately.

- a variation on shield technology I've been thinking of is pulse wave shields (we probably haven't reached energy density levels in small enough packages to enable medium/long term/time shields so I've been thinking of using super capacitor technology in combination with conventional projectile interceptors to send shock waves/ pulses as missiles come in). Obvious issue is altitude and also efficiency issues related to
May also be used in combination with constructive interference to break through accelerate through to supersonic speeds more quickly (possible to offset onset of sonic booms through destructive interference?). My preference is to power once more on environmental technologies. Peltier modules will once gain use the air temperature differential between engines and the external atmosphere in order to power shield/pulse wave generators. They could serve to give off decoy radar signatures (especially in the case of low RCS aircraft), may also reduce the IR signature of the aircraft by converting heat into electricity, slow down/reduce/stop the range of incoming missiles, concussion waves (similar effect to so called flash bangs) for non-lethal combatant control, etc...
- a lot of renewable energy systems such as street lighting shorts to ground/wastes energy when not in use. Would like to send this back into grid whereever possible/reasonable. All lighting systems must have an output. May require an open standard here?
- would like car manufacturers to reconsider seating format. 2+3 or 2+2 seems to be standard nowadays but as previously stated would like to see other lower seat capacity options/configurations. Single seater with 'Transformatech' capabilities, 1+2, 1+3 configuration also. Obvious reasons include reduced weight, easier export to alternative markets, etc... However, since we're removing so many extraneous parts it also means that we can have more room to move ballast. In this case, I'd probably try to move the front passengers directly over the front wheels for better traction (this is likely to be a rear mid engine configuration but numerous alterations will be made to aide safely because we'll me making more alterations to the front end of the car as you'll discover shortly)
- move towards plastic windows. Obvious issues regarding shatter/safety though for emergency services. Propose purposely embedding weak points (grooves) or else a lattice framework within the window so that the structural integrity is weakened at known points in case of emergency
- move towards resin/glue on cars as a means of saving weight on welds, increasing strengh becoming more commonplace. Would like to see this filter down to all cars at some point
- am considering abolition of electrically based power windows/central locking systems (am unsure about efficiency/convience gain over current systems though. Will have to do some experiments). Moving to hydraulic system based on compressed air or a liquid system that is unlikely to require replacing we use high quality parts/fluids. Would be controlled through a central reservoir with a series of vales which would open/close and a pump which would dispense the required air/fluid to deal with each door/window
- have also considered moving towards a braking system that is basically based on air but it's clear that there are compression/latency issues. Moreover, since I envisage moving towards superconducting brakes which don't generate heat (but are more effective and are used on Jetcars) it's likely that if we use high quality parts/fluids the brake fluid may never deteriorate/require replacing
- considered using ride height changes/dynamic rake (see Formula 1) but am concerned about reliability cost
- considered dyed plastic which means that if there is a scratch you can buff it out most of the time. Moreover, it saves the cost/time associated with painting parts
- consider using Coanda style aerodynamic solutions/vortex generators to clean up airflow around rear end (used on many super/hypercars). Air inflow will come from 'gill' like serrations that will open/close on the side of the car
- consider using hinged flaps over door hinges in to further clean up aerodynamics (these will seal the air flow flat to the side of the door with no indentation)
- mandate minimum drag coefficient levels?
- have considered using HUD's but am worried that they aren't easily readible in daylight. Have concerns that modifications to screen required to maintain good visibility may make price of screen prohibitive
- it's likely that I'll try to reduce the size (or get rid of) the dashboard (I'm only likely to keep a small portion of it for redundancy safety purposes) or get rid of it completely where possible. It will be replaced by a tablet like computer which will replace many of the onboard electronic systems and other functionality such as the ECU, security system, stereo system, etc... This will obviously result in large weight savings. It will also add a lot of extra functionality which I will details alter on which may have a dramatic impact on the way we drive in the future
- conventional speakers will be replaced by flat panel speakers. The difference in sound fidelity/quality is problematic but is diminishing based on what I've been reading
- I previously said I'd like to get rid of rack and pinion steering. I've changed my mind for safety reasons. Gears will be replaced by a circular superconducters that are sliced up like pizza slices. Each slice will alternatate the polarity with the ratcheting mechanism on the steering arm. It may be suppemented by extra electromagnets that would allow you to adjust the amount of power steering assitance that you require. I'd like my version to have the same system on the back end as well while being connected with a central pole? This would reduce turning circles considerably (consider abolishing differential?)
