New Arrivals: Football Again

I have found myself, in my adult reading life drawn towards Science Fiction. From Clifford D. Simak  through Arthur C. Clarke; Ray Bradbury: Phillip K. Dick; Isaac Asimov;Tad Williams; Alfred Bester  to Emily St. John Mandel , whom we met in last week's blog. To this stellar squad we can now add the name of Ted Chiang, to whom we will return later.

When dealing with this genre I like to use the term ' Speculative Fiction' for at its best this literature gives the reader a glimpse into possible futures. Sometimes the works have almost being prophetic.
take Arthur C. Clarke's satellites, in which he correctly saw the global spread of them, enabling   'spies in the sky.' He thought this ability to detect other countries happenings, would stop war. That hasn't happened, but the intelligence gathering from satellites has certainly checked some military activity.
Today, of course we use satellites for a variety of other purposes, including weather forecasting  and GPS ( Global Positioning System ) which keeps track of our whereabouts through data from our mobiles devices. ( Big Brother is watching above,)

As a result of  Arthur 's  writing,  in his honour, satellite orbits have been named " Clarke Orbits."

robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

These eminently sensible " Robotic Laws " were first written as far back as 1942 by the Late Isaac Asimov, in his short story ' Runaround.'  I don't believe they have ever been improved since.

Now whilst, I am not expecting hordes of cybernauts or  man-size robots anytime soon, we are certainly, in my view, at the start of the 4th Industrial Revolution; which concerns the coming of AI or Artificial Intelligence; bringing a new style of working , with the realisation that many jobs in the future will be machine driven. Indeed this process is speeding up. We are rapidly  moving towards voice-activated homes and offices.

In 2016 a landmark was passed when the Google supercomputer DeepMind beat a world expert in the oriental game of Go.
This was an amazing achievement because there are literally millions of moves in this game and the computer won !


The 'internet of small things'  where objects, fridges, ovens and so on will be linked via WiFi and 'talk' to us is approaching fast. Two examples of this at the recent CES (Computer Electronics Show) at Las Vegas, included a hair bush which reported upon the condition of the hair and a walking stick which sent a message to carer when a fall ensued. Could be for me later on .

Exactly ten years ago the Late Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone and included this memorable phrase " The Internet in your pocket. "  A decade later with one billion of these units sold, most people would consider mobile phones to be really 'smart' and the 'to go to' device to interrogate data with help from a multitude of apps. The phone will of course be the ' gateway ' to the aforementioned 'internet of small things.'

All of this preamble takes us back to Mr.Ted Chiang. Read about this remarkable man here:

Ted Chiang

As you have read, he is the man  whose short story " Story of Your Life" (1998) formed the basis for the film Arrival. Ted is thus following in the footsteps of the Late Philip K. Dick whose short stories have translated in many films including "Blade Runner "; "Total Recall "; " A Scanner Darkly "; "Minority Report " and "Paycheck."
As it says in the above "Guardian" article, Chiang's writing is expressive, at times technical but with never a wasted world. Another name to remember.

"Arrival" is a quietly wonderful, engaging drama. It will stimulate your mind and as in last week's blog make you think about the reality of life, together with the importance of communications, between, friends, countries and even species.

Here is another trailer:

Arrival film

Amy Adams steals the show with a performance which shows the true grit of a mother whilst being  a committed scientist. She marries the roles beautifully. This film has touched many people. Watch if you can.


As promised here are my predictions for the other football leagues.


1  Newcastle               Position now 1st
2 Derby                      Position now  7th.

Newcastle look good for the cup. They will add players in January and have a big squad.
Derby  has once again lost their way. As usual they flatter to deceive and are currently 15 points behind Newcastle. Competition will come from Leeds, Brighton and Reading for the second place.

League 1

1 Sheffield  United          Position now 1st
2  Millwall                                             8th

The city of Sheffield seem to be reviving. Sheffield Wednesday are currently 6th in the championship and may make the play-offs. Happy with United's fortunes. Millwall are off the pace. Not this season I'm afraid. Scunthorpe (2) and Bolton (3) should be the chief challengers.

League 2

1 Doncaster Rovers                            1st
2 Plymouth                                         2nd

Perfect picks. Say no more. Both teams in a good situation.


 Well we are half-way through the first month of the year and next week promises kinder temperatures . Our cultivated snowdrops are starting to appear. All good.

Cheerio for now,


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