Sunday, May 27, 2007

Giving up on women

There is a lot of furore about this object, a nice and pleasent objectification of Mary Jane for the purpose of, well money. And, indeed, it has earned a lot of money has been made from it- there will always be people willing to buy this kind of thing, sadly enough.

But this is hardly the point. Other than noticing the wrongness, it doesn't really make financial sense. Websnark, a blog I enjoy, talks about devaluing the brand, which is pretty good, but I think that Marvel are doing something bigger than misunderstanding their own brand. They are giving up on women. After all, comics have traditionally always been a largely male enterprise, and so they take it to the extreme. You will have cover after cover of lurid, revealing poses of women- the term cheescake is usually used- which will sell. But it limits your market. I admit, when I was a teenager this sort of thing would have attracted me- of course it would. But ultimately it embarrases me. I don't want anyone to know that I'm reading something with a picture of this half naked woman on the front. Sometimes it can happen when the content inside is much tamer, because hey, breasts sell! This is horribly shortsighted.

Ultimately, if theres one thing that super hero films can show, is that women CAN enjoy them. I'm thinking spiderman here, which for all it's faults tells an interesting stories. It's not just about a guy fighting evil with super powers, it's also about a woman, Mary Jane, and their romance. For the most part (she does get kidnapped THREE times), she is a very strong character- I spoil the plot somewhat here- in spiderman 2 it is her that tells Peter to let her decide whether she wants to risk having a relationship with him, and in the third film she is rarely subordinate to Peter- she calls him on his behaviour in a way that actually felt quite real.

So imagine said female wants to buy some spidermen comics, and wonders into a comic store... and gets confronted with that, or any other of the hundreds of objectifications Marvel have done to make a cheap buck. Result? Instant repulsion. It's sad. Stories should sell themselves, they shouldn't need that visceral attraction thing. It's not particularly hard for anyone to obtain pictures of naked people if they are desperate for cheap thrills, and even if it wasn't comic books simply shouldn't be about that kind of thrill. They should be about telling stories, that and that alone. It's pathetic pandering, and it needs to stop.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's over!

My exams are finished, everything is done, and I have the hangover to prove it! After a hard night of drinking I always wake up stupidly early, primarily because my body is very eager to eject large amounts of what I drank several hours ago, in a desperate defence against the poisons I attack it with. Taking any kind fo drug for recreational purposes is certainly an odd thing, especially with something like alcohol, which attacks your body on several fronts, your mind liver and stomach are all at risk.

But hey, thats life, gotta love temporary enjoyment for long term detriment- that chocolate ice cream is just so nice after all.... mmm on that note I am totally buying myself some ben and jerries later on, which should probably be banned it's so awesome.

Friday, May 25, 2007

funny stuff

A finnish choir complains...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Final exam

In 24 hours time I will be 20 minutes into my final exam at the University of Bath, after which I shall be free as a bird until october, when I have foolishly submitted myself to education again. But then, they are PAYING me to do it, so thats nice.

I can't complain too much about the incredibly intense exam system at Bath- it has, thus far, treated me well, unless tomorrow proves an unmitigated disaster, I should be on the way to getting a first in an MMATH. I'm not entirely sure whether one says that one has an MMATH in mathematics, or just an MMATH, as it's pretty clear what it's in. The only reason Bath does it's stupid 4 year master course (rather than a bsc followed by an msc), as far as I can tell, is to avoid having to give fourth years any kind of money for extra study. It might have something to do with the focus on placements anyway.

Regardless, I shall no longer have to deal with the problems or advantages of Bath anymore, and shall instead be concentrating on Southampton's. A grand adventure indeed- hopefully this time next year I shall feel slightly qualified for some form of job, which would be pleasent, after endless years in education, although knowing me I shall probably end up prolonging my stay here in the ivory tower. It is so very nice...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Appalling stupidity

I am not sure what drives me, when I have a little cut or sore, to keep touching it to check if it still hurts. The answer is invariably yes, as my top lip will tesify to, having been inexplicably cut recently, in time to bug me during todays exam. I think I like to check and see whether it has healed, but it's the same idea as opening the oven every minute to see if the food is done- it'll only stay cold. Or painful.