- the other steering mechanism that I had with 'fancy differentials' that dealt with each wheel would have offered some benefits though. It would mean that the tyres would never angle outwards. This meant I could create door like covers on each wheel (no more wheel flares/edges which would impact on aero. They would be flattened to the side of the car now) itself. This would benefit aerodynamic obviously
- switch to racing style/bucket like seats. Almost as comfortable but at a lower weight. Unlikely to use power seats for weight savings
- since there is no major dashboard anymore some of the safety provided from it's presense is lost. We're going to replace it with honeycomb pattern of plastic/metal which is liked to vehicle telemetry which will alter the amount of charge applied to these crumble zones. This will increase the strength/weaken the strength of doors/bumper bars, etc... depending on the speed likelihood of an accident. This means that in lower speed accidents you're less likely to incur significant damage while in higher speed accidents you'll have more crumple protection (I'm guessing that in some cases if we can make enough progress in these materials we may be able to have cars which can basically repair themselves someday)
- would like to see them offer the option of being able to remove seats from car during purchase and add later on if need be for cost reasons as stated previously
- obvious option is simply to reduce dimensions of the car but it's unlikely I'd do too much of this to remain higher levels of comfort
- want to move to steel/composite hybrid engines. My hope is that we reach the stage in superconducter/materials technology where the walls of the piston chamber and piston itself are repelled only via 'magnetic forces' and there is enough compression to be adequate for power but not enough to generate significant friction which would require a radiator
- want to see slightly more aerodynamic design of moving parts in the engine. This means that in combustion engines the top of valves and pistons will be shaped to become slightly bullet like to reduce drag. Am aware of experiments with piston shaping to increase efficacy. Would like to attempt to experiment with flexible face technology, hollow cores, as used in golf club drivers as well... Obvious issues related to lifespan though if using flexing to change shape of piston head as it moves up/down through cylinder
- as I've previously said I'd like to move towards low friction/frictionless technology across the board including engines. This obviously reduces cooling requires but also means that we can do away with a lot of other parts such as the radiator, radiator fluid, radiator fan, oil filter, oil sump, oil, power steering, power steering pump, power steering fluid, most of the transmission (I have an alternative design which is roughly based on the power steering system technology that I mentioned above), transmission fluid, etc... To give you an idea of how much this changes the car weight equation as it stands we use about 300-400kg for many current engine/transmission combinations
- would like to get rid of spark plugs as well. Achievable by altering fuel but that may require 'additives' or significant engine modifications which may detract from my desire for it to be truly 'multi-fuel'
- dirt repelling undertray which will result in less losses through lost fuel efficiency
- believe traction problems can be overcome through an array of measures. Obviously, better tyre compounds but am considering an array of other options. Among them are multi-chamber tyres, heating the rim of the types to attain the optimum temperature/pressure, tyres which have an electrical membrane/circuit (a number of independent sections) that are built into the wall. Each time the tyre comes into contact with the ground the switch/circuit is triggered metal/plastic built into the tire is flattened so that maximum tire adhesion/traction is achieved, another is a tire/rubber compound which becomes more tacky on contact with air (far off into the future), another is dynamic inflation technologies which involves a centralised inflation system working in combination with LIDAR/RADAR scanning technologies which would open up tiny pressure release valves in the wheels/tires. Once a tricky section had been bypassed the tire would be re-inflated to the original desired pressure. Another concept that I've been examining is using a concentric wheel/ball bearing configuration. The outer wheel/shell would be connected to the tire, the inner wheel/rim would be in the same configuration as a conventional ball bearing that you see in roller blades. The balls at the bottom would be significantly heavier though which means that you effectively have extra ballast pushing down at each tire which will increase it's traction
At some point though I'd like to move away completely from pneumatic tyres to tires with just the membrace structure once we achieve gains in materials technology. Either way, with the increases in traction and the reduced weight my hope is that tires will last the entire life of the vehicle itself. Moreover, if we no longer have to rely on air we can no longer have 'flat tires'
- previously I said I'd like to move towards ground effect style vehicles which make better use of aerodynamic (dynamic aerodynmamics in particular). I'm wondering whether we should use a combination of passive and active dynamic aero technologies? The front/rear spoilers and floor would be passive with active technologies such as 'winglets' added/extended out of the sides of the car if desired/required
- would like to move toward more organic technologies in cars including the air filter which is currently mostly paper
- I think one thing we should keep in mind that we shouldn't be afraid to start car design from scratch once more. We've come a long way with many technologies but sometimes it seems as though the basics of car technology haven't changed over a long time
- curious to know whether we could create heat absorbant roads to suck up extra heat and put it back into the ground? Passive metal heatsinks/pipes? A coating? how would this impact on road car performance?
