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Review - Sacrifice by Derren Brown

Derren Brown is a unique television 'artist' well known in the UK for the last two decades but little abroad. Before I watched his new one-off special, 'Sacrifice', I had seen pretty much all of his other work.

The premise of this one-off Netflix special is to take a member of the public and manipulate/convince him into making the ultimate sacrifice: taking a bullet for a stranger.

You can watch the trailer here:


You can see in the trailer he takes a guy, Phil, a confessed anti-immigrationist, and attempts a psychological experiment to see if he can convince him to make the sacrifice.

I actually thought this was really good. There is always a backlash with any work of Derren Brown. Some claim it is 'fake', for example.

What is not clear to the casual viewer are his methods. Brown uses classic techniques like NLP and anchoring. These are proven to work, you can see examples of this in earlier shows where he gets people to willingly hand over their wallets, for example.

You can view that video of the wallet handover here:


Trust me, watch the video and then read the comments below, it will explain everything. It's a kind of 'conversational hypnosis'.

Anyway, judge it for yourself, I highly recommend it!

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Bow Bawang Cornick Hot Garlic Flavor

I also bought some of these from the asian supermarket recently.

I had no idea where they were from. I thought, perhaps Indonesia? But looking at their web site, it says the manufacturer is KSK Food Products from Caloocan City, the Philippines.

They are basically kernels of corn that have been fried (toasted?) and with some add spices.

Wow! These are amazing!

They are not THAT spicy, in fact they are not really very hot at all. But the garlic flavor is intense. I have had chips with garlic powder added before but these taste more 'real'. Maybe that's because there are small garlic pieces that I 'accidentally' found and I think they are toasted too.

The result is an incredible garlic taste. I would not eat these at work, lest your co-workers get offended!

Really, really good! Highly recommended!

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Hate it when people prioritize phone over your presence

I'll admit to being somewhat sensitive, however I don't believe any of my related reactions are unjustified, with just a few exceptions.

Let me give you a prime example: the smartphone.

When I get together with a friend, there are moments when either of us might use our phones.

It could be that one of us gets a message and just has a quick look. No problem.

It could be after some minutes there is an 'interlude' of sorts when we are both just bored and having nothing to say at that moment. One of both of us might pull out our phones. Actually, when you're really comfortable with friends, you might both be surfing and occasionally talking for 10, 20 minutes.

What absolutely riles me is when a friend may be looking at something on their phone and you start talking to them again and they say 'wait' or something similarly direct. When the roles have been reversed, I always give me primary attention to whoever is sitting with me. It is rude otherwise. Sometimes, if I am sending an important message, I might excuse myself and plead for a minute, give my apologies, on account of how important it is that I finish what I'm doing. Other occasions I might finish up what I'm doing while talking to them and then put down the phone and devote full attention.

What I hate is when people stop you from interacting with them, they refuse to divert any attention whatsoever and just focus almost 100% on their phone. If I'm good friends with them I will tell them "come on dude put away your fucking phone", if I don't know them as well then it can be more uncomfortable.

This whole theme reminded me of an occasion when the 80s pop star Grace Jones 'attacked' an interviewer on live UK television. The guy had been extremely rude to her for the entire interview so please bear that in mind when you watch this cut:


He got what he deserved!

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Evo Morales Flees to Mexico - AI Generated Article

Evo Morales flees to Mexico after extradition bid is rejected by the US.

Morales, the head of Bolivia's leftwing coalition, has denied any wrongdoing.

"It's not true to say that he has committed a crime, because it is impossible to commit a crime in this world," said Morales on Wednesday in his first reaction to the news.

The US had said that it would not extradite Morales to face drug trafficking and corruption charges in the United States, but Washington had made clear that it would continue pursuing his case against Bolivia.

"We had a fair trial," Morales said. "The verdict of the Bolivian courts is consistent with the laws of this country."

Morales was detained on Friday at the airport in La Paz by Bolivian immigration officials.

Bolivia has called for the extradition and Morales had said his lawyer would seek to have his extradition rejected.

"I am very glad, but I am very worried," Morales said of the verdict. "I'm a very political person and have a very strong conviction that the state should be the guardian of the constitution."

Morales is a former Marxist guerrilla who has long espoused a vision of a more just world, including promoting his own brand of socialism. He has said the United States was behind the 2002 coup against his government and that the US embassy in Caracas has been a stronghold of political violence.

He has a reputation for fiery rhetoric, even if he sometimes lacks the charisma to follow through.

Morales said he would appeal, but he said he expected the Supreme Court to block his extradition.

