Mikel Ocean Azure



What ARE They Thinking?

Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM Comments comments (4)

I've been on a few internet dating sites over the last ten years, without long term success, but that's another post.  This post is about something I find entirely inexplicable except for sheer laziness. 

Here you are, a bloke joining a dating site.  Your goal is to attract the attention of women as your first step toward actually meeting at least one nice woman.  All the sites tell you that profiles with photos get massively more visits than profiles with no photo.

Now that fact is not hard to understand.  In the flesh and blood dating world the visual meeting is the first thing that happens.  You see someone and you like what you see, or at least, don't dislike it and then they build on that visual neutrality with good personality or whatever.  You see them at the pub or the club, you seem them at a party or a bbq, you see them at work, at your friends house, at university, whatever.  But SEEING is the first thing that happens.  Fair enough that most of us when internet dating also want to SEE a person before deciding to introduce ourselves.

So, this guy has been told that putting some photos on his profile would be a good idea.  So what does he do?  He finds his best photos, the ones he looks sharp in, the ones he looks dignified or respectably casual in.  The one's with his best smile.  Yeah?  No! 

This is what stuns me,  the photos men put on their profiles, as if they are actually doing their best to scare women away.  Photos where the guy is scowling or unshaven or holding a beer can on his beer belly or all three factors at once.  Photos of him with his arm around another woman, her cut out, but her arms still plainly visible, so I have not been single long enough to have even one photo of myself without my ex in it.  Photos of guys who's profiles says they are 60 and who's photos are bw and clearly 40 years old.  Photos of guys that were clearly taken on the webcam without thought, planning or care.  At least when the women share webcam photos they make an effort, usually, to try different poses,  put on nice clothes, something that says,  "it matters how I look." 

All these guys posting these lazy, stupid, negative images of themselves...  what ARE they thinking?

It's Humanity, You Lazy Schmuks.

Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 4, 2010 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

There was a time when we paid no attention to the way we used language to include and exclude people.  In some places language is still used that way. 

In the West, many people sneer at the idea of being "pc".  Such people are likely too stupid to understand the power of language and why it's important, if they are stupid they are probably also too stupid to recognise that in resisting egalitarian language they are helping to maintain the barriers that keep them as one of the weakened, excluded, marginalised.  If they are not stupid then their reason for sneering at pc language is likely because they have a vested interest in keeping others weak.  Consciously or unconsciously they recognise their own power and position needs the warping of language to help maintain it. 

Here is one example that is really pissing me off.

It's Humanity, not Mankind.

There is no reason at all to use the outdated term "mankind" when referring to the whole human race.  There is a legitimate linguistic reason why "man" was used in English to refer to the whole human race.  Several hundred years ago it did mean the whole race and there were two other terms specifiying 'man' and 'woman'.  Language changes, what was fair is no longer justifiable.  In modern English 'man' is equivalent to 'male' and there is an inevitable connotation, when we say 'mankind' of meaning 'males'. 

Any time someone says something like "Only Jill Average can save mankind" they can just as easily, and far more accurately say, "Only Jill Average can save humanity." 


"Mankind is putting the whole planet at risk" (Hmmm,  given the preponderance of males in leadership of business and government the world over, this statement is gender accurate on the face of it.)  can just as easily be written, "Humanity is putting the whole planet at risk."

The simplest way to explain why 'mankind' is a bad term to go on using is this:  the term mankind now implies that male is the basic pattern for being a person.  Nonsense.  As long as there have been humans we have been female and male together.   The basic pattern for being a person is just that, being a person.  The term humanity embraces us all without connotations, unconscious defects or meaning ambiguities.

Humanity means the whole human race. 

We are no longer mankind.  We are humanity.

Take a look, see how often the term 'mankind' is used when it can't be replaced simply with Humanity

Humanity always fits.

Cynicism Is Laziness With It's Chest Puffed Out.

Posted by Cobaltsoul on June 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM Comments comments (0)

The older I get the less patience I have with cynical attitudes and cynicism in general.

I have even less patience when people are cynical about me or my motives.  There is a handful of people who know me well enough to challenge my actions or motives based on knowledge and insight.  Anyone else who cops a cynical stance towards me is more than likely projecting their own shit rather than perceiving mine.

Cynicism being the world view that starts with the assumption that people's motives are always base and selfish.

It's a lazy stance to take. 

It's lazy because it's rarely based on reasoning or deep philosophical engagement.  Most modern cynics are simply emotionally bruised or tired and rather than dealing with THAT, they adopt a brittle shell of pessimism which is supposed to protect them from emotional investments that might get them further bruised.

It can be costly to believe in people.

In any arena high expectation are always going to be disappointed sometimes.

That does not invalidate the high expectations.

Expecting goodness from people is a sure way to encounter disappointments.

People will disappoint us.

That can hurt, and deeply.

