Not with a whimper, but with a bang

Posted in Climate, Communication, Drama, Education, Environment, History | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Support the Dark Snow 2016 Field Campaign


Posted in crowdsourcing, Education, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, History, News and politics, People, Science | Tagged | 2 Comments

Bill Maher on new rules for old fools

… and, finally, new rule:

Before Americans can laugh at how pathetic Cubans are for driving those old patched-up cars instead of getting new ones, we have to explain why that’s what we’re doing with our healthcare system, our voting system, our energy policy and our infrastructure.

Same goes for the 51st state. Not the movie: The Nation Formerly Known as the United Kingdom*, which exhibits many of the same flaws Bill levels at the USA.

Many thanks and a hat tip to Peter Sinclair for the heads-up.

*With apologies to Prince, RIP.

Posted in ... wait, what?, Energy, GCD: Global climate disruption, Health, Just for laughs, memetics, People, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

How to make your own Dvorak keyboard from a QWERTY one

Those of you who have been following my puerile witterings here from the early days of ‘Wibble’ may recall that, back in 2007, I underwent the throes of converting my fingers from <spit> QWERTY to the vastly superior keyboard layout pioneered by Professor August Dvorak. dvorakbanner-icon-copyright-freeMy experiences in those salad days are still available; should you be interested in (re)visiting that journey, it starts about here.

On a website I set up even earlier than ‘Wibble’, I maintained a bunch of information about the Dvorak layout. Regrettably, that site disappeared a couple of years ago, for reasons I choose not to dwell upon. From then till now, this information was available only in backup data on my computer here* — inaccessible and worthless. There’s one page in particular I would like to resurrect, so I present it below. Whether it should have remained in oblivion in perpetuity I leave as an exercise for the reader.

* … except that I’ve just realised that it’s also available on the Wayback Machine, too. But dash it, I’ve just spent the last hour or so copy-pasting and tidying this article up, so I refuse to hit ‘delete’!

How to make your own Dvorak keyboard from a QWERTY one


I present you with a simple choice. Either die in the vacuum of space, or: … ah, sorry, wrong script 🙂

  1. The ‘Six Keys Off’ technique
  2. The ‘Messy Method’

The ‘Six Keys Off’ technique is for those who like following step-by-step instructions, or who have playful kittens around who might lose some of your keys for you. You might prefer this technique if you’re the type that gets DIY furniture and follows the instructions religiously. With the ‘Six Keys Off’ method, you never have more than six keys off the keyboard at any one time, so you’re less likely to end up scrabbling about on all fours looking for the one that’s inexplicably gone walkabout.

The ‘Messy Method’ is more suited to those who throw the instructions away at the outset and just set to building the thing, not worrying if the end result is more like the Eiffel Tower than the bookcase shown on the front of the box; or, for those who just like playing Scrabble and ‘Kill the Cat’.


You will need:

  1. A spare QWERTY keyboard (with the correct interface; USB, PS/2 or AT) that it wouldn’t break the bank if you were to break it. Possibly two, in case you do manage to damage the first one. (If you don’t damage the first one – you could modify the second one too, and give it to a friend as a gift. Your friend might look at you strangely, particularly if you’re not in the habit of offering gifts, but once it sinks in that your gift is not just a rather odd-looking keyboard but a new lease of life to ten fingers, your friend will thank you, and might even send you a Christmas card — who knows?)
  2. A Flat Blade Screwdriver (‘FBS’).
  3. (maybe) A Stanley or other razor-sharp knife. DISCLAIMER: I will not be held responsible if, while following these instructions, you slice off one of your fingers, accidentally stab yourself in any part of your body, or the cat, or damage anything in any way at all.

