Saturday, 26 August 2017

Ideologies at war

Few things surprise me any more and at times frankly real life today seems beyond satire not least in so far as current affairs goes.
I had purposely left Charlottesville off this blog because I wanted to gather my reasoned thoughts together so any opinion over which there is a good number thereof is considered.
To me there are two aspects around this discourse, the reaction on the day and subsequent actions and statements.
I might begin with what may be obvious to some and not to others which is I am not an American, I have not lived in your society and by definition have an outsiders vantage point.
We may as well go back to a part of this discourse that matters, that triggered a strong emotional response from people of differing points of view because to an extent, they colour all else that has happened since.
The catalyst in this is the proposition that statues of people erected who fought for the Confederacy such as Robert E Lee be removed from public spaces because as we are all only too painfully away the Confederacy allowed and supported the right to own slaves and whose treatment was based on racial inequality something that remains a running sore in the South.
To those who understandably oppose such sentiments the continued presence of them they are seen as not so much commemorating the Civil War but celebrating the Confederacy  and a rallying point for those who hold those views.
Others feel notwithstanding their preference for the statutes not have been commissioned in the first place, that it is a remind of a historic factual event that morever may cause people to think about why the Civil War as bloody as it was, was necessary and why racist attitudes are wrong-headed.
Another question to ask is should a State have the power to remove any public moment that reflects its past especially in a light it seeks to move away from?
My feeling is actually one of we learn from the past and that learning is what helps us prevent the same mistakes occurring, the political liberty and autonomy of the constitution that the Southern States had a right to was bought at the cost in part to the liberty of what we call today African-American slaves who were denied theirs.  The Civil War settled that not that North was free from discrimination itself I would add.
Four miles from my home there are two moments originally destroyed by people who opposed a religious past of our town who only accepted one view point erasing all they disagreed with  and repaired and put right centuries later as part of the past  in the spirit of tolerance and respect for the past. This happened during our civil war.
It has a very profound message not lost on my people.
You need to remember your past, that how things are seen does change and the existence of reminders prompts intelligent debate from which all including the many wrongs are understood and addressed in way that removal does not.
Few, perhaps rightly would call for those statues to built today and for understandable reasons although the civil war and its local impact should be marked for all of you but as they are there now, far from removing them you need to use them constructively so the attitudes behind them are discussed and wrongs such as slavery are acknowledged.
To deny your history does no one any good long term.

The second is what happened was wrong, mowing down people leaving one fatality, the use of armed militias uniformed and carrying weapons in public does not have the moral equivalence of pushing forward, at times aggressively with banners. It goes way beyond that into a threat (implied if not necessary acted upon) of violence and life-taking.
Put plainly it simply were never ever be permitted here nor in most English speaking democracies.
Much of the widespread bi-partisan criticism of President Trump, revolves around that and his failure to be at least sufficiently clear that those actions and that incident where on person lost their lives could not and should be condoned and that was not conditional to his points around the States attempt to remove the moment and the right of peaceful protest by all.
They are seperate.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Project X, Part VI, Adding the sound from compact disc

In August of 2015 I started a mini series of posts around a rather novel small inexpensive amplifier that tied into my love of experimenting and building things that had been sadly curtailed due to industrial injuries and severe disabilities.
It was called Project X, the standing for mystery as I put together a mini system based around it looking at what a person on say a limited income might be able to do and just how good these units actually are. 
We covered topics like how to add input selection, the issue of dealing with its high sensitivity input and how we might ration it, the sort of speakers best suited to a small low power amplifier and in the last entry on March First, 2016 I looked at reproduction from cassette tapes.

There recently has been some rationalization of equipment  such as outmoded VHS video tape players and also upgrades on my main stereo system and I felt like adding cd replay so I repurposed the Rotel RCD 965 LE Discrete from the main system to this because in the intervening two years, I have found the amplifier to be capable of high quality reproduction and certainly shows the benefit of good quality sources.
While its replacement is better, non the less for regular cd this remains a lovely sounding player and so an ideal candidate for  adding cd replay using a high quality lead and using another Rothwell attenuator to bring its 2 volt maximum output down to that it can handle without distortion. 

On Tuesday I listened to a program of American Classics from composers such as Copland, Bernstein and Barber that I grew up on through it and it sounded really impressive, clear capturing both the tonality and also the vibrancy of the music well.


Previous Project X Posts:
Part one - The SA 36a pro ampifier
Part two - Adding multiple inputs
Part three - Adding the loudspeaker
Part four - Attenuating inputs
Part five - Adding tape replay

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Supporting the cause and its limits

Having more or less caught up, I thought I'd talk around an aspect of last weekend's kerfuffle around the National Trust, its volunteers and supporting LGBTQIA rights.
I think the best start point is to look at the relationship between a volunteer who isn't paid and the body that offers up that opportunity of which in Great Britain we have a good number of.
You're not, having worked for two organizations as one seen as an employee with a formal contract that relates to employee rights although good organizations do set in a document its terms when it comes to supporting you and what you are expected to do sometimes with a formal review between a supervisor and yourself.
In general you are expected to follow the policies of the organization and this includes to offer a service to all regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation, not imposing upon others your own feelings. 
Equally they should respect yours.
You are expected to wear something that identifies you as a volunteer and to take part in promoting what you do.
What I feel was at issue was the idea that a person not under formal contract  should be told to wear something that was not ordinarily a part of your work attire and to mark an event - the 50th anniversary of 1967 Sexual Offences Act - which of itself has nothing to with their work role.
It was the case the trust building itself was part of exhibition whatever one may think of its own relevance to the general charitable role of the Trust, to whom publicity material etc was issued.
Requiring a volunteer to wear a symbol of LGBTQIA pride was not necessary for them to act as guides during the course of this exhibit and was directly imposing a cause onto an individual to be seen to support.
It's common place today to see public servants at Pride events but for instance a police officer isn't ordered to wear a badge or are they required to attend in support and that is not not seen as a breach of a commitment to equal opportunities.
One aspect of life as someone who supports LGBTQIA rights for personal and ethical reasons I find most annoying is the tendency of some to infer an objection to having to wear badges for a variety of very worthy causes means really you are prejudiced or in some way not fully committed to the struggle for full equality.
Rest assured I and others are but we don't feel like being festooned day after with badges or having to this or that campaigns T shirt by order.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Natural return

First post in the great blogisphere since arriving back from my vacation late last week and most of this one that I'll write about elsewhere later on however one I thing I won't be touch much on is the what the heck the more wobble than a blancmange governance in the White House and Trump's throwing transgendered service personal under the bus the keep the right-wingers happy cos that ship past its sailing time to blog on.
You could say in so far as what this blog is mainly around, the period away was the necessary break from brexit, post grenfell towers building control issues, trump tweets and all that which just winds me up for being internet free and spending less time watching tv news.
I spent some enjoyable time just being out doors, switched off from that, going on walks around the grounds where we stayed, admiring the trees, watching the bees and as you can see even spotted a Red Admiral butterfly out and took its picture!
Insects of a less welcome kind that did hang around were flies black with a couple of dull stripes running along their frame that tried to get everywhere!!!
A friend took some pictures of the sky at night as the sky was clear and the area doesn't suffer from the light pollution that afflicts chunks of our densly populated country fro domestic and highway related electric lighting.
That time away I feel was what I needed.