The lazy response is to get cynical.

To turn the disappointments into the only truth we feel, the only truth we allow.

The cynics inevitably sneer at the people who do not share their stance. 

They adopt a superior attitude..."I'm the mature and wise one here, you all are naive and blinded by your wishful thinking...".  As if puffing out your chest, big noting yourself, makes your cynical stance something different from a lazy self protection strategy.

Except for those very rare occasions when the person who disappoints us actually kills us,  other people's human frailty is not going to kill us.

Yes, it hurts.

Sometimes a little bit.

Sometimes massively.

Just as our human frailty is, from time to time, going to cause small and great hurts to other people.

Some people are selfish.

Some people are even malicious.

Such sad souls are a minority.

Most of us are simply frail and fumbling and falling far short of our aspirations and our self image.

If you're an athlete and in competition you get physically hurt.  You don't curl up and say, "You're all horrible I'm not playing any more."  You take the hit, you take a deep breath, you accept it's going to happen again at some point then you get on with what matters.

If you're a student or an academic and one of your hard sweated over papers gets easily dismissed by your peers or marked as mediocre by your lecturer, you don't burn all your books and stop thinking for the rest of your life.  You wince, you have a grump for an hour or a day then you go back, read your work again, work out how to do better and get back to doing what really matters.

The athlete who stops because it hurts is no longer an athlete.

The academic who stops because it hurts is no longer an academic.

The human who stops because it hurts.........



Attitude To Rain

Posted by Cobaltsoul on March 7, 2010 at 1:54 AM Comments comments (0)

I went for a walk over to the nearby shopping centre.  While I was inside it started to rain so I took the opportunity to have a mocha and a muffin at a sidewalk cafe.  So I could enjoy the rain.  Sitting there with the creamy smooth flavours rolling across my tongue I watched my fellow travellers coming and going thru the light and refreshing rain. 

Rain was making beautiful sounds as well as sights.  The faint soft staccato of drops hitting the pavement and the roofs.  The liquid swiiissshhh of tyres thru water as cars cruised by and the noisy ribbons of water rushing eagerly from downpipes to make temporary rivulets across the pebbled pavement. 

There was a crosswalk close to my table.  It was uncovered so anyone using it had to step out into the rain from the protection of the covered sidewalks.  I spied a father pushing a shopping cart with one hand and carrying his young son in the other arm. 

The lad was somewhere between one and half and two years old.  Pale ginger hair crowned his cheerful looking face.  As the Father looked out at the crossing to make sure it was safe I had a moment to wonder how the boy would respond when the rain started kissing his ginger locks.  Would he notice?  Would he start to cry?  Would he think it was fun? 

Out into the rain they stepped, it took about four steps, at first the boy noticed the rain on his face and was momentarily puzzled, then he understood. 

His head went back as he looked up into the rain and he opened both his arms, palms up, to feel the rain the most he could. 

As the rain fell gently across his face and onto his open palms his eyes opened wide and his smile grew large with delight.

Watching him, so did mine.



Posted by Cobaltsoul on February 11, 2010 at 10:59 PM Comments comments (0)


The Australian National Gallery is here in Canberra, on the watefront. Right next to it is the Australian High Court, our constitutional court. These two massive concrete monstrosities are connected by a walkway. I've never really grasped the significance of that, perhaps to make it easier for the judges and lawyers to dodder over to the art gallery whenever they need to be reminded which lasts longer, works of art or works of law.

The close proximity of these two buildings does have one advantage, it's easy to string high tension wires between them and hang stuff high up in the air. Hanging up there between the two buildings, a good three stories up, is a sculpture. It is a globe, presumably hinting at the globe of the planet but that's not super clear.

The previous globe that hung up there was obviously a depiction of the planet, something like that globe that sits atop the Daily Planet building in Superman, only in colour. That globe was struck by lightning one balmy Canberra eve and blown to pieces....hmmmm.... I shall leave the gentle reader to their own devices in extracting meaning from that event beyond merely the loss of a work of art.

They replaced the globe but obviously could not put up a copy of the first globe cos that would be merely a copy of an original work of art and you can't have a COPY hanging outside the National Gallery. So they commissioned, or found, a new globe and put that up instead.

I was on the waterfront, camera in hand, trying to get some decent night time photos of a particular building that has been bugging me for months and months. I just CANNOT get a decent photo of it. It's shape and setting are entirely messing up my compositional approaches.  Driving away from that shoot I drove under the aforementioned globe. It was after 12 midnight and there was a little moisture in the air, not exactly a mist, but not pure dry clean air either. The globe has a single spotlight focussed on it, normally you don't notice this because all you can see is that the globe is well lit. The spotlight is well hidden so the globe almost seems to have it's own light. Not tonight. Tonight the air was not pure and the light passing thru the air from spotlight to globe was reflecting (or is that refracting?)off all the water droplets hanging in the air. I could see a clear beam of light, which allowed me to spy where the spotlight was positioned by following the beam from globe back to the source at the other end of the beam.

