GBR48 comments

Posted in: With virus surge, U.S. to keep travel restrictions for now See in context

Well, you wouldn't want tested, covid-free people crossing a border from one country that has the delta variant to another that has the delta variant, would you?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: California's largest fire burns homes as blazes scorch West See in context

These fires will be devastating for those who lose their homes and livelihoods to them. I hope they are getting support.

I wonder what the USG spend more cash on - military gear or fire and flood mediation.

I doubt anyone is ever going to invade the US. But climate change will do this to it at an increasing rate over the coming years.

But then most governments spend a fortune on anti-terrorism, when far more of their citizens die in RTAs than at the hands of terrorists. We all deserve better governments.

Looking ahead, some parts of the world will cease to be viable for residential and agricultural use. If your summer is already hot, it's going to become a lot hotter.

Is this the real reason why the borders are being closed and travel restricted: To stop people migrating to safer places. With covid a pandemic, and on both sides of every border, there is no virological need to deploy movement restrictions across man-made lines in the ground.

Perhaps nation-state regimes are building borders to control their own turf as climate change sets in, because a global effort to mediate it is politically and economically unpalatable to them. And, as Desert Tortoise had explained, vested interests simply will not do the right thing if there is cash at stake.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you find it difficult to understand how scoring is done or points awarded in some Olympic sports? If so, which sports? See in context

The judges in the 'artsy' events will have spent decades in the sport and will see things we don't down to tiny details. That doesn't mean that the results can't be fixed - ice skating has a bit of a reputation. Multiple judges are often used, with averages or highest/lowest discarded to limit bias and subjectivity.

Contact sports now use embedded sensors. Versions of VAR are now used with requested appeals in many sports. Camera footage from multiple angles is then available.

It's not perfect. A VAR ref may not want to undermine his mate on the pitch, and what I consider cheating, some consider 'professionalism' and folk from some countries consider 'part of the game'.

The best way to work out the scoring and rules is to watch a sport and listen to the commentary. Good commentators will guide you and explain unusual events. The 3 on 3 basketball is new but rather good. It's accessible. A few kids, a ball and a hoop and you can train for the Olympics. Just avoid the Serbs, who are very good but very physical. One team seemed to be mixed, whilst others were not, which was unusual.

The skateboarding seemed a bit weird. On during the day as some of the contestants had early bed times. But suspend your disbelief and you can work out what they are trying to do. It must be difficult as so many runs looked like Epic Fail videos on YouTube. Was that real concrete or padded? Not a sport for anyone with older, less bouncy bodies. Japanese youths are very good on skateboards. After the Games, there will be a huge increase in Japanese teenagers being told to stop skateboarding in public spaces.

I have trouble watching sailing. Unless they are actually going round a marker, they seem to be randomly scattered, but I guess they are using the wind and tide. Hockey rules sometimes seem a bit random too.

I wonder why they invented a load of weird sub-optimal swimming strokes. Just for competition?

My favourite moment so far is the Chinese weightlifter. On his way to a gold, he actually lifted a leg and stood on one leg with the weights above his head. Another weightlifter (Korean I think) had rainbow shoelaces. One weightlifter appealed a decision on how long he had the bar aloft. It was granted. I thought he was quite lucky. Fine margins.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Take 2: Triathlon forced to restart when boat gets in way See in context

-Wilde was bummed his good start was wiped out.


Is the AP employing teenagers?

'Nonplussed'? 'Annoyed'? 'Aggrieved'?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Israeli judo star perseveres after 2 opponents' withdrawals See in context

The pathetic idiocy of injecting politics into sport.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Uber driver independence a bumpy road See in context

The whole point of the disruptive economy is to offer new alternatives to existing services - in this case overpriced taxi services and under-regulated private cabs.

Uber has simply placed itself into the mix offering something different. Nobody is forced to work for it. Nobody is forced to take an Uber or any of its competitors rather than a cab.

Anyone thinking of working for them is free to read the terms and listen to the criticism before making a decision.

Joining one service and then whining that it does not work like a different service is pathetic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gymnastics team, tired of 'sexualization,' wears unitards See in context

The women could have asked for equality - male beach volleyball players having to wear mankinis.

Given the issue of skin cancer, I'm surprised more athletes don't cover up.

