Breathless excitement from the back of the science class

by David on February 28, 2007

I welcome liberal arts graduates’ forays into science, I do. I thought it brave and provactive of John Carey, erstwhile Merton Professor of Modern English at Oxford, to declare that the most imaginative and interesting writing in recent times was in the sciences, or produced by popularisers of science.

That said, when I read even a throwaway remark like this:

BBC News reports that the gene that allows most Westerners to consume cow milk effectively only appeared in the last few thousand years

I’ll have what the flap-eared toff is having

by David on February 27, 2007

The Prince of Wales has appeared to criticise fast food chain McDonald’s at the launch of a public health campaign in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During a tour of a diabetes centre in Abu Dhabi, he told a nutritionist that banning the restaurants was “key”.

BBC, Royal rebuke over McDonald’s food

This is an example of the wealthy, intolerant parasite’s eating habits

Olly’s Onions

by David on February 27, 2007

  • Emmerdale plane crash: Jews “had prior warning”

    More than a dozen Jewish farm workers stayed at home as a plane crashed into the sleepy Yorkshire village of Emmerdale in 1993, according to a new film released today. The 70 minute film, ‘Emmerdale – the Israeli Connection’…

    from Olly’s Onions

The Tragedy of the Commons

by David on February 24, 2007

Although similar ideas may go right the way back to Aristotle, it was only relatively recently that Garrett Hardin published in Science his famous and much-discussed essay, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’. It’s had a profound impact since – possibly because of the snappy title.

Times Online Redesign

by David on February 24, 2007

After coming across a problem when the new design went online I thought I ought to mention, just to be fair, it seems much faster now and I am using it more than I did before.

Still one or two problems, though


by David on February 24, 2007

  • Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

Jess, ilustrating the brief note about cats with opposable thumbs

further down that article is the terrifying news that some cats have evolved opposable thumbs. People are worried about genetically modified potatoes when we are sharing this planet with a sub-population of Felis catus that can manipulate tools?

PooterGeek, An Abomination Unto The Lord

  • Danny Finkelstein in The Times, on the raving lunatics of Iran and the International Jewish Propaganda that is Tom and Jerry.
  • In part, that’s because Female Genital Mutilation is at once a matter of women’s rights and of cultural self-determination — many who are disturbed by the practice are also troubled by the idea of passing judgment on another culture’s customs.

    Cultural relativism and cliterodectomy as a parent’s right : Rites and wrongs, The Boston Globe

  • “I have a perfectly good system. I take all the socks out of the dryer and throw them into my sock drawer”.

    “Thats not a system”.

    “It’s a perfectly good system. It’s called ‘late binding.'”

    Dive Into Mark, Late Binding


by David on February 23, 2007

  • Flickr problems again. Flickr’s playing up this evening – lots of failures to connect, timeouts. This after the dreadful problem with the cacheing servers a few days ago. Must read Cal Henderson’s, ‘Data Normalization is for Sissies‘ again…

  • Sydney-based Easy Being Green says it will mitigate your cat’s flatulent contribution to global warming for A$8 ($6). The same company could also make your granny “carbon-neutral” at A$10 a year, according to a report in the Australian newspaper last weekend.

    Bloomberg, China, India Smile as West Overpays for Climate

  • Laidlaw, 24, who had earlier threatened to “kill all black people”, was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder.

    Judge Samuel Wiggs said Laidlaw “intended to kill” his victims, but they were not racially-motivated attacks.

    “Although both people you aimed at were black I make no finding that your crimes were racially motivated,” he said.

    BBC, Life for gunman captured on CCTV

  • Whenever the word ontology is used in a technical context, what is being promoted is likely of limited practical value.

    Peter’s 2nd Law of Computing

  • Judge Ayman al-Akazi sentenced Abdel Kareem Nabil to three years in prison for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and inciting sectarian strife and another year for insulting President Hosni Mubarak

    Washington Post, Egyptian Blogger Gets 4 Years in Prison

The Pirwi People of Mexico

by David on February 23, 2007

Scott Burgess at The Daily Ablution has dug up a corker about the poor Independent newspaper.

This gorgeous Emiliano Godoy-designed knit chair is typical of the San-Fran store’s socially conscious philosophy; it’s fashioned from two key materials – Forestry Stewardship Council-certified oak and a ball of cotton rope – by the Pirwi people of Mexico, who receive regular visits from the store’s directors.

THE50BEST: Ethical buys byt Kate Thomas for The Independent

Leaving aside the cost of the chair – £3,268.69 – Scott’s been doing some anthropological research on the Pirwi people

World’s tallest tree – been there

by David on February 22, 2007

We went on a long walk through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, along the James Irvine Trail, down through the forest to the Pacific Ocean.

Thoreau on government

by David on February 22, 2007

  • I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least’; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, ‘That government is best which governs not at all’; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”

    Henry David Thoreau

  • Nozick, briefly