Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Guinea Worm

You can add the guinea worm to the list of species that, as far as I am concerned, tip the scales of evidence in favour of the proposition that God is either a) a sadist, b) indifferent or c) non-existent.

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If I Give Her The Wool…

…would she make me one too? That’s the punchline to a hoary old joke that begins: "my mother made me a homosexual…".   I couldn’t help but remember it when I read Johann Hari’s piece: "What makes some of us … Continue reading

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A Letter to Nature

The esteemed science journal Nature recently had an editorial on the work of the John Templeton Foundation. The editorial has brought a response, in the form of a letter to the journal, from Matthew Cobb and Jerry Coyne. I found myself nodding in agreement … Continue reading

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The Unblinking Eye

I really enjoy Future Perfect – the blog of Jan Chipchase, a researcher at Nokia. He travels the world noticing, and photographing, examples of how cultures use technology, often in intriguing ways; or how norms in one society signal something … Continue reading

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The Role of Evidence

I’ve just watched the first Headcast of John Cleese, which I mentioned in the previous blog entry. He makes some good points – and he also begs the question a number of times.   For example, he, rightly, notes our … Continue reading

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The Wit and Wisdom of John Cleese

Thanks to a reference over at Atheist Media, I’ve now discovered that John Cleese has a Podcast site. There’s a collection of short skits or presentations that he’s done. I’m still going through them, but I was rather taken with … Continue reading

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Photosynth

I mentioned a couple of days ago that Microsoft has released Photosynth. The site seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the demand, as my first experiments in creating Synths failed on the uploading stage. However, they seem to be … Continue reading

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That Old Sinking Feeling

I think Justin, over at Chicken Yoghurt, sums up the queasiness I felt when watching Britain’s eight-minute segment in the Olympic closing ceremony yesterday. Dear lord, it was pretty dire. A wonderful harbinger of the joy to come in 2012 … Continue reading

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The Long Journey

Two presentations on the history of humanity as a species. First, Spencer Wells talking about the Genographic Project, which looks at our shared DNA over millenia. It’s fascinating, and he presents the information well.   Second, here’s the history of … Continue reading

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A Field Guide to Software Engineers

This field guide is so true – in the course of my time in the computer business, I’ve met examples of all of these species. I have occasionally been known to wake up in a cold sweat thinking about some … Continue reading

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Long Term Backup

Over at the Long Now Blog, Kevin Kelly writes on the challenges of preserving human knowledge over long periods of time – thousands of years. The Long Now Foundation has come up with one possible way of doing this, by micro-etching … Continue reading

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Special Effects

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s becoming almost too easy to produce convincing fake footage these days. Here’s a collision between the Star Wars universe and San Francisco…   http://current.com/e/89204971/en_UK  (hat tip to James Senior)

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When Alarm Bells Ring…

There are certain phrases that start alarm bells ringing in my head. An excellent example is provided by the Pub Philosopher. S/he’s commented upon that nasty little phrase that starts with "Speaking as…" 

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Photosynth Released

I see that Microsoft has now released the first version of Photosynth that allows you to use your own photos to create 3D spaces. I can’t wait to try it out…

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Exorcise Your Inner Gay

Father Jeremy Davies sounds like a real bundle of fun. What I find astonishing is that he apparently studied at St. Bart’s Hospital in London and graduated with a medical degree in 1967. Perhaps Westminster residents should carry the equivalent of a … Continue reading

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Antithetical Advert

Over at Obscene Desserts, the Wife points out an example of an advert that is meant to convey feelings of security and safety, but ends up conveying the complete opposite to those of us brought up on Orwell. Spooky in … Continue reading

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Missing the Point

I see that Mark Vernon has taken another swipe at one of his favourite bête noires: Richard Dawkins. It strikes me as a particularly foolish piece. In it, he seems to be complaining that Dawkins’ latest series of TV Programmes … Continue reading

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Foreclosure on the Shire

I first reported on The Shire – a Tolkien-themed housing development in Oregon almost two years ago. I see that good taste has prevailed, and that foreclosure proceedings against the developer are being brought. While I do feel somewhat sorry … Continue reading

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Reverse-engineering Religion

Over at a Blog From Hell, Norm Doering draws my attention to a talk given by Dan Dennett at the 2006 TED conference. It’s one that I don’t think I’ve seen before, although it deals with themes that he’s explored … Continue reading

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Unjust Rewards

Johann Hari reviews Unjust Rewards by Polly Toynbee and David Walker. The review prompts me to put the book on my "get it and read it list". By coincidence, I’m currently re-reading Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew by Bernard … Continue reading

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