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In Sicily we hired a Jeep to get from Palermo around the island.

I had my doubts about this steed. Our two big bags wouldn't fit in the boot. One had to be strapped in on the back seat - a bit disappointing.

At above 130, the speed limit, there's something odd about the steering – so much so that I stopped quite soon to check the tyre pressures. I was regretting my choice.

Reassured about the tyres we set off again.

On the plus side the fuel consumption seemed OK and the zoned climate control worked well.

After two days of me complaining about the odd steering we got to Toarmina.

On entering we discovered that there was no parking in the old town, with roads one car wide and unbelievable traffic snarls – cars and tourist coaches moving around each other like tiles in a puzzle. We wound up and up then down and down, when at last a big blue P appeared. Hooray! - maybe we could actually stop and get out and maybe get something to eat!

Down a narrow street we went. Then up a one-way ally. Mistake! Someone's driveway. Jeep's GPS is suggesting the way. Then suddenly we are on dirt - but still a named road on the GPS.We pass two old codgers who look surprised to see us but don't offer any warning.  More like sharing a sly grin. We are climbing upwards again. This time out of town in the countryside. The dirt road begins winding crazily between tall gum trees. But GPS insists that this' the way.  Now along the cliffside 2.5 metres of width, Bushes scraping the side. No way to turn around now. Then a potholed and eroded 30 degree incline appeared.  A car wrecking drop to one side. This is the back of nowhere but there is some kind of dwelling up ahead.  Even Jeep needs to take a run at it. I doubt my car could do this!

Thank goodness we have a Jeep.

Back on proper roads again we have completely by-passed the tourist road blocks.  We get out and admire the view.

 

Jeep

Wendy n Jeep

 

Still in one piece.  Shaken but not stirred. But Jeep is unconcerned.

As we recover it starts to pour - big rain drops. Spectacular lightening streaks in the distance.

 

 

Storm aproaches

Town

 

On the slippy winding roads Jeep's traction control comes into play.

Now we're back on the expressway. The rain is getting heavier. Soon there is running water on the road and some big puddles. Now it's a shallow river. Cars ahead throw water high up to their sides.  So do we. Some slow to a crawl. Jeep doesn't mind. No need to slow below 100. No aquaplaning for us and the steering is rock solid. Jeep is teaching me a lesson. It's OK! I should never have doubted it.

Say sorry:  "Sorry!"

 

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Travel

Japan

 

 

 

 

In the second week of May 2017 our small group of habitual fellow travellers Craig and Sonia; Wendy and I; took a package introductory tour: Discover Japan 2017 visiting: Narita; Tokyo; Yokohama; Atami; Toyohashi; Kyoto; and Osaka.  

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Fiction, Recollections & News

More on Technology and Evolution

 

 

 

 

 

I recently read and commented on Dan Brown's latest novel 'Origin' in which the question 'where are we going?' is answered in suggesting an ever greater human symbiosis with technology.  But what if that's not all?

Regular readers will know that I have an artificial heart valve.  Indeed many people have implanted prosthesis, from metal joints or tooth fillings to heart pacemakers and implanted cochlear hearing aides, or just eye glasses or dentures.   Some are kept alive by drugs.  All of these are ways in which our individual survival has become progressively more dependent on technology.  So that should it fail many would suffer.  Indeed some today feel bereft without their mobile phone that now substitutes for skills, like simple mathematics, that people once had to have themselves.  But while we may be increasingly transformed by tools and implants, the underlying genes, conferred by reproduction, remain human.

The possibility of accelerated genetic evolution through technology was brought nearer last week when, on 28 November 2018, a young scientist, He Jiankui, announced, at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had successfully used the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR to edit a gene in several children.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Jihad

  

 

In my novella The Cloud I have given one of the characters an opinion about 'goodness' in which he dismisses 'original sin' as a cause of evil and suffering and proposes instead 'original goodness'.

Most sane people want to 'do good', in other words to follow that ethical system they were taught at their proverbial 'mother's knee' (all those family and extended influences that form our childhood world view).

That's the reason we now have jihadists raging, seemingly out of control, across areas of Syria and Iraq and threatening the entire Middle East with their version of 'goodness'. 

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