Book Launch: Antologia de Poesia Contemporânea "Entre o Sono e o Sonho", Vol. VIII by Gonçalo Martins


For the first time I see one of my poems chosen and published in the VIII Anthology of Contemporary Portuguese Poetry “Between Sleep and Dream”. 



If you’re into Poetry, read on.

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Shitty Philosophy and Physics : “Time Reborn – From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe” by Lee Smolin


Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe - Lee Smolin

“I propose that time and its passage are fundamental and real and the hopes and beliefs about timeless truths and timeless realms are mythology.”



In “Time Reborn – From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe” by Lee Smolin



Impermanence, Buddhist style?


Buddhism seems to acknowledge the play of opposites I’ve referred to elsewhere.

Recognising the yin-yang nature of the universe, in order to claim there is constant ‘flux’ (fluidity, rather than change; a subtle difference) – or for argument’s sake, change – Buddhists balance that by asserting a ‘greater’ reality – the one, eternal, stable, whole (a supposed ‘deeper’ reality).


Contradiction and paradox is near the heart of evidenced, reasoned contemplation?


As for Aristotle:

time is a measurement of change is a measurement of time.

Change makes time possible, and vice-versa.

In principle, it seems that time persists, even in conditions of perfect stillness.

Yet any attempt to conceive a temporal progression, absent all change, seems to lead us into perplexing self-contradictions: any attempt to imagine how such unchanging time-flow could be measured, requires changing. It seems that time must be more than change; yet remove change, and time vanishes!  But if time is just a means to measure change, then in principle, it should permit the possibility of a world where change is cyclical. Yet our understanding seems to limit time to a linear, one way progression.


Or does it?



If you’re into shitty physics, read on.

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Programming is Like Music: "Python – Become A Master In Python" by Richard Dorsey


Python: Become A Master In Python - Richard Dorsey

Just what is the fascination with spreadsheets? I played with them on my Spectrum in the 80s, but it wasn’t very useful. I used a spreadsheet on a Psion handheld in the 90s to keep track of some data. And nowadays I have a spreadsheet in LibreOffice to keep track of my expenses and work out my tax (estimate, since obviously, you need to use a proper package to get it right). I’ve worked in places in the meantime where bosses think that Excel is a suitable tool for project planning. It isn’t. But if you only give people a hammer, everything looks like a nail to them. As a programmer, myself, I’m finding this whole thing fascinating. The quality of the kid’s programming output (and yes, it is programming, not ‘coding’) is going to be directly proportional to the teacher’s ability who’s teaching them. I have a big worry that this will go the way of foreign language learning in school though, even without this concern over the quality of teaching. It’s a subject that needs self-determination and a lot of time spent outside of the class room to truly get to grips with. Without these two things pupils, will probably grow to despise the subject – and we may even start to put off future would be programmers. Children as young as four have been learning programming skills in the classroom for many years with programmable toys: Big Trak, Roamers and BeBots are some examples which have been whirring around on the floor. Disguise a robot as a sheep and get it to run away from the farmer or program a lifeboat to reach a sinking ship etc.



If you’re into Computer Science and programming in particular, read on.

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All Much Ado about Nothing: “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin


The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next - Lee Smolin

“The Weinberg-Salam model requires that the Higgs field exist and that it manifest itself as the new elementary particle called the Higgs boson, which carries the force associated with the Higgs field. Of all the predictions required by the unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces, only this one has not yet been verified.”


In “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin



Hello physicists and Lee Smolin in particular,


I can’t say I agree with such a hard stance against string theory personally like Smolin does, but I’m what’s known as a stupid person, so it doesn’t really matter what I think. However, I do feel it is healthy for science to have people that challenge ideas from all sides. All this will do is galvanise people to work harder to provide evidence to prove or disprove any theory that tries to describe realty. Science thrives in areas of confliction.