- would like to get rid of car battery or at least reduce it's influence. Will be replaced by a supercapacitor that is charged through mains, wirelessly, or via an auxiliary battery system that is carried by the driver themselves. Battery/alternator only added if extra equipment added
- more efficient tech doesn't necessarily mean less power usage overall. Recently, I heard a stat which said that with the advent of flat panel televisions people have moved to increasingly larger screen sizes. However, the size of the screens have reached the point where power efficiency gains have been wiped out
- recently a town in Spain installed sensors everywhere to turn their city into a 'smart city'. I think there may be a cheaper way of doing this but I'm not sure whether sensor technology has reached the required level as yet. If you've ever poured a glass of liquid into a cup and then 'tapped' it when empty, half empty, full, etc... you'll notice that the sound/frequency changes. The same principle can be used here. Using wide spectrum, spread spectrum radio waves over the long term and in short periods/bursts of time we can determine the frequency of what is inside of an object at any point in time (similar to biosensory technology that you see in science fiction movies but which is basically a step up from current siesmograph technology). It's likely that such technology will require a leap current sensor technology as well as extensive tuning though. This technology obviously has other uses as well especially in the arms control arena. Sufficient advancements may even allow you to gain the blueprints of any remote device by pointing and shooting just like a camera. Another way is to have a smaller number of sensors from a high point. For instance, if you have cameras in streetlights you can take pictures of many car parking spaces and detect which ones are and aren't empty. This is also less likely to be tampered because it's less likely to be reached by potential vandals
- this leads me to another point though if you have a proper computer in a car as we would here you open up a world of possiblities. Using wireless networking you can broadcast details of which spaces are empty in a car parking lot and direct drivers from one point to another using direction/triangulation. Moreover, if you get lost and your car is still connected to the car parking lot's computer you can use direction/triangulation to provide you with a 'compass' of how to get back to your car. While we're at it we could probably get rid of parking tickets as well. Collision avoidance technology is basically not too dissimilar to the logic used in games such as battleship but on a significantly more complex level so it's likely that if you have the sensors then you can add this and other functionality (such as driverless mode and automated parking) to your car anytime you desire 
- considering using a gyro which will basically swing ballast in the car to increase cornering speed or increase stability (depending on needs/requirements)
- we often use salt or other additives such as radiator anti-boil/freeze fluid as a means of reducing/increasing the freezing point/boiling point of water. Wondering whether there is a substance we can add that is non-toxic that we can use to alter freezing point in polar ice regions? Obvious issue is tidal flow but as we've seen with oil wondering whether if increased viscosity and a 'long rope' may be enough to keep the substance where you need it? Moreover, would it be possible to time things so that we can change where the ice actually lies?
- guesttimation leads me to believe that many of the measures outlined here will result in huge weight savings (about half which means road cars will approach Formula 1 race car weights of about 650 KG. We could go below Formula 1 car weights if we're willing to move toward composite construction but this would likely come at huge financial cost. I recall a documentary which stated that a carbon fibre drive train alone could cost $200,000! Moreover, it doesn't deal with the issue of dynamic aerodynamics as I'd previously envisaged). This would likely mean a switch to 1 to 4 (it's unlikely that you'd require more than two cylinders based on the weight savings and subsequent power to weight ratio) cylinder normally aspirated engines (super/turbo charging would be my preference for a sportier ride) Would like to use these savings to add independent suspensions systems, stability control, more air bags, and other extra safety features for all cars from now on
- for an idea of what such a vehicle is likely to resemble look at the movie 'Tron Legacy'. A motorocycle version is likely to look very similar to the one in the movie and the car would bear some similarities to the buggy/style car in it
- there are huge problems if we move towards to some of the technologies mentioned here in particular with the automotive industry. Cars are already becoming more reliable which has meant lower sales over the long term. This car would significantly remove wear and has far fewer fluids (my desire is for no toxic materials which need to be 'dealt with' upon disposal/service/repair), moving parts which can fail on top of this. This means less repairs/servicing (possibly/probably none if you take adequate design steps. All you'd need to do is hook it up to a computer with relevant software it would tell you what was wrong since many of the systems are centralised and are easily accessed/diagnosed). It's likely that some of the cost of these one off technologies and the overall reliablity (once perfected) would lead to an extremely expensive up front vehicle as well
- there's a lot more that I've thought about but I think these are the major points. Will leave other points regarding future/sustainability technology (including plans for making travel beyond our own planet much (hopefully) easier) for another time