In fact I don't limit this stupidity to just that. As well as picking at scabs, which everyone does, I also pick at plasters, knowing that taking them off is a stupid idea, but finding the peeling irresistable until only a tiny bit of stickiness remains to hold the thing in place. I also peel at the dead skin on my fingers, making it much, much worse, until it finally tears and I am left in pain for several minutes.

I'm not entirely sure what it is that drives me to do these things, but I really wish it would stop....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I became a member of facebook after the umpteenth person added me. While I am not as addicted to it as some people are, I rather enjoy the bizzare nature of people conversing by posting on each other's walls, so you get heavily disjointed comments on them which make little or no sense. I really must indulge in it more. i have also learnt that one can transfer ones blog posts to facebook, which I have done, and for those of you reading this on facebook, this is admittedly redundant information, but never mind.

Facebook is not as bad as myspace for friendship collection, where some people will claim thousands upon thousands of so called friends, most of whom they have not shared a word with. You cannot see someone's facebook profile until they have added you as a friend, which encourages you to actually know someone before adding them. Regardless, some people who I don't know have added me anyway, which is nice if a little pointless. It is of course altogether possible that they know who I am and I don't know who they are, as my memory is not always the best in the world. Never mind.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I am a fairly fussy eater, and as my parents will no doubt helpfully comment after this, I was even more of one when younger. One of the questions I will be asked when I proclaim that I do not like food is "How?" Or even... "Why?" Well... because I don't like the flavour of it, of course. It's a baffling thing to ask, it's up there with the people who mock people with irrational fears.

"Come on, it's tiny!" they say, pointing at the spider, "It's not going to hurt you!" Well of course not, but thats hardly the point, is it. If it made sense it would be a rational fear, and probably wouldn't be described as a phobia. For example, I don't think many people would describe the fear of being shot by someone in war as a phobia, because, well, it's a rather sensible fear to have. Fear and flavour do not necessarily tap into rational parts of our brain, and if there is one thing thats not going to deal with them, its being incredulous. So stop it.

Having said that, people who are afraid of certain vegetables are quite amusing. In a mean spirited way, of course.

Saturday, May 19, 2007



Carl Gustav Jacobi was an esteemed mathematician and apparently (according to wikipedia) one of the most inspiring teachers of his time

But all I can think is.. forehead..

Seriously, that is not the most flattering of looks. He appears to be an alien. Which brings me neatly to my profile picture, and my gigantic hair. It's a photo that is now over two years old, and, well, I don't look too great in it. So, it is with great sadness that it is time to move on... and post a picture of davros instead. Cause, you know, Davros is awesome.

Damn you bbc

I'm not sure there is anyone apart from the money men who like this idea...

Friday, May 18, 2007

When should a leader lead?

On Iraq, Tony Blair has always claimed he felt it was the right thing to do. This is nice, of course, it's good to feel justified for ones actions after all. But is that necessarily an argument to do something? Any leader of a country must lead, of course. They cannot be utterly beholden to popular opinion, or we get the worst kind of democracy, because the majority are often wrong.

The immediate response to this line of attack, of course, is the point that if we DON'T go by judgments of popularity then we have a problem assigning rightness. Surely it is not enough to claim that said politician thinks it's the right thing to do.... To my mind, the purpose of a leader in a democratic government, should be, in the face of widespread popular opinion (as was the case before the Iraq war), should make the case for war, and attempt to change people's opinions. Which Blair did. But, and this is important, if there is a failure to change the public opinion, the government should think about backing down. Which they most certainly did not. A leader must lead, but to do it effectively they need to try and operate from a position of concensus.

Obviously Parliament is there to represent popular opinion, but sadly they usually fail to reflect this, most willing to vote with the government because they do not want to lose power, even if they disagree with the vote at hand. Admittedly this is normally a principle that is quite important to make representative democracy work, but when there is such a groundswell of opinion, perhaps it's time to make a stand, even with that three line whip hanging over your head.

Never mind, the time to stop our involvment (and possibly even America's... would they have gone to war without us? Probably), has gone, and Iraq is a disaster. I am somewhat of the opinion that it is too late to save that country now. Great... cause the middle east didn't have enough problems beforehand.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Dawkins makes some fine arguments in the God Delusion, and for the most part I agree with them. I am of the same inclination, after all. But I think he points himself at a slightly incorrect target.

