Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Day the Music Died

This week I received a rather disturbing email containing a list of things that are on the point of extinction. The list contained – newspapers, post offices, music, books, cheques, land-line phones, television, privacy and ‘things’ you own.

I will attach the list to this blog but personally I found the most disturbing items were books and music and I have to wonder if the world will be a better place because of it.  You can be the judge of that.

The demise of books has been on the cards for a while. This year one of Australia’s biggest booksellers, Angus and Robertson, went into liquidation. Borders also closed. The reasons were varied – the poor retail sales market right across the board, internet book sales, children preferring video games to reading, holding an immense range of stock, and the rise of the Ipad.

Those who enjoy reading can no doubt think of nothing better than curling up in bed with a good book. Curling up in bed with a warm Ipad or laptop does not have the same comfy feeling, does it? I also wonder how a new author would become known.  There would be no more J.K. Rowlings as no one would be able to find them amongst the millions of anonymous books on the internet. There would be no publisher to sift through manuscripts for you. You’d get the good, the bad and downright awful books all on one level playing field. At some point the authors you know and trust will die and then who will you turn to?

As for music, I’ve noticed that over the last ten years something has happened to music. In my opinion it started with Napster.

These days the Beatles wouldn’t stand a chance of being discovered.  I’m having difficulty to recalling any memorable music created recently. One medium where musicians could promote their latest video clips was on MTV.  Nowadays MTV just shows a host of awful reality shows for teenagers.

 Music was always a hard business to make a living in. The music industry was very greedy indeed and from what I recall, quite a few well known musicians went on strike rather than make music for nothing based on contracts they signed when they were unknown.  I think George Michaels was one of them.

These days the only way to be discovered musically is via television reality shows such as X Factor and the Idol shows.

I noticed in the news today that it is the view of international shopping centre guru Bruce Shaw that shopping centres will also soon be extinct. At the very least they will have to reinvent themselves if they want to stay alive. See http://www.news.com.au/business/paradise-for-shopaholics-inside-the-mall-of-the-future/story-e6frfm1i-1226077205619

Anyway, for your edification, have a look at the list that I received in my email –
1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply
in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long
term.  Email have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep
the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018.
It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process
cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual
demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office.
If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the
post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly
don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of
the milkman. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The
rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper
and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple,
Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid
subscription services.

4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your
hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading
music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind
when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever
leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with
books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter
before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And
think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the
screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t
wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget
instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t
need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it.
But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell
phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider
for no charge against your minutes

6. Music
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry
is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the
lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who
would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record
labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40%
of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional
music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is
also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and
disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for
Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the
Music Dies.”

7. Television
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the
economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers.
And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the
time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated
down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are
skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I
say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be
put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch
online.

8. The “Things” That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives,
but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in
“the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your
pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD,
and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing.
Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud
services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will
be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS
will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will
open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be
saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the
cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your
books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the
good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all
be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the
things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run
to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf,
or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it
would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway.
There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built
into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They”
know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and
the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a
zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They”
will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

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Mars Attacks!

This week an armchair astronomer discovered what appears to be a cyclindrical structure on the planet mars. He gave the co-ordinates and I’ve looked it up on Google Mars and it’s there for all to see.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/8257609/mysterious-structure-discovered-on-mars

There are now 49,500,000 links which relate to this, listed on Google.

Interestingly, the only official feedback on this matter is that it’s due to pixelation.

Well, that might be true. However we should be very suspicious of government opinion on any extraterrestrial matters. A cynical person might think that the governments don’t want people to believe in the existance of aliens. Maybe they know they couldn’t control a couple of billion terrified people running amok on earth. 

There may have even been a civilisation on mars in the past as scientific evidence reveals that water flowed intermittently on the surface of Mars during the past 650 million years. http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/May00/wetMars.html

Another ‘structure’ on mars has also provoked discussion. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/5981624/Mars-monolith-fuels-theories-of-alien-life.html

To directly quote from the article –

A rectangular object found jutting out of Mars’s surface and caught on camera by the University of Arizona has caused speculation over the nature of the “monolith” and its origins.

