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Monday, 7 December 2015

America … Really … What everyone???

America … Really … What everyone???

This morning as I read the news I saw a story about President Barack Obama asking congress to vote to authorize the war against the self-described Islamic State Nothing wrong there but then I read,

For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of air strikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight”

Can you spot what's wrong with that statement? Unless you live in South America you could be forgiven for not realising the error that the President of the USA made. He has made the assumption that only people from the USA are American!

Just who is he speaking for when he said “The American people are united, and committed, to this fight” America is in fact a continent comprising of 55 country's or dependant territory's! All together they make the American people.

Personally I think every American country should contact the president to tell him to speak for himself, perhaps if he was told 54 times that the USA is not America every time he made that mistake it might start to sink in … slowly.

Having said the above, citizens of the United States of America are Americans because they live on the American Continent, but when their leader says he speaks for Americans it just makes him sound dumb/stupid and by extension the people of the United States of America.

For an educated man and the leader of a country I would have hoped for better in a public statement.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Hidden Gem

Girassol Restaurante, Porto Alegre

If you are in the centre of Porto Alegre and looking for a place to eat then you could be forgiven for overlooking this restaurant. You enter the building through a shoe/clothing store then climb to the second floor. The first time I was brought here I would of walked right past the place without ever realising it as there. On entering you'll see a large room, well lit and cool with plenty of tables on ether side of the room. Down the centre there is a large buffet. You take a plate and move down the buffet helping your self to as may dishes as you like/can fit on your plate. Their is plenty of food to choose from and is nicely presented and well cooked.

At the bottom of the table you can ether weigh your plate and pay for your food or pay 19 reals to eat as much as you can. I like to take the option of eating as much as I can so I can return for a second helping, it is important to remember that one must leave room however for the fabulous dessert table!

Upon taking a seat at a table you will be asked if you would like a drink which will be brought to you. Finally before paying and leaving there is free coffee available on the way out.

I've enjoyed eating here and would recommend it to anyone looking for a place that sells good quality food cheaply.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

You ether love it or hate it!

You ether love it or hate it!

Marmite is a sticky dark brown product which has a powerful flavor and is extremely salty! I like Marmite and if I can, I like to encourage other people to try it. Recently through my random browsing of the internet and YouTube I came across a video of an English man living in Japan. The video was about him introducing his friends to this delicacy.

At first things went well right until I saw how he presented the Marmite to his friends to try. I was shocked! Ether this man has never eaten Marmite himself or he was trying to guarantee his friends would not like it? (comedy value for the video perhaps?) He passed his friend a limp slice of white bread smeared in Marmite and quite thickly too! Now I like Marmite but if you were to offer it me like that I would refuse to eat it!

I've eaten Marmite on sliced bread, it's not ideal but done right it's OK. If you try to spread Marmite onto bread you'll find the bread absorbs the Marmite and you have to spread it quite thickly. You need to apply butter to the bread first, not thickly! Then you'll find the Marmite spreads easily and evenly meaning you don't need to use a lot to get an even coating.

My personal preference is to eat Marmite on toast. You need to allow the toast to stand a few minuets to allow it to cool and become crispy. You can then spread butter onto it without it melting and then spread the Marmite over this in a thin even coating! You'll find the butter and the Marmite compliment each other without being overpowering which Marmite can be!

I would also like to comment on the presentation of the food! Who only spreads half a slice? Or just randomly smears the bread with the Marmite. Food has to look nice in order to be enjoyed and this certainly did not look nice.

I would like to think that if these unfortunate people had been presented with bread or toast which had been properly prepared there might have been a good chance they would of enjoyed the experience.

Near the end of the video, just in case their was any lingering doubt's in the producers mind that his friends might be harboring feelings that Marmite might actually be nice he offers them a spatula laden with Marmite and asks them to eat it neat out of the jar … Vinegar or salt are nice when added to food in moderation but we would never up end them into our mouths! Why he thought it was a good idea is beyond me? (again comedy value?)

I do find his videos quite funny and the criticism of this video aside I would recommend too my readers that they watch his other videos!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

MP's ... Money Problems

In this article we can see a number of politicians “named and shamed” for not paying their outstanding debts, public money that they had spent on themselves and refused to pay back. After the release of their names to the media a number of them paid their debts or provided information clearing their names whilst others have not. What gets me is that these expenses were being written off! The naming and shaming was the last action to be taken against them because it was not cost effective to pursue them further. This was after each MP was contacted at least four times. If the act of naming and shaming them had not been taken I'm quite sure not a single one of them would have taken any notice of the letters asking them to make repayments other than to feed them into a paper shredder.

Now lets bring this into context. If this had been myself in debt or any other 'pleb' we would not be having our debts written off because previous attempts to contact us had failed. Instead we would have bailiffs, police and a lock smith coming to pay us a visit and breaking into our homes to help themselves to our property to settle our debts by 'legal theft?'

It's not about the money so much as the principal, this shows a clear divide between the people running the country and people just living here, people who dream up the laws and the people who have to live under them. I'm not saying that politicians are 'above' the law but at times it does seem that it looks the other way whilst politicians line their pockets with public money, more so in the past rather than now thanks to the media exposing them!

The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal, first hinted at as details of the Conway Scandal leaked into the public domain, prior to further leaked evidence of malpractice, triggered by the leak and subsequent publication by the Telegraph Group in 2009 of expense claims made by members of the United Kingdom Parliament over several years. Public outrage was caused by disclosure of widespread actual and alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by Members of Parliament (MP's), following failed attempts by parliament to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation. The scandal aroused widespread anger among the UK public against MP's and a loss of confidence in politics. It resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements, together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Several members or former members of the House of Commons, and members of the House of Lords, were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment. The scandal also created pressure for political reform extending well beyond the issue of expenses and led to the parliament elected in 2005 being referred to as the 'Rotten Parliament'

I'm quite sure if the facts had not been leaked to the press MP's would of found a suitably large rug to sweep them under and they would still be lining their pockets with large amounts of public money today! The only thing it seems that changed is the amount of money being 'stolen?'

It would be nice if politicians were treated like workers in a private business, if your incompetent your fired, if you steal or fiddle your expenses your fired and the police are called. If you don't do your job your fired! We might start getting politicians who are worth their salary then!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

My Cipher

Today’s blog is a bit different, I'm sharing with you an interest I have in cryptography and a cipher I had written myself. I hope you enjoy it and can understand it!

When I mention cryptography today, what do you think of? Public key encryption with 1024 bit key strength? Supercomputers, mind melting mathematics and computer programming? This is what I thought of and at first it put me off even though I was interested in this fascinating subject! The level that today’s cryptography has reached seemed unreachable and un-achievable to me, but then I realized I was looking at the wrong end, I needed to look at the beginnings of cryptography, at how it first came about and changed over the years as people constantly evolved it to withstand the attacks by people who sought to break them!
Hand written cryptography may seem obsolete today, there are many products on the market that provide a service to secure information, but where is the fun in the using someone else's product/solution? I have read books on the subject but I would never claim to be an expert. I have had a lot of fun in the creation of my own code. I believe it is strong but I would never in a million years say it was un-crackable. The very fact that you have written your own code in it self adds strength to it as it is an unknown quantity to any attacker. So why am I writing this? Should I not keep my code secret, locked away and jealously guarded? No. The strength is not in how the plain text is converted into cipher text but in the key used. If the attacker does not possess the key it does not aid him knowing how the cipher works. It does allow for a brute force attack but now we are straying out of the realm of hand written ciphers into the world of computer programs written specificity to break a given cipher. The key I use is 148 characters long, I'm no good at mathematics, perhaps someone reading this and interested enough could tell us how long/hard that would be to brute force? My thoughts on the matter is good luck! I am not sending or storing state secrets, I just want to protect my private thoughts or messages to loved ones via public forms of communication. I am assuming that the difficulty to crack the code plus the fact the information is of little interest will put off most attackers.
By public forms of communication I mean, emails, texts, documents stored in 'the cloud' and posts online in public forums like face book. Most of these you might think are private because they are sent directly from the sender to a recipient or stored in a private space online that only you have access to. It has been proved time and again that these are not secure and people can and will gain access. Governments, the press and hackers to name three groups of talented people who have a vested interest in your information.

