Author Archives: acflory

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes...

Augmented Reality Laptop!!!

I do own a laptop, but I haven’t used it in years because it has a tiny screen and a tiny keyboard. In a word, it’s about as comfortable as…porcupine undies. Okay, that’s two words, but it is Sunday morning, and I’m not quite awake yet… Anyway, a little light bulb went off in my head when I read the title of this New Atlas article: ‘Spacetop AR laptop puts the screen on your face

Basically, you get special glasses – that’s the ‘on your face’ part – that allow you to see virtual screens in the air, like in the video below:

Spacetop AR screens

And this is what the whole Spacetop looks like:

Developed by Israeli company, Sightful, the augmented reality laptop isn’t ready for commercial production yet, BUT, in gamer terms, it is ready for beta testing, and that means commercial production may not be that far off.

I won’t be able to afford the new Spacetop laptop for many years yet, but just the thought of it excites me. This is real augmented reality about to go mainstream. The future is almost here. πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend,
Meeks


OMG…just hit 400 subscribers on Youtube!

Sorry! Just had to crow a little. I have no idea why I’m getting subscribers as I haven’t uploaded anything new in a couple of months, but I’m thrilled nonetheless.

Have a great day,
Meeks

p.s. comments are off.


Record Label fakes Golden Hour

I love music. I particularly love piano music, so I’ve been obsessing about a song called Golden Hour by JVKE. It’s all over Youtube, and the hype is immense, but today, I stumbled across proof that the marketing of the song, at least, is fake:

I learned the piano for ten years so I understand what the expose is talking about. Once you get into the debunking though, anyone can see the proofs piling up, one after the other.

Don’t believe me? Watch this ‘live’ performance:

At 2:30-ish JVKE stands and moves away from the piano to sing, but the piano keeps on playing…

So what? Performers have been lip-syncing for decades, right? Yes, but they all have to do a real live performance eventually, and that’s when you hear what they can really do.

Just once, I’d like to hear/see JVKE play the song he composed…for real. Even if it doesn’t sound as perfect, even if he makes mistakes, even if he’s nowhere near as good as he’s made out to be…I’d still like to see it for real.

The Youtuber – Klavier lernen [learn piano] – says that he believes JVKE is very talented, and I do too, but for whatever reason, the record label that picked him up and created this online marketing campaign did not think his playing ‘live’ would be good enough. So all the candid camera type stuff we see on social media is fake.

I hope JVKE goes on to have a long, successful career, but I won’t be buying his song because I will not support the bastards who believe that fake is fine if it makes money. News flash…no, it isn’t.

Meeks


Suffragette and The Voice

By sheer accident, I watched a movie called Suffragette last night, and it completely changed how I see the world. You see, I used to think that the Suffragettes were privileged, upper-crust women who wanted the vote out of…I don’t know, pride? Entitlement? I thought that handcuffing themselves to the railings of parliament house was ‘symbolic’. And ineffectual.

I had no idea how dire the need for a vote was.

I had no idea how completely powerless women were.

I had no idea that the law, written by men, gave ownership of children to the father. Completely.

I had no idea a father could take a child away from its mother, and send it away for adoption, just because the mother had shamed him…because she was a Suffragette:

Australian viewers can watch Suffragette for free on iView.

I had no idea the vote was seen as the first step in releasing women from slavery. If you watch the movie right to the end, you’ll get a list of countries that gave women the vote, and when. The first was New Zealand. The second was Australia. Giving women the right to their own children only came after they were given some say in the making of laws. And that only came after they were given the vote.

I’ve never considered myself to be a feminist. I thought change only happened one-on-one, at the individual level. I was right in some ways, because lasting change only happens when individuals change the hearts and minds of other individuals. But I was also so naive I now cringe in shame. You see, I didn’t understand power. At all.

Those who have power like things just the way they are. They do not want change, because any change is seen as a lessening of their power, their privilege, their god-given-right to do as they please. That’s why peaceful protests achieve so little; they’re so easy to ignore.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am NOT advocating violent protests. The only thing they achieve is to set the hearts and minds of ordinary people against whatever is being protested. But annoying protests, now they are another matter entirely.

Strikes that discomfort the common man get media attention.

Media attention can bring injustices to light.

Awareness of injustice can start to change hearts and minds.