Uzbekistan's female boxer, Tursunoy Rakhimova, was covered up, presumably for religious or cultural reasons. It wasn't a problem for anyone. There is no reason not to have a bit more choice in dress codes. Organisers can still mandate national or specific colours or standardised dress, but offer options for levels of modesty.

I would be interested to know the logic behind women wearing protective headgear in the Olympic boxing and men not doing so, given that they are being repeatedly punched in the head. Taekwondo and fencing have protection with embedded sensors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Is setting targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions an effective way to reduce the adverse effects of climate change? See in context

It should be, but no, it's a con. PR. Window-dressing. Just like carbon credit trading and dates to go 'carbon neutral'. They are booting the problem into the future for someone else to fail at delivering.

Just look at what you can do, and do it. Now. Not in 20 years time.

Would a judge be impressed by a criminal who sets themselves a target of going straight at some point in the distant future?

Governments needed to speed the transition to EVs much faster by funding charging point infrastructure and subsidising the cost of electricity. Petrol isn't cheap. It would have motivated people to shift. Car manufacturers should have been ordered to standardise components, globally, to reduce costs. They could still pick their bodyshell and battery tech, but the fundamentals needed to be interchangeable like PC parts.

The US needs to stop using sports and tech and trade and anything else as a political weapon. We need a globalised market to maximise the delivery of green energy products. Pushing up prices and blocking trade slows the uptake, especially in developing countries. Pick fights with China in some other way. Lose the belligerent, nationalist, Trump-style attitude and concentrate on transitioning the whole of the global economy, together.

Most of all, move on and downgrade covid to the status of just another virus via vaccinations as soon as you can. It is sucking up the cash that needs to pay for climate change mediation, building barriers that prevent international co-operation and engagement, and deflecting attention from climate change mediation.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Can Facebook's $1 bil gamble help it regain lost cool? See in context

The money turns heads, but a better option for FB may be to create customised apps that change the way the FB newsfeed and other features are uploaded and delivered, to replicate the latest popular trending social media apps.

All the usual FB extras would still be available from the standard Facebook app and the website.

They have already beta'd this with Facebook Lite, but they need to be more daring in their changes.

Bluntly, if a FB 'sub app' looked and worked like Instagram or TikTok, it could and would be used in such a manner, without creating a new account on a new platform.

It would stop FB losing any remaining kids, but there would be limits.

Kids live for new trends. A 'sub app' may become one, but a 'Plan B' would be for Facebook to buy every 'next big thing' in social media, rather as SoftBank does in chosen sectors. Don't invite the attentions of politicians. Leave the app to do its thing, in its own way, under its own brand. But ensure that an upgrade makes it and FB interoperable and compliant. Then FB, at worst, FB will be losing customers to itself.

I would also encourage FB to create 3 types of accounts, for pre-teens, teens and adults. The first two controlled by a parent. They also need to develop individual and communal self-censorship options, or governments will turn them into global censors, and expect them to pick up the bill.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: AI spots shipwrecks from the ocean surface – and even from the air See in context

This is a good use for machine learning, flogged on the box as 'AI', as computers are good at shape matching. Not 100%, but good.

Unfortunately, most of the things that are sold with 'AI' will have a much lower %, as real world incidents are affected by contexts and novel scenarios, which are difficult-to-impossible to computerise.

Also, we have expectations of 100% constancy from computers. Aside from blue screens of death and iffy upgrades, we trust a computer to do exactly what we tell it to do, the same way, every time - the joy of binary. One or zero. The 'learning model' inherent in 'AI' means that your computer may respond differently to the same circumstances over time.

Even simple stuff like stock trading permits only limited 'AI' use. Stocks can be tracked to spot when they are plateauing, but there is no context, such as China banning crypto. Big data repositories are historical. Whilst humanity ought to learn from the past, expecting historical stock movements (or anything else) to be mirrored in the present is optimistic. There is more to stock prices than maths.

92% is quite high, as long as it doesn't matter that much if you get a few false positives or false negatives. But is 92% good enough for surgery (on you), or for driving a vehicle (with you in it)? Planes have autopilots, but they still have two pilots for a reason.

