Friday, September 30, 2005

Preaching to the Subverted

Just been reading about the intelligent design case currently on trial in Pennsylvania. The PA school board voted for the following stetment to be read before science classes, and some people with brain cells are challenging it:

"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in theory exist for which there is no evidence ... Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin ... With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind."

Which is mostly fine, as far as it goes - it exposes students to the concepts of theories being continually tested against new facts, and I like that. But intelligent design is science now, dontchaknow, and should be treated exactly equally with Darwinism; surely, to be balanced, it should really read something like:

"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a proven fact, because no theory about the past can ever be a proven fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence.

Intelligent design is an alternate theory of the origin of life. Despite being a theory, it continues to fail to be tested as new evidence against it is discovered and ignored. There are no portions of the theory for which there is any evidence, other than 2000 year-old second-hand hearsay.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind."

Thursday nights at The Friend in Hand

All Sydneysiders and visits of Sydney!
Thursday nights at the Friend in Hand in Cowper St, Glebe is the SINGLE BEST comedy venue in the world.
That's right: $10 for some open mic-ers and then some professionals.
Last night the support act was Tom Gleeson and I haven't laughed so hard in a very very long time. He had the whole audience in tears.
2 hours of stage time.
Last week the headline was Gary Eck and he was very impressive. The support acts were astoundingly good.
Next week is Anthony Mir from "You can't stop the murders" and Mr Nw's bucks night - come along!
Nominally starts at 8 but in reality closer to 8:30.

I really really really recommend it. I am going each week until the heat death of the universe.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The gods are happy

When I was talking, sorry bragging, about meeting Joss I said that I'd never met a hero of mine before. I was asked what other heroes I had and only two came to mind: Michael Marshall Smith and Neil Gaiman

[heavenly chorus]
Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon interview.

Draw me a map.

This is interesting, if somewhat long-winded:

Thinking about Thinking

The authors claim to be talking about software engineering - ignore that; they're talking about how people think.

The authors seem to be dividing people up into two different kinds of thinkers "Mappers" and "Packers" (and though packers tend to be less flexible, resistant to change, and have a very shallow understanding of the world, they are not in fact referring to one of the Australian Princes of Media Darkness - though that is an amusing coincidence.) Ignore that too; its fairly obvious that to some degree everyone is both packer and mapper, and the only question is to what degree a person employs which strategy.

If you get bogged down in the software engineering stuff, just understand that packing is basically memorising a list of situations and how to react to them (or problems and how to solve them), and mapping is building a mental model of how and why something works by examining new facts to see if they fit the model and - and this is the important bit - changing the model until it fits the new facts. We often refer to this as "the scientific method", but I'll go "mapping"; its shorter. Then skip down to "Knowledge Packets, Daydreams, Maps and Understanding" and read from there.

What is interesting is that the two different thinking styles described, and the implicit communication barriers between people using the two, effectively explain almost all of the things we sit around and bitch about over beers:
  • religious nutjobs.
  • "intelligent" designers.
  • screwed up politicians shooting themselves - and us - in the foot while we sit back and say "but can't they see...?"
  • people who vote for same.
  • people who believe in reflexology curing cancer.
  • Miranda Devine.
  • why pointing out the "obvious" failings of any of the above to the perpetrators or the general public has no effect whatsoever.

It actually explains a lot to me about why some of the idiots choose to be idiots; they don't. They're trapped there by a complete lack of understanding of why or how anything is connected to anything else. Yeah ok, I kinda knew that already - but this begins to explain how they manage to have enough information to get by in the world without getting run over at a crosswalk, and still manage to hold on to that lack of a deeper understanding.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Socratic debate for the new generation.

We hates blogses. Curse them. Yes, every blogs. All people with blogses.

No! No. It's not true. We likes blogses.

We don't like how blogses takes up hours every day, do we?

Learns new things all the time, yes we do.

We learn new ways to curse the stupid, cruel hobbitses.

But we gets to be funny. We promised.

Yes, funny. And we gets to show how much of a massive nerds we are! All the time!

But..but...we gets to talk to our friends.

Friends?! You don't have friends.


Monkeys! Monkeys on wings! Nothing can hide from them. Curse them.

Harry has heard of them. He does not want to see them. He does not want them to be.

We hates Swedeses.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Chicks Who Rock Part 57.

I finally got around to seeing 'Run Lola Run'. Not only is it a really cool movie but it has Franka Potente in it who made an appearance in CWR Part 55 for 'The Bourne Identity'. On the DVD cover was a sticker. The sticker was placed mostly over Franka and read: "Take home copy". Wouldn't that be nice?

I bought the Spiderbait greatest hits CD and DVD. It was a very pleasantly surprising walk down memory lane with many 'Oh, that was them?' and 'I remember this track!' moments. I don't own any of their albums and only know them from hearing them, as Fyodor will no doubt be happy to know, on JJJ.
Janet from Spiderbait, you had me at 'A booo booo booo boooo'. Her A booo booo booo boooo-ing in 'Stevie' is the single cutest thing I have ever heard. My knees turn into something made of rubberbands and molten chocolate. Combine that with her arsekicking bass work and you have a CWR.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

She could almost be asleep

This picture is just astounding. The girl looks like she has temporarily fallen asleep, not like she has been dead for 500 years.

The article is here.

Shock Horror Miranda gets it wrong again

The Devine Ms M has struck again. Fans of Ms M will not be surprised that she has again gone off half cocked and with only a small amount of information at her disposal that supports her argument, ignoring the large amount of information that conflicts with her view.