Sci-fi fans are said to be drawing parallels with the mysterious monoliths used to mark a change in human evolution in Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Now, if you think that NASA tells the truth, have a look at this website and many more like it. http://xfacts.com/spirit2004/

The issue relates to the tampering of photos of the martian landscape. For some reason or another NASA wants people to believe that the planet mars is red, rather than the hospitable colour that it truly is.

As one blogger wrote-

Why does NASA deliberately alter the color of the Mars photograhs ? Just because science mistakenly has always referred to Mars as the “Red Planet” is no reason for NASA to be deceptive about the planet’s real color . Below are some of the Martian pictures before and after NASA changed their real color . They show the true color of Mars . Something the world has been denied until recently .

“Investigation shows that there are several indications that the NASA is tampering with the colors, and changes them from an Earth-like environment into a red inhospitable environment. But it seems that the young scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are not convenient with this.

At the press conference last saturday, the JPL-scientists showed the latest picture of the Martian landscape. It showed a salmon-coloured desert with a blue sky. It seems that they did it on purpose, since previous pictures were all extremely red. Below the pictures of the conference are shown:”

At the time, NASA forbade the release of photos taken on the planet until they released them themselves. The pictures revealed a brown planet with a blue sky. However, after NASA took control of the situation they mysteriously changed colour from brown to red. The funny thing was though, that coloured markers on the legs of the space craft also changed colour in the process! Anyway, if you look at the above links you’ll see that some astronomers at NASA rebelled and released the real untouched shots. You can see them on that website.

Incidentally, there are other mysterious structures on mars. Mysterious glass-like tunnels are one strange construction. See http://www.enterprisemission.com/can.htm for the various theories relating to the glass tunnels which do look like giant glass worms. If the tunnels are the remains of worms then they are worms I wouldn’t like to meet, being a mile long and hundreds of feet across. So could they perhaps be ancient alien-made constructions?

For speculation and information on other structures such as the ‘face on mars’ and ‘pyramids on mars’ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_Mensae

And today an Italian space enthusiast named Matteo Lanneo claims to have found a structure on the face of Mars that looks like Mahatma Gandhi. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/163047/20110615/nasa-mars-mahatma-gandhi-face-structure-google-mars.htm

There’s also a rather unusual formation that looks like the Little Mermaid that the Rover photographed on mars. I’d be very interested in getting a close up of that.

Anyway, that is just our closest planet. There are heaps of amazing things to be discovered out in the universe. Personally, I think the Moon Io, which is one of Jupiter’s moons, is incredibly fascinating. Just imagine this. There is no water on Io, so instead of having a water high tide, the land has a high and low tide!

Yes, that’s right. I’m not sure how often, but apparently the land rises as a high tide up to 100 meters (330 feet)! Those are tides pushing and pulling the rocky surface (for comparison’s sake, Earth’s ocean tides vary by no more than 18 meters or 60 feet). The tidal forces are exerted in combination by Jupiter and two of its other large moons, Europa and Ganymede. It’s the energy generated by these tides, rather than internal heat, that powers Io’s geologic activity.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/5811.aspx#ixzz1OdRLX77k

I suppose we won’t be colonising Io any time soon as Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. With more than 400 active volcanoes, Io doesn’t have the cratered surface common to so many other moons: powerful lava flows continually reshape the landscape. The Ionian volcano Loki, believed to be the solar system’s most powerful volcano, can spew out up to 1,000 square meters of lava each second.

When I wrote the book, the Doofuzz Dudes and the Planet Zok, I said that the landscape was like a dot picture. You needed to refocus your eyes so that you could see the landscape. Also, the planet had a strange climate. You could walk forward a few metres and the climate would change from cold to hot and then back again a few metres later.

Well, considering that there are moons out there where the land forms a high and low tide, my book was not so odd at all.

But I sure would like to get a closer look at that ‘pixelated’ structure on mars!

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