Blog

First Coffee for 18 Months…

This morning we sat down at an alfresco table in the main square of our local town. On it was a discreet note saying please show your proof of vaccination before ordering. The young lady came up with her smartphone, scanned the QR codes and took our order. It was the first time we ordered anything at a café for 18 months. One still has to wear masks outside in busy town centres, when walking around. But there was no hassle, it was simple enough.

An older man tipped up and he loaded his proof of vaccination up on his smart phone and the lady had phone to phone interaction with him. There were two Brits sat nearer the café one of them with an aperitif at 10:30 AM.

Recently Ursula von der Leyen outlined a new EU semiconductor initiative in which the EU will work together to build semiconductor capacity. It is unwise to strategically depend on China and Taiwan for semiconductor chips. If China does to Taiwan what it did to Hong Kong the chip supply would dry up. The EU has all the skill sets necessary to design chips and run fabrication plants, FABs. There are some operational.

This graphic from the FT speaks volumes.

The USA let its allies down in Afghanistan.

The UK does not do any significant semiconductor production.

Australia has some semiconductor minnows.

I am concerned at the move outlined in the previous post.

I was sat in a nice square and my background processor was whirring away. I am not sure that the UK government really “gets” technology nor the scale thereof.

Hmnn..

Reportage – Things look different depending on where you stand.

I wonder if Boris actually thinks things through or does he get all caught up in the heat of a “great idea” ?

The Guardian

‘Cold war mentality’: China warns US-UK-Australia submarine pact could ‘hurt their own interests’

Embassy in Washington calls Aukus ‘exclusionary’ bloc, as France voices anger at scrapping existing $90bn submarine deal with Australia

Le Figaro

Annulation du « contrat du siècle » : Jean-Yves Le Drian dénonce un « coup dans le dos » de l’Australie

Le ministre des Affaires étrangères, comme sa collègue aux Armées Florence Parly, s’est ému de la décision de l’Australie d’annuler l’achat de douze sous-marins français.

Quelques heures après l’annulation brutale par l’Australie de l’achat de douze sous-marins français, le ministre des Affaires étrangères Jean-Yves Le Drian a dénoncé un « coup dans le dos ». « Nous avions établi avec l’Australie une relation de confiance et cette confiance est trahie », a-t-il asséné sur Franceinfo. « Je suis aujourd’hui très en colère. Ça ne se fait pas entre alliés ». Jean-Yves Le Drian s’est également emporté contre « le comportement américain », qui a noué avec l’Australie un partenariat stratégique pour la construction d’engins à propulsion nucléaire américains. « Cette décision unilatérale, brutale, imprévisible, ça ressemble beaucoup à ce que faisait Monsieur Trump », a regretté le ministre.

Frankfurter Allgemeine

Atom-U-Boote für Australien: Neuer Pakt gegen China – Paris erbost

Mit einer neuen Sicherheitspartnerschaft für den indopazifischen Raum treten die Vereinigten Staaten, Großbritannien und Australien Chinas Machtausweitung in der Region noch stärker entgegen. Das Bündnis soll es unter anderem Australien ermöglichen, erstmals U-Boote mit Nuklearantrieb zu bauen. Der amerikanische Präsident Joe Biden, der britische Premier Boris Johnson und der australische Regierungschef Scott Morrison hatten den neuen Pakt mit der Bezeichnung „AUKUS“ am späten Mittwoch verkündet.

 MailOnline

Global war of words over China: Furious France says it has been ‘stabbed in the back’ by UK-US defence pact to take on Beijing by building Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines – which will be BANNED from New Zealand

  • Unprecedented security partnership was announced by Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison
  • The agreement will see UK, US and Australia share nuclear technology secrets in tech battle with the Chinese
  • The pact means Australian navy will be equipped with nuclear-powered vessels made in the UK and the US
  • France was due to make Australia’s new subs – but claimed last night it had been ‘stabbed in the back’
  • New Zealand also isolated with Jacinda Ardern declaring the submarines will be banned from their waters

New York Post

Biden OKs nuke subs for Australia after snubs during Afghan pullout sparked concern

President Biden has agreed to help Australia build nuclear submarines and to launch a new three-country military initiative called AUKUS after Biden’s decision not to call Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the US pullout from Afghanistan sparked concern about the status of the longtime alliance.

Biden announced the actions in a virtual event Wednesday with Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“AUKUS will bring together our sailors, our scientists and our industries to maintain and expand our edge in military capabilities and critical technologies such as cyber and artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea domains,” Biden said.

Biden didn’t mention the strategic threat of China, but said “the future of each of our nations — and indeed the world — depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead.”

{ Interesting that Biden mentions quantum technologies … Australia are doing well in this area. China is ploughing ahead.

Are quantum technologies then becoming some kind of negotiating chip?}

The Elephant and Malalasekera

This afternoon we put up a batik Elephant given by G.P.Malalasekera’s daughter to the wife’s mother. She visted the family, from a modest Birmingham suburb, when he was High Commissoner for Ceylon in Great Britain 1963-1966.