So what has she done today? Slagged off midwives. I never used to worry about stuff like this until I came to Alice Springs and got involved in an organisation that runs antenatal classes and provides information for parents to be. That's when I discovered that you can actually choose to have a midwife attend your birth, that if you see the same midwife all the way through your pregnancy your labour is likely to go more smoothly, and that generally outcomes for both mother and child are significantly improved with continuity of care throughout the pregnancy and beyond. Strangely enough I was never told this when I was pregnant. Granted it was a difficult pregnancy, and any midwife I did see probably would have referred me onto specialist care. I have no problem with that. But my labour could have been a lot different if I had known the midwife for more than five minutes before she ... broke my waters (fill in the blanks yourself, this is a family blog), and then went off shift.

Now I'm not one of these women who believe that all obstetricians are evil. However, I disagree with Ms Devine that midwives can't adequately look after women who are going through a normal pregnancy and deliver the child without complications. I know a lot of women who have been through midwife clinics at their local hospitals and had no problems and no interventions and not seen an obstetrician at any time. If you believe Ms D then midwives are incapable of safely delivering babies without an obstetrician's help.

I am also really unimpressed with her analogy with women in Nigeria. I am well aware that there are lots of issues with labour and that it can be difficult and damaging, but what she failed to mention is that women in Nigeria who suffer the problems that she mentioned are in labour for days and days. That is highly unlikely to happen in Australia to a woman under midwife care. Midwives aren't ego maniacs. If a woman is in difficulty they refer her on to a specialist. End of story. Ms Devine has neatly ignored the large number of women who choose to give birth safely with a midwife. God forbid she get started on homebirth.

She talks about the medicalisation of childbirth like it's a god send. For some women it is. For others it's unneccessary. What it comes down to is that it should be the woman's choice to go for a medicalised birth or not, depending on how her labour is progressing. If everyone is fine, leave her alone and let her and the midwife get on with it.

My last bitch with Ms Devine is her last comment how the obstetrician's only desire is for a safe mother and baby. As is suggesting that midwives don't have the same desires. Silly woman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Boots Off

The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
Carl Sagan- The Demon Haunted World, 1996

While at the gym (whose membership is not covered) pumping iron yesterday afternoon, I saw an ad for MBF my Private Health Insurance provider. It was all wispy and comforting looking, with people getting massages, acupuncture (ok the juries still out) and reflexology.


My total disillusionment is now complete. The first straw was when I bought all my hockey equipment, and had the claim bounced. The excuse over the phone for this was "People were claiming such things as gym and sport" so they stopped paying for it.
The second straw was when i found out that Aromatherapy was part of the package I was paying for.
I was ready to drop them like a safe but Ob came up with a few reasons not to just yet and check out a few other options.
Sometimes you have to dance with the Devil.

Santa Vaca.

To stop being accused of bias and not being objective in this rant lets see what these good people have to say-

Reflexology Association of Australia

"Reflexology is based on the principle that certain parts of the body reflect the whole. Reflex points, which relate to all parts of the body, can be found in the feet, hands and ears. These points respond to pressure, stimulating the body's own natural healing process. The body starts progressively clearing blockages, re-establishing energy flows and balancing itself, resulting in better health. " Some general benefits are that reflexology: - reduces stress and tension - improves circulation - balances the nervous system - boosts lymphatic function thereby reducing oedema, reducing toxicity and improving immunity - stimulates sluggish, congested systems - reduces pain - enhances the body's natural healing process, improves sleep, increases energy and vitality - promotes body awareness

So how are all the organs and parts of the body divided up on the feet? Well it’s actually quite simple: all the organs, glands and parts of the body on the left side of the body are generally represented on the left foot, hand and ear, while the organs, glands and parts of the body on the right side of the body are generally represented on the right foot, hand and ear.The toes represent anything located in or on the head, like the teeth, mouth, nose, brain, eyes and ears etc, The ball of the foot represents the chest and breast area, including the lungs, and heart, the top half of the arch of the foot represents all the internal organs of digestion eg: the stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas et. The lower half of the arch represents the intestines and bladder, and the heel represents the pelvic and reproductive region. The spine is represented on the inside of the foot running down from the top of the big toe to the heel, while the shoulders are represented under the little toes, and the hip / knee region is represented on the outside of the foot in the little dip just below the ankle bone – known as the cuboid notch.

A reflexologist will usually feel any imbalance in an organ or area of the body as little ‘crystals’ under the skin, while the client may feel mild discomfort as the area is being worked on. The aim of a practitioner is to break down this congestion using the various finger and thumb techniques and allow the body to come back into balance.
Reflexology is extremely beneficial for helping with all muscular/skeletal problems, especially back or neck problems, with digestive disorders, reproductive and fertility issues, (it would be recommended that both partners had regular sessions) With Respiratory conditions and especially stress


Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique. Reflexology can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax. Through the relaxation process the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living and those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body towards better functioning by improving lymphatic drainage and venous circulation, simulation to the nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation. Reflexology can also be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction and relaxation.

International Institute of Reflexology

Reflexology offers you this outstanding overall health enhancement program, working toward re-educating, re-patterning, and re-conditioning the nerves through the neural/electrical system of the body. The sole job description of the nerves is to instruct the body; when the nerves improve, the instruction must improve, as a result, the body must improve.

Ok, it will re-educate, relax and help me have babies.
Hey don't get me wrong, I love a foot massage, a good one will make me go all thing. I think I have found out why.

Now let hear from these sane people

The Skeptics Dictionary

One reason foot massage may be so pleasurable and is associated with significant improvement in mood is that the area of the brain that connects to the foot is adjacent to the area that connects to the genitals. There may be some neuronal overlapping. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran writes of a person whose leg was amputated and who experienced orgasms in his phantom foot (1998: 36-37). “The genitals are right next to the foot in the body’s brain maps,” he notes, and speculates that this fact may account for foot fetishes.



