Open Thread – Weekend 21 Jan 2023

The Rocky Mountains Lander’s Peak, Albert Bierstadt, 1863

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January 24, 2023 1:41 am

The New Castle is more or less worth a visit, the civic art gallery has some interesting works though quite a few in a sad state of repair with no apparent attempts to maintain them in a good environment. There are also the 15th century bronze doors complete with holes and what looks to be a metal cannon ball stuck in it.
Great vista of the port, Capri, Sorrento, Vesuvius from the third floor balcony.
There is a also beautiful baronial hall up stairs and Roman ruins below, which are currently not accessible except via walking over one of those glass/clear plastic viewing areas which I am terrified of.
Did see a skeleton though
I’ve read several novels where local merchants/ dignitaries/lords are invited en masse to something only to be executed, here it happened in real life.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
January 24, 2023 4:11 am

Rosie, one of the myths of the evil ‘Vortigern’, who was said in legend to have encouraged the Saxons into Britain, was that the he organised a meeting with the key Saxon leaders, inviting all of the Britons’ leaders to attend a goodwill feast with the Saxons: who once the Britons were disarmed of their swords and seated promptly drew knives and slaughtered them to a man. So frequent is this sort of treachery in semi-legendary accounts that folklorists have called it one of their folkloric ‘motifs’.

I’d suspect in many cases, as in your link, there was a pretty solid background of reality to support the historical memory and any folkloric elaborations.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
January 24, 2023 4:24 am

Archie and Beaugan, self-consciousness is all very well, and it obviously has something to do with our senses but also of our ‘interior’ brain. However, one suspects there may be a consciousness of some sort lurking behind your own self-consciousness. It’s easy enough to send your head into a spin of endless regress thinking of a time when you will not be thinking at all but here you are, capable about thinking about not thinking, and capable of thinking about not thinking about thinking.

We don’t really know what ‘thought’ is, nor what its limits are with regard to ourselves.
Juniors as yet in the field of understanding, so I couldn’t be so definite as to be an atheist.
That just seems too easy an out.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
January 24, 2023 5:03 am

You may recall that we are driving a hired royal blue Audi A5, the shaped lines of which somewhat rival an Aston Martin, as it is set low, difficult to get into, and can go like the clappers with Hairy at the wheel. I have hated it from the start. Arky’s mention of hysterias above just brought it top of mind to me again. When we first got it we picked it up from a dark underground carpark and we couldn’t find a number of the controls, including the seatback adjustment wheel and the heated seat buttons (no electronic seat adjusters, so that was a minus immediately, and Hairy’s heated driver’s seat was on full pelt and burning him up in ways unmentionable). We spent the trip from Heathrow to Richmond (3o minutes) with my head and shoulders pushed awkwardly forward and Hairy in the hot seat till we found the way to change it all the next morning. There was no printed manual as it now presented on the dash screen, hard to bring up in the dark and impossible to navigate quickly without ‘knowledge’ of how they’ve organised it. Thus we started off badly with this vehicle.

The next morning we are bringing out the suitcases to put in the car, and Hairy and his brother’s wife are standing talking as Hairy puts our gear into the rear hatch/boot. It is freezing so I sit in the car, Hairy wants a cup of coffee for the road and I think his brother’s wife has made him some, for they both go inside. As they go off, I decide to get out and join them rather than wait in the car.

I FIND I CANNOT GET OUT. I cannot open the door. I am locked in. I have no key. They have left me here, and I start to feel a mounting hysteria. I am locked in this dragon of a car, it’s so low, so airless, maybe it’s electric and will burn me up, maybe it’s watertight and thus airtight and I will suffocate. I can’t even open a window. Hairy’s brother’s wife appears at the window and seems to be saying am I coming inside too, but I can’t really hear her and she can’t hear me. I gesticulate and yell that I am locked in and she attempts to placate me as I am clearly and unusually tres agitated. GET HAIRY, I yell, feeling a strong sense of panic and hysteria overcoming me. She races off, alarmed, and finally returns with Hairy and THE KEY.