Here in Australia, I grew up being taught a history that made no mention of the frontier wars between white settlers and Indigenous Peoples. It made no mention of the massacres that took place, and it definitely did not mention the Stolen Generations. For those who don’t know, colonial governments forcibly took mixed race children from their Aboriginal mothers because it was thought those children could integrate into White society. They might never amount to more than lower class menials, but that would still be better than living as primitives. As for the pure bloods, well, the hope was that in time they would simply…die out.

As a mother, I cannot imagine a greater cruelty.

Another thing the official histories of Australia neglected to mention was that the white settlers never, ever made any sort of a treaty with the Indigenous Peoples of this country. Why? Because Australia was officially considered to be Terra Nullius – empty land, land that belonged to no one. Therefore, the Indigenous People who lived here did not exist. Only now, in 2023, is my state of Victoria negotiating the very first treaty with our Indigenous Peoples. I’m both incredibly proud that we are the first…and appalled that it’s taken so long to even get to this point.

But most of us learned none of that in school. I know I didn’t. That part of our history as a nation was deliberately kept from us. An official conspiracy of silence. The only thing we knew about Aboriginals was that a few sad relics lived in the slums of our cities. If we thought about them at all, we assumed that they somehow ‘deserved’ what happened to them. Because they were inferior to us.

Inferior…right. The longest, continuous culture in the world – 65,000 years and counting – is inferior to a bunch of newbie cultures that have done nothing but destroy the world around them. Because they could. Power, again.

The Indigenous Peoples of Australia gifted the Uluru Statement from the Heart to the people of Australia in May, 2017. In it, they asked, as nicely as possible, for a say in how they are treated by government.

They asked for a Voice.

They asked, as nicely as possible, for truth telling about the past, and reconciliation for the future.

They asked, as nicely as possible, for there to be, finally, a treaty between them and us, between the original owners of this land, and the descendants of those who took the land at the point of a gun.

The Turnbull government turned the Uluru Statement from the Heart down. Flat. As with the Suffragettes, asking nicely failed.

But the people of Australia did do something pretty amazing. On the 9th of December, 2017, Marriage Equality became law. Because we voted for it. It wasn’t a referendum; it was just a plebiscite, but Malcolm Turnbull did one good thing and acted on our wishes.

That vote for Marriage Equality gives me hope because now, in 2023, we have a chance to do something right again. Soon, old settlers and new will have a chance to vote YES for the Voice. YES for change. YES for respect. YES for justice. YES…to show that we’re better than the generations that came before us.

If humanity is to have any chance in the longer term, we have to become our better selves. We have to start using power for the betterment of all rather than the privilege of some.

We have to use power to co-operate because the old competitive model is destroying us. We have to do better, and we have to start now, before it’s too late.

love,
Meeks

p.s. I just worked out how to create a podcast of this post. You can find it here:


Camera Obscura – info

My good friend and fellow Aussie, Frank Prem, just published a fascinating post about how the Camera Obscura works.
I was intrigued and I hope you will be too. Thanks, Frank!

Frank Prem Poetry

Thank you Andrea for asking about this. I’m a bit limited in what I know, I can tell a few things about it. Forgive me if I hash over old basics.

The Lens of the Eye

Camera Obscura works in much the same way (gross over-simplification) as the lens of the eye does. I found a diagram that will most likely be at least a little bit familiar to most readers.

The way the lens of the eye works – https://smartclass4kids.com/human-eye-diagram/

So light/image enters the eye, and then is reversed onto the back of the eye. The brain then interprets the image so we can β€˜see’ the image right waty around.

This is a little biological magic that we perform all day long and rarely stop to think about. So long as it works, it is as it should be.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura is not new. Leonardo da Vinci…

View original post 672 more words


Covid – do we or don’t we?

After three long years of self-isolation, the Offspring went into hospital on Friday for a long delayed procedure. Nothing serious, but the specialist had so many procedures to perform, or perhaps some of them took a LOT longer than expected, that something that should have taken maybe two hours ended up taking almost eight.

To be safe, we decided to isolate – from each other – but I did have to drive the Offspring home. In a small car. Without masks as the hospital took the Offspring’s N95 mask away and didn’t replace it. With anything.

That was Friday.

Yesterday, the Offspring sneezed a few times. We put it down to something in the garden.

Today, the Offspring has a sore throat.

Coincidence? Covid? The flu maybe? Just a cold?

The RAT [rapid antigen test] is still to be done and may take a couple of goes as it’s not that good at picking up Omicron.

I’m trying to stay positive.