So when you see 'AI' on the box, and there isn't an 'off switch', understand that the software will not be 100% constant or 100% reliable. Maybe 92% if you are lucky. Most likely a lot less. And consider whether a machine really can be trained to replicate human intuition, experience and contextualisation, as time and circumstances change.

Computers can learn some things well - pattern matching, games with fixed parameters. They can also attempt dumb things repeatedly, very quickly, making them look smart. But for many things, a trained human will still be a better option. That may not change. There may be a conceptual glass ceiling to how good machine learning can be.

Computers are great aids, but even in this case, I'd still want a grizzled marine archaeologist to check the scans before I got the scuba gear out. We have adopted the term 'Artificial intelligence' rather lazily. There may be no such things as intelligence, real or artificial, in isolation from a life form that it is a fundamental, dedicated part of.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Aquatics Centre symbol of poor planning, gluttonous spending and unfortunate timing See in context

Anything built in 1964 still standing in Tokyo today must be something of a rarity. Public facilities built that long ago are unlikely to be well equipped for a modern event without considerable, recent refurbishment.

Holding the games should leave a country with better sporting facilities, for both international competition and public use. Sometimes existing facilities are refurbished, and some locations are temporary. It depends upon what is available. The investment is an opportunity to regenerate areas that need it. The contracts support jobs across a huge range of industries, both for the initial construction and for later downsizing and adaptation. London had a large area available that was ripe for regeneration, hence the location of the 2012 games.

There is usually a legacy plan. London produced one in 2007, five years before the games. It never works out quite as planned, but in general, the legacy is usually beneficial.

Nobody could have foreseen Covid, and pandemics are not permanent. If the legacy was well planned, it should still deliver.

There is an element of 'a kid in a sweet shop' when an Olympics in obtained. Most sports lack funding and training facilities, and it is an opportunity for them to claim a one-off investment that they won't otherwise get.

Local politicians also like the chance to snare something new and shiny. There is always going to be a fair bit of that. Not because of the Games, but because of embedded networks of corruption.

As the 1964 Olympics were held in Tokyo, I was surprised that the 2020 games were not based in another city or shared around a bit more. I guess Tokyo interests are powerful.

Knocking the Olympics seems to be a popular activity. You might want to look back at how positively the Japanese people responded to winning the Olympic bid. The games should not be used as a lazy proxy for criticising the government. If you don't like the government, criticise them directly or vote against them.

As for Covid, mortality in Japan went down in 2020 and lockdown restrictions have been much lighter than in most countries. You got off lightly, so get some perspective.

Olympic athletes have suffered like the rest of us. Some of them have been training for years, sometimes much of their lives, for a rare, perhaps unique chance to do their thing on the biggest stage of all. They lose that chance is they get Covid. The sensible ones got vaccinated and are doing their best to stay safe. The IOC are as corrupt as any similar body (FIFA springs to mind). You can't blame the athletes for that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Time to start tipping taxi drivers in Japan? Cab company now gives passengers option in Tokyo See in context

Tips are usually an excuse for a low wage. I'd like to see the RotW flip to the Japanese model - no tips and proper wages. Not just taxi drivers but hospitality staff too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Makoto Shinkai or Mamoru Hosoda, who makes the better anime movies? See in context

Enjoyed 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time' and 'Wolf Children' but 'Summer Wars' was daft. You have to be careful using tech in film. And simply because it is easy to do fantasy in anime, it is not a good idea to walk away from too many of the laws of physics when you do. For me, the best fantasy is rooted in reality.

If forced to choose, I'd plump for Makoto Shinkai, and not just for the outstanding visuals. The hauntingly beautiful '5cms per Second' is my favourite anime movie. I've even been to the crossing that the one in the movie was reputedly based on (and, of course, the steps featured in 'Your Name').

Not sure the focus on producers, directors or actors is always helpful. Some superb movies fall between the gaps. 'In This Corner of the World' is exquisite and very moving. Watch it in Japanese with English subtitles. Actually that's good advice for all foreign language movies/TV. You lose too much with dubbing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: China's Hou wins weightlifting gold See in context

I enjoy watching weightlifting. Aside from the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, it is rarely on TV. Hou's lifts were really impressive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Carapaz wins men's road race for Ecuador's 1st cycling medal See in context

It was a good race. The streets had a decent number of well behaved cheering spectators. The Tour de France crowd can be a bit rougher. Most of it used public roads, so it might have taken legislation to block folk off from viewing it. It was interesting to see them include a F1 track. The cyclists might not have appreciated the number of inclines. For viewers around the world, it was a good (and now rare) chance to see Japan away from the tourist sites. The signature mix of greenery, residential and concrete.