He says religion is uniquely responsible for many pointless deaths and prejudices across time. It is certainly true that religious belief IS indeed responsible. The prejudice against homosexuals, for example, stems almost completely from interpretation of sacred texts. Now it might be twisting the point of those books, regardless if there was not the belief in the absolute truth of them, there would not be the hatred. The burnings, for being a witch or a catholic (or a protestant at different times in history), in the UK, the inquisition... the list goes on.

However, I really do not think religious belief in of itself is the sole reason. Dawkin's hits on this when responding to the rather tiring claims that Hitler and Stalin were atheists. It is arguable that Hitler was an atheist, but Stalin most certainly was. But that is not the point, they did not kill people because of atheism, they killed people because of dogmatism. They were convinced that what they were doing was right, that the Jewish people were in the wrong, that communism was the natural order, and anyone trying to stop it deserved punishment.

And this is my point. There were certainly, and still are, harmful religious beliefs, but mainly because they tend to be dogmatic, rather than pragmatic. People MUST believe the same things, do the same things, or else they must be punished. This is usually a harmful way to look at things.

And this is where secular beliefs come in. The point of secular beliefs is not to espouse a particular brand of religious truth, but come from a grounding in basic morality to try and allow most people to live together without too much trouble. The Jew next to the atheist next to the communist next to the fascist next to the christian (and so on). People are NEVER going to agree on everything, so the best thing we can do is all try to live together.

The principle I would stand by is this- believe and do what you wish, as long as it does not directly harm others. This is not nuanced, and can become complicated when we define harm, but certain beliefs, like being homosexual, are clearly not in any way harmful (despite deeply weak arguments to the contrary), or being of a different faith. It DOES proscribe some religious beliefs- ones that female genital mutilation should be practiced, for example, is one.

Obviously secularism is more complex than this, but the basic principle is to attempt to tolerate others as best as possible. Whats more, this position is actually pro-religion, because while it gives no religion prime standing, it also gives no religion top prime standing, so they all get a chance to exist, rather than being oppressed. That's the problem with people wanting their religion to be directly involved in government... what if they lose out to another religion? Then they lose everything, rather than keeping most of what they have now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Sacredness of Faith

It is interesting that there is a lot of vitriol saved for Richard Dawkins in regards to his book, "The God Delusion". His goal is a simple one- to convert believers to unbelief using reason. He rarely acts as a demagogue and generally speaks in a calm and collected way. He does preach, but hardly more intrusively than some people of faith. After all, every time a Jehovah's witness comes to your day, they aim to convert you, and believe that whatever you believe is incorrect.

Certainly language has something to do with it. Faith is important to people, right or wrong, and sometimes the language Dawkin's uses is very confrontational. The actual content of his arguments seems far more reasonable. An example is his description of the indoctrination of children into belief as "child abuse". This is powerful language to use, but I wonder if is not sometimes accurate. Certainly some people have described the beliefs instilled within them as abusive, an example might be one instilled by Jehovah's witnesses (not to pick on them) that blood transfusion is evil. For the most part though, abuse goes too far, simply because of the emotional connotations it brings with it. Still his argument is reasonable enough- children should not be taught that one faith is true, they should be taught to reason, to challenge orthodoxy, and to make up their own minds when they are ready. To aid this, they could be taught a collection of comparative beliefs. Indeed the parents could teach the child about their own beliefs, there is certainly nothing wrong with that, as long as there is no implication that the child MUST accept them. Dawkins is certainly correct that to call a child a "Muslim child" or a "Christian child" is absurd- a child cannot truly be said to have faith simply because their parents do.

Sadly, Dawkin's chooses to use these strong words which might turn people off the argument. I understand that his goal is to garner attention, but I think using the wrong kind of language can really turn people off what are usually rather reasonable arguments. The very title, The God Delusion, is very provocative, and indeed it worked rather well, attracting people to read his book after all, but the word delusion is a slightly unfair word to use.

Atheists are split over whether Dawkin's approach is the correct one, as far as atheists can be claimed to be a community. I read several atheistic blogs, some of which are heavily aggressive against any religious belief, and I cannot believe that that is productive or even fair. I prefer the friendly atheists tact for the most part. To be fair, most of these aggressive atheists are American, and it is more understandable- it is quite hard to be an atheist in America, where many people are far more fiercely christian than the attitude in Britain, despite the secular constitution.

I am, and always will be, on these sort of arguments, of the attitude that it is generally better to live and let live, and intend I tend to expand upon this on my next post about secularism.


I've been reading the God Delusion recently, Richard Dawkin's book about... well the title says it all, of course, and I have various conclusions that I have reached which I shall come to in due course in the next few days. Regardless as to whether I agree with Dawkins on every point (and I tend to agree with him), I think he is very much deserving as his position as a well regarded intellectual. Still, I have more to say about this, I'm just going to argue about one particular thing.

Dawkins talks, and has always talked, about how amazing evolution is as a scientific explanation of how we came to be, and I have to agree. I approach evolution with the knowledge of only a layman- I know a little more than the average layperson, but my perception of evolution, particularly how it works is undoubtedly flawed. Still, I like to think I have the basics right.

I was introduced to evolution in GCSE biology, and I found it to be the most exciting thing about the subject. A lot of what we got taught in biology, at least at that point, wasn't really a theory at all- it was merely observation, that cells had this bit and that bit, so evolution has always stuck out in my mind. Why? Because it makes so much sense!

It's a very simple principle. We know creatures can inherit characteristics from their parents. The creatures that are most likely to get to breed are those that are fittest to survive in their environment, and so they pass on those characteristics to their children. Coupled with random mutations of genes over a time scale of billions of years, this allows us to see how we got from simple unicellular organisms to us. And thats awesome, that is absolutely awesome, that something so simple, that feels so RIGHT, turns out to be the way things seem to work.

Obviously there is always a chance that we will falsify the theory of evolution, because thats how scientific theories are designed- they can never be proven, only disproven. It would be disappointing indeed to see that a theory that makes so much sense would be incorrect, but of course I, as would all scientists, would be forced to not accept it.

I kind of feel sorry for people who are convinced this theory is wrong, for whatever reasons they have. How dull the world would be if it turned out to be only 6,000 years old, and all the creatures to have spontaneously appeared one day, and all those fossils, and the structure of the earth, was just thrown there by God to test us. What a boring world, what a less wonderful world for that difference.

Of course even more baffling are the intelligent design people, who say, "well alright we reckon the earth IS that old, and for the most part evolution worked... but sometimes, you know, God gave a push". They point at places that scientists have yet to explain how evolution could have produced it, and they say that it is irreducibly complex. In other words, God set evolution to work, and midway through thought- "Hey, those bacteria probably need some flagellum," and BAM it was so. I don't think I really need to elucidate further on way this is an incredibly silly idea, yet this is what some people want taught in schools.

Now evolution by itself does not, of course, argue for or against the existence of God, although it does tend to make the idea of a God that created the world in 7 days extremely unlikely. My point at this moment in time is not to prove or disprove, just talk about a marvelous scientific theory. I think an incredible amount of beauty can be derived from science, simply because it explains how wonderfully the natural world works, adding another level of beauty to what is already a beautiful landscape.

The Dawkins Delusion

This is pretty funny actually.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


A couple of morality questions for you.

A train is coming down the tracks, and is going to hit 5 people. If you flick the switch, it will instead hit one. Do you flick the switch?

Answered that? Happy?

5 patients all need organ transplants to live- a man in the next room has 5 healthy organs. Should the doctor take his organs to save the others lives?

So are your answers the same for both? If not, why?


I have an exam tomorrow and the day after that, and am slightly too nervous to write cogently during this period. Your normal service shall return two days hence.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Goodbye Mr Blair

Finally he is leaving. Say anything you like about him, that man is one hell of a politician. He should have gone about 500 times by now, and is leaving at a time of his choosing, even having a baffling 8 week period of final leadership. Ultimately, while I have disagreed with the labour party on many things over the past 10 years, they've done a pretty good job so far. Indeed while most of their best acheivements could be claimed by Gordon Brown, the showmanship and debate framing skills of Blair are what got Labour doing so well. Not to mention the incredibly impressive feat of apparent peace in North Ireland... who'd have thought the power sharing government that has just started would be possible?