Many proponents claim that foot reflexology can cleanse the body of toxins, increase circulation, assist in weight loss, and improve the health of organs throughout the body. Others have reported success in treating earaches, anemia, bedwetting, bronchitis, and convulsions in an infant, hemorrhoids, hiccups, deafness, hair loss, emphysema, prostate trouble, heart disease, overactive thyroid gland, kidney stones, liver trouble, rectal prolapse, undescended testicles, intestinal paralysis, cataracts, and hydrocephalus. Some claim to "balance energy and enhance healing elsewhere in the body." One practitioner has even claimed to have lengthened a leg that was an inch shorter than the other. There is no scientific support for these assertions.

The pathways postulated by reflexologists have not been anatomically demonstrated; and it is safe to assume that they do not exist
Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness. Done gently, reflexology is a form of foot massage that may help people relax temporarily. Whether that is worth US$35 to $100 per session or is more effective than ordinary foot massage is a matter of individual choice. Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored. Such claims could lead to delay of necessary medical care or to unnecessary medical testing of people who are worried about reflexology findings.

You may wonder why this annoys me so much, well there are many reasons but this is getting long, but I’m worried about a “reputable” company is supporting such woo-woo (sceptic speak for utter shite), giving it even more credence and respectability in the public eye.
At best it feels good for a while and worst it can be expensive, misleading and potentially dangerous.
I’m not against people feeling good and relaxed people are happier people but just call a foot massage a foot massage. I don’t need my chi realigned.

What’s next I wonder?
Iridologists over optometrists
Crystal sucking over dentists
Hulda Clarks Zapper over Chemotherapy.

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.
Carl Sagan

Monday, September 19, 2005

Is he trying to tell me something?

Beloved husband is buying me this t-shirt.

Almost forgot - oooharr ooohaar ooohaar it be talk like a pirate day. You landlubbers best be walkin the plank now for forgettin.

Chai Tea - it's like drinking a scented candle

My boss recommended that I try the latest fad in tea to hit Alice Springs, Chai tea. Apparently it's a blend of spices that make a really nice tea. So last weekend, when we got up and discovered there was no milk we decided to go for breakfast at the local hippie cafe.

Fortunately unlike hippie cafes in Glebe where soy bacon and scrambled tofu are on the menu, Bar Doppio does a nice line in really big breakfasts with lashings of bacon and nice fluffy eggs, and for about $11 a pop so it's good value.

So onto Chai tea. Being a hippie cafe they had Chai tea, so I thought I'd try it. So it comes all frothy, made on milk like a latte. So far so good. I tentatively taste the froth on top. It's sort of fragrant and reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on. Then it comes to me, it's like walking into one of those smelly candle shops, except I can taste it. It really is like drinking a scented candle.

Dave is silly enough to ask what it's like so I offer him a taste. I cunningly don't mention scented candles. The look of confusion on his face is too much for me so I cave in and tell him what I think. He grins, agrees, and says 'You've got to blog that'.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

An Excess of Testosterone: Militarism and Hairloss

This morning I found a lone hair on my temple. It was a fair way from the rest of my hair.
Was this some ambitious or adventurous individual at the apex of a grand invasion?
Was this a herald sent before an army to tell those before him that they should surrender and have tribute ready?
Was he Alexander charging at the enemy command element with his thousands of Companions following in an unstoppable wedge?

No, he was a straggler in a retreat.

He was the lone officer exhorting the rest of the troops to rally."No, don't go! We can hold them! Stand with me! Hold the line!"
His efforts were to no avail and, since his untimely demise at the hands of fashion-aware tweezering, there is no true-believer left to rally the rest.

I hold out the hope that this retreat has tricked me as it tricked Ney at Waterloo and that the troops have actually been ordered to retire behind the ridge and reform in a stunningly brilliant move that will bring ultimate victory.
But I think that this is not the case.
I think the evidence indicates, not a strategic withdrawal, but a complete defeat and the final march of a humiliated Grand Armee, harried all the way by vengeful Cossacks.

But, what's this?!
A closer inspection shows that the flanks are holding - it's not a general retreat at all!
The centre is being deliberately abandoned in a form of follicular scorched earth. Obviously my youthful impetuousness had lead me to overextend my hairline and this is merely an exercise to consolidate and redress; and tempt an eager enemy into a trap.

Or maybe my hair was simply under-prepared for the savagery of the attack of aging. I should never have believed him when we signed that accord and divided the head equally between us.
Ah, aging has always professed that a head of hair is its natural enemy, but I thought I had more time to prepare for it's onslaught.
Ok, so we're falling back now, but it WILL bring victory. Once the exhausted enemy grinds to a halt, the strengthened flanks will close in and crush him utterly. Trust me, I won't leave this spot.
Of course, all that was happening was I moving my hair-producing factories over the Urals - somewhere in the small of my back apparently. And once they get back on line, production will start up again and my forces will be unstoppable.

But hang on, there's something I missed. The centre is actually staying put. My brigades on either side are giving way and the flanks can only watch helplessly as the enemy drives past to surround and isolate the centre. The Luftwaffe say they can drop more hair and keep the centre pocket alive. But they simply can't provide enough: I need more hair in the air. They tell me there will be a breakthrough and the pocket will be rescued but I simply can't see where the reserves are going to come from. My dream of a hair style that lasts a thousand years is failing. I think this may, indeed, be the turning point and that final defeat can only be a matter time.

I can imagine now, that final brave tuft making one last stand - backs to the sea and enemy poised. They will group together bucking up each other's spirits with songs and freshly brewed tea. This will be my Dunkirk but there will be no return.
There was no line in the sand, and there was no thin red line: just a thinning line.
There will be no Pyrrhic victory. And no honourable abandoning of the fort under arms singing "Je ne Regrette Rien".

My army was a paper tiger. Yes, it did look good on paper, but it would look a heck of a lot better still in my head!

