Monthly Archives: September 2008

What Makes Us Tick?

Here’s a terrific talk at this year’s TED conference by Jonathan Haidt. He’s looking at what he sees as the five moral values that underpin how we look at the world and treat each other. Great talk. 

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Alien Landscapes

The Dark Roasted Blend blog has come up trumps with its suggestion for the most alien-looking place on earth: Socotra Island. Fully one third of its flora is found nowhere else on earth. Go and look at the photos – … Continue reading

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No Winners Here

So the outcome over the remarks by Michael Reiss, a clergyman and Director of Education at the Royal Society is that he is now the ex-Director.   I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, reading his original remarks, … Continue reading

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Wasted Opportunity

I see that the BBC’s Horizon programme is continuing its downward spiral into tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Last night saw the first of a new series wherein the conceit was to ask the … Continue reading

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Our Ken

A nice article in today’s Guardian about Ken Russell, a British film director that people either seem to love or hate. Me, I love him. It’s been that way ever since I saw his films on the old BBC TV … Continue reading

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Knowing The Cost of Everything…

… and the value of nothing. That aphorism came into my head as I watched the performance of Sir David King, president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science on Newsnight.  He apparently believes that the money that … Continue reading

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Not The Day Of Rath

I see that vitamin pill-pusher Matthias Rath has pulled out of his libel action against Ben Goldacre and the Guardian newspaper. Good news indeed. Read more about the case and the horrifying background over at Ben’s Bad Science blog.

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Artists’ Passing

Today’s obituary columns in the Guardian contain two names that register with me: Vernon Handley and Algis Budrys. I have a number of Handley’s recordings of Vaughan Williams in my music collection, and have always liked them. As for Budrys, … Continue reading

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Big Scary Trumpets…

I don’t think that Jesus and Mo have quite got a hold of this thing called the scientific method…

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Life Through Time

Interesting photographic essay by Frans Lanting.

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WalkThis Way…

I can’t help but feel that the tabloids will have a field day with this study. Perhaps it’s just me, but a sample size of just 16 women seems very small to hang such claims on, and the language of … Continue reading

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Four Basic Questions

Jonathan Drori, in his presentation at last year’s TED conference, poses four basic questions related to scientific understanding. They are designed to illustrate that perhaps you don’t know as much as you think you know – because we all make … Continue reading

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Omnivore’s Hundred

Here’s a foodie meme that’s currently doing the rounds. It’s a list of 100 foods that Andrew, over at the Very Good Taste blog considers that every self-respecting omnivore should have eaten in their lifetime. I’ve bolded the items that … Continue reading

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Art, What Is It For?

You may wish to view this piece of evidence before starting your answer.   Thank you (I think) David Thompson.

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Walking the Tightrope

Oliver Sacks reviews Hurry Down Sunshine in the current issue of the New York Review of Books. His review has made me add the book to my wish list of books to get. He reminds us that we are walking … Continue reading

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Get Ready, Get Set…

I see that BBC Radio 4 is getting ready for Big Bang Day…

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We’re All Doomed

I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised, but there does seem to be an alarmingly large number of people who think that the world is going to end in two days time when the Large Hadron Collider is switched on. … Continue reading

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Uncle Ken

Phil Penfold writes the obituary of his uncle, Kenneth Young, in today’s Guardian. A touching tale of a life well lived, I think.

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Bear-Baiting and Bedlam on TV

Today’s Observer carries a powerful piece by Carole Cadwalladr, who looks at the stomach-turning phenomenon that is the Jeremy Kyle Show on TV. As a court judge said last year: ‘It seems to me that the purpose of this show … Continue reading

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Lost Horizons

The BBC is running a series of programmes in celebration of the fact that the Large Hadron Collider gets switched on next week. Last night was Lost Horizons, the punning and poignant title of a programme fronted by Professor Jim … Continue reading

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