If you got this far you should probably know that the above article was created by AI! It is totally unique. Pretty convincing, eh?

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Chippy Corn Chips by Jack 'n Jill

I bought these chips recently from an asian food supermarket, ordinarily these are not easy to obtain in Europe. I thought that Jack 'n Jill was an American company but actually they are based in the Philippines.

These chips are made of corn and labelled as 'barbecue flavor', they also have a cheese flavor line but I believe the ones I have are the 'regular' flavor.

They are really nice. The corn mashes up nicely but it's all about the flavor, it is really addictive. Not too light, not too strong, smoky and complements the corn flavor. Yes they are a bit on the greasy side but not overly so.

They are so good, I even scrabble to explore the last few 'bits' at the end!

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Movie Review: Joker (No spoilers)

This movie was initially panned by critics who soon changed their tune when real moviegoers gave it a thumbs up so I was very curious to find out for myself.

For me, this movie is a classic. It is nothing like the Batman series but it does appear to respect the other movies in terms of 'canon'.

Overall theme of the movie is to-ing and fro-ing of your opinion of the protagonist between sympathy and horror.

I have to say that Joaquin Phoenix was amazing in it. I think he could be in the running for an oscar, even.

Don't worry if you haven't seen a single Batman movie - you will still understand 95% of this movie as it stands on its own two feet without the loose connection.

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What happened to civility and manners on the internet?

I have been on the internet for years, even before most of the young people on social media were even a sperm in their father's testes. Haha, joking aside, I'm not as old as you think, for the internet is not that old.

Anyway, not to digress, in the early days you could have a discussion about something and you would be shown the same respect as if you were speaking face to face. And being in front of an audience, you wouldn't dare bring shame on yourself by acting without normal good manners.

Since the internet proliferated and everyone now has access to it, things have changed. Few people now use heavily-moderated discussion forums, most have gravitated towards Reddit which I think is unarguably the biggest discussion forum on the internet.

Reddit, in general but not always, is a left-leaning audience. That's about the only generality that can be made. Should you disagree even the slightest with anyone there, you will be met with a volley of abuse and vitriole. Nobody will care, least of all the moderators.

I know the whole phrase about sticks and stones etc. but it is still a shock to receive such abuse. It's a bit ironic because the left often claim to be the 'oppressed' and yet in this case they seem to love oppressing others.

By the way, I consider myself a centrist, in case you are wondering.

The ironic thing is that an alternative forum which they often deride, 4chan, is actually a much nicer place. It is claimed that 4chan is a hotbed of 'alt right' and 'white supremacists'. I can honestly tell you that this is not the case. It is actually a truly international forum. If someone talks complete BS, they are held to account and embarrassed in front of the whole group. Debate there is actually healthier and it is not the echo chamber that Reddit is.

To reiterate, I still enjoy Reddit a lot, there is no better place to find interesting discussion on very narrow subjects of interest (literally, there is a subreddit for almost anything). Just be prepared for the occasional highly strung person - best strategy is not to reply to them or engage with them but just block them.

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The old days of making money on the internet

I don't make money on the internet anymore, not unless you count that bitcoin address I put under every post which to date I have earned nothing from :)

But I used to make money from the internet, starting all the way back from 2005.

A lot of people think that 'making money on internet' is some kind of scam. Absolutely not. There are more and more people doing it legitimately.

Really, it is running a business like has always happened in the offline world, just now doing it online.

You do though get a lot of people making money for activities that no sane person would call 'doing business'. Even though legal, it can get quite murky.

But for people doing it the right way, you normally have some kind of web site offering something, let's say factual content. Aside the content you will find advertising. When people click and/or eventually buy, you get commission.

But without visitors to your site, you can't make any money. You can get visitors from Google (same with any blog on listed.to) but not only can that take years to build to a seriously high level but it is also very volatile and you may receive almost nothing. You can pay for traffic but that is difficult for most. Building a brand takes time too.

My point is that building traffic is not easy. However, back in 2010 it was!

You see back then there was a site called ezinearticles.com. They used to regularly appear on the first page of results for any google search query. This site let you post articles on almost any subject, a bit like one massive multi-user blog.

It was really easy back in those days to just stuff your desired keyword (e.g. dog training books) into your article title and a few times in your article body and within a couple of days, boom, you were receiving dozens of visitors from Google, totally targeted traffic = $$$.

Those heady times lasted a few years until eventually google got their act together and that site almost disappeared off the radar. It still exists today but they (with their own advertising) cannot be making anywhere near the amount of money that they used to.