Yet it had started so promisingly all those years ago - a whole new world to conquer. Thousands upon thousands were at my command. The advance started and swiftly imposed my will, and just kept going. Now those troops I'd sent out to bring the empire to the unruly places north have disappeared and there is no evidence of their passing. I can't believe this has happened! It is simply uncanny that they've simply vanished. How could they have failed?
Varus, give me back my legions!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the way I first saw Preacher Book

after watching the first couple of episodes of Firefly, I was racking my brains to recall where I had seen Preacher Book (Ron Glass) before. it was wayyyyy back in the mists of time... a younger, darker-hairer Book... possibly with flares... definitely with a moustache...

oh how it puzzled me.

so, eventually, I did what all self-respecting nerds did, and googled Ron Glass. and there he was - Detective Ron Harris in the 70's/80's TV comedy show, Barney Miller (this link plays the super-groovy theme tune too). it ran in the US from 1975 to 1982, so I imagine it was a little later in Australia.

Barney Miller starred Hal Linden in the title role (white dude, moustache, striped tie). Hal Linden always looked like such a nice guy, a hard but fair man like Carl Malden (but without the squishy nose). the supremely crusty-but-lovable old guy in the bottom-right corner is Fish, played by Abe Vigoda. he was always a bit pessimistic, and seems to be continually drawing his last, wheezy breath. I love Abe Vigoda. he turned 80 a few years ago and is still going strong. around 1980, some paper mistakenly ran with an obituary for him, and since then it's been a running joke - so much so that you can download an Abe Vigoda Health Status Bar for your PC. Fish was so popular he got his own spin-off series, the imaginatively-titled Fish.

the series was a comedy. but it had its tough moments too. was Ron Glass up to the mark? sure, he has the smile of an angel, but could he look serious as well?

oh yes, yes he could.

I loved this show as a child. it was funny, and everyone was tough, kind and decent. nothing racy or blue or smutty, or racist or sexist that I can remember. considering about 95% of it was filmed in the same crappy police office with a cell in the corner, it wasn't boring either. must have had excellent script-writers is all I can say.

so one more Barney Miller photo, and then I'll stop. this has to be one of the weirdest cross-promotions I've seen. here's Barney and sweet ol' Fish locking some naughty boys up in gaol.

hold on! you say - it's the kids from Welcome Back Kotter!

well, bless me, so it is. man, look at the flicks on John Travolta. did he really ever look that young and, frankly, hilarious? he hasn't aged as well as Johnny Depp if you compare photos from 21 Spunk Jump Street. so what if Johnny has ten years on him. my story and I'm sticking to it.

but all good things must end, even this trip down Memory Lane. Barney Miller ended in 1982... which is as good a time as ever to have a bit of a Ray Parker Jr moment...

ahhhh! Preacher Book as pin-up idol!

I feel strange.

cup of tea, Bex and a good lie down, anyone?

Science meets religion

D. "Fitz" Goodwin wrote:
"There are some anti-God people who recognize that we did not have the scientific knowledge 3,600 years ago to write the laws of God."

so wot are the laws of God you ask.
Well I'm glad you did.

Firstly let us examine the givens.
God is every where.
God is everything. (except the french)
God is sometimes blue.

So from this we can deduce that the speed of God ,s, is zero.
god is every where so therefore God can't move.
s = 0

So why is god blue?
Well, consider.
God is everywhere and most 'everywhere' is somewhere else. Planets going really fast away from us draw out their viewable light making the normal wavelength longer. This is called red shift. Now as god is everywhere else more than here and god is blue we can there for deduce that god is in fact moving realy fast mostly towards us but not away. This clashes with our first Law of God : Speed of God = 0.
We must therefore state that God moves in mysterious ways. Our Second Law of God.

Part 2
Harry: The Duality of the Lord.

Sure, God can be both the Father and the Son, but is he a particle or a wave?

Fitz has shown that God's velocity is simultaneously zero and a figure greater than 1m/s (and possibly even faster than light). This suggests that if God were a particle he would be exhibiting quantum behaviour.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle states that for a quantum particle either its velocity OR its location can be determined but not both. Since God's location is known (ie everywhere) it stands to reason that his true velocity can never be known - as Fitz has demonstrated. However since it is extremely difficult to plot 'Everywhere' on a cartesian plane you probably cannot apply Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle to allow further study of God's particle-ity.

Instead we should turn to those who know God's general position but not his form. This is the Agnostic Uncertainty Principle.
On a cartesian plane it is easy to see that the curve representing the AUP is asymtotic - where the closer you get to unstanding God's form the closer you are to becoming a member of a particular religion and thus are no longer Agnostic. Despite the fact that AUP can never be used in isolation to show God's true form, it does present evidence that God is indeed a particle.

Conversely, evidence of God being a wave is plentiful. By deduction, God's universal presence could be explained by him being a wave in much the same way as gravitational waves. God made the universe and fills it as well - a model along the lines of gravitational waves (where they expand as the universe expands and are therefore omni-present) provides a mechanism that is not unreasonable.

And indeed the simultaneous nature of the effect of the Lord (ie simultaneously bringing rapture to thousands, bringing euphoric effects, instatntly transforming matter into other matter) suggests a wave-like form. Admittedly this conclusion is drawn in part through lack of any evidence of particle tracks in changed matter ie The water turning into wine didn't leave the same traces as, say, a neutrino passing through 2 kilometres of water. Research on this front is continuing.

Further intrigue is found in the testemony of those who have seen God's light. Knowing as we do that God is blue (D. Goodwin 2003, Sydney Email Weekly) we can estimate the wavelength of God, and thus the energy in one of his photons ie The Power of The Lord. [Incidently the fact that the Lord is blue does explain why the sky is blue - don't beleive the lies of those evolutionist atmospheric scientists who erroneously claim that blue light is 'somehow' reflected by oxygen more than other wavelengths of light.]

The wavelength of visible light falls in the range of 400nm to 700nm. Blue light has a wavelength of about 475nm.

