Wednesday, January 24, 2007


So there are some new laws being passed that say you can't discriminate against people on sexuality. Apart from in a church, where you are allowed to do so. But apparently this isn't enough for the catholic church. See, they run adoption agencies, and, heaven forbid, they might have to give kids to.... same sex couples! So they want an exemption on this.

Sadly, I have a feeling the government will cave. I'm not entirely sure why exactly you get a green card to discriminate if you claim a belief in an entity in the sky, but apparently it's true- you can see how ridiculous this is by considering if a religon was asking to discriminate against black people- because God called them an abomination. It's immediate that that is offensive, although look far back and you will find priests arguing along those very lines. The thing is when you bring religon into an argument in discrimination, is it's a way of cheating. Yes, ok, homosexuality harms no-one, and appears to be a natural thing, but it says in the bible that it's wrong! Theres not much one can do to argue with that, other than it says in the bible that one is not allowed to eat shellfish and not wear nylon. In fact a browse through the old testament shows it to be quite a nasty piece of work, heavily misogynistic, racist, and homophobic. There are some great messages in the bible, there really are, but to use the literal text as a guide to your day to day life is quite mad.

Gay people are just that, people, and discrimination on grounds of who someone loves is disgusting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm back

I have a new laptop, with a shiny webcam and a spangly large widescreen... screen. I am much pleased, although this keyboard is different and freaking me out now I'm attempting to type on it. My revision will also be ended in a couple of days, so hopefully my blogging should be a bit more frequent then. Hopefully.....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Damned computer

The hard drive appears to have gone. Or something.... oh well. Am getting a new laptop, which is good I guess, but I was rather fond of that old thing. Never mind.......

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


This is refering to a news item before the new year, but it's an argument people bring up every now and then, so I feel like addressing it. The thing is, if you look at the statistics, relationships with children that are cohabiting are more likely to split up than those in marriage. This is clear, and is very true. This is not, as far as I know, a manipulated fact.

The problem comes from the conclusions drawn from this. The obvious one to draw, and this is the one politicans draw whenever they mention this particular fact is that marriage is a more stable environment than cohabitation is. And they may well be right. Certainly marriage has things going for it, particularly very clear laws on what to do in the case of divorce. But it certainly isn't necessarily nice. See, the problem here is something called confounders.

When statisticians want to discover if there is a link between two things, they will often be unable to conduct a proper experimental test, and have to use observational data- that is look at people in real life situations, for example smokers, and see if they get above average amounts of lung cancer. And, indeed, they do. However, you cannot necessarily claim that smoking is what causes this. In fact it might well be that people who are predisposed to smoke are also predisposed to eat a particular kind of food, for example, and it is THAT that is causing lung cancer. So reducing smoking would have no real effect- it only appears to be causing it. Of course there are ways to deal with this, by doing lots and lots of surveys and trying to link people by their characteristics- make sure that your group of smokers DOESN'T do anything different- other than smoke that is- than your group of non-smokers. As time goes on and more evidence builds up, you become more and more confident about causality, although you can never be sure- statistics really doesn't allow you to be sure.

In this case we don't have any linking between groups here, any particular difference in characteristics between cohabiters and people in marriage is not displayed. We just have one statistic. It may well be that people who are less committed tend not to get married, and because they are less committed, they are more likely to end the relationship. This is a very simple, and quite probable situation off the top of my head, other factors could be far more complicated. Sadly, of course, most people are blinded by these kind of figures- the phrase "lies, damn lies and statistics" only holds true if you allow yourself to be blinded by them. While there are often different ways to interpret statistics, there is usually a way which is more correct than others. If there isn't, then there probably haven't been enough tests done to gather a coherent picture of the situation.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

PC disaster

I'd like to point out that the previous post was the 666th post, so it was mildly appropriate that I was talking about the devil's food. I'd claim this was deliberate, but it really wasn't. So I won't.

So, my pc has died, it's system config file has decided to corrupt itself for one reason or another... possibly hatred of all mankind, possibly rebellion about the amount of junk on my harddrive. Or a combination of both. Of course fixing it is a simple matter, if you have a windows XP disk. "If" being the operative word here- apparently no-one in existence owns the damn thing..... I'm pretty sure I had mine with me in first year, but sadly I did not transfer it when moving from university residennces. It is probably sitting a few hundred miles away from me right now. Somewhat uselessly, although I imagine it could be mailed to me if it came to that- still being computerless is going to cause some problems for my revision, although I can hijack this computer at least temporarily.....

All this might lead to less blogging, which would be somewhat unfortunate considering my only new years resolution being to do more blogging.... oh well, such is life, and many is the new years resolution not followed.


Friday, January 05, 2007


Parsnips are the devils food. There are, of course, many evil foods. Pineapple, especially on pizza (for crying out loud, what IS that about?), swede in general, and of course, kiwi fruit. But parsnips are probably the worst. It's not because of their flavour... it's worse than that. It's the surprise.

There they'll be, the beautiful roast potatoes, screaming out to be consumed by some worthy gentleman, and it would of course be entirely remiss of me not to take their offer. So I scoop up a few (or a many) potatoes, and dig in. But what is this? Instead of potatoey goodness, it is parsnip surprise! Now I'm stuck with either swallowing the foul stuff or spitting out, and appearing impolite, something that those who know me will know I never am.

My usual solution is to swallow them as quickly as possible to avoid being contaminated by their flavour for too long, which normally leads to a scorched throat. I suspect it's all some kind of cunning scheme to burn the throats of people across the world. Or not.....


New years resolution

'Cause everyone appears to be doing it, and I don't want to miss out, I'm going to make a resolution to update a bit more this year- at least three times a week, lets say! Crazy. Of course these updates will range from a link to you tube to a rant about parsnips. Which you will read before you read this post because I will have written it afterwards. Additionally I am finally going to update my links, so they actually reflect websites I actually check now......