Nothing stays the same forever, especially when it comes to technology and the internet. Think about the web site you used to use five years ago. How many of them have already disappeared and are no more?

It's both fascinating and scary at the same time. In the pre-internet days, things were a lot more stable. Now, nothing is. It wouldn't surprise me if in the years to come, nobody stays at a job for more than 3 years. I mean, why would you? It's likely to be a shadow of it's former self in that timespan.

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The needs of the many outnumber the needs of the few

If you don't know already, this is a famous phrase from the Star Trek franchise, originally spoken by Spok the Vulcan.

In Star Trek, this is posed as a Vulcan theme versus otherwise a human theme. I'm not sure I agree with this.

It's true that in the West, individual liberties and rights are championed and indeed wars have been fought for them. Perhaps nowhere are these ideas more enshrined than in the USA and France.

But in reality, this is not the case. For example, governments the world over must make budget decisions. A little extra in one pot will help some people at the expense of others. If you don't pour all your budget into health care or crime fighting then we can say that more people will die because of this decision.

We can think of this phrase when there is a very difficult decision to be made. Do we risk the lives of many to save just one? That's the origin of this phrase anyway (saving Spok's life versus the crew of the starship Enterprise).

You sometimes see this when a country's armed forces will launch an operation to rescue a single hostage. The hostage is surrounded by booby traps, armed terrorists and suicide bombs. And yet many governments will mount a mission to save them - risking the lives (no matter how skilled) of a group of special forces all to get one person back.

Maybe it's more about the symbolism of at least trying, sending a message that you hold the moral high ground or that taking your countrymen hostage will never succeed.

Then you have those governments who refuse to negotiate with hostages. Eventually, those hostages may be killed because the ransom is not paid. This is the reverse theory: that the needs of the many outnumber the needs of the few, or the one.

If you want to read more about this, check out the subject of 'utilitarianism' (wiki link) - I think you'll find it quite interesting.

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Sleeping same bed as family?

My brother and I used to sleep in the same bed when we were on vacation. And I've shared the same bed with friends when on vacation and the hotel only had a huge double bed. No need for 'head to toe' bullshit.

I found this thread on Reddit today about a guy in his twenties who sleeps in the same bed as his grandfather. He made a 'confession' about it.

What's nice about this thread is all the people saying it's no big deal, why does society have to see it as 'weird' anyway.

A bed is a bed. It's a comfortable place that you go to rest. Why wouldn't someone ever share their bed with family or friend?

For those who just can't do it, I would suggest they have actually lost something and developed an insecurity. A bit like when people obsess over hygiene, for example.

Really nice and hardwarming read, take a look:


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The sun is so low in winter...

I am definitely not a sun worshipper in that when the sun really comes out in summer I do not like to lie on the beach for hours with my skin burning.

But like most people I do miss it in the winter.

Where I live it has been cold and gray for many days, then the other day I saw a glimpse of the sun. I thought to myself that I must get out and soak up some rays and get my vitamin D.

One random fact I learned to avoid getting burned in the summer was to avoid time when the sun was at more than 45 degree angle to the ground. Basically, look at something casting a shadow like a person or a street light. If the shadow is the same size or taller than the object, then the sun is low enough intensity it is almost impossible for most people to burn. In the height of summer, this usually occurs around 3 or 4 pm.

So I noticed the other day that in the middle of Fall/Autumn that even at 12.30pm the shadows were very long.

I thought, could this really be?

Well yes, I used a site called suncalc.org and it allows you to enter any time and date and will show you sun positions. Turns out that in winter and surrounding months, even when the sun is highest it never gets anywhere close to 45 degrees, let alone more than that.

Maybe this sounds so ridiculously obvious to you but it never occurred to me until then. I suppose in winter that it should be quite difficult to see during hours of sunlight due to the low angle. I honestly cannot say I ever recall this.

But now that I have realized this, I will probably not be able to ever forget it, haha!

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Computers 101 - This will help you if you think you are clueless with computers

Whether you own a computer or even just a smartphone (which is really just a small computer) and you don't consider yourself 'techy' then spare a few minutes and I will educate you on the three basics.

If you know these three basics, you will have a much better understanding of how a computer works and this will help you immensely in your life choices in future, both in personal life and at work.


The 'central processing unit', also called the processor, can be thought of as the engine of a computer. It processes instructions.

As time goes by, processors get better and faster. This is why when you buy a new computer, it is faster. Because technology has progressed.

Historically, processing power doubles roughly every 18 months.


RAM stands for 'Random Access Memory'. It is usually measured in GB (gigabytes). Think of it as like a whiteboard that the computer can use to perform complex operations.