We can find the energy of a photon by multiplying two constants and dividing by the wavelength of that photon: E = Plancks constant (h), times the speed of light (c), divided by the wavelength of the photon (lambda nm)

However the result we get for the value of E is simply too small! After all, the light of the lord is brighter than a thousand suns.

There are only two ways to increase the value of E. One is to decrease the wavelength, but if we reduce the wavelength below 400nm God becomes Ultraviolet and thus invisible to the human eye (although this would very neatly explain why we can't see him despite his omnipresence). We know that God is blue, so changing the wavelength is not an option.

The other way to increase the value of E is of course to multiply the two constants by a third variable or constant. The bible explicitly states that God is a constant - he is everywhere and has always been so - (and therefore is not a variable). The Constant of God is respresented by (g).
So, to find the true energy in a photon of God we need to find (h x c x g) and divide by 475nm.

The problem is we don't know in what units the God Constant, (g), is measured, but we suspect that the Power of the Lord is infinite or at least very very very close to infinite. Ergo the Lord's constancy must also be infinite or close to it.

We are hereby pleased to have furthered knowledge with the discovery of the constant (g).

In the name of the wave, the particle and the holy ghost.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sartorial Elegance = my son

Charlie is starting to dress himself now. This morning he chose and put on a pair of red socks which he then proudly pointed out to us several times. When we had admired his putting on of socks sufficiently he decided to team them with his bright orange and navy blue foam sandals, with the nice crab design on the front. He was wearing a nappy and a blue singlet that he slept in and declared himself ready for daycare. We managed to convince him that the fashionable toddler was wearing slightly more these days and his Dad took him off to find some more clothes.

As I was walking out the door I saw my son dressed in the following: red socks, orange and blue sandals, navy blue shorts, and lime green t-shirt. I think everyone will know he was dressed by his Dad. At least I hope they will.

On a completely different topic I just paid 146.9c a litre for petrol. Or rather my work did as I have been driving a work car for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Unfortunately I have to give the car back on Monday, so I will be paying those ridiculous prices again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Educational reform aka Why hasn't this been done before?

Education reform has been a hot topic lately in reference to (or perhaps in opposition to) the whole Intelligent Design thing. But while we are busy arguing about giving our future generation the freedom of choice (but hopefully from a selection of valid options) it occurs to me that the one thing we are never educated in is the actual act of 'choosing'.

There are many things they allow you to do when you turn 16/18 or some other randomly selected age when, assumably, your basic education is complete.
They let you drive - but only after at least 6 months of lessons and a test or two. Or five. Even then you don't get the rights of a full driving licence for three whole years.
They let you have sex - the theoretical lessons have been going on since before puberty and you get your full licence straight away. Such a pity they haven't yet managed to incorporate more practical lessons in the scheme. Not because I'm perverted, but because so many young people need it! *giggle*
They let you drink - somehow everyone manages the home-learning curriculum for this.

They give you legal responsibility for yourself having equipped you with the necessary basics to interact with the rest of society - language communication (loosely referred to as 'English') and maths, a bit of science, a bit of history, a bit of music etc...

But then they MAKE you vote, without ever having taught you a single thing about politics or government or social economics or democratic responsibility. And if that isn't bad enough, you get your full licence straight away - your vote counts just as much as someone who has been politically active for years.
Enter the voting demographic of 'The Ignorant'. One of the most powerful demographics because it is simply the majority. Any political leader who can manipulate that group will win. And because they are ignorant, manipulation comes in the form of money. Taxes or services, it doesn't matter as long as it is money.

Perhaps this is the sole reason why compulsory political education in years 10 and 11 hasn't been instituted as yet. Ignorant masses are easier to control. In a democracy, the people have the power and they have a responsibility and obligation to wield it, but if you don't teach them how to fence with swords, the most they will ever wield is a slightly pointed stick.

I am, regretfully, of The Ignorant, and my attempts at the home-learning channel are hampered by the media and what they choose to say and what the people/parties choose to tell them. I resent having no sword. I know that if I lash my stick together with other people's pointy sticks we can put up a barricade of protest, but one person with a big sword can still send the country to war...

But here I lay down my pen, and leave it for you lot to debate.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Joss part 2

I haven't heard of someone with such a good attitude to fans as Joss. Series finals of Buffy and Angel have been screened in cinemas and advertised through the relevant websites. There have been more test screenings of 'Serenity' than I can poke a stick at (not just Syd, Bris and Melb but out to Perth too) - the one tonight in Sydney includes a Q&A session with Joss afterwards.
So an email went out on the weekend because Joss had a gap in his schedule, so he figured that going out to have beers with people would be a nice idea. All work and no play makes Joss a really cool guy. He was there from 5:20 til 8:20 and was totally knackered by the end.

I read Meg's text at 1:15 which had the relevant details of the Orient at 5; and the subsequent phone conversation confirmed she didn't want to face the nerds alone. And I didn't blame her. Certainly when I got there I could see the nerds all heading out the back. I loitered inside to text that I had found their hive and I needed back-up. As I looked out into the roiling mass of black clothes and ponytails I saw Henry of AngryLittleMan waving at me.
I went in. It wasn't so bad at all really. Particularly as Kate from AngryLittleMan is, to put it plainly, a total babe.
We all left to go upstairs to a function room and collected Meg and more beers on the way.

At 7:31 I called Anti-Ob to brag that he was a fool for doubting we wouldn't get to talk to Joss. We had about 25minutes of him to ourselves.

