Sci Fi Sci

31 05 2012

I’ve come up with an interesting idea for a science series, which is part Sci fi and part factual.

What if you could have Doctor Who (An expert on time) host a show about fossils, travelling back in time, in his TARDIS, to explain how things looked thousands of years ago, giving an insight into the natural history of Earth?

Or Jean-Luc Picard hosting a show about the local planets, from the Enterprise itself?

Now we’ve had actors providing their voice for these sorts of shows before, but never in character. This would not be a voice over job for the actor, but a chance for the viewer to accompany the character on a ride through time and space, and learning about real science along the way.

This would be how “Sci Fi Sci” would work.

Obviously this would require film and TV companies getting together and giving their OK , I’m thinking about rights issues, but if done well, it could be quite an exciting, and entertaining documentary series.

“Sci Fi Sci” (c) Wolfie Rankin 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Sorry Day.

26 05 2012

I always thought Sorry Day was a bit lame.

Yes the Aboriginals were treated poorly, but in those days I don’t think much was fair for anyone, and it’s hard to imagine life being so difficult.

I’m all for saying sorry if I’ve done something wrong, and I’m all for a bully from my school days walking up to me and saying “Mate, I haven’t seen you for years, but have thought of you on and off… I wasn’t very nice to you back then and well, if you’d be kind enough to accept, I’d like to apologise  for the way I acted” I’d accept and that would be that.

But Sorry Day seems to send the message that if you’re white, it was your fault.

Which doesn’t make sense to me.

The ones who caused the problem, are the ones who should apologise, except that they’ve probably karked it already… Leaving people who weren’t at fault, at all.

If the aforementioned bullys Son came to me and said He’d heard I was bullied by his Dad and that he felt ashamed and would like to say Sorry, well… fine, but this kid didn’t cause me any grief, so what’s the point?

And now apparently, we have sorry day EVERY Year?

So let’s say that the aforementioned bully had said he was sorry, and I accepted… then we started chatting, became friends, liked much the same things, I met his family and things were good, and then on Saturday he turns up at my door looking rather sober and when I ask what’s wrong, He says “I just want to say I’m sorry”… “um, what for?” Me wondering if he’d run into my car or something… “For what I did at high school”… “er, what?”

And let us suppose he does this every year from then on?

Don’t you think that’d be a little weird and creepy?

Now I’ve seen times when Mum and Dad would be having a row, and Mum would remember something which literally happened over forty years ago, and nag my poor Dad over that… OK, sometimes Dad did some pretty stupid things, but still, He’d probably said sorry about that many times already.

During the nineties, I had become a new age, crystal wearing hippy, who was into meridians, massage and ch’i energy… but even then I could spot whiney bullshit a mile away, and sorry day, is whiney bullshit.


* Consider my own Aboriginal heritage before you call me a racist.

Thought about Science and Religion.

23 05 2012

I have been wondering what makes a person religious, and push science away, when they could be a perfectly rational person.

And yes, there are various emotional reasons, but…

This occurred to me while I was cooking this evening.

If I want to be religious, and feel included with others (feeling included is a big thing with people) then all I really have to do is walk down the street and walk into a church… it’s not going to cost anything, or much, usually. and it’s fairly hands-on, fairly quickly.

Whereas, I’m not sure where I’d start If I had no internet access… The Library? A Museum? That’d be OK, but how do I become “enabled” within the science community, Meaning meeting people, doing stuff, I don’t really know.

I’d like to see a Church of Science started, where people could just get up one morning and walk down the street and mix with real scientists, ask and discuss the big questions… one on one… much like you’d do with a Priest.

And be given guidance, so that a person could be shown the way, so they could find answers to questions, or even more questions.

Maybe we’ve locked science up too much? could that be it?


When you’re grown up.

22 05 2012

I remember what it was like when I was growing up, there were these points where I was simultaneously told that I was either grown up, a teen or just a kid… and I found this quite frustrating.

At about Thirteen, or there about, You can no longer get half price tickets at the cinema, or have a feed at a restaurant for half price. Although there were many times that I pretended I was younger, and I could get away with this since I didn’t really grow till later on.

In Australia there’s a bit of time before you reach the legal age of eighteen where you can drive cars, drink booze and look at porn, hopefully not at the same time, but until then, we wade through a series of confusing comments.

“Why don’t you behave like the young adult you are?”

“Oh no, He’s just a kid (at 17) I hope he’s going to be ok”

So what are we at this age, Grown up or a child?

I have heard about some tribal rituals where the boys are all trotted out at a certain age and something happens, I’ve heard of a tribe of Aboriginals who give boys tattoos.

And after that, they’re declared Adults.

I used to scoff at this, but then, it’s quite handy when you think about it.




Believe, is a very dangerous word

21 05 2012

If there’s a word which needs to be eradicated from the English Language, it’s the word “Believe”, because it’s generally ignorant and highly dangerous.

It’s used by people who are either too lazy, or too stupid to look at facts.

Believers, think

That NASA never did put Men on the Moon

That Climate Change isn’t happening

That Obama is Kenyan

That The Earth is flat

That Homeopathy works

That Non-Natural products are dangerous (Even when Snake Venom is perfectly natural)

That Vaccines do more harm than good, and will hurt Children more than Measles or Whooping cough.

There’s some sort of God in the Sky

And all this, quite honestly, frightens me.

If it doesn’t frighten you, then quite clearly you’re part of the problem.


Speedy, The Monster

20 05 2012

I’m not sure why or when it appeared, but as a child, I had a Monster… And his name was Speedy.

Speedy was a big bully.

He used to fill my dreams with pranks like making the taps work in strange ways, or making light bulbs fill with water, or turning the lights off and leaving me in the dark with just him and I.

And He would threaten to eat me, in that polite sort of tone that He had, and I used to have to beg my way out of it until the dream ended.

“Go to the fridge” I’d suggest. “There’s plenty of food in there”

But No, Speedy was pretty sure he wanted to eat me instead, Speedy was an Arsehole.

I don’t really know what Speedy looked like, but he lived inside the switch of the Electric Blanket.

Sometimes I’d be laying in bed and it was as though someone had turned on the Worlds Biggest Vacuum cleaner and was trying to suck me up… I had to hold onto the sheets for dear life.

One day he appeared as a giant raspberry jelly beside my bed, a sort of gay version of “The Blob”.

Then one fateful day, He did it, He sucked me into the Electric Blanket control, and there I was in total darkness, although I could see Him and I quite plainly.

Speedy was happy, and this time he was going to eat me for sure.

“I’ll just have to get some mustard” He said.

But Speedy had made one fatal error.

He looked just like a giant salad roll, which happened to be one on MY Favourites.

And that was the end of Speedy.

That NBN thing

17 05 2012

A lot of us in Australia are either talking up, or talking down the NBN, as you know.

I think those of you who are talking up the NBN need to get your message across to this person.

This person has only recently bought a computer,

They think Internet Explorer is the thing that turns on “The Internet”.

They have an ADSL connection but when asked about how they’re connected to the internet, They’ll say Bigpond or Google.

Speaking of Google, this person thinks it’s something ON their computers.

I think of the time before 2000 as the “black and white era” of the internet, anyone who has just got online may have no real sense that one file is larger than the other, To them a short text file is the same as a Movie, I have seen one person burn a single short text file, to a CD.

This person has never experienced the effort of downloading an mp3 file, on dialup, which took a whole hour to download.

I’ve seen a computer ruined because someone downloaded “a song” from a P2P program which was only a few hundred KB in size, a huge red-flag to me, (virus) but they thought it was the song they were after.

They have no understanding of why Apples insistence on a closed app store is a bad thing, and probably think that everything is on the app store anyway. I’ve met an apple owner who doesn’t know how to use the app store.

When I got my first computer, an Amstrad CPC 6128 for my 21st Birthday in 1986, I was very aware of the size of files, I had to be, as I could run out of disc space very fast. The same when I moved to my Amiga A500 and my Amiga A1200… and I learnt about the limits of my machines and it’s software.

Newbies never had that education.

And while I fully appreciate the idea of having an NBN, this person won’t understand any of it, and probably think they’re fine with what they have.

This person will accept any of the rubbish they hear from Tony Abbott, about how a wireless system would be better.

To the techie, you need to explain yourselves very clearly to this person, and fast, You need to sell the idea that an NBN is a very good thing, you need to make it sound as appealing as a new Apple gizmo… and realise that even if all the customer understands is that they can buy a white one, then sell them a white one.