The ‘Six Keys Off’ technique: Instructions for modifying a QWERTY keyboard to Simplified Dvorak layout (both hands)

This technique assumes that you’re right-handed. Apologies to all the sinister people. Unless you’re really evil ‘sinister’ that is, in which case… ah, forget I spoke 🙂

A. Getting rid of the obsolete anachronism known as ‘QWERTY’


  1. Insert FBS (Flat Blade Screwdriver) to the right of the ‘Q’ key (i.e. between the ‘Q’ and ‘W’ keys).
  2. Using gentle pressure, push the end of the FBS towards the base of the ‘Q’ key.
  3. Prepare your left hand to catch the ‘Q’, to prevent it from flying off into the air and being chased by the cat (or other family pet) into the most inaccessible place in the house (for instance, under the enormous fridge-freezer that you bought only last week, the one that’s now fully stocked with yummy edibles).
  4. While pushing, exert a gentle clockwise twist to the FBS. The ‘Q’ key should now come off.
  5. Place the ‘Q’ key on a flat surface such as a table top, preferably well out of the reach of the cat, with the ‘Q’ facing towards you so that you can easily recognise it. It may be all alone at the moment, but it will soon be joined by others.
  6. Repeat steps A.1 through A.5 for each of the ‘W’, ‘E’, ‘R’, ‘T’ and ‘Y’ keys. Yes, yes: I know you can no longer put the FBS twixt the ‘Q’ and the ‘W’; you know what I mean.
  7. Take one last look at the six keys sitting on your flat surface (the one out of the reach of the cat, as first mentioned in A.5).
  8. Congratulate yourself on taking your first steps towards eliminating an obsolete design from your life.
  9. Reward yourself with a beverage of your choice.


B. Getting down and dirty

  1. Take the ‘Y’ key and position it over the place where the ‘T’ key used to be (i.e., one place to the left of where ‘Y’ originally sat).
  2. Using firm pressure, push the key down until it clicks into place.
  3. If you do damage the key, replace it with the ‘Y’ key from your other keyboard (the one that you were going to give to your friend, but which has now been rendered totally useless). Send your friend a note apologising for being such a klutz.
  4. Now remove each of the following keys in turn and place them in the locations indicated below:


Key Place…
 1 ‘ (apostrophe) to the right of the [tab]
 2 , (comma) to the right of the ‘ (apostrophe)
 3 . (full stop / period) to the right of the , (comma)
 4 W (on table) to the right of the M
 5 – (minus) to the right of the ; (semicolon)
 6 [ (left square brace) to the right of the 0 (zero)
 7 = (equals) SWAP WITH [ (right square brace)
 8 / (forward slash) to the right of the P
 9 Z to the LEFT of the [RIGHT SHIFT]
10 ; (semicolon) to the right of the \ (backslash)
11 S to the right of the L
12 O to the right of the A
13 P to the right of the . (full stop / period)
14 L to the LEFT of the / (forward slash)
15 B on table
16 N to the right of the K
17 B (on table) to the LEFT of the M
At this point note how it reads: ‘UI BMW’ 🙂 Oh well, please yourself… 😛
18 R (on table) to the right of the I
19 X to the right of the V
20 Q (on table) to the right of the ; (semicolon)
Now we’re into the final stages of upgrading this obsolete UI…
21 U on table
22 I on table
23 C to the LEFT of the R
24 V to the right of the W
25 K to the LEFT of the X
26 T (on table) to the right of the J
27 D on table
28 E (on table) to the right of the O
29 F on table
30 G to the LEFT of the C
31 I to the LEFT of the H
32 H on table
33 D to the right of the I
34 J on table
35 F (on table) to the right of the Y
If the ‘F’ key doesn’t move up freely, read ‘The FUHJ Factor’, below
36 U (on table) to the right of the E
37 H (on table) to the right of the D
38 J (on table) to the right of the Q
Note: A and M don’t move!


The ‘Messy Method’

  1. Preparation: as above.
  2. Kick the cat out of the house and lock the cat flap.
  3. Pop all of the keytops off your keyboard, you devil, you.
  4. Replace keys according to the Standard Simplified Dvorak Layout (both hands) diagram.
  5. Reward yourself with a beverage of your choice.

Note: the ‘Messy Method’ is the only way I can currently offer to create a Left-Handed or Right-Handed Dvorak keyboard (Professor Dvorak didn’t stop at designing a layout for two-handed folks; he designed two others for one-handed folks, too).