Sadly, of course, the one thing I cannot forgive Blair, that eclipses all the other failures is Iraq. Iraq was a miserable failure of a campaign, where ou objectives changed to suit Bush and Blair, and what we have been left with is an utter disaster in Iraq. Who knows whether there actually IS a solution to the problem now....

[actually, I'm not too hot on the whole eroding of personal liberties in the name of counter terrorism as well. This is part and parcel of the same package.]

Thanks to this I could not bring myself to vote Labour before, but with Blair gone, perhaps I might be able to...... I actually have vague hopes in Gordon brown, undoubtedly he will dash them, but you never know....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I have taken to watching the Apprentice recently and what makes me curious about it is that I wonder how good a task it does of being a fair interview process. For those who don't know the formula, the group of potential employees are split into two groups then set a task of some kind. The group which loses then gets one member fired- Alan Sugar picks out of the team leader (which changes weekly) and their two sub-ordinates. Now this is an incredibly intense interview process, but does it test the teams talents?

Well there are several things... if a team wins, it can be in spite of several of it's members, and while team members are swapped around with relative frequency it is still curious as to whether some escape punishment by fluke. Also a team can lose due to sheer random chance- several times one team has beaten the other by a scant amount.

Second of all, more than ever, this creates a rather bizzare dynamic. That is, you are not necessarily working with the team in mind- you are working with "winning" in mind. Several weeks there appear to have been ganging together of certain people against others to try and get them fired, although it is not explicitly said, theres a lot of bad blood. Still, that is of course what makes it excellent tv. I must admit to having acquired an extreme distate for Katie, although I cannot say who I actually want to win......

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

curse ye Pontryagin!

Ah, revision is fun, got to love incredibly complex principles that are poorly explained. Incidentally, the stuff I'm learning right now was pretty much how they did the moon landings- and who said mathematics isn't useful? You just have to understand masters level mathematics to apply it!

I was reading the Illuminatus trilogy recently- it is a massive cult hit after all, but found it interminable. The narrative is deliberately broken up and split, sometimes mid though of the characters. I'm not sure I could survive 1000 pages of that, especially when, because it's about conspiracies, it will have no satisfying conclusion (those sort of things never do). Reading reviews on amazon, one person who loved it talked about how it mentions a philosophy on on one page then debunks it on the next page. If I wanted that I'd buy a philosophy book....

So yes, would not recommend that one, although maybe it gets better a further hundred pages in- I dunno.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I was going to write a full post today, but instead I shall present, without judgment, a FAQ created on a flat earth forum

Monday, May 07, 2007

Something no-one will get

Because most of my mathematical friends do not actually read this blog, this will go over the heads of everyone reading it, but what the hell. Recently, on a night out I said, "The complex numbers are isomorphic to the reals anyway, so I don't care about them," to Rich, a mathematical friend. He quite liked this, but all I can think about is how i should have said the reals squared....


Today I set myself less revision than I had time to do, rather than the other way round, which makes a rather refreshing change, although sadly I feel compelled to fill this final hour with at least some work. I have been informed, during a drunken evening of debauchery (well, a drunken evening anyway) that I have to go to the ball, and thus, cinderella like, I shall go. But probably not in a pumpkin. In all probability there will not be a carriage involved. Apart from a bus, which does not count.

I have problems with balls, mainly because they conjure up ideas of the hideous things we had at school, were loud, awful music would play while we would sit bored glancing across the room at the girls, or the handful of couples that were attempting to slow dance to agadoo. Then at some point the dj would make us sing along to summer loving.

Actually the most appallingly embarrasing part of discos was a later development, when someone would play that song from the full monty, and a bunch of guys would get on stage and strip. Or rather, they'd be too embarrased to strip, so would unbutton their shirts INCREDIBLY slowly. Oh memories.

Bizzarely, a friend of mine wrote a song about me failing to ask a girl to dance at a ball (entitled "Do it Next Year,"), which I actually quite enjoyed. Even more bizzarely, this is not the only time one of my friends has written a song about my love life (or lack thereof).

Sunday, May 06, 2007


A steam of consciousness is often what comes out when I sit down to blog. I very rarely plan out what I am going to say, other than to make a couple of notes about a topic I would like to talk about. Thanks to my incredible laziness, I rarely proofread my writings as well, which leads to spelling errors that deeply irritate me when I come to rereading my posts.

