Digital Horder

A small part of CERN's tape storage array
A small part of CERN’s tape storage array

An out of space message on my laptop got me thinking, am I keeping too much data?
My laptop is two months old and I’ve almost filled its 500 GB drive.
Partly that’s due to me enjoying how quick the SSD is as opposed to accessing data from the network storage, and part due to the fact I was rebuilding my storage array, but mostly due to the fact I’ve just got into video and been keeping EVERYTHING!

I’ve managed to get away with it with photography, But video files are just huge, especially when you start playing with 4K. However it made me wonder, should I be even keeping all the photos. At the moment every photo I take is being kept, even ones that are totally out of focus, badly exposed, So files I’ll never have a use for I’m keeping, just because I can. Oh and they’re saved in RAW format as well, so about 13 MB an image.

I do have 4.6 TB free space on my network storage, but unless I change my ways this will be gone far too quickly and used up with files I don’t really need to keep.

So I’ve decided… delete the crap…

The other issue this brings to mind is people’s digital legacy.
My Nan had thousands of photos to sort through when she passed.
I’ve got tens of thousands, accounts everywhere, things on facebook.
What happens to all that? How will friends and family even access most of it?
Luckily I’m not having children so I don’t need to pass on that worry to them.
I guess really everything will be lost into the aether, other then the fading echos of my data out there on the net.

There is a good TEDx talk on just this subject


Thoughts on spectating the London Marathon

While spectating the 2015 London Marathon so many memories came flooding back.
The pain, in body and mind, the endorphins, the ears ringing with the cheer of the crowd, hundreds of strangers shouting your name and cheering you on, that feeling of crossing the line. Gettings texts afterwards saying “I saw you finish on telly”, everyone wanting to see the medal and rooting for you. Those memories brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat, thinking of how those people running in front of me were going through all those things.

In 2014 I completed London, Halstead, Chelmsford and a 50 km in Kings Forest.
I think it changes people, you become a marathoner. It’s not something people just do, it something they become. I hate to think of how many people I’ve bored with the tales of it, to me it’s one of my proudest achievements. There is that joke, “How can you tell someone has run a marathon? They’ll tell you”. I think for me it’s if someone replies with 26 miles to the question of how long is a marathon, I can’t help but add “point 2” believe me, you feel that .2, that’s the most amazing .2 of my life and I can’t be robbed of it! (Well a marathon is 42.195 km technically anyway)

We spent most our time at mile 25. There was such a range of emotion passing by, some people looked totally unfazed, some were dragging their legs behind them, bleeding even. What everyone was wearing on their faces is will and determination. Everyone knew the finish line was imminent, we could see so many digging deep for the final stretch.

It was amazing seeing the elites, breezing by faster then I can sprint, looking as if they’ve only just set out, not 25 miles into a marathon. Seeing Paula Radcliffe, her radiant smile like a beacon as she ran, a true inspiration. But for me it’s all the others that make it special, everyone out there has a story to tell. So many of them would bring a tear to your eye.

You can’t run a marathon without going through a journey, those hours training, just you, the ground and your mind. Personally I think my journey has changed me for the better and looking forward to the next one.

Openly Secular

St. Peter’s Basilica

Today is Openly Secular Day.

I wasn’t going to bother writing anything, but it’s 1am and I’m up contemplating.
Most of the people reading this know that I’m secular, atheist, and humanist. I was wondering in the UK whether this day is needed, we are lucky to live in this country where people on the whole have freedom of religion, or more applicable freedom from religion. Even though technically this is a Christian nation (even though recent polls have shown the balance has swung on people’s personal beliefs). On the whole people don’t need to ‘come out’ as atheist in the UK, we have little fear of repercussions for leaving a faith or politicians need not profess a faith to be elected to office. However there are some countries this is not the case, notably the USA a modern country that for all intensive purposes should have modern progressive values. There are communities even in the UK where you can be shunned for not believing, and as shocking in modern days, there are factions that have carried out the death penalty for apostasy, even in the UK. Do we want people making policies in these countries being guided by the works of men thousands of years ago predating much of modern thinking or science, or do we want them guided by facts and science. Then there is the rest of the world…

Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera)
Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera)

Looking though my life I’ve never really been convinced by religion, but thought I needed it. Was Church of England Christian (even though I’m not baptised) for a short while, until I was prevented to going to church as a punishment, which made me wonder why you need to go though a middleman to access God. Which made me spend time as a loose believer in ‘something’. I had a stint with Wicca, I love nature and being part of it, so it felt logical to worship it. That still didn’t feel comfortable; always felt I was lying to myself. I wanted to hang on to something. I think I didn’t want to accept to myself that this is it, this is our one life; we will never be reunited with loved ones. As children cling on to Santa even though they know he’s not real, but they hope; I was the same with God(esses)s.
Eventually I couldn’t reconcile things, I couldn’t keep up with the cognitive dissonance, I felt I shouldn’t lie to myself anymore. Even though I gave up some things, I feel I gained more.

From becoming atheist I’ve a newfound respect of how precious life is, we have one and it shouldn’t be wasted. Would so many be sent to war if they weren’t promised glory in the hereafter. Being a good person (or attempting to) becomes a nicer act when it’s done for the sake of it (insert discussion on altruism) as opposed to being good because you’re being watched.

The scientific reality of human creation links us to all life on this planet, we are related to everything, we have commonality will all the rich tapestry of life. As Carl Sagan said “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.”, how kick arse is that‽ we are literally made from stars. I feel leaving the books and stories enable me to see beauty in the world at a deeper level, we are allowed to ask why and find out why.
We get the answer to some questions, which almost always lead to more; the universe contains so much natural wonder when we open our eyes to it.

Bernini’s “Cathedra Petri” and “Gloria”

I remember seeing a poster of the Alpha course, it was a man standing on a mountain with a beautiful vista before him. The caption read “Is there more to life then this?”. My thoughts were, does there need to be. Isn’t creation beautiful without adding stories of vengeful gods. You feel the ground beneath your feet and know it’s been sculpted by immense forces over billions of years, you see the grass, trees, flowers and know how they’ve evolved to become such beautiful items. You see the stars above, and wonder of distant planets and worlds beyond our reach. Religion is constrain my human imagination, the universe doesn’t get put in such small boxes. To quote Sir Arthur Eddington “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”