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Azrael's Weblog

Show entry for 2004-03-01 Monday 01 Mar 2004
Monday 01 Mar 2004
MythTV setup on the weekend didn't go to plan, lot of incompatabilities, so I installed windows for the time being, and will give MythTV another try when mandrake 10 is released.

Show entry for 2004-03-02 Tuesday 02 Mar 2004
Tuesday 02 Mar 2004
Read some good news on a forum which stated that Mandrake 10's 2.6 kernel will coome with prism54 support by default. Fingers crossed that will mean my 802.11g pci card will work 'out of the box' as it were. I assume that then installing the hauppauge pvr350 drivers and MythTV won't lead me into quite as many dependency errors.

I made an interesting discovery today. I have been asked to stay on at my job for an extra few months, and been given 6 days of additional holiday entitlement. This seemed strange, 6 days for 3 months, when for the first 9 months I was allocated 5 days (plus closed days). I investigated this today with my line manager, and it seems to be a printing mistake on my leave card, and that I actually have 5 + 18 + 6 days of leave entitlement (in total, including new allowance). Well.. 29 is a lot better than 5. And so far I haven't used any.

Show entry for 2004-03-03 Wednesday 03 Mar 2004
Wednesday 03 Mar 2004
I had a debate online with some people today, over religion and god v's science, and typed so much my fingers ached. So I'm going to cut and paste it here, and save myself writing much more. My comments normal font, comments of others are in different colours, 1 colour per person.

actually, I DO believe in God. I believe God spoke through the various authors of the books of the bible, however, since they were impure humans trying to write down the purity of the word of god, it got garbled, much the way white light shining through a dirty window will no longer be white.

I do believe there is an entity governing the universe. Some call it God, Allah, or whatever name(s) they see fit. To me, it's all the same entity. But I don't believe in the written word of a few men, nor in the dictats of the church, whatever label it puts on its religion. They're all composed of faillible men. I do believe that if we try as best as we can to make the people around us happy, without harming or hurting anyone, we're doing as good as can be expected.Perhaps a simplistic view, but that's what I do believe in. :)

I rather like what St. Thomas Aquinas said about that. "Everything was caused by something else, if you trace the history back to the beginning of time you come to an impasse, because at the very beginning something caused everything else to happen, yet was not a cause itself...and that we know as God"

Er.. well according to physics where was no time before anything, that's fundamentally impossible, in the same way it is impossible to reach the 'end' of the universe. there can be no end to the universe, otherwise you'd wonder what's beyond that border, in the same way there canbe no start of time, as you'd wonder what's before it. And as energy cannot be created or destroyed, it always must have existed.

then explain why astrophysicists are measuring (in time no less) just how old the universe is?

Because the age of the 'existing universe', is actually the age since the 'big bang' event. All astrophysicists agree that energy cannot be created, only converted, so they are not looking at the date at which energy was created, but the age at which the current matter was created from whatever its previous state was.. at the big bang (taking that theory as fact for the moment)

And I presume no one knows what state it was, previously to the big bang?

however, the study of physics is limited....I mean, they don't even know what makes up the MAJORITY of the physical universe... so, I tend to view physics as an interesting study of properties, but I do not go to them for any solid answers.

Well the state in which it was before isn't totally relevant to the debate.. Though one could presume that the expansion of the universe from the bing bang is a reverse event from the previous universe' contraction into the big bang, if you take that view, then the form the previous matter was in is easy to extrapolateWell.. possibly interpolate.. depending how you want to measure it and at what point

but the debate will continue, just as the debate over the existance or nonexistance of a higher sentient power who is "The Creator" of all things. Because the fact is, neither party can prove, or disprove theirs or the other's statements.

Well actually.. that's not totally the case. The side of science does prove everything which it claims as fact, the whole basis of science is coming up with theory, then proving it until it can be taken as fact. The side of religeon however simply has theories, and then gives itself the loophole that god refuses to allow itself to be proven. Nice side-step there. Note I don't claim that all science theories /are/ proven, but that's the difference between theories and facts. And I'd much rather believe a theory that scientists are actively debating and attempting to prove (looking at their past history of providing proof) that a theory where no proof is being sought.