Imagine if you had to perform all kinds of mental operations in your head, with nowhere to temporarily write anything down. That's what RAM is for and why it is like a whiteboard. The more RAM you have, the more your computer can do without slowing down. For example, you could open more tabs in your browser app.

It's just a temporary area available to the computer. When the computer is turned off or restarted, you lose any 'notes' that you had taken.


Storage is just what it sounds like. It's a place where you can put things and keep them for as long as you want, like putting clothes in your wardrobe.

On your computer or phone, storage is where you can save your photos, for example. Most phones come with a fixed amount of storage and if it's not an iphone, you can extend this storage using an SD card.

These days, cloud storage is becoming more popular. This means if you've taken thousands of photos and videos, you can instead store your media in the cloud on platforms like icloud or Dropbox or Google Drive.

A lot of people refer to storage as 'memory'. It's better not to refer to it in this rudimentary way. Really, memory is RAM and not storage. Better still, just don't use the term 'memory' as it is easily confused.

I hope you found this useful!

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Why No Cheap & Healthy Meals in the West?

One thing I struggle to understand is why it is not easy to find cheap and healthy food in the West?

Almost everywhere else in the world, you can leave your residence and find multiple places to eat out where the food is cooked from fresh ingredients and doesn't cost much. You can pretty much eat out every day.

Whereas in the West, if you want to eat out there is either unhealthy junk/fast food. If you want to eat healthily, you must go to restaurants.

OK, there are countries where living quarters are so small that most people don't even cook. They have to eat out. You could argue that the huge demand for such food is responsible for it being so cheap. Perhaps.

OK, in urban areas with a lot of people, there is a again a bigger captive audience for selling food to. Not the same for people in suburbia. Perhaps, but there is the equivalent of suburbia now in newly-developed countries and there are still a lot of local options for food.

I have visited America several times and once to what we might call a 'regular' town. I was shocked that there were no sidewalks, everyone drove everywhere. When you worked, you would go drive somewhere to eat. Though a restaurant, it was quite affordable. I think this is as close as it gets in the West to how people eat elsewhere.

But in Western Europe, I can tell you that the food situation totally sucks. There is nothing like either of these types of places to eat. The only cheap and easy food to obtain is unhealthy. If you want to eat better, you must pay a lot of money for a restaurant, a practise that is not sustainable even twice per week unless you have quite a good salary. Not to mention, what if you just want to eat healthy, but without all that jazz with the special service from the waiter and other staff. I just wanna eat haha!

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Are we in a 'Climate Emergency'?

I generally keep up with the news but I still can't remember exactly when and from where the term 'Climate Emergency' came from in the last few months or so.

I hate hyperbole. In the UK, for example, there is a huge overuse of the phrase 'crisis'. So when I first heard the phrase 'climate emergency' I was skeptical. Was there some breaking scientific findings? Perhaps, but I never hear anyone presenting this new evidence that calls for a sudden gear change up in terms of taking or changing the action required.

Look, I am all for finding out how we can live sustainably. Unfortunately, we as middle class people consume a lot of resources to sustain our lifestyles. The West has led on this while emerging economies are catching up. You don't hear the narrative very often but it is often implied (and I agree with this) that it would be unfair to suddenly tell emerging economies that they cannot burn fossil fuels to catch up with the West. Rather the West should show the way forward with renewables. That said, I personally don't think it is possible to go 100% renewable any time soon. I'm a big proponent of nuclear technology. Do it right, and the risks can be minimized to almost nothing.

I heard the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, on TV the other day blaming the recent California wild fires on climate change, based on the recent higher-than-average frequency of these incidents.

I found this such a ridiculous statement to make. It's similar to when I hear people say 'it never snows anymore, it must be climate change!'.

These anecdotal experiences are far from real science. I sometimes wish that everyone was forced to take a semester in statistics as part of their education.

I mean, if you flip a coin, sometimes you will get four or five heads in a row. Does that mean that the coin is rigged? Of course not, it's well within the realms of scientific probability. We can even perform statistical tests to see if something is a coincidence or if it really is significant.

The whole climate change subject has become completely political. No public figure can even question anything about this subject without being victimized and compared to vaccine 'deniers'. I know for sure we are destroying habitats and creating pollution. I'm inclined to believe that humans might possibly be having some impact on weather and temperatures. I just wish there was less politics involved and greater awareness of science generally.

'Science' is not just watching a few Nat Geo documentaries. Most people don't know science at all and they don't question it enough. And because so much politics is involved in this climate change debate, it is even extremely difficult to find the raw facts which is all that anyone should be concerned about.

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