The FUHJ Factor

Once you’ve rearranged the keys to Dvorak layout, assuming that you have a keyboard with no missing keys in front of you, you’re done! All you need to do now is to configure your Operating System to ‘understand’ the Dvorak layout, plug in your upgraded keyboard (after first powering down if it’s a PS/2 keyboard!), and you’re up and running. Did I forget to mention that it was really simple?

However, with some keyboards, those last four keys, ‘F’, U’, ‘H’, and ‘J’, can be troublesome. On this keyboard I have here, if I pop those last four keys in, they sit on their haunches and refuse to come back up. This is because the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys, commonly known as the ‘home’ keys, are themselves ‘keyed’: they are intended to sit only in the two ‘home’ locations.

To get around this requires a little deft manipulation with your razor-sharp knife, to slice the tiny plastic tongues from the insides of the mounting holes. If you do encounter this problem, examine the keys and the mounting holes; I’m sure that you’ll see what I mean. Please be very careful with that knife: one slight slip and there will be blood all over your nice keyboard, your clothes, the table and the floor; and the air will be rent by violent screams. Yours. Not a pleasant scene. Of course that knife is sharp enough to damage the keyboard too… so just take it slow and easy. If your hands shake too much, you could try asking someone else to do it for you. Or give the whole thing up, chuck your attempt in the (recycling!) bin and go look for one to buy…

Note: Breaking a key or its mounting whilst following these instructions, although a possibility, is unlikely, unless you have a really cheap and really nasty keyboard, or you are a total klutz.

For further information on the Dvorak layout, read the Dvorak Zine, check out Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard by Marcus Brooks (a mine of useful information!) or go ogle ‘dvorak keyboard’.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Education, History, Ludditis, People | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

JourneyQuest 3: Return of the Lactomancer

Yes, it makes no sense. If everything we know and love will come crashing down around us, what’s the point? Nevertheless, it has to be…


pledged of $420,000 goal

days to go

JourneyQuest 3: go back it. You know it makes sense.

Bloglette heading is not the real title of JQ3.
Second disclaimer:
Unless there’s some peculiar space-time disturbance affecting my brain.

perf-128x128[update 26Mar2016]

Please see comment below —
JourneyQuest Season Three is now in production. ONWARD! 😀


Posted in ... wait, what?, crowdsourcing, Culture, Drama, Fantasy, Games, JourneyQuest, Just for laughs, Phlyarology | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

So: you think your email is private? Think again…

I used to bang on about the emails-are-postcards thing that Andy Yen talks about here. But I gave up, because nobody seemed interested. Back when the email client Turnpike natively allowed PGP (Before Someone Stepped In And Stopped It) I was becoming used to using PGP-signed emails, and, when appropriate, encrypted ones too.

I signed up for a free protonmail account some time ago. If you believe in the concept of privacy, I urge you to do so, too. We need to make emails-in-envelopes commonplace, before Those Who Would Read Everything We’d Like To Keep Private In The Name Of Anti-Terrism* lock the door and throw away the keys.

* … all but Those Of You Who Have Nothing To Hide (in your dreams).

Posted in Communication, Core thought, Strategy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The awakening of homo fatuus brutus

Image captioned 'The awakening', depicting hominids evolving to man (but the 'most advanced' specimen has turned around...)

I’ve noticed a reluctance on the part of some to acknowledge that our species is incorrectly named. While my original idea for the renaming was related to my natural inclination to refer to an earth-moving implement as a ‘spade’, over time the concept has itself evolved…

Species name (current):
homo sapiens sapiens (‘the wise, thinking man’).

Species name (proposed):
homo fatuus brutus (‘the foolish, stupid man’).

The first step in dealing with any problem situation is to recognise the truth of that situation. Only then is it possible to move on to step two (devising solutions), and then step three (implementing appropriate solutions).

The same is true whether we’re talking about smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, food abuse, whiz-bang gadgetry addiction, consumerism, global warming, disease, hunger, wealth inequity, overpopulation, immigration, war, species extinction…

thinkingoutsidetheboxI believe that the Dunning-Kruger effect features very highly in such matters: the most incompetent are thoroughly incapable of recognising how totally, utterly, mind-bogglingly incompetent they truly are. It’s difficult to think outside the box when you refuse to admit that the box even exists.