My code uses a table that in the center of it is a square 37 x 37 characters. These characters are the plain text characters used to write the plain text. For this example of my code I will just use the letters of the alphabet which will give me a grid of 26 x 26.

On each face of the grid are the characters of the cipher text. These can be anything you want but to make it easy I will just use the alphabet in a randomized form. You will have four randomized alphabets one on each face of the grid and this is our key also.

Below is an example of the table. In red is the characters used as the cipher text and in blue are the plain text characters. In-between in yellow are numbers running in sequential order from 1 too 104 around the blue square, these are the character numbers. Take the word 'revenge' there are seven characters in the word, R is number one and the finale E is number 7. To encrypt this word using the below table we take the letter R go to column 1, we move down the column until we reach the letter R and then follow the row across to the right until we meet the cipher text letter in red which is O. The second character is E, we move too column 2 and follow it down to the letter E and then along the row to the right until we reach the cipher text letter in red which is X. Repeat this until the process is complete and 'Revenge' becomes 'oxelogh' To reverse the process take O we know it's the 1st character, so we find the letter O in the red column on the right hand side of the table and follow the row to the left until we reach column 1 and we have the letter R.

When we reach character 27 you will notice that it has moved round onto a different face of the blue square. We can ether rotate the table anti clockwise and continue or keep it the same way but now you follow row 27 across to the left until you reach the plain text letter then follow the row down until you reach the cipher text letter in red. From 53 to 78 you follow the row up and then to the left and from 79 to 104 you follow the row to the right and then up. When you get back to position one again you have completed a block of 104 cipher text characters and the sequence starts again at position 1.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

P 104 A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B 27 M
O 103 B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C 28 N
L 102 C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D 29 B
K 101 D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E 30 V
I 100 E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F 31 C
M 99 F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G 32 X
J 98 G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H 33 Z
U 97 H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I 34 L
N 96 I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J 35 K
H 95 J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K 36 J
Y 94 K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L 37 H
B 93 L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M 38 G
G 92 M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N 39 F
T 91 N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O 40 D
V 90 O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q P 41 S
F 89 P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R Q 42 A
R 88 Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S R 43 P
C 87 R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T S 44 O
D 86 S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U T 45 I
E 85 T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V U 46 U
X 84 U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W V 47 Y
S 83 V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X W 48 T
W 82 W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y X 49 R
Z 81 X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z Y 50 E
A 80 Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A Z 51 W
Q 79 Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A 52 Q

78 77 76 75 74 73 72 71 70 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53


In the hand written form this cipher is only really good for short messages/texts/posts I hope to learn to program to automate the process. I did find a kind person who did this for me but it was saved on a floppy disk and has been lost. It was nice and simple, a box to enter the key, a plain text box and a cipher text box.

An example.

This is what a short passage looks like

ukht fe bsln h vunxk xohgynm kfdzt lghy

Take out the spaces

you'll notice that the double letters in the words used are not replicated in the cipher text. This example uses a basic table the full one I use, uses spaces and numbers as well. The blue square in the center also does not need to be laid out in order as I has shown here it can also be randomized.

The process is a bit laborious and if your not concentrating it is easy to lose your place. I will eventually learn to program in order the make the process fast and error free.

I hope you like this and maybe it will encourage some of you to take your first steps studying this fascinating subject. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Nuclear fission Power.

Nuclear fission Power.

Nuclear power is a hot topic amongst people. It's like Marmite, you ether love it or hate it. Personally I'm for nuclear power as opposed to the other options available. The United kingdom is a small Island with 64 894 610 people living within it's boarders. We are at the moment dependant on importing gas and coal to supplement our power needs. I think this country needs to be able to provide a sustainable source of power to meet the needs of a growing population that is not dependant upon importing resources from country’s that may in the future decide to restrict or cut off all together these supplies.

I would like to hasten to add here that I do not see nuclear power as the solution to our power needs but as a temporary stopgap, until we have something that is also independent from the influences of foreign powers that can cleanly and safely provide our power needs.

I see two ways forwards from nuclear fission power, renewable resources like wind, solar, wave, hydroelectric and geothermal are ones that jump immediately to mind, can you think of any others? And the second is still in the realms of science fiction but is being developed at this moment which is nuclear fusion This as I understand it when the scientists have cracked the problem of creating self-sustaining fusion reactions, will provide a clean and plentiful source of power which will allow us to phase out the use of nuclear fission.

Until then I feel it's right to support nuclear fission reactors, only by supporting them can we overcome some of the problems caused by them. Fast breeding reactors for instance can depose of the waste problem by using spent fuel. Fast reactors could deal with the plutonium stockpile in Britain in five years.

Spent fuel remains a major radiological hazard for thousands of years. The plutonium — the most ubiquitous and troublesome radioactive material inside spent fuel from nuclear reactors — has a half-life of 24,100 years. A typical 1,000-megawatt reactor produces 27 tons of spent fuel a year. None of it yet has a home. If not used as a fuel, it will need to be kept isolated for thousands of years to protect humans and wildlife.”

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

We are doomed ... DOOMED I SAY!!! ... again.

We are doomed ... DOOMED I SAY!!! ... again.

Once again humanity faces extinction! This time at the hands of an asteroid. This is a very special asteroid because nobody can see it? Here is a link to the “Near Earth Object Program”  So we are very lucky to have Rev Efrain Rodriguez among'st us to inform us of the impending Armageddon!  So I hear you ask does the good Rev have a telescope in his back garden? and did he happen to spot this massive asteroid hurtling towards us by some amazingly good fortune? Ahh no … to quote the Huffingtonpost:

Rev Rodriguez says he learned of the impending disaster via a message from God”

Wait! We need to pause here and bow our heads and pay respect to Rev Efrain Rodriguez's credibility which has ceased to exist … okay we can continue.


Rev Rodriguez also claims NASA had confirmed the trajectory of the asteroid and that President Barack Obama had been briefed – though the only preparations have been made to enable the rich and powerful to protect themselves.”

Did God tell him this also?

How ever there are enough people among'st us despite any evidence to back them up and despite their lack of credentials to force NASA to respond, not surprisingly to dismiss the theory as unfounded.

So what do you think? Well fortunately we don't have long to wait September is just around the corner!  I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say this is going to go the same way as all the other predictions of Armageddon that have so far proved to be nothing but hot air.

An update to this article:

Another update, this disaster has now been linked with the blood moon which can be seen on the 28th of September in the United Kingdom so we have a date!

Image taken from the daily mail article. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A load of Bull!

In this news article a young matador is gored by a bull. The article features exclusively on the bull fighter with no comment on the injuries being inflicted on the bull! I don't see the enjoyment myself in watching an animal suffer whilst it is being slowly butchered. So I find myself cheerfully cheering for the bull every time the topic of bull fighting comes up in the news. The odds are so stacked against the bull you can't even refer to it as a sport. As soon as the bull enters the arena it is dead because even if it defeats one matador another will come on to finish off the poor beast.
Because the spectators already know about the outcome of the fight it can only be about one thing... blood! They want to see the bull suffer, bleed and slowly die, so for me it makes a refreshing change when it's the matadors blood we are treated too, at least they are allowed to exit the arena to receive medical treatment! In the case of this news story it's three matadors requiring hospital treatment!

After Fortes was taken to the infirmary the bull was enticed back into it's stall alongside the pens of the other three who had escaped their scheduled deaths in the afternoon. With no one left to fight them, there was no alternative than to cancel the rest of the corrida.”


Their is a silver lining for this bull, as their were no more matadors left the bull was allowed to live and three other bulls also survived. No mention is made as to what the fates of these animals are? I suspect they will be re-scheduled into later fights on another day.

Picture taken from