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Memorable Quotes - Part 3

A follow on from:
- His mild, owlish looks certainly belie his attraction to women and, tasty as a creme caramel might be, French president Francois Hollande, aka "Monsieur Flanby", cannot relish being compared to a baked custard pudding.

Nonetheless, he stands, blinking anxiously, at the centre of a tumultuous love triangle, as his former partner of 30 years and the mother of his four children, the fellow socialist politician Segolene Royal, and his current lover, the journalist Valerie Trierweiler, rage like Furies around him.
- "Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other morale factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted."
- The film takes its title from remarks by a former CIA director Michael Hayden: "Let me be very candid. We steal secrets. We steal other nations' secrets ... Some of the activities that nation-states conduct in order to keep their people safe and free need to be secret in order to be successful." Assange presumably would reject that argument, but I would have liked to hear his response to it.
- "In France, we have the feeling that we moved in the past year from denial to zigzag," Saint-Gobain's Chalendar said. "There's been some important progress, but a lot remains to be done."
- It is generally accepted that in approximately 90-95% of all road traffic accidents, human behaviour is partially or fully responsible. Autonomous driving opens up the possibilities of improvements in safety which would reduce these figures significantly, as well as offering improvements in fuel economy and traffic efficiency. However, the challenges hinge on public acceptance, legality, liability and infrastructure.
- Kevin Rudd is not always the person to give credit where credit is due, but his latest proposals about Labor Party reform owe quite a bit to the Paul Keating theory of resolving logjams. This involves throwing a hand grenade, or a lit stick of dynamite, into the middle of the blockage.

One never has any real idea of what will happen, what will be drowned by which ripples, and what species of animal, reptile or fish will float to the surface. Whatever, it will be different. And at least while everything and everyone is massively disturbed and shell-shocked, there is an opportunity to get some movement in the direction one wants. The essential problem - the obstruction - may not be actually dislodged, but it is now of a different nature, and debate will shift from settled positions.
- "I don't have to concern myself with a question that is not being asked at the moment. If a donkey were a cat, it would sit in the tree most of the day."
- "Europe is walking in place, yet moving forward"
- "Monetary policy is a serious issue. We should discuss this in secret, in the Eurogroup ... I'm ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious ... I am for secret, dark debates"
- We wanted dictatorship to be replaced by democracy. Instead it was replaced by the escalating collapse of nation states. In the squares and streets of Cairo, we can watch this in real time. There are plenty of men with weapons in the mob; guns have been flooding in from the Libyan surplus stockpiles and amateur armourers make improvised ones, called fards, that fire birdshot.
So the West's dilemma is more or less the same as it was two years ago: do we accept a military takeover that brings a semblance of stability to a strategically important country? Or do we speak out for a democratic process that is in part the product of our imaginations? My bet is that, in our funk, we will accept the army as the least-worst option and pretend to believe its self-portrayal as the guardian of the people.