I found this obituray in The Eatern Buddhist; Volume 6, (1973) pp 166-168 on JSTOR.

It speaks highly of him.

Is Knowledge Sectarian?

I’ll wager that there are not more than a few people on this planet who have a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics and over 50 peer reviewed science articles and who have successfully completed a foundation course in North American Indian and Runic shamanism.

I am still reading Le Chamanisme by Mircea Eliade which is a weighty tome and in French. I am about four fifths of the way through, and I am getting to learn some vocabulary that you won’t normally come across. In principle I am “qualified” to set up shop doing dream analysis, healing, shamanic journeying etc.. I have also just put some spirit vinegar, some water and some sodium chloride into the kettle. The latter decreases the pH by the common ion effect. The idea is to remove the calcium carbonate deposits.

For me knowledge in not sectarian.

When I first started the course on shamanism, the people when they found out my background, were very suspicious of my motives for being there, even when I told them that one of my maternal relatives was allegedly a witch. I suspect that many of my science contacts would have thought me a bit of a fruitcake. At this level, yes “knowledge” is sectarian.

In my prior incarnation as a science academic, I have met physicists who have thought themselves better, purer and perhaps brainer than chemists. So even at this level there is a measure of sectarianism. Physics is pure, chemistry is dirty.

Reading the thesis I found the other day, I noted to myself that I really have very little idea what goes on in social sciences, history, even biology at universities. My ignorance is large. When I used to do tutoring for UK Grad for Ph.D. students from all disciplines, I ran a session on careers in academia. Because I am very informal there were no taboos. These were well attended, and I was amazed at how hard it was for not scientists and engineers to get funded for their research. I was fascinated by the stories of some of them getting “white glove” only access to manuscripts. I really badly wanted to go along on one such visit. These people were in many ways more dedicated than the students I knew. Their theses took longer to complete. It wasn’t bang of a couple off papers’ worth of data, write a book and then done.

We don’t really know what goes on in other disciplines. Put me in an organic chemistry synthesis lab and I would not have a clue what to do. I would be more at home in a physics lab than a chemistry one. Someone once told me that doing a Ph.D. was about learning more and more about less and less. But these days much of the interesting science and the new frontiers lies at the interface between “disciplines” and the interface between length scales.

What struck me reading the accounts from over a hundred years ago was how much more interest in things other than the well-defined there was then than there are now. We can define ourselves as a scientist, have a degree of Doctor of Philosophy but be completely disinterested in philosophy and sacerdotal things.

We may show a highly sectarian and judgemental view of things New Age {for example} and we may do this without any exploration thereof. We may be prejudiced against before any inquiry.

Are we in fact by this kind of behaviour being retrogressive?

What about the interface between science knowledge and sacred knowledge?

It certainly does not smack of any renaissance or renascence…

I doubt knowledge itself can be sectarian, those holding it, in possession of it, can be sectarian in outlook.

After the Deluge…

Le Jaudy has returned to a lower level…
last night it kindly brought us some firewood…
the bridge is about one metre wide…so this twig is big… a lot of force
the water must have been 40-50cm higher than the bridge… step very gingerly over…
taking care in case the bridge is dodgy and damaged
the far bank was complelety submerged – the leaves show the high water mark house side…this is the highest level yet.

the river flowed down here beside the pond at a depth of ~30cm.
If this happens later in the year it sweeps the oak leaves away for us

Saw Some Zürich Number Plates…

On the way taking the bamboo to the tip today I saw a car with Zürich number plates. This is unusual we get a lot of VD, VS and the odd GE but this is the first Zürich plate I have seen. It makes sense for the francophone cantons to visit. Of course, most people from Switzerland are very adept at language.

Coincidence or thematic linkage to my dream?

I have been following the threads from the thesis which point at Annie Besant, Jiddu Krishnamurti and to Giordano Bruno. These naturally led also to Rudolph Steiner. I was astounded to learn that Steiner had given a series of talks a Penmaenmawr in 1923!! There were rumours that Besant was the reincarnation of Bruno and for a while Krishnamurti was touted as the voice of the World Teacher. Besant spoke on the subject of Bruno at the Sorbonne!!

I seriously thought about teaching in a Steiner school and later at one founded by Krishnamurti. I got close enough to have a pre-interview interview at the Steiner school. It was a tad freeform for my liking, but the people were very nice.

It seems the theosophists played a major role in the promulgation of ideas and the promotion of education, several large auditoria, including the Holywood bowl are down to them, apparently.

It seems wherever one goes the foibles of the human personality and interpersonal politics are to be found.

It has been interesting re-visiting these spaces.

Back at home…

The river has risen nearly three feet in under an hour and the runoff from Menez Bre will still be on its way here…chances are the bridge will be submerged before darkness falls.

It has been nice to have some thunder and lightning…

But please can you ease up on the rain for a bit?