The question I had to ask the man was from an LP thread (that I can't find) concerning the young neo-cons holding up Buffy as a prime example of cool culture subscribing to their ideas of the battle between good and evil. I argued with some guys on the thread that the battle between good and evil was completely peripheral to what Buffy was about and that it served merely as a familiar framework in which to play with characters. Of which I firmly believe Joss to be a master. I explained with examples that the themes of Buffy, Angel were love and redemption. The idiot I was arguing with wouldn't accept that because it would actually mean thinking about something.
So, I put this to Joss. And, unsurprisingly, he agreed with me.
He wasn't aware that the young neo-cons had done this and continued his answer with 'There's always a problem when your stuff gets co-opted by Nazis...."
But what do you expect from a libertarian humanist!?

The best question of the night was from Kate who asked: "Did you want to kick FOX in the balls? Because I did!" He laughed delightedly. (And before anyone gets any bright ideas I have baggsies on any identical twin sisters Kate has hidden away somewhere.)

Interestingly enough he is concerned about piracy, which surprised me because I would have thought that he has such a devoted following that it wouldn't impact. Certainly the incredible sales of the DVD set of Firefly was enough to give the movie a push in the right direction....

With regard to the death of characters in his work, our table exploded with demands. I may have got carried away when I thumped the table and said "because he's a fucking bastard!" But Joss agreed that the character died "because Joss hates you." I should have got audio of that.

I have the coasters that Meg and Kate organised with "JO" and "SS" on them to put on the seat we'd set aside for him. If you're good I might even let you touch them. I touched him on the leg with both hands. And I surrendered my beer to him.
I'm merely waiting for him to call his nerd army to arms and do his bidding.
I have decided that my first born son will be Raif Warnose Joss Simpson...or Raif Joss Warnose Simpson. If she is a girl then it'll be extremely similar - perhaps Josephine Joss Warnose Simpson.

being the cool nerds that we are we made fun of the non cool nerds, particularly with regard to how many beers they were drinking, and how most left before the man did! Henry explained that it was because they had LAN games to go to, or curfews. When he left at 8:20 I pinted out that it was still 40minutes til bedtime.
But, oh, you should have seen the faces when Joss left to go have a slash. I was coming back from the toilets myself and all the faces were turned my way as he walked passed me. I haven't seen that look apart from puppies at the pound. "Oh! Don't leave! He'll come back. He has to come back!"
Not that I didn't hang around at the door within easy crash-tackle distance or anything...

So, thanks Meg - that was totally cool.
I had a lot of fun.
I met one of my heroes.
I wasn't disappointed at all - quite the opposite.
And most importantly: I was right.

People have no taste; 80's people doubly so (including Ob)

Fyodor boinged me, so it would be rude not to reply, but I did warn you this might be a bit dull. I've pared the top 100 from 1988 down to the list of songs that I recognise at all, and marked them for my tastes at the time, not my tastes now. I did glam rock then.

5. Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N' Roses
7. Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Belinda Carlisle - the moreso because it was catchy and got stuck in your head.
17. Is This Love, Whitesnake
18. Wild, Wild West, Escape Club
19. Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard
23. Simply Irresistible, Robert Palmer
30. Love Bites, Def Leppard
34. Angel, Aerosmith - actually I liked a couple of their other songs better, but I've got to find a couple of things to bold.
35. Hazy Shade Of Winter, Bangles
37. Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
41. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi
42. Kokomo, Beach Boys
46. Devil Inside, INXS
56. Desire, U2
65. New Sensation, INXS
76. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
77. Electric Blue, Icehouse
95. Never Tear Us Apart, INXS

Natalie Cole, Van Halen, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts also had songs on the list, and songs I liked, but I didn't recognise the songs on the list.

And lest anyone blame me for not taking enough interest in the music of my times, heres a quick list of the artists whos songs I didn't recognise:

Tiffany, Billy Ocean, Samantha Fox, Phil Collins, Richard Marx, UB40, Patric Swayz, Rick Astley, Chicago, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Dayne, Debbie Gibson, Belinda Carlisle, Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis and the News, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Foreigner, Whitney Houston, Sting, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, George Michael, John Cougar Mellancamp, Cher, Steve Windwood, David Lee Roth, Poison, White Lion.

Gloria Estefan twice, Michael Jackson twice, Debbie Gibson three times, and George Michael five times, including number one. Do you blame me?

Down the pub..

harry and I decided to go for a quiet Sunday ale. When we just happned to bump into..

GOD Joss Whedon!!!!!!!!

Hazman asks a question

Joss explaining the Meaning of Life/Buffy

yes I feel all superior and gloaty.

***WARNING WARNING Serenity Movie Spoilers in comments. Don't read if you haven't seen the movie yet***

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Stirred memories

Everyone has to read the book 'Absurdistan' by Eric Campbell.
He is one of the ABC's foreighn correspondants who started in 1995 in Russia, then to China and now back in Russia.
It is very easy to read and with have you laughing outloud one minute and stunned the next.

Anyway, reading the SMH (because I am THE LEFT) yesterday for info about the beaurocratic inertia with regard to New Orleans I couldn't help but be reminded of Communist USSR and their horribly insanely useless beaurocracy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who died then rose again and made me a religious leader?

You may have realised by now that I find religion fascinating.
Sure, maybe not as fascinating as semi-clad women with tattoos, dyed hair and piercings.
Or Starcraft. But I find the contemplation of religion to be one of the most invigorating of past times.
Certainly if religion can be combined with SuicideGirls ("You want me to worship her?! Sure - with my tongue!!") or Starcraft ("Jesus Christ! There are heaps of bad guys!") then the world does look that little bit rosier.
So when I encounter stupid religion I tend to get a bit wrathful. Put plainly, if religion doesn't inspire then it is not religion.

Of all the religious condundra I have encountered, the flare-up over Intelligent Design (ID) had me foxed. I couldn't understand what I was missing that explained why evolution was so important for the 'other side' to defeat.
I found the answer in New Scientist of July 9 in the special on ID, to whit:
"But to many believers..., if humans are just another product of nature with no special status [ie having a soul etc], then there is no need for morality."