But here's the rub: you can't have a coup d'etat without an etat. And there just isn't much of a state structure left, not in Egypt, not in Libya, not in Syria.
- Dempsey not so subtly drew a parallel between the past and Iraq/Afghanistan, saying, "As with Vietnam, negative impressions about our character eclipsed the courage and sacrifices of many of the men and women who served honorably." He added, "As we emerge from more than 10 years of war, we've got some rebuilding to do," which Dempsey compared to Yeats's famous quote about "the struggle between the swordsman and the saint."
- When you're an adult, no one can force you to keep reading or learning, any more than they can force you to eat your greens or go to bed early. Workplaces are becoming increasingly demanding, and after a day of being challenged and provoked by your job, it's tempting to come home to a night of sitcom repeats and cereal dinners. You might only pick up a book because you can't bear to tell your colleague you spent another night Instagramming your cat - but that book might stretch a muscle or trigger an idea that makes you try something new. Some people are afraid of being found out as philistines, but if that fear motivates us to learn it might give us the confidence to respect and add to the culture around us.
- In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though chequered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- He had a good job working at a government aerospace laboratory in California, but he wanted to do something more with his life, something of value that might last, even outlive him. Then it came to him. In a single stroke he had what might be safely called a complete vision of the information age.
- We need muscles of moral courage, we need to flex them, we need to find them, we need to help others recognize them and find them in themselves. Nothing more is needed and nothing less will do at this moment of great turbulence, great promise, great peril.*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1
- "Until you experience the complete loss of anonymity, that there is never a moment outside your most private of spaces that you're not observed or commented upon, until you actually live through that, you can intellectually understand it but really in your guts you can't feel it."
- "The mind's creations are no mere commodities and can't be treated as such."
- "What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they're not really telling you not to do these things. They're saying, 'You know, we've had a lot of bad experiences with improper involvements. We're skeptical of this. We're not sure it's our fight. We don't have all the money in the world. For God's sakes, be careful. That's really what they're telling you,'" he said. "They hire you to win. The president and the Congress are hired to win for American and for our values and our interests, to look around the corner and see down the road."

"When people are telling you 'no' in these situations, very often what they are doing if flashing a giant yellow light and saying, 'For god's sakes be careful, tell us what you are doing, think thinks through... But they still hire the president to look around the corner and down the street," he said. "In the end, trust the American people, tell them what you're doing, hope to god you can sell it, and hope you turn out to be alright."
- "Your role... consists in proposing laws, amending them or even repealing them," the pontiff told a delegation of MPs from France, adding that it is "necessary... to inject them with something more, a spirit, a soul which does not just reflect fashions and ideas of the time."
The laws should "provide the indispensable quality which raises and ennobles the human person," the 76-year-old said.
- Vladimir Putin said: "It's like frying a whole herring for the sake of the roe." Well, he didn't actually use those words, but his remark yesterday about chasing Edward Snowden, the leaky fugitive from US justice, amounted to the same thing. "It's like shearing a pig - plenty of squealing but not much wool," he said.
- Hurd, who has just published a book on the 19th-century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, said his position was borne from his understanding of Britain's vocation. Disraeli believed nations could be glorious, and Britain should push itself to be so. Hurd said he equally felt that the country's future was not to be the equivalent of Sweden or Norway, benefiting from the single market but absent from the top table leading the continent.

"For me it is a political argument," he said. "And that is the basis on which Margaret Thatcher fought that campaign [to stay in the common market] all those years ago. She believed that Europe needed increasingly to work together in order to pull its weight in the world. What is the position of William Hague going to be as British foreign secretary, outside the EU? OK, we will be like Norway, we will be like Sweden; that may well be right, but is that really our destiny, is that what we want to be? We have got a different history, we have got a different background, a different contribution to make."
- "His shortcoming is that he's a man of checkers rather than chess."
 - "Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks," Mr Aso told a seminar in Tokyo. "There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that's not true at all.

"Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that's why they didn't buy," he said.
- "I think the thesis of deglobalization is a reactionary thesis, like all those theses that call for a return to the past," Mr. Lamy told Europe 1 radio. "What matters is not the past but the future."
- Humans suffer from a mismatch between our thinking about what we do and the truth of what we do. Our brains make sense of a multifaceted world by ignoring much of its complexity -- a trait Van der Leeuw calls "low dimensional" thinking. In engineering a dam, assessing how agricultural runoff influences an estuary or figuring out how automobile emissions might alter the atmosphere, our conceptual models (or those of our scientists and engineers) at best consider only a few of the true pathways of cause and effect. As Van der Leeuw puts it, "every human action upon the environment modifies the latter in many more ways that its human actors perceive, simply because the dimensionality of the environment is much higher than can be captured by the human mind."
- It is politicians, not public servants, who are the final arbiters of how much outspokenness can be tolerated. Ministers and government members take exception if a public servant's comments give political ammunition to the opposition. Opposition politicians, in turn, object if a public servant's enthusiastic support for government policy compromises his or her capacity to serve them when they return to office. Where these lines are drawn varies over time and with the political context. But professional public servants, who are obliged to maintain the trust of all sides of politics, learn to watch their step.
- It's only right and proper that Tony Abbott has been pants down all week, getting measured up for a drawer full of brand spanky new prime ministerial Speedos. For come September he will surely plunge into the pool at the Lodge and it would not do to have the prime ministerial junk, engorged with the excitement of high office, suddenly sprung on an unsuspecting nation by some disastrous wardrobe failure. Abbott will be waving his junk in our faces for many years to come and it is best he and we prepare.
- [Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
-- Richard Collins
- The obvious truth is no economists are consistently good at forecasting the economy. It's those non-economists who forget this - ... - who are the fools, not the economists who cater to humankind's irrational but unquenchable desire to pretend the future can be known.
- Part of the problem here is linguistic: nuclear weapons are not themselves "the deterrent"; rather, they "produce" deterrence when deployed correctly. Deployed incorrectly, they produce aggression incentives, crisis escalation, and elevated nuclear danger.
- "Young people today are faced with three options if the current eurocrisis is not resolved -- leaving Europe, staying in Europe without hope or going into politics and starting a revolution."
- After next year's elections "as much as a quarter or third of MEPs could be Eurosceptic," said Prof Hix.

But for the first time the main political blocs in the parliament will field candidates for the powerful post of European Commission president.

"That will change the debate about Europe - what kind of Europe do we want?" said Prof Hix, adding that national parties would have to express their views about the rival candidates.

Mr Verhofstadt agreed that "more than in the past the elections will turn on European issues - up until now they have been national".

The debate in Westminster was hosted by the European Parliament office in the UK.
- Joseph Stiglitz and others have been arguing to the point of exhaustion that the working and middle classes are more likely to spend to keep the economy moving and hence to produce jobs for the abandoned young. More wealth for the wealthy generates more frequent and more severe booms and busts. This is not a future worth having but it is the future we are getting. The experience of the west since the crash has taught us that the rich are always with us. The novel question for today is: can the rest of society afford them?
- as a human being... born... asking the question...

HMRC have been asked... it appears they can't point anyone to a law that says what you say is true...

they simply say 'of course you have to pay tax..'

i'm not disagreeing that what you say 'is commonly held' to be truth.. but who says it is? on what authority can they demand and force a human being to pay tax...

What if .... over many years it became 'commonly held belief' that the 'TV collector man' could come into your home and take your television. Your dad told you you had to .. his dad told him...

.. of course he would have a nice photo I.D. now and also be able to take your iPhone audio... because the law says

You might not like... but i guess you'd let him take.. and tell your son/daughter too..

Sounds stupid... no-one would believe in the 'TV collector man'?

Law is assumption and presumption - im not arguing the point of whether one should morally pay tax... or claim benefits..

What gives any 'body' - the right to demand money .. unless you agree or they have authority over you (own you).
- A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. - Thucydides
- "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte
- In the global maneuvering of big powers, "weakness is provocative," as former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once warned.
- "What is at stake is social unrest and a risk of a lost generation," said Brzeski from ING. "A generation that was supposed to embrace the idea of Europe, but is now turning its back on it."
- "The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable [...] The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."