well my point is merely this:Religion, and spirituality are not the same thing, and many people think that they can disprove the existance of god through use of science, which is a study in futility. Not because God refuses to be proven or disproven, but because, it is MY belief that human beings are born with several capacities, one of them is the ability to suspend disbelief, and believe in something, the other is to enquire, and seek to understand the inner workings of things..or more simply Faith, and Intellect...as children, we have an abundance of both things. Air exists because we are told it does, though we can't see, smell taste, or otherwise sense "air" (not wind, but air) yet we believe it, because we have faith that it must be true. As we grow older, we intellectualize what "air" is, and why it exists and how to prove that it does...Im using a simple example here, but as we grow older we tend to rely more on intellect than faith. God, in my view (or whatever higher power one wishes to label it) exists in such a way that we do not have the intellect to understand him/her/it/them, and thus a breakdown occurrs in many people. I feel that trying to "find God" through the pure use of intellect equates to not using all the tools we are born with, IE:trying to build a car with just 1 screwdriver.

Well on the issue of religion, I won't believe any until they all can work out amongst themselves which one's the right one. Especially as they all have the same groundless base to proclaim themselves as true, and declare the others as false. Science doesn't need to attempt to prove god or not. Science simply looks for truth.. and that truth proves god does not exist. God used to be the sun, because it made day and night, now we understand what the sun is and don't call it god. So modern day religion needs to be a little more sophisticated. I give them full marks for keeping themselves on the leading edge of what we understand.. even if at times they try and keep there by killing and ridiuling those that provide facts to dispute them. The ability to suspend belief or seek fact seem irrelevant, they don't alter fundamental truths. As children we /don't/ take things simply on 'faith' we ask 'why' we a'ways ask 'why' that's a stereotype of children, but it has become so because it is true. Children question everything, seeking facts. As to not having the intellect. We used tonot have the intellect to understand the sun. But that didn't make it god. And that doesn't make a god out of anything we don't yet understand for the same reasons. Sure, there probably are things we could never grasp, maybe something as hard again over quantum physics as quantum physics is over gravity. But that doesn't make it a god. Either way, if there /is/ such a thing as a god, that still doesn't mean it has ever attempted to reveal itself. I still hold that all such reported attempts (that became religions) are lies concoted to allow tribal leaders to control the masses.

I don't discount that possibility, but I choose to believe what I believe."at any rate while I enjoy such discussions, I must be off to sleep now.

If you believe because of revelations you have uncovered, that aren't based on formal religious doctrine, or brianwashed into you as a child, then i am fully supportive of you :) Sleep well, and I hope god does reveal itself to you in your dreams, and you can correct me tomorrow.

that's a discussion for another time. Suffice to say I was Agnostic...now Im not.

Show entry for 2004-03-04 Thursday 04 Mar 2004
Thursday 04 Mar 2004
Latest Angel episode 5x16 (Shells) was quite a remarkable episode. Following on from the previous episode, one almost expected a 'happy' ending (no spoilage over what happened), however I was glad to see that there was no happy ending. Perhaps, for me, the latest handful of episodes will rate as the best Angel ever - though hard to judge what's fresh in the mind with what has long passed.

Show entry for 2004-03-05 Friday 05 Mar 2004
Friday 05 Mar 2004
Today I decided to refresh my memory regarding my calendar php code, and so I rehashed it all into a single file that gives me an endless calendar. I made a few additions to it, in case I want to extend it further. Currently it's only conceptual, but I like the idea of being able to tick a date, write some text and submit them into a database, and then viewing each month shows you the contents of the database for that month. I don't know what I'd use it for, perhaps a simple way to run a personal/work diary.

Show entry for 2004-03-08 Monday 08 Mar 2004
Monday 08 Mar 2004
Finished book 9 of the Wheel of Time today. There's this place in the book, called Far Madding, and it appears that in this town women are dominant over men (is this a surprise any more?), to the point at which every room in an inn has not a bible in the draw, but a strap for women to chastise their husbands with. Also all members of the town council are female. However every single member of the town guard are male, and it appears that men aren't actually enslaved, and are free to leave, and yet they all seem perfectly content to live there. I have real sympathy for R. Jordan's messed up childhood.

On an aside, I had a 5:30-6:30 training session on today, and it seems like I was at work for ever.. was glad to get home.

Show entry for 2004-03-11 Thursday 11 Mar 2004
Thursday 11 Mar 2004
Today is a very busy day, I have 3 training sessions on. 11-12:30, 3:30-4, and 5:30-6:30. And between those sessions I have to prep material for, and organise, next terms training programme.