Even leaving aside the whole science-isn't-related-to-morality thing, this position is 100% bullshit. Its presumption is fallacy. Do The Wrong (As I shall accurately refer to people to hold to this ridiculous position) actually believe that without the magic touch of god there is no need for morality? Do they seriously think that society could exist without morality?
Putting it lazily, the morality of a society is its laws. The vast majority of people obey the law because it coincides with their own morality, not because the law is intrinsically correct. Do The Wrong honestly believe that most people don't steal from their neighbours because it is illegal, rather than because it is immoral? Is the thing stopping me committing murder a twenty-five year prison term, or the fact that its immoral? And why do The Wrong think people habitually flaut laws that are patently stupid?

Ok, take it back a step.
Can humans make their own morality?
Well, yes. We do it all the time.
Most of our laws are not sourced from the bible, and many have a moral basis. Prime examples would be ones concerned with animal cruelty, and employment - particularly the employment of minors. Heck, the bible condones slavery, but our modern morality has condemned it.
Dolphin safe tuna is a perfect example of the morality of a society being expressed.
Where does the call for an apology to the aborigines come from, if not from our fundamental morality?

So, where the hell do The Wrong get this concept of "needing" morality?!
The "need" for morality is other people and the world in general! And, as has been so amply demonstrated by people time and time again, it doesn't matter where or what the origin of these people is. Look at the outcry over the Taliban blowing up the buddha statues. Look at the response to the tsunami.

Take it back another step.
Would friendship exist without morality?
Trust, loyalty, support and honesty are all essential for friendship.

What I want all The Wrong to do now is to turn to their friends and their nearest and dearest and say "If evolution is true, there is no need for me to act morally towards you." If you actually believe that there is no 'need' for morality then you will have no problem saying that. Come on! You tell your friends that they are intrinsically not worth being treated in a moral way by you.
Go on: Put up.
Or shut the fuck up.

My friends beat your god.

True tears of joy?

Okay, here's one to make your blood boil.
It is wrong on ever single level and angle that I can conceive.

The following is a genuine email from the Jehovas Witnesses. It was sent by a 23 year old guy to his 23 year old girlfriend to whom he subsequently proposed. She accepted.

Why Women Cry...
A little boy asked his mother, "Why are you crying?"
"Because I'm a woman," she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His Mom just hugged him and said, "And you never will."

Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"
"All women cry for no reason," was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.
Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked,"God, why do women cry so easily?"

God said:
"When I made the woman she had to be special.
I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort. I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children. I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.
I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.
I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.
I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.
And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed."

"You see my son," said God, "the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart the place where love resides."

harry here.
I don't have much of a comment to make except:

Who died and made me some angry famous guy?

It is four years this Sunday since the World Trade Centre collapsed and opened the War on Terror (TM).
Iraq was invaded to prevent weapons of mass destruction being passed to terrorists who would set them off in a US city.
The US authorities have repeated assured their public that they can cope with such an attack.
The best test of that ability to respond occured recently with a hurricane called Katrina and a city called New Orleans.

Americans! Your government is lying to you.
Either the War on Terror (TM) is not being taken seriously by the authorities or the citizens are not being taken seriously by the authorities. Either scenario is treasonable.

Operationally, how are flooded streets different to rubble or panic choked streets?
They aren't.
If they cannot deal with water I guarentee that they cannot deal with radioactive rubble or poison-gas panic.
The disaster plan that should have been prepared and perfected during these last four years should have swung into action for New Orleans. An attack by a weapon of mass destruction will necessitate the evacuation of a city. The people will flee whether the governement wants them to or not, so better to have evacuation as a given.Where are the tent cities? Where are the helicopters? Where are the columns of emergency relief vehicles?The response you can expect from your government to a WMD attack is what you have seen in New Orleans. You have been betrayed.

Your government has spent tens of billions of dollars in the name of the War on Terror (TM) yet this 'war' is simply not being taken seriously. To spend tens of billions of dollars not in the interest of your country is treason.
To let the citizens die and suffer is also treason.
Take your pick.

Americans! That money is YOUR MONEY. Those lives are YOUR LIVES. The government is meant to work FOR YOU. Government's number one job is to secure the safety of its citizens. The citizens are not beholden to them: they are public servants. They are beholden to the citizens.
Your government says that America will prevail and that it will stand!
What is a country if it is not its people?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

you can't stop the music - part two

...aka Boaty's Revenge...

like I mentioned in the comment section of Cozamacoatl's post, I don't like the fact that this boing is based on a US chart. call me a snob but that means very little to me. so I found a nice site that had records from the Australian, the UK and the US charts. very handy. I have no inclination to list all Top 100 from all three countries, because that would be stupidly dull, so here's the Top 25 from the year I left high school: 1986



4 VENUS Bananarama
7 LIVING DOLL Cliff Richard & the Young Ones (compulsively silly)
8 A GOOD HEART Feargal Sharkey
10 ADDICTED TO LOVE Robert Palmer
11 WE BUILT THIS CITY Starship (aahhhrgh! terrible song!!!)
12 THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR Dionne Warwick and friends
13 STUCK WITH YOU Huey Lewis & the News
14 YOU'RE THE VOICE John Farnham
16 MANIC MONDAY The Bangles
17 DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY The Communards(I was a fag hag, oh yes I was, well after I left school)
19 TRUE COLORS Cyndi Lauper
20 HIT THAT PERFECT BEAT Bronski Beat (deliciously suspicious)
21 YOU CAN CALL ME AL Paul Simon
22 HOW WILL I KNOW Whitney Houston
23 CONCRETE & CLAY Martin Plaza
24 THE LADY IN RED Chris De Burgh
25 KISS Prince & the Revolution

United Kingdom:

1 DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY The Communards (impossible not to dance to you know)
4 LIVING DOLL Cliff Richard & The Young Ones (a classic I tell you)
6 THE LADY IN RED Chris De Burgh
9 TAKE MY BREATH AWAY (Love Theme FromTop Gun) Berlin
10 SO MACHO c/w CRUISING Sinitta (don't know this one)
11 TRUE BLUE Madonna
12 A DIFFERENT CORNER George Michael
13 ROCK ME AMADEUS Falco(strange and yet funky)
14 WE DON'T HAVE TO Jermaine Stewart (don't know this one but anyone called Jermaine is suss)
15 SPIRIT IN THE SKY Dr & the Medics
17 REET PETITE Jackie Wilson
18 RAIN OR SHINE Five Star
19 CARAVAN OF LOVE The Housemartins
20 THE CHICKEN SONG Spitting Image
22 ON MY OWN Patti LaBelle with Michael McDonald
24 IN THE ARMY NOW Status Quo
25 LESSONS IN LOVE Level 42 (secret revealed: I loved white boy funk like Level 42 and Curiosity Killed the Cat)

United States:

1 THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR Dionne Warwick and Friends
2 SAY YOU, SAY ME Lionel Richie
3 I MISS YOU Klymaxx (don't know this one) (don't want to)
4 ON MY OWN Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald
6 HOW WILL I KNOW? Whitney Houston
7 PARTY ALL THE TIME Eddie Murphy (don't know this one)
9 KYRIE Mr Mister
10 ADDICTED TO LOVE Robert Palmer
11 GREATEST LOVE OF ALL Whitney Houston
12 SECRET LOVERS Atlantic Starr (don't know this one) (don't make me)
13 FRIENDS AND LOVERS Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson (don't know this one)
14 GLORY OF LOVE Peter Cetera (don't know this one)
15 WEST END GIRLS Pet Shop Boys
18 NEVER Heart
19 KISS Prince & the Revolution
20 HIGHER LOVE Steve Winwood
21 STUCK WITH YOU Huey Lewis & the News
23 SLEDGEHAMMER Peter Gabriel
24 SARA Starship (don't know this one)
25 HUMAN Human League (I heart haircut bands. except Thompson Twins. pah!)

as you can see, most of it is boring pap. I didn't listen to much of it. ta Meg for showing me how to cross things out... if you compare it to charts by the likes of The Face, Melody Maker, and NME, found at this site called Alaska Jim, you can see there were heaps more interesting bands charting, like The Smiths, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, Big Audio Dynamite, PiL, The Jam (turning into The Style Council), Talking Heads, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cocteau Twins, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, New Order, The Triffids, Kraftwerk... ahhh bloody hell I could go on forever...

by 1986, Countdown was still a phenomena - I will never say a bad thing about Countdown, although Countdown bloody Revolution was another matter altogether. burn in hell, Tanya Lacey! I watched Rock Arena religiously, a great show because they nearly always played a block of 3 or more songs by the one band. it was so cool. am pretty sure that Sounds Unlimited was still on telly by then, and I really enjoyed that on the weekends. there was also a programme late at night on (I think) channel 10 (Sydney) called Nightmoves. or did that start later in the 80's? very suss.
later on of course was Rage and the ill-fated MTV. I watched them all with the video remote glued to my fisties in case of a cool song being played. I still have the VHS tapes.

following the lead of some of the other kids I knew, I used to get the UK Smash Hits ordered into my local newsagents. up until the mid-80's it was funny, quirky, and was jam-packed with all the important things for a teenager girl - lyrics and posters of haircut bands. I also read NME, the Face, Melody maker and the likes occasionally but in the world of music journalism I was naive. I was a video-clip junkie. once, after school, I found a stash of Stiletto that someone was throwing out. I knicked them out of the top of the bin and read every word. it was so cool.

also, by 1986, my friends and I were going through the ubiquitous Retro phase, in our case, the 1960's. we collected some really good vinyl at op-shops - Small Faces, Easybeats, cheesy compilations - and some unbelievable clothes.
my 18th was a 60's party. for the party I wore a gold and cream paisley lurex ensemble: full-length A-line skirt with matching bell-sleeved and funnel-necked A-line top. so wonderful. also, the Easybeats reformed for a short tour and my best friend and I saw them. despite the fact it was at the Entertainment Bunker of Doom and Anti-Atmosphere, it was still one of the most amazing gigs I've ever been to.

there you go.

as far as passing the buck, I'd like to tag DestructoMeg, and Charkey, aka The Man From Portland(tm), although that might be a bit harder cos he doesn't have a blog!


I've been boinged by FlopEaredMule. I left school in 1990. At the time i really wasn't interested in mainstream music or music in general. I remember listening to Fuschia's Leonard Cohen "Various Positions" at 16 and falling in love, from there i found Nick Cave and a few other of her alt goth kooky stuff.
My cousin gave me a tape of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" and i listened to that a lot. "Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red rose" or some such heartracing stuff.

The top 10 in 1990 ....dadadum

1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi

I did like the Sinead song a fair bit, and i probably sang along to Phil. Madonna and Jon Bon.
A few other highlights

16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart

Back in the days when i was abit of a prude i was abit offended/uncomfortable with the idea of picking up some unknown guy and shagging him in a hotel. I'm older now...;)

36. We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel

This was i bit of a hit in our house, Mum even bought the cd...err record

46. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice

Yeah baby

65. Free Fallin', Tom Petty

Cool dude

75. Epic, Faith No More

I can't believe Vanilla Ice beat Faith No More....those guys were great. No wonder i never paid attention.

Plus a bunch of other stuff i have no clue about or barely remember.

I boing The Other Andrew, Ampasand Duck, and Speedy, plus everyone else who wants to relive the old days.

The idea is go boing and type the year you left school in the search box.

Click on the link "Top 100 hits of... " and cut and paste the results into your blog.

Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favourite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005