Battleship the Movie

If there was ever a disappointing flick after the hype that came before it has to be Battleship 

Horrible plot points, moronic logic and a waste of the hard disk space on my machine. Not to mention wasting 2hrs of my life. The thing is an attempt at displaying the bravado of the US military and somehow the inherent reformist nature  that the armed forces instills in you when faced with life and death situations.

*spoiler/

So the premise is that we sent a message into deep space at a planetary system we believe may harbor life and sure enough a bunch of alien craft decide to pay us a visit right in the middle of an international naval exercise. First of all their timing is perfect but their subsequent actions make little sense. They create a force field for miles around themselves and retaliate whenever attacked but for some reason do not finish off all the other military equipment within the force field and let them sail around strategizing how to destroy the new enemy.

-*Spoiler

The logic is moronic and making sense is a bit important for me. Or maybe I am just not the demographic that was targeted. Felt more like it was targeted at American high-school goers with the competitive sports, petty rivalry and attempts to impress the pretty girl.

Would NOT recommend for anyone.

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Are Shortcuts that bad?

The universal knowledge that is spewed by all that are around the young and those aspiring for greatness is the importance of working hard and avoiding shortcuts, no exceptions. This I imagine is to breed discipline, perseverance and can do attitude that will harbor well for their future. It is mostly universally ignored however if the state of our society is anything to go by.

The universal truth of this preaching is unquestioned. . .until now by me anyway. Judging from the extensive university exposure I have had the pleasure of having, Shortcuts save your life and if you can’t cheat then you are doomed to be used, unappreciated and generally miserable of your surroundings. Granted those who study copious volumes of the recommended text and understand all the taught concepts relevant or not will  may wind up more knowledgable and better off than their coasting colleagues. This is assuming that the guy not very interested in the  class some how done under the surveying degree programme did nothing better with his time. He/she probably got wasted, figured out what women really wanted(or rather what they respond best to) and the complex yet predictable world of liars, drunkards, junkies and con men. All invaluable skills in navigating the actual world outside the campus halls. So who actually leaves better prepared for life?

Ofcourse it is possible to juggle the two lifestyles and come out on top both academically and street smart wise but jack of all trades is a master f none. And besides being street smart will ensure your academics are tip-top seeing as University is just another jungle. Different animals and rules but a jungle none the less.

The thing with rules, laws and regulations is that their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. They are slaves to detail, precedent and tradition. A very detailed law has many restrictions but just as many loopholes and interpretations. Copious laws and regulations are not a deterrent to a determined wrong-doer but an invitation because wherever there is complexity, there is reduced understanding , different interpretation and opportunity o manipulate. Look at the Bible. Everyone has their own version of what every verse of every chapter of every book means.Crazy is an understatement.

The likes of Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy, support the idea of making things that work however crude they are and working on improving them later. basically he is talking about prototyping but essentially on a production scale. Code hard and fast, get something working, ship, improve and iterate.

In my opinion this glorifies and validates shortcut taking. Make the product in the fastest cheapest way possible, improve and iterate till you have the best possible. Come to think of it this is what the most valuable company on the planet (Apple Inc) does. Launch a product with most features missing, launch sequels as you slowly improve design, fix flaws and add better features to the older chassis. As Seth Godin preaches, refining a product till you are satisfied with it before launching it is a recipe for disaster. At your first launch, you should be ashamed by what you are calling your product.

Engineering is all about looking for, refining and making shortcuts. Want to move goods thousands of miles? Build a thing that rolls on rails to carry them and fit an engine at the front to pull it. Efficient, useful and that’s right a shortcut. I think we should glorify the guys who find shortcuts to doing things because more often than not it is the most efficient way of carrying out the said tasks.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

University Education in Kenya

Wikipedia defines Universities as autonomous bodies of academia that determine internally the qualification of its graduates and teaching staff. It is basically a fiefdom with the vice chancellor being the  top honcho. Basically the degree you have(if you have one some of us are still on the hustle) is only accredited/verified by the university you went to. The reputation of  the university you go to is everything. There is no central body that issues exams for assessment. If your university is considered dodgy then you are in for problems.

There are more universities than I can bother to count in Nairobi alone and getting a degree has become the equivalent of finishing high school a few years back Not xactly something to brag about. Getting an education that does not involve bachelors somewhere in the nomenclature of its documentation relegates you to failurehood. The bit of the social fabric that was  the education system has all but decayed now atleast in the public sector anyway. The rich have never had a problem getting an education and they are thus not in the scope of this post.

I have recently enrolled on codecademy.com, coursera.org to try get rid of my ignorance And I must say it has been a very rewarding experience seeing as you choose the class you want to go to and your desired pace. Many Ivy league universities have hopped on to the bandwagon that is online delivered lecturing. I think for most of these lecturers, teaching is something they love doing not necessarily to pay the bills. The attraction of teaching potentially millions of students who are genuinely as opposed to a sleepy class of 40 – 50 students may just be too much to resist. In the meantime our University dons are pretty comfortable to tell us to burn software/reports on CD-ROMs for marking.

Now let me research about who Prof. Yajnik was that he got the most famous monument on campus named after him (or her?).

Biometric Voter Registration Kits

If I have ever seen a load of bull crap, it is in these fangled kits.

You would think the damn things would win any match against deep blue. Or each and everyone of these kits will deliver vision 2030 at the constituencies where they will be situated. The hype and jargon nonsense spewed by otherwise smart looking fellows like Isaack Hassan, the IEBC would lead you to believe that this is technology that has never been seen on this side of the continent before.

And to add insult to injury, they say that we will ‘borrow’ the Ghanaian guy who runs Ghana’s  elections to come show us how a laptop,Camera,and fingerprint scanner works. That is all these fangled kits are by the way. Possibly the cheapest laptop,cheapest camera and some cheap french made fingerprint scanner that will be used to register voters.

Are laptops impossible to source locally? Or cameras? How about fingerprint scanners? So what is so complex about finding models of each of the three gadgets that are most compatible with each other and floating tenders for the supply of the damn things? What’s the idea with using fangled terms like BVR kits and deciding the only people capable of  delivering this impossibly complex technology are an unknown French company that is contracted by a Canadian company that is being payed by a loan procured from Standard Chartered Bank(with no explanation whatsoever as to how,why the bank was picked) that will be repaid by the Kenya Government.

There are many fishy things going on that are going on with this deal and I can only conclude that campaign funds are being sourced from government contracts as is the case during all elections.

Question is what are the working class going to do about it?