Show entry for 2004-03-14 Sunday 14 Mar 2004
Sunday 14 Mar 2004
I am more than half-way through the 10th book in the Wheel of Time series, and discovered something yesterday which has shocked me. Before I started, I didn't really know anything about this series, and didn't really investigate it. I was aware that there were 10 books in the series, and that a prequel had recently been written. I therefore assumed that these 10 books, which are a continuous story, arrived at some conclusion. It was with some horror that I realised that this isn't the case. The story does not go anywhere near concluding, and that an 11th book is expected in 2005.. and god knows how many more are planned before the story finishes.

Show entry for 2004-03-16 Tuesday 16 Mar 2004
Tuesday 16 Mar 2004
When I got in to work today there were fire engines and police cars/vans all over the place. And people everywhere, it seems that Euston station (train/tube) which is very near by has been evacuated. Maybe a bomb threat? There has just been a new campaign to alert police to unattended bags.. logical in light of Madrid.. so perhaps this is just caution.

It's a little strange.. while growing up in Birmingham I was vaguely aware that there had been serious bombing campaigns from the IRA there.. though I think the worst were just before I was born.. but the IRA were very active within the UK while I was growing up, so there was always the knowledge of it.. yet without any immediate worry about my own safety. The IRA ceasefire has pretty much prevented many incidents since I moved to London, so again not as much an immediate concern as it would have been previously. I have heard a bomb go off, but that was an individual more than a serious terrorist organisation at fault. I live overlooking the river thames, on the south side, and a bomb exploded in Brick Lane (details), on the north side.. not that close to the river, but I heard it explode from home.. (sound travels well across the wide open space of river, so not totally unusual). Anyway, that's the closest I seem to recall to coming to any such incident, and so to see the upheaval of the evacuation this morning, is strange. I don't feel particularly worried, I can not imagine the University being a target, there are many foreign students here, and we're right next door to SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) which has a lot of Asian students/studies etc.. hence I doubt Islamic terrorists (current threat) would target in the vicinity.

Show entry for 2004-03-17 Wednesday 17 Mar 2004
Wednesday 17 Mar 2004
Grrrrrrr.. advanced powerpoint session today, and the people that come to these things don't know anything, it's such a waste of time. I'm glad that all of next term's courses are the basic low level ones.. only I fear I'll end up with full classes of people that don't know how to use a mouse.

Show entry for 2004-03-19 Friday 19 Mar 2004
Friday 19 Mar 2004
Last day of term at the University today.. and I have next week booked off for hols followed by 4 weeks where I absolutly must get lots of documentation written up for my next term's trainng courses.

Show entry for 2004-03-21 Sunday 21 Mar 2004
Sunday 21 Mar 2004
A bit late to report a wonderful win in the rugby yesterday by England over Wales.. but was aclose match.. great play from both sides, an amazing Robinson run, and great pack play from England. France.. bring it on! Also, Saturday I left for a week+ of hols down in Kent with my best friend.

Show entry for 2004-03-24 Wednesday 24 Mar 2004
Wednesday 24 Mar 2004
Went to 'Wildwood' today, it's a wild animal park type of place. Got to see wolves, foxes, lynx, wildcats, deer, mink, owls, and other animals. Below are some fairly bad pics showing some of the animals I saw: Wild Boar, Coypu, Pine Martin, Deer, Arctic Fox and Badger.

Animal Collage

Show entry for 2004-03-26 Friday 26 Mar 2004
Friday 26 Mar 2004
Today I visited Dover castle, and the tunnels in the white cliffs that were used by the military in Napoleonic times, World War II, and even as nuclear bunkers throughout the cold war - doubling as a regional head-quarters if there was ever a nuclear war. Pics to follow

Show entry for 2004-03-29 Monday 29 Mar 2004
Monday 29 Mar 2004
Got back home fairly late yesterday, and almost got to work late this morning with over sleeping. The whole idea of being back at work is fairly off-putting.. but I'll get used to it again I'm sure. Unfortunately we have guests staying.. and being away I didn't really get inconvenienced (other than having to clean my room). But now I am back, I don't get to sleep in my own bed yet.. it has to be given up for one of the guests.

About the pics of Dover castle that I said were due.. I took a look at the pics my friend took, and they were awful. I found better pics online. But i think it is a little too much to simply grab those and put them up on my 'blog - better just for anyone interested to do an image search for 'Dover Castle'.

Show entry for 2004-03-30 Tuesday 30 Mar 2004
Tuesday 30 Mar 2004
Yesterday and today I got done the work I needed to get done. Am currently working at the rate of 1 course-handout a day. Obviously I'm not going to be able to keep this rate up, but so far, so good. At the same time I've had to be thinking over some difficult issues.

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