Saturday, November 10

Went and upgraded the forums so that they actually work now, instead of hiding new topics and posts away. There might be a few bugs about but nothing significant. All the members and post data have been preserved, so theoretically you should be able to just log in with your old usernames and passwords.

/ forum / 12:36 am GMT

Thursday, November 8

Shocking lack of updates, blah blah blah. I've been reading a lot, rowing a lot and playing far too much of Civilization 3 lately, although I do believe that I have the latter sorted out now, insofar as Civilization 3 can ever be sorted out.

Some things coming up: A narrative of a recent battle in a game of Civ3 I played (it's not really for this weblog, it's for a games site, but what the hell) and some writeups of interesting Psychology lectures I've been to.

Went to an entertaining lecture about debunking the paranormal last night. The lecturer gave one wonderful case study, where he examined firewalking. Firewalkers have been explained by scientists as simply walking at a sufficient speed and short distance such that the heat of the coals isn't really conducted to their feet to cause much damage. The firewalkers, on the other hand (well, at least some of them), claim that they cast a protective bubble of mental energy about them.

The thing is, both explanations would predict that firewalkers could walk over, say, the relatively short distance of 15ft of coal. However, if you lengthen the path to 60ft, then science would state that they'd probably have no legs by the time they reached the end.

So one day Tomorrow's World come up to this lecturer and ask him to devise a particular telegenic psychology experiment, and he revives the old firewalking idea. They find four firewalkers (of the weird variety) who are willing to give it a go and then they show the superbly hot 60ft path of coal. The firewalkers confidently say that they'll easily be able to walk the distance, what with their mental energy thingamajigs. The science lecturer is slightly more doubtful.

The first firewalker starts out on the path, and less than halfway along the path he hops off fairly swiftly. The TV presenter, who wasn't actually from Tomorrow's World but some extreme sports TV presenter they roped in, said 'Oh well, commiserations, eh?' and then called on for the next guy to start off, despite the fact that the first guy is showing severe signs of pain. Sure enough, the second firewalker hops off at about the same point and is immediately treated for second degree burns by paramedics.

The funny thing is, the BBC crew really did think that they'd manage to walk the entire distance.

/ forum / 12:02 am GMT

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