I am freed in a trice and feel quite stupid. I’m sorry, I say, but ever since I became stuck in a tiny lift in Italy for over an hour without a phone and couldn’t raise any help and seriously thought I’d suffocate in 30 degree heat under arc lights, I haven’t been able to be in enclosed spaces when I know I can’t get out. Lifts are now quite difficult for me, though I do manage them now if I have a phone with me.

The A5 is now known by me as The Beast and you couldn’t give me one. No car should lock someone in, says Hairy, pointing out that the back was a still bit open anyway. Stupid software idiots, he says.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
January 24, 2023 5:11 am

Hairy thinks the problem was that he’d walked off with the key, the back wasn’t properly closed and so the car decided to ‘freeze’ until the key was once more within its electronic ambit.

Cold comfort for me, and imagine if it happened to a child who was in the vehicle.
I hate these ‘smart’ things which try to take over my life by gauging (incorrectly) my intentions.

Colonel Crispin Berka
Colonel Crispin Berka
January 24, 2023 8:44 am

Anthony Albanese is set to visit Alice Springs on Tuesday after facing growing calls to travel to the embattled town amid a roaring crime wave.

Look like the extant Aboriginal Voice To Parliament is already functioning perfectly.

A Northern Territory Labor MP has declared “the Voice couldn’t be further from people’s view up here”

Yet more proof that the Aboriginal Voice To Parliament is Peter Dutton! 😀

January 24, 2023 1:18 pm

“Consciousness has been shown to be “non-local”.”

Any creature that hunts has an evolutionary advantage if it is self aware, because it will learn to be patient (“better to hide here where it can’t see me until it’s too late for it”), and if it can plan attacks based on it’s own assessment of its own capabilities (as well as the prey’s) it will be more likely to be successful. Such planning (based on your own capabilities) obviously requires you to be aware of yourself and your own limitations.

The idea that sentience and/or consciousness is somehow unique to humans is clearly incorrect. What makes humans unique is the ability to communicate subtle and complex abstractions AND to make a record of them (writing) – that leads to technology. Plenty of creatures use tools (crows and monkeys for a start – hell, even fish!), but no other species has “technology” – they continue to use the same tools, and they never use tools to make other tools (not even monkeys). And plenty of species use communications in complex ways for a purpose. But no other has the equivalent of writing, and this means technology. Indeed, in human cultures without writing, we see stagnation rather than progress towards more complex tools.

Given we have no objective way to determine even intelligence, let alone consciousness, that a human created machine might one day become conscious is not (currently) beyond the realms of the possible – after all, we are ourselves made from material things (matter), so why not on some other “platform”, and why can we not create something conscious? Not saying we have, as yet – but I see no reason we couldn’t, at least in theory.

And who knows? Perhaps God’s greatest gift to us may be that we are able to create not just a new species, but a new ecology of artificial, intelligent and conscious creatures. How we treat these and how they treat us, would reveal a great deal about ourselves, to ourselves. God is a very clever fellow, isn’t He, so why not?

January 24, 2023 6:25 pm

The school run this morning, walking or pillion riding, all primary school children, even those who must be eleven or twelve have pinafores under their jackets, plain or gingham, but it’s always blue for boys.
Back in the olden days we wore pinafores at secondary school, with winter wool tunics and jumpers I suppose it was a necessity.

January 24, 2023 8:58 pm

Finally in a part of Naples I recognise, in the historical centre. Going to do the underground tour we missed last time because of extremely long queues.
I’m still just scratching the surface of the many things to visit here.
Vesuvius and Capri will have to be ‘next time’.
The port area where I am staying is very similar to La Centrale Storica, except a bit seedier, but not as seedy as say El Raval or Genoa, though I haven’t been out and about in the late afternoon to test that theory.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
January 24, 2023 10:13 pm

I’m still just scratching the surface of the many things to visit here.
Vesuvius and Capri will have to be ‘next time’.

That’s the problem with travel, Rosie. You can never see it all, so there always has to be the idea of a ‘next time’. The dreaming of it never ever ends … although of course it does in reality, because you can never really get to see it all, it would take many lifetimes and in covering just a fraction of it you’d need the funds available to Bill Gates, who does much more stupid things with his time and money.

Happy travelling though while you can. They say it broadens the mind while it diminishes the wallet. I’ll go along with that. 🙂

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