A crazily long race though, especially as some participants were planning to do time trials in a few days. With our increasingly extreme climate, they could shorten it a bit. I only saw so much of it because my painkillers didn't kick in and I was up all night. I wouldn't have wanted to cycle it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korea wins gold in archery's mixed team Olympic debut See in context

The SK/Netherlands archery final made for good viewing. It was really tight. I think there was one low scoring arrow that wasn't quite balanced out by Gabriela Schloesser's Robin Hood-like tens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Thousands protest lockdown in Sydney; several arrested See in context

A 'zero covid' policy will require long term or complete isolation from the rest of the world.

Be careful what you wish for.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Do vaccinated people need to go back to masking? See in context

The vaccines impede the severity and spread of Covid, but you can still catch it and spread it, and there are risks from Long Covid. So it is wise to wear a mask and maintain some personal space for a bit yet, where you can.

Rising case numbers become less of a problem once the vaccination figures are high. Hospital numbers and deaths then become the stats to be watched.

The whole point of being vaccinated is to downgrade the severity of Covid to something we can live with. That seems to be happening. That will involve deaths, just as flu kills people each year, even though we take flu jabs.

It is important, as this takes place, that we start to lose the fear. We have always lived, worked, partied and travelled despite there being a lot of viruses out there, many of which can kill us. It will soon be time to add Covid to the list of things we simply cope with. We are getting there.

A 'zero Covid' policy makes no more sense than a 'zero flu' policy. Get vaccinated. It is important that vaccinations become a global norm asap.

Adopting Japanese-style mask wearing in the winter when there are flu bugs about, is worth adopting as a social norm. That might be one good thing that emerges from Covid. Flu kills too. It is not 'brave' to struggle into work with it. Wear a mask to reduce the chances of getting it (or spreading it), and perhaps we can bump down flu deaths and general misery each winter, going forward.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Sydney virus outbreak a 'national emergency' as cases spike See in context

There is a fair chance that covid will persist, as flu, HIV, Hep A and other problems do. A 'zero covid' policy will require permanent isolation for Australia and NZ and persistent lockdowns.

I much prefer living with it, vaccinating the vulnerable and taking whatever hit we get. The Nightingale hospitals were barely used in the early lockdowns. If they are needed, the capacity is there.

The vaccines work well enough. They do what they are supposed to. The rest is down to individual responsibility. Get vaccinated, wear a mask and behave sensibly as we get on with life.

Most of the world is not like Australia and will not accept the long-term lockdowns and travel restrictions required for 'zero covid'. There would be civil unrest (which I would support). If the Aussies are OK with it, that's their choice. Just let people escape if they have relatives elsewhere and wish to emigrate back home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Airport echoes with sobs and farewells in Hong Kong exodus See in context

Escape whilst you still can.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Macron arrives in Tokyo for Olympic opening ceremony See in context

So he doesn't need to quarantine then? Despite meeting the Emperor and the PM.

Does the virus not infect politicians or is it all just a big con - a mechanism to control us proles. It's either one or the other.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Amazon's mission: Getting a 'key' to your apartment building See in context

If someone offers you something for free, you should be suspicious of it and of them.

If someone offers you cash to accept something, walk away.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: High-tech TV tricks for fan-free Tokyo Olympics See in context

I don't need '3D Athlete-Tracking'. But I would like the cameras at the football to get a bit closer to the action. Sometimes it is like watching Subbuteo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: The Tokyo Olympics are rigged to fail. Why hasn’t the media noticed? See in context

Euro 2020 and other sports events took place during lockdowns and virus surges as prolefeed for us proles. And to normalise the lockdown lifestyle for the long term. By offering the public such things, they could quietly obscure all the things they had taken away, and would not be permitting again in the future.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: It was also a decision that we all made together. We feel like we can control the athletes and our safety better in a hotel setting. See in context

Maybe only an option for the US, who can usually do what they want. But a bad idea.