Life is the memory of what happened before you died, i.e. we cannot extricate ourselves from the universe in any way shape or form, including our “objective,” apparently repeatable theoretical notions. By definition, there is only one UNI-verse. If you want to call it a universe of multiverses or a multiverse of universes, or balls of string with no limits, no problem, but there is only one of everything that is and isn’t. This assemblage of atoms, no different from any other atoms, called the human body, has a life and death, as do the stars; it also has an internal resonance we like to call the consciousness of self-awareness of existence. We all too often, de facto, accept that there is a universe outside our “selfs”, our bodies, i.e. it’s just me, my-self, and I, and the universe that surrounds my body, as if there were a molecular separation of some sort. This starting point for science, i.e., this assumed separation from a universe that surrounds our (apparent) bodies is the first thing that has to go. By definition there is only one UNI-verse that includes Heisenberg, I, the photos and videos of flying objects that make apparently perfect right angle turns at thousands of miles per hour, which we casual observers are not able to identify, black holes, white holes, pink holes, blue holes, our memories, our records, not to mention everything else. It’s all much ado about nothing. As someone else used to say, “This IS the cosmic drama,” we are living at the interface of the Sun’s outgoing light and the apparent incoming light from the universe that appears to surround the Sun. Ah, but, what if we live in a black hole and don’t realize it? That would mean the night sky, which most of us consider to exist outside the sun would actually be all the light of the sun after doing a 180, except, and here’s the kicker, daylight, i.e., the light of the sun that we experience as sunshine.



If you’re into Physics and String Theory in particular, read on.

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The Ballet Dancer: "The Late Show" by Michael Connelly


The Late Show - Michael Connelly

“It’s like the laws of physics—for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. If you go into darkness, the darkness goes into you. You then have to decide what to do with it. How to keep yourself safe from it. How to keep it from hollowing you out.”


In “The Late Show” by Michael Connelly


It isn’t polite to look in through other people’s windows. I knew this but still I would do it. It isn’t an obsession, it isn’t voyeuristic. No. But sometimes things would catch my eye as I walked past. A nice vase, a sleeping cat, a glimpse of a print on a wall, random “stuff” that makes a home a home. I liked to imagine who would surround themselves with these things, what do they look like? How do they live? In one window, I know is a tiny figurine of a young ballet dancer – cheap, pastel, glazed. Nondescript. Given a place of prominence through love.

I once saw the woman who owned that dancer.

If you’re into Crime Fiction, read on.

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Non-Flash-in-the-Pan SF: “Counting Heads” by David Marusek


Counting Heads - David Marusek

“I am not pouting, and I am certainly not indulging in self-pity, as Eleanor accuses me. In fact, I am brooding. It is what artists do, we brood. To other, more active people, we appear selfish, obsessive, even narcissistic, which is why we prefer to brood in private.”


In “Counting Heads” by David Marusek



SF stories often regurgitate medieval themes and settings, including wars, sword fighting, emperors, dukes, and so on. Star Wars and Dune do this, too. They would have us believe that people still fight with (light) sabres although they master FTL travel as well. Light sabres may be entertaining, but to me they are not serious SF. I prefer another kind of SF, the kind that shows NEW forms of human/alien behaviour induced by alien settings and new technology, NEW dilemmas and choices, and shows how current developments will play out in the not-too-distant future. In short, it kind of sheds light on the human condition as I’ve been writing “ad nauseam” on this blog. David’s Marusek brilliant “Counting Heads” has no sword fighting, no laser guns. It does have court cases being pursued by Artificial Intelligence Assistance up to the Highest Court within milliseconds. People being “seared” – deprived of their online identity and thereby being unable to live a normal life. Societies with large numbers of clones such as “Maries” (that often marry Freds, who are fond of making lists for everything they do).



If you’re into SF, read on.

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733bi/fo@@h732=|$dGGGHHH&+~52: "Think Like a Hacker – A Sysadmin’s Guide to Cybersecurity" by Michael J. Melone


Think Like a Hacker: A Sysadmin's Guide to Cybersecurity - Michael J. Melone, Dr. Shannon Zinck

“Thinking like a hacker means studying the tooling that hackers use, attending hacker conferences such as DEFCON [and C-Days 2017 in Portugal], and practicing hacking and exploitation in a lab environment.”


In “Think like a Hacker: A Sysadmin’s Guide to Cybersecurity” by Michael J. Melone


What happens in real life passwords-wise? (I know what I’m talking about; back in the day I was in the trenches doing this for a living…)


The passwords are usually stored in a database with the username, when you enter your username and password one is checked vs another. Obviously if the database was stored “in the clear” anyone who stole it or looked at it would know your password. This can’t work for anywhere where the user accounts must be secure – even from employees, which is basically everywhere. So, what is done is that the password is “hashed” which means that it is encoded using a one-way conversion formula. If I have the formula and the password I can reproduce the hash result, that’s a match! I can open your account! That’s what the website does when you enter the right password. But if you just have the hash then if you give that to the web site it will apply the formula and create a different the result and the system will say “no dice”. So having the hashes is no use to a hacker.



If you’re into Cumputer Science and hacking in particular, read on.

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