Saturday, June 17

A time of changes,
Moebius chains encircling the
Unwitting victim

The future is here.

King George III of Great Britain: It is about as likely for men to walk on the Moon as for the American colonies to win their independence...

Sometimes I worry about how different the world will be in twenty years. We might not have the orbital Hilton space hotels in 2001, but we do have space tourists flying on Mir.

Speaking of space, have a look at a page about habitable zones around stars I wrote recently. And gasp in awe at the wonderful Flash animation that took me far too long to produce since I had to relearn the whole thing.

10:42 PM | permalink | discuss

Friday, June 16

In mind and reality,
The stars, our destination.
A distant target.

Yet who can foresee
That such ambition should be,
A double-edged sword?

Expect some... strange changes around here in the coming week. Stick around, it'll be fun - I'll be going for a few weeks but I've got a feeling that the person standing in for me here will change your perception of what a weblog can be.

Postmodernism generator - surprisingly convincing.

Richard Dawkins has an amusing rant about postmodernism. After one scientist (not Dawkins) became so amazed that all the pomo stuff he read was "complete, unadulterated bullshit," he resolved himself to write an essay called "Transgressing the Boundaries: towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity." This, having the word 'hermeneutics' in its title, was guaranteed publication even though all the science he wrote in it was absolutely false.

1:20 PM | permalink | discuss

Wednesday, June 14

Quote of the day by Barry Norman after showing the X-Men trailer (full of slashing effects and lots of Important Music):

"I don't know what the hell that's all about either." (and that's all he said about it).

Boys, eh? That's what this article is about, or more accurately, it's about a 13 year-old girl being interviewed by the Washington post about the boys she's been out with.

Interesting statistics: 57% of middle-schoolers say that most people think they're 'cool'. [you can just see my cynicism by the quote marks I put 'cool' around].

54% think they're attractive.

8:48 PM | permalink | discuss

Tuesday, June 13

After receiving a large amount of flak about yesterday's posting, I'd like to clarify a few things. What I meant was that if you took a baby from the Irish Catholic heartland and placed him in a Jewish family in Israel, there would be no question he'd grow up to be a Jew.

And my references to the Ten Commandments were specifically about the most quoted ones, e.g. don't steal, don't commit adultery, not those such concerning graven images (which I rather stupidly forgot).


Being a little too interested in exactly who visits my website, I check this weblogs statistics relatively often. If I find anything out of the ordinary, I'll try to figure out exactly who it is, so when I found that someone from www.templetons.com had visited, naturally I checked it out.

Templetons.com is the home page of Brad Templeton, Chairman of the Board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and all-time Internet big guy. I was pretty impressed with this, even if his thoughts probably were 'What a steaming pile of... this site is.'

Now this is interesting; using adaptive optics to increase the eyesight of humans by a factor of six - and we're talking about 20:20 vision humans here, not just shortsighted people. It's absolutely incredible.

11:31 PM | permalink | discuss

Monday, June 12

I was absolutely mortified to watch an episode of the Simpsons on BBC2 today. As usual, they were showing some of the earliest episodes (the story goes that the BBC were offered the Simpsons 'for free, forever' (doubtful) except a BBC exec said the UK public would never 'get' these yellow people). So I was expecting an early episode - not such a bad thing, considering the quality of the newer ones. But what's this - a different intro? I found myself watching a practically neolithic Simpsons episode, and it was painful. It wasn't funny. The animation was pretty bad. There was no music. Lisa and Bart had some ineffably cruel slant to their faces, and Homer's true voice was nowhere to be heard.

It was as if I was watching some kind of warped, twisted parallel-dimension Simpsons, an experience I'm not keen to repeat. I wonder how it ever got popular with early episodes like that - then again, 80's TV was pretty bad as well.

Hmm. A pro-creationist article in the New York Times. Of course we should caution children to be wary of accepting all scientific 'facts', but where are the disclaimers on religious texts warning readers that they aren't facts either?

I read an interesting article in the Times about an evangelist doing the rounds in the UK, discussing the Ten Commandments to packed audiences. To me, the ten commandments are simply lessons in morality, there's nothing religious about them. You could probably derive them from most religions or philosophies in the world. There's nothing particularly special about them, nothing intrinsically Christian. The thing of it is, all the religions seem to agree 99% of the time, except for facts such as who was resurrected when.

If you took a baby from the Irish Catholic heartland and placed him in Israel, there's no question he'd grow up to be a Jew. And vice-versa. It makes you wonder exactly what the point of all this is.

8:44 PM | permalink | discuss

Sunday, June 11

[side note: Thanks for everyone from UK Bloggers saying "Hi" to me via my brother. Much appreciated. I'll make it down there next time, don't worry (

The Internet encourages relationships, it doesn't make people anti-social. Or so they say.

What is this? Kids at the age of nine, being stressed out with schoolwork and homework? Something is wrong with the world, I tell you. I never got any homework in primary school (up to the age of 11) and it didn't do me any harm. That's what I like to think, anyway. It's not just that, though. I read about kids being sent to innumerable tutoring lessons, doing Kuoni this-and-that, going to 'Listen to Mozart' classes at the age of 1. What's the deal? They're just kids. Sheesh.

10:07 PM | permalink | discuss

Culled from the Brin-L list - moving 40 ton obelisks using kites? Granted, it's pretty difficult to move them with manpower alone, but kites? Well, you should see for yourselves.

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, I've been a bit busy downloading Futurama videos from Can't Get More Futurama. Great stuff. I'm also about to make my own contribution to the Futurama community with an anonymous transcript of a presentation the creators of Futurama made a while ago - expect a link here soon.

10:53 AM | permalink | discuss