Given the problem domain in question, that first step is the proverbial humdinger. Or maybe that should be ‘humandinger’.

At the risk of labouring the point: if ‘homo fatuus brutus’ could be officially recognised, then maybe we as a species might be in with a chance. While we remain in denial… well, I’m quite sure you can work that one out for yourself.

Posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, Core thought, memetics, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What happens when a climate skeptic discerns reality

Partial transcript:

Richard Muller, Phd: I didn’t know whether global warming was real, whether it was completely bogus or maybe it was twice as bad as people said. So my daughter and I … decided we would set up a non-profit organization to study climate change ourselves. We brought in some really good people … who shared the same doubts that I had. So we wound up doing an enormous effort, completely rebuilding a program to use historic temperature records … and in the end, we got a nice curve, a curve that showed the temperature. And it was rising.

Now, we’d never expected to address the question of what caused it …  we went back all the way to 1753 … I was flabbergasted: not only was global warming real, and roughly consistent with what the previous groups had said, but the match to carbon dioxide, and the fact that solar variability was not responsible enabled us to rule out the primary alternative theory … in fact, we can rule out every scientific theory other than the greenhouse gas theory.

Now there are some people who … say “there’s something else going on”. And I say “what’s the prediction you make?” — “Oh, I don’t know, it’s random.”  And that’s not what we call a scientific theory. If you say, “Well, it’s something else and I don’t know what it is” my answer is “Something else that just happens, by accident, to perfectly match the carbon dioxide increase. Are you serious?”

Hat tip and thanks to Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

Read more here: Blown Away: 2015 Hottest Year by Far.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Communication, Drama, Education, Energy, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, History, memetics, News and politics, People, Phlyarology, Science, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to change the world

I’ve just re-read this insightful essay, written by Bob Rich before the turn of the last millennium. As he himself says: “… although some of the examples are dated, it is more relevant today than it was then.”

Here’s a sample:

Life is a road, not a destination. We are at a crossroad, but the great and powerful are unlikely to choose the path of survival. For if they do, they risk being great and powerful no more, but ‘has-beens,’ relegated to obscurity.


The illimitable ocean consists of drops of water. Each drop of water counts. When a myriad drops of water move in the same direction, there is the irresistible tide that destroyed Hitler, stopped the Vietnam war, saved the Franklin river in Tasmania from damming, and on a local scale, time and again confounded the powerful.

Please follow the link to Bob’s complete essay: How to change the world.
I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Communication, consciousness, Core thought, Environment, Health, History, memetics, People, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

How Man’s Effect On Nature Will Change Your Life

So here we are again. The only life-bearing planet of which we’re aware has successfully circumnavigated its sun* once more. We’ve now gone beyond the number of orbits calculated by the sums of a Man in a Shed as being the one by which we ought to now be reducing our carbon emissions if we are to succeed in not breaching the infamous 2 degree barrier (the same one that a bunch of back-patting optimists in Paris have recently announced, despite all evidence to the contrary, as being eminently achievable).

And still there are folks out there arguing that ‘the hockey stick’ is ‘flawed’ or ‘falsifiable’ not falsifiable [thanks to Hariod for pointing out my mistake; see comment below]. And even those who agree that something ought to be done are in a pervasive quagmire, attempting to persuade those entrenched within fortifications of accustomed entitlement who refuse to even contemplate any action that might be detrimental to their way of life — let alone accept the reality that inaction will inevitably have the same effect.

And so we as a species (one that I continue to maintain should be renamed homo fatuus brutus) do nothing of any great consequence towards the important goal. Isn’t life grand?

* … a sun that emits such a vast quantity of energy that an hour’s worth of even the tiny fraction of it that impacts upon our insignificant planet could power our entire global civilisation for a whole year. I keep thinking: “If we’re really as smart as we like to think we are, we’d have already figured out how to harvest that”.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Climate, Communication, Core thought, Culture, Drama, Economics, Education, Energy, Environment, Food, GCD: Global climate disruption, Health, History, News and politics, Phlyarology, Science, Strategy, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments