My god, it’s full of stars!

Many years ago when I was a lot younger, I used to go camping around the UK many miles away from towns. What I really loved about those trips was the night sky. Yes, even in good Old Blighty, the night sky provided an exhilarating view of the cosmos.

In the early 1990s, I went on a road trip across parts of the USA. The magic places were the night skies above the Nevada Desert and Yosemite. Oh I ached for those clear views. Living in London, light pollution pretty much deprives you of seeing more than a handful of stars.

And then about 4 years ago I was in Tinfou, Morocco (near to the Algerian border). The night sky in the desert…it is impossible to describe, so clear, so many stars, the Milky Way, etc. The awe and wonder of the universe, the smallness of earth. All I did was to lie down on the desert floor and just stare upwards.

Being in London, looking up at the night skies, I feel a loss at not seeing the beautiful and majestic views of nature and the cosmos. To know what’s up there and not being able to easily see it. I think a few more trips out of London are probably in order!

Right time, right place…if you can, if you have the opportunity look up and behold the night sky!

Copyright © 2007 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

University corruption: sad but true

Well, it seems that certain forms of partnerships between universities and business can result in universities becoming corrupt both in the USA and the UK. It’s greed…pure and simple. However, I’m still clinging to my romantic notion that universities are there to educate, inspire and lead and that they’re doing so to a large extent. But then again I see that there are a lot of Mickey Mouse degrees these days with greed being the root cause.

Further information is found at The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education: part 1 and The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education: part 2.

Copyright © 2007 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

It’s a UFO!

Recently, in the morning just before sunrise, when I was getting ready to go to work, I looked out of the window and saw this really bright point of light. It was so bright that for a brief moment I thought that it was an aircraft passing by. After a few seconds of observation I discerned no blinking, no red lights and no movement that you normally associate with an aircraft. I then started thinking “morning star”…yes, could this be Venus? I was looking East, actually more South East, so that kinda fitted with my limited knowledge of Venus.

Later in the day, when I mentioned to my acquaintances that I had seen a really bright object in the sky all of them immediately said “UFO” or “aliens!”. That threw me for a while as I wasn’t quite sure if they were joshing with me! Perhaps they were a little bit, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to react that way…aliens and UFOs where the last thing on my mind when I saw the light. Didn’t even enter into my thoughts. I thought the guys would advice me if I’d seen Venus but instead the immediate reaction was UFOs and aliens. Hmmm.

When I said to them “I was thinking perhaps Venus?” they all kinda looked at me funny, went quiet and the conversation turned to something else as they’d obviously lost interest at that point. Hmmm.

Anyway, got home, downloaded “Stellarium” (a planetarium software) and fired it up. Set my coordinates and the time to the morning event and guess what it showed me? A bright object in the sky…the “morning star”…Venus.

Copyright © 2007 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

UK study: Obesity ‘not individuals’ fault’

Just came across an article at the BBC called Obesity ‘not individuals’ fault’. It references a UK government-backed study that, basically, claims that it is not an individual’s fault for being obese but rather that it was the fault of society, and that both society and government needed to be involved to reduce obesity.

I can see some merit in that argument but it is not going to be easy. Take cigarettes as an example. Despite decades of health warning there are still a substantial number of people who continue smoking. It’s good that there is legislation here in the UK restricting smoking in public enclosed areas (and protecting people like me from second-hand smoke) but a lot of people have not stopped smoking; they’ve just moved elsewhere. Now, outside the main entrance to Paddington Station, there is a gauntlet of smokers and it is a real pain-in-the-rear getting passed the dense smoke (hold breath, walk fast!). What I’m trying to say is that legislation and many years of health warnings haven’t made our society smoke-free. Sure, it has made a difference but not much compared to all the effort that has been put in.

Now, when it comes to obesity, how can we change society? What can government do? Yes, it will be a challenge but I do not expect to see anything change much in my lifetime…obesity, or the lack of recognition of obesity, is too well entrenched and accepted in society. A lot of people who consider themselves “fit” may be surprised at being classed as “obese” according to the stand BMI. And they can now excuse themselves “knowing” that being fat isn’t their fault (although perhaps these people would also likely also blame there “genes” and their “metabolism”). The projections showing obesity numbers increase over time are shocking.

The problem with the study is that it can be used as an excuse by individuals for being obese. Individuals need to take responsibility for their actions, but they won’t as this society is lazy and blaming society or the government is easy.

Those who really, really want to lose weight will succeed…through mental strength and determination. Those with even a minuscule of doubt may succeed in the short term but will ultimately fail. There are no short-cuts or easy ways of losing weight; I would recommend this Singletrack article on one way of keeping fit.

I think that we’re all in trouble if people are generally lazy. I don’t really know. Perhaps I’m totally wrong on all this.

Copyright © 2007 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Sony Ericsson “PC Suite”, P900 and Microsoft Vista don’t play

Earlier this year I assembled a new PC and installed Microsoft Vista Ultimate on it.

Most of my existing Windows software worked but unfortunately the one key software that didn’t work was Sony Ericson’s “PC suite” for the Sony Ericsson P900 mobile telephone.

After months of telling me that they would issue a Vista version of “PC Suite” I was delighted when I heard that “PC Suite” was released. Imagine my dismay when I found out that this new version of “PC Suite” did not support Sony Ericsson P900 and P910i telephones on Vista but would support the newer Sony Ericsson telephones.

So much for waiting. As great a telephone the P900 is, I decided to go for the O2 xda Orbit (a rebranded and repackage HTC Artemis). Brilliant phone. And, of course, it synchronises beautifully with Vista. In fact, a couple of days ago, I just upgraded the firmware from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6…makes it an even better phone!
Anyway, Sony Ericsson. Boo!

PS – Following my earlier rant at a Sony Centre shop in Harrow you may think that I’ve got vendetta against Sony. Far from it…I’ve got a Sony High Definition TV, Sony 7.1 receiver, Sony stereo power amp and a Sony 20GB HDD MP3 player.

Copyright © 2007 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved