Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Mormons and Quetzalcoatl

I met an American Mormon missionary in the street in Edinburgh yesterday. Elder Jones was his name. He asked me if I had ever read any of the book of Mormon. As it happens I have, due to studying alongside a Mormon at university. He asked me what I thought of it and I said two things:

1. There are no original texts for me to look at. Its not like the Bible where I can learn the languages, read it and make my own mind up.
2. There is no historical evidence for the ancient people of America described in the book.

His reaction was interesting.

He talked about the Maya and Inca people and said that they had a legend of a great God - Quetzalcoatl - the feathered serpent. he claimed that this was Jesus because of the story in Exodus 7:11 where Aaron’s rod becomes a serpent:

Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.

I have never heard this claim before, but it may be how the Mormons are countering all the archaeological evidence which challenges their Mesoamerican mythology. The history of this issue can be found in the following Wikipedia article:
Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cementing the Thatcher Myth

What we are witnessing today at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher is the cementing of the Thatcher myth - especially among those too young to remember what really happened.

I keep thinking of the friends (now gone) who sacrificed so much in the 80's working to defend freedom, fairness and democracy and how they would feel today when so many young people believe the myth and don't know what really happened back then.

For example, the myth that the national debt halved under Thatcher. It didn't. It more than tripled during her years as prime minister:

(1978 £169 Billion)

1979 £199 Billion
1980 £233 Billion
1981 £256 Billion
1982 £281 Billion
1983 £307 Billion
1984 £329 Billion
1985 £361 Billion
1986 £389 Billion
1987 £428 Billion
1988 £478 Billion
1989 £525 Billion
1990 £570 Billion

(Source: Office of National Statistics)

The national debt per £1 of GDP did stabilise during her term, but this is equivalent to taking on a bigger mortgage because you are earning more. Its not the sort of financial propriety that today's Daily Mail commenter would have the country aspire to.

Then there is the idea, popular with many of my younger friends, that Mrs Thatcher was tough on people claiming benefits. Far from it, she created the benefit culture by deciding that full employment was impossible, working out how much it would cost to have three million people on the dole and taxing low and middle earners for the privilege. Then when numbers started to go beyond four million and the public got edgy she started "massaging" the figures by moving people to incapacity and other sickness benefits.

On Europe she took us further into the European Union, by joining the European exchange rate mechanism, and committed us to a path which would ultimately lead to increased immigration from Eastern Europe.

The way that truth is being defined these days is so different to twenty years ago. Its frightening.

How has this happened?

I can see a number of reasons:

  1. People no longer seek out the truth, they rely on mass media and opinions on social media. 
  2. Peer pressure to conform with a general opinion which seems to be current amongst a lot of young people that unions are bad, people on benefits are "swinging the lead" and immigrants are taking our jobs. This is especially true on Facebook and other social media.
  3. The concentration by politicians of the left with campaigning rather than education. 
  4. Lack of trust in politics to deliver change, regardless of what change you might like to see.

Lets stand up for the truth and democracy and assign myths to history.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How much bandwidth does the Skype Android mobile app use on standby?

I have been experimenting with the Skype app for Android over the past few days for use as an instant messenger and voice calls to my son when he is in Australia.

My measurements show that the Skype Android application is using 14.89 KB of data per hour when on standby. This data is used for maintaining the connection to the Skype servers and checking for instant messages. Over a month this would add up to about 446 KB (less than half a Megabyte).

According to the Skype web site:

  • Voice calls to other Skype users use 50kbps or around 3MB for one minute of calling.
  • Voice calls to to mobile numbers or landlines use 6-20 kbps or around 1MB for one minute of calling because the audio quality is lower than for Skype to Skype calls.
  • Video calls between two mobile phone devices: 500kbps (30MB per minute)
  • Video calls between a mobile phone and a computer: 600kbps (36MB per minute)

Instant messaging would presumably not use much bandwidth.

There is also a warning on the Skype web site:
Having a large number of contacts on your Skype account also increases the data usage, as the application has to update more contact information, such as statuses, profiles and mood messages. 
So if you made a five minute voice call to a Skype user every day for thirty days the total usage over that period, including standby would use about 451 MB of bandwidth.

This is my calculation - but I could be wrong. Use this prediction with caution.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Facebook has been blocking incoming messages since October 2012.

I have now found two Facebook conversations from the end of September 2012 where replies ended up in Facebook's spam filter because I was not friends with the person I was speaking to. It appears that Facebook started treating these as spam on 1st October 2012.

To see what messages you have missed you need to look in your "other" folder.

This is where your "other" (spam) folder is:

  • Log into Facebook. Go to the top left of the page. 
  • Click on the two speech bubbles symbol. 
  • Under your list of messages there is a link that says "see all". 
  • Click on this. At the top of the next page you should see Inbox and next to that Other. 
  • Click on other.
  • Now you can click on all the messages that are sitting in there.

This is the quick way to get to it:
Make sure you are logged into facebook and go here to see yours:

You may want to share this information with your friends.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How to store memory channels on an Alinco DJV-17E 2m handheld

I recently bought one of these handheld radios and and the memory programming is very confusing.

The instruction manual tells you to store memories like this:

  1. select frequency etc to be stored.
  2. press the key “A v/m mw”.
  3. press the Function key.
  4. rotate dial to desired memory number.
  5. press v/m mw and you will hear a beep.
  6. the memory is now stored.

However step 4 does not work on a new radio just out of the box.
By default the memory function only shows memories that have something stored in them.
If you have none stored then all you will see is a list like this when you turn the dial:
rpALLFRQ > m0 > C
so you will not be able to select any memories to store to.

To fix this turn the dial to the m0 position and press the Function key again.
Now turn the dial and you should be able to scroll through all 200 memories and select one to store to.
Any that are empty will just show the VFO frequency.

This information is NOT in the Alinco instruction manual and is the reason people have so many problems with this radio.