To the person who is new to computers, who may be reading this, feeling a bit confused, would you like some things to think about? If so, here’s a few.


There are three ways to send data.

1. Cable

2. Regular copper wires

3. Wireless

Now I know some of you confuse Wireless with Wi-Fi, I’ll get to that shortly.

Consider this, do you recall from school what the fastest thing of all was?

If you said light, you’re right, and deserve a gold star.

Light is the fastest thing of all, and that’s what will travel along the fiber cables of the NBN.

Now there is some talk about different cable systems being faster than others, so some people worry that perhaps all the old cable will have to be dug up again and replaced with the new technology, this is highly unlikely… instead when it’s time for an upgrade, it will be as simple as the NBN people replacing their computers with new ones, just like you would if you need a new machine.


Wireless is fine, and I’m not against it. But radio waves cannot ever go as fast as light can, and it doesn’t matter what politicians of either side say, the fact is that nothing in the known universe, is faster than light.

Have you ever had your mobile phone slow down when you tried to access facebook, or poor reception? or worse no reception? Well that’s what it will be like if we all had wireless internet, which would get worse in the evenings as kids tried to play games on it or do their homework, it could even stall completely.

Granted, Wireless internet can be great for accessing things on your computer while on the train, but at home it’s probably not the best.

What’s the difference between Wireless and Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is usually the signal which comes out of your router, that box with the blinking lights on it. It’s that box which allows you to connect to your internet via a laptop, a mobile phone or iPad.

Wi-Fi will only work within range of your router, and is usually password protected so that only you and your family can make use of it.

You can access the NBN via Wi-Fi if you want.

Wireless is different.

To access wireless internet on your laptop, you need a small plastic thing which plugs into the USB port.

While an iPhone or iPad would need something like a pre-paid plan with Optus, Telstra or someone like that.

Wireless internet allows you to take a computer or phone with you and use your internet on the go, it would be useful to someone who’s an interstate truck driver, for example, or someone who regularly flies interstate.

But the down side is that it’s generally quite expensive and rather slow to use, and while it’s perfect for E-mails or Facebook, it’s no good for downloading movies, skype or playing fast moving games with.

Old copper wires.

If you have a really good phone connection, then you can connect to the internet via dial up, which is the very old method which makes odd squealing sounds through the phone,

You cannot use the phone when you’re using the computer for  dialup  internet.

Dial up is terribly slow, so slow in fact that it could take an hour to just load a youtube video.

Or you can have ADSL which is a fairly standard method used in most homes in Australia.

ADSL is for the most part, pretty reliable, it will allow most people to do pretty much everything they need to do, however the problem here is that the further away from your phone exchange you are, the slower ADSL becomes, and if you’re in a rural area, it might not work much better than dialup.

So, if you’re on a farm in the bush, your internet may suck more than your milking machines do.

What an NBN would do, is basically give everyone the chance to drive a Ferrari,

And it should cost about the same as standard ADSL internet (Generally ADSL works out to be a lot cheaper than wireless as you get a lot more data for your money).

It may surprise you to know that the internet came out of the 1960s and has slowly been advancing, always getting better.

That Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are all fairly new, and have come about as the new technology became cheaper and easier to use.

And that although things are pretty good as they are, they could be a lot better and a lot fairer to the wider community if we decide on having an NBN.

Well Like what?

People in rural areas would have the same internet experience as those of us in the city would.

It would give doctors life saving information about patients extremely quickly, or possibly allow surgeons in Melbourne to operate on a patient in Alice Springs via a robot.

It would allow anyone to upload high definition videos they’ve made themselves in just a few minutes (It once took me eight hours to do this on ADSL)

Business people could have conferences online, rather than fly interstate or overseas, allowing more time for people to remain with their families, the experience should be a lot better than todays Skype calls.

I really love to dream of possibilities, I’m really not sure what the next step will be, and that excites me.

So far I have met the most amazing people online, people who I thought I’d never get to meet, but what tomorrow brings may be a complete knock out, for all of us.

I say push it hard and as far as it will go, choose the NBN, it’s the best technology we have at the moment.


The current, cheapest option is $50 per month, which is 30GB per month, with a speed of 12mps down, and 1mps up

(on internode)

*There was an error in my research last night, this has now been corrected.