Hotels are serviced by locals. That's how most of the Aussie outbreaks started.

They should have rented an apartment block.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics set for unusual opening ceremony See in context

-Just 1,000 dignitaries will be present at the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

I trust they will be wearing masks and using the size of the stadium to socially distance from each other - not all sitting next to each other in one small section.

-along with a smattering of world leaders.

Did they quarantine, or is that just for us proles?

I hope the opening ceremony goes well. A lot of people have put a great deal of work into it, and they haven't had much recognition amidst all the negative press.

There better be something 46/48 in there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 150 athletes, educators and activists demand change in Olympic protest rule See in context

If you use the Olympics as a political platform, some nations will simply boycott it in response. You lose the ability for every top athlete to perform in the same arena. However positive your protest, you break what generally keeps the Olympics global.

It's the same with trans athletes. However inclusive you want to be, physique issues will lead to their inclusion breaking the basic fairness of some events.

By doing something for the right reasons, you ruin it for everyone.

There are plenty of other political platforms out there. The Olympics has survived this far because it has tried to avoid this, and be a sporting DMZ. It looks like it will now become a victim of the war on globalism and a lack of appreciation of the value of having areas of political neutrality.

However right you believe you are, you have to compromise so that the athletes of all nations can take part, however hideous and abusive their governments are. Their dictators are not their fault and their chance to compete should not be sacrificed on the altar of the self-righteousness of others.

And who gets to choose which protests are OK? Do you allow 'Independence for Taiwan' but ban a Chinese claim to other people's islands?

Entire nations of athletes may be excluded by their governments because of this. The walls will go up within sport around the world. The effect will be the opposite of 'inclusive'.

There are some regimes around the world I would like to see taken out for the atrocities they commit, whilst - for their own dubious reasons - Western regimes cheerfully tolerate them. I might post about them and blog about them, but I wouldn't undermine the chances of their citizens from watching or taking part in an international sporting event just to grandstand my views.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: 81% of employees say AI improves job performance – and they want more See in context

A company flogging AI stuff release survey results suggesting that folk love AI stuff.


-Currently, more than half (56%) of office workers say they are using AI as a part of their daily job responsibilities.

Because it says so on the box? Most office workers can't reboot their own PCs, never mind understand how their software works.

AI isn't magic. The term is now being applied to just about everything in tech, whether it uses fuzzy logic algorithms or just matches text. Just stick the 'AI' label on the side and increase sales.

And let's not forget those 'AI' routines that shut down gardening groups on Facebook that mentioned 'hoes'.

Employees won't be so chipper when their bosses replace them with some cheaper 'AI' software.

Sacked employees can take some consolation from the knowledge that most software is simply not as good as human staff. So by replacing them, their bosses are damaging their business. It is used because it is cheaper, works enough of the time (even if 'enough' is less than 50%), and can be blamed for everything. How can you sue a company when the software was responsible?

We really need a legal requirement that the level of AI can be user-controlled, allowing us to turn it off if we wish too.

Especially on Google Search, where it seems to be particularly lousy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympic opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke in 1998 See in context

The composer who boasted about abusing people (bullying is not a strong enough term), should have been prosecuted for what he confessed to when the magazine article came out.

Jokes are different. Censoring humour is a slippery slope. Someone, somewhere will find anything offensive. This one smells of cancel culture. The witch hunters will be out in force running through back copies of magazines and checking social media posts.

Be honest, how many of you have lived your entire lives without saying or doing anything that would get you banned, if the bar is this low? Do you really want everything you say to be monitored in this way? How much of a background check do you want HR to have done when you apply for a job?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian PM apologizes for slow vaccine rollout See in context

-I take responsibility...

So he has resigned and withdrawn from political life?

Oh no. Silly me. It was a political apology - entirely superficial.

The vaccines do seem to work well against new variants, but that won't stop regimes using Covid, even when it is downgraded to the level of flu, to place limits on travel and implementing back door ID systems with vaccine passports. The 'zero covid' policy of Australia/NZ will require long term isolation from the RotW. Other countries, quite possibly including Japan, may use it for a permanent block on international tourism/immigration. Unless you are rich of course. One rule for the rich, one for us proles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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