Now this was quite cool looking and if I had not already been annoyed by the inadequacies of the just completed shoot I would have stopped and got some shots of this new scene. I stored it away in my head, to keep this image in mind for the next time it's dark and there is moisture laden air to create the beam effect. The image of a beam of light shining on the planet seems potent, worth pursuing as a photographer.

The other thing about it all that struck me was that the beam was not evident until the air was less than dry and pure. It was because there was extra stuff floating in that air that I could see the beam of light.

There is something akin to a truth there about imperfections of environment or situation enabling insights or some such other metaphysical application of the concrete thing I had seen. I am disinclined to pin it down more than that.





Posted by Cobaltsoul on July 20, 2009 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

In the news today was a report on some expert opinion about a proposed high speed broadband network to be created in Australia at astronomical cost. The particular experts commented on have suggested that the intended speed of the network would only be needed by a fraction of the proposed customers. Their opinion was that only businesses and universities would need or use the full potential of the network, people at home would need only 10-20% of the full speeds available.

Seems like a reasonable enough opinion but it isn't.

Bill Gates infamous statement that "640K RAM ought to be enough for anybody." is apocryphal but Ken Olsen, founder of DEC did say, in 1977, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."  Such are only the most recent versions of a common occurrence, lack of imagination on the part of experts looking into the future. Despite this dynamic being historically verifiable experts continue to be asked to give opinions about the future, which opinions usually turn out to be totally useless. Then governments make decisions based on those opinions and down the road the decisions have to be un made and remade.

Maybe I can illustrate the faulty thinking in this most recent Australian example.

Yesterday I had a video conversation, sight and sound, with some friends in Thailand. My room to their room, none of us are high tech geeks, just normal computer users using the same equipment and software half the world now owns as a matter of course. Such a possibility was not considered 15 years ago, anywhere but in SF or comics. The new idea came after the technical possibilities where there to be manipulated with imagination. Now there are mobile phones that provide the same ability and at some point I suspect we will find a way to carry this kind of technology (Probably a mostly organic version of the hardware though.) inside our bodies, no appliance needed.

The point is that once the hard core technical capacity is generally available this opens up a whole new field for imagination to create new realities.

Once every home in Australia can receive and transmit the same level of information as that used by a business or a university new uses for that ability will be imagined and created that ARE relevant to *homes and families*.

The experts in this case made the fatal error of assuming that because this massive level of information transmission has only been used in the past by narrow fields ofendeavour, that such a reality must persist into the future. The opposite is true.

The past is the foundation for the future but NOT the predictor of it.

I don't need to be able to imagine the exact details to imagine a general direction, eg, if your home and my home can receive, process and transmit university grade levels of information it makes a radical de-centralization of such (University) information storage and processing possible, it also implies the possibility of a radical re-structuring of tertiary education system and possibly the entire education system.

Alternatively I can imagine using all this transmission capacity for freakishly advanced *tele-presence* applications which enable people to interact as visually present bodies without actually leaving their own homes. Given how large a role social networking already plays in the lives of younger generations do you really think there will be no demand for making that networking online more and more detailed, in depth, nuanced and information rich?

I can't blame the experts for being historians when they needed to be imagineers.

We all do it.

We project our past into our future and mistake that for actual knowledge of what to expect.

The future is open, it is not merely the continuation of the past, it constantly throws up newness, originality, innovation, change, revolution.

Here's a prediction, just for the hell of it, within my lifetime (I'm 47) it will be possible and common for us to enjoy holographic projections of the Mars landscape in our own homes, live transmissions of that landscape.

This is not an innovative idea, it merely imagines an increase in the magnitudes of distance, detail and quality levels from the current *live cam showing London 24/7* that anyone can access right now online.

It also assumes we will actually go to Mars, and I do assume that, unless we fall apart as a global civilization, we will expand. Aside from our naturally inquisitive nature we are also subject to the pressures for more space that flow from the fact of our pro-creative instincts.

Human population will never attain a steady state, it will always be growing, the only dynamic that could force a steady state would be a total planetary dictatorship, the scale and severity of which would ultimately usher in a new dark ages as it crumpled under the burden of it's own inevitable social, intellectual and moral entropy.

Anyway, my main point is this - The future is open, new realities await us, as societies and as individuals.

OH, did you notice my self contradiction?  "Human population will never attain a steady state."  Ha! To me.  That statement is based on me merely projecting the past and assuming some new ideas, new dynamics, new cultural memes are not possible that will transform even such fundamental realities as the intinct to produce children even when that process threatens survival possibilities.

It's a hard habit to break - not pro-creation :D - lack of imagination, it's hard to break.

Mikel Azure.