Anti-virals are really good now, and we’ve both had 5 vaccinations, including the bi-valent one specifically developed for Omicron, so we should be okay…

But I’m still angry. No, not angry. I. AM. FURIOUS.

I understand that people want Covid to be over. I understand that they’re sick of the restrictions and the masks and all the anxiety, but those of us who can’t afford to ‘live with Covid’ rely on the so-called experts to help us stay safe. Yet none of the staff at this private hospital were wearing masks.

Why not? Many of the day patients who attend this hospital are older people who come in for chemo for fuck sake!!! Were they, at least, given masks?

More importantly for me, why didn’t the medical staff give my Offspring a replacement mask?

I know you can’t wear a mask DURING a general anaesthetic. But post recovery? While waiting for the specialist to come? While walking around inside the hospital?

Why couldn’t the staff give the Offspring a mask then?

What’s the point of living like a bloody hermit for years if the people we have to trust are certifiable idiots?

I’ll keep you posted.

Meeks


When too much of the Author intrudes into the story

Writers in the Storm asked me to write a post about writing, so my disgruntled Reader-self prodded and poked until I wrote about some of the things I don’t like to read…and try very hard not to write. πŸ˜€

‘I don’t know about you, but when I read fiction, I want to be carried away to another place and time. I want to meet new, larger-than-life characters who do things I could never manage myself. It’s just me and the story.

When the author intrudes, however, all I get is ‘aren’t I funny? aren’t I cool? aren’t I clever?’ To which my answer is inevitably…no. I want to read the story, not the author’s ego fest.’

acflory on Writers in the Storm: https://writersinthestormblog.com/2023/05/when-too-much-of-the-author-intrudes-into-the-story/#comment-158672

Please come read the post on Writers in the Storm where I unleash my Grumpy Old Lady to the max. πŸ˜€

cheers,
Meeks

p.s. I’ve turned comments off here. πŸ˜€


Touch…the missing link in VR gaming

Haptic gloves that simulate touch are not new, but up till now they have been waaaaay too expensive for the tech to be integrated into gaming. That could all change with the Bifrost Pulse VR glove:

And no, that young man is not a 14 year old gamer! He is part of the project team developing the haptic glove. Bifrost are hoping to crowd fund the development of the glove via Indiegogo. If successful, they will make the glove available to gaming developers in order to speed up:

a. the use of touch in gaming, and

b. the sale of low cost gloves that all gamers can afford.

As a gamer myself, I’d love to own a pair of these gloves, and I’d love to play games in which I can feel as well as see and hear. πŸ˜€

And as a scifi writer? This development brings Innerscape one small step closer.

cheers,
Meeks


Anti-ageing for some time in the future

I hit 70 this year, and there’s no way this particular avenue of research will mature fast enough to have any impact on my life, but as a science fiction writer I’m fascinated by the idea that future humans may live to twice the age they do now. How that might happen is discussed on the New Atlas website here.

I strongly recommend that you read the entire article, but if you only want the bare bones, keep reading.

Before I talk about the anti-ageing research, you need to know that:

Now for the interesting part. Once a cell ‘chooses’ a path to cell death, it does not deviate from that path. But what if it did? This is where the research comes in. The UC San Diego team:

‘…rewired a central gene regulatory circuit that controls cell aging. Usually it works like a toggle switch, sending a particular cell down a particular path, but in this case the researchers tweaked it to function as a gene oscillator. That triggers a cell to periodically switch from one path to another, slowing down the arrival at the destination of cell death.’ [The highlight is mine].

https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/genetic-clock-anti-aging-increase-lifespan/

The cells were yeast cells, so about as far from human cells as you can get, but the results were amazing. Cells that zigzagged between the two paths took 82% longer to reach cell death.

Even assuming that the results could be replicated in human cells, the process of altering humans at the cellular level like this would trigger a $hit storm of ethical debate that could last for centuries, so no, this is not going to help anyone alive now. But…the mere fact that a possible mechanism has been found means that it could happen in the future. And that is what science fiction is all about, extrapolating from the now to the future.

I don’t write super hard science fiction, but everything I imagine has to have some basis in reality. It has to be possible, and today I’ve learned that life extension may become possible…in the future. πŸ™‚

cheers,
Meeks


Happy Birthday as you’ve NEVER heard it before…mwahahahaha!

Whatever you do, do not stop until you reach the end. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

cheers,
Meeks


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