Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Grand Illusion of Consciousness

Here’s Dr. Susan Blackmore giving a terrific presentation on why she thinks consciousness is a "grand illusion". Well worth your time.     Now I want to read more about it…

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Eau de Raison…

If it was an actual product, I’d almost be tempted to buy a bottle, just to try it… But, as Mrs Lovett and Sweeney might say, it’s just (taking the) piss with ink… 

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Surrealism While Shopping

I mentioned a Lily Allen song a little while back. It’s currently being played quite a lot on Dutch radio stations. And it has a certain earworm power.   I’m finding it somewhat bizarre that when I’m in shops, where the … Continue reading

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Gutsy, Snotty Tears

Alastair Appleton writes of the power of art to provoke a reaction – often when we least expect it. I know what he means. I remember visiting Tate Modern some years back and seeing Stanley Spencer’s The Resurrection – Port … Continue reading

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The Apocalypse Approaches

I rather wish it would be this sort of apocalypse, but somehow I doubt it.

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The Problem With Madeleine Bunting

I’ve never been a fan of Madeleine Bunting – Our Maddy of the Sorrows. I have the strong impression that underneath all the hand-wringing lies something close to the vituperativeness and dogmatism of a Melanie Phillips. I think that yesterday, Bunting inadvertently … Continue reading

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A Day Out

We had a day out yesterday, visiting a potter friend of ours in Flevoland, and then taking in a rather elaborate garden on the way back. Gerda Grashuis had an open day at her pottery (Pottenbakkerij GG), which also featured … Continue reading

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Making Changes

We have a couple of ponds in our garden. A large one in the front garden, and a smaller pond abutting the patio at the back of the house. This was how the pond at the back used to look: … Continue reading

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The Stupid, It Burns…

Well, you know that I have no time for astrologers, but really, Satya Harvey ought to get a prize for this twaddle.   The Stupid, it burns. By the way, her bio is also a jewel. I’ve resisted sending her … Continue reading

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Green Fields

If you’re troubled with life or afraid of death, here’s a prescription that might soothe. I’ve followed it a number of times in my life and it does work.

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He’s Back!

Here’s some good news at least: Mr. Deity has returned with a third series. Here’s episode 1: Mr. Deity and the Virgin…    

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Blood Money

So, Shell has settled out of court with the plaintiffs in the Saro-Wiwa case. As a retired employee of Shell, I have the uncomfortable feeling that too much dirty linen would have been aired in court, which saddens, but doesn’t really … Continue reading

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Catch ’em Young

I’ve never been a fan of Faith Schools. All too often they seem designed to develop intolerance and ignorance of others. That said, if the schools were being funded entirely by their own communities, then I can state my misgivings, … Continue reading

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But Only Just…

Those are the last three words that Felix Dennis utters sotto voce in this performance of his poems. I don’t quite know whether to applaud or hiss at his life’s work. Perhaps the tension is the thing that makes it interesting.  … Continue reading

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Sapolsky on Religion

I’ve not come across Professor Robert Sapolsky before, but I found this lecture by him absolutely riveting. Well worth your time.    

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Out Of The Mouths Of Babes And Sucklings…

A rather jolly video produced by a bunch of French teens. I usually try and present reasoned arguments to homophobes, but of course with them it’s just like water off a duck’s back, so I usually end up getting incensed. How … Continue reading

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Like A Virgin

Another classic from Jesus and Mo…

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How Are The Mighty Fallen

I mentioned yesterday how depressing the news was that small-minded xenophobia seems to be on the rise in Dutch Politics, with the success of Geert Wilders and his party in the Dutch election for the European Parliament. Across the channel, … Continue reading

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The People Have Spoken…

… and it’s a sad day for Dutch democracy. It appears that Geert Wilders’ right-wing populist party looks likely to win 15% of yesterday’s European Parliament vote and will get four seats. I feel saddened and soiled by this news.

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The Carnival of Ida

Brian Switek has an excellent roundup of scientific commentary on Ida, or Darwinius masillae, the fossil unveiled in a blaze of media glory last month. It really is a beautiful specimen, but many people, including me, have severe misgivings about all the … Continue reading

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