I have started writing this post with very little to write about, trying to keep up to my rate of one post a day by any means necessary, even just babbling for several minutes, desperately hoping a topic would pop into my head. Of course the obvious thing to do when you can't think of anything to write about is to write about how you can't think of anything to write about. Sadly this trick only works once or twice, as after a while hearing how someone doesn't has much to say becomes a little dull.

Of course what I could do is begin each post by telling you that I am about to talk about something of great import, and keep boosting that idea in your mind as you read through the post, until finally you come to the end and realise you've been horribly let down by the post ending inexplicably early without closing up any of thoughts.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Look out! Here comes the spiderman!

Before I begin talking about the film itself, which shall be chock full of spoilers, so I highly reccomend watching it first, I just want to say that despite loving films, I hate cinemas.

I went to the opening night of Spiderman 3, and of course it was packed. I chose a fairly late showing- 9, and was rewarded by having mostly adults there... at least I thought they were. From people fidgeting, to people rustiling popcorn, people muttering, people laughing inappropriately, and the woman next to me taking her fricking shoes off (if you're that uncomfortable, just leave....), I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of 12 year olds. Also the sound seemed to be dodgy. I am fairly sure there was no bloody surround sound there. GAH.

So onto the film itself.

Spoilers follow. You have been warned.

I mentioned that people laughed inappropriately, and indeed they did, and I can totally see why for some bits. Toby Macguire DID look ridiculous as a goth, and as a way to show he was being darker, it was a little silly, but actually the film very much embraced this, with a hilarious sequence of the new, confident parker walking down the street overconfidently gesturing at women. It was a surreal and very enjoyable experience.

This film actually had the potential to be the best of the three so far, I felt the relationship between MJ and Parker was handled maturely, and the direction it went into, with spiderman getting stuck into hubris, was a great idea. I read one review which wanted spiderman happy and fine in this film... I'm not entirely sure how dramatic his idea of the film would have been, I suspect it would have been one fight scene after another. The green goblin as Harry was a great arc, and was handled very well.

Sadly though, there were flaws, and they all stem from one thing.. the film had too much going on. By introducing three different villains, and giving them all character arcs, there wasn't time to flesh out some of them, leaving some characters having to give horrible exposition dialogue ("Do you want to team up to kill spiderman?" "OK!"). I suspect this was due to some studio wrangling- Raimi wanted Sandman as the big bad, but the studio wanted Venom. What resulted is a compromise that gives neither the arc they deserve. I suspect the film would have been much better if we had lost sandman all together. A bit of shifting about and I think most of the film would hold together without him, despite a fine performance by Thomas Haden Church. Yes, the creation of Sandman looked amazing, but ultimately the entire character distracted us from the main thrust of the story.

This would given more time to allow Eddie Brock to be fleshed out, so his want to kill spiderman looks less insane, and also make the conversation between Harry and his butler a bit more believable ("Sir, I should probably have mentioned this over two years ago, but spiderman didn't actually kill your dad. I didn't think it was terribly important"). Oh, and they could of just cut that damn television reporter altogether. Why the hell was she there?

So yeah, I really did enjoy the film, but it managed at the same time to be too fastly paced and also sluggish at the same time, which is a neat trick. We shall see how this performs at the box office, but I suspect there will be another one after all... I'd actually be happy to see Raimi direct again, because perhaps this film is a lesson in what happens when the studio interferes. The sequel doesn't HAVE to have twice the number of villains... so stop doing it!

Friday, May 04, 2007

G-mail invites

When Google started its beta testing of google email, it gave massive memory for each email account- which was neat, and also started giving various people not only google accounts but google email invites. This seemed terribly exciting to me, an exclusive club where you really had to know someone who knew someone...

Sadly I never did get invited, despite my phenomenal list of contacts online (all 10 of them), which left me kind of sad. It's not like I NEED an email account with 1000 MB of storage, but still. Anyway, so it seems that now owning an account on blogger is enough to get me one! Which is nifty, although rather ruins the whole exclusiveness. Of course I could pretend that I have always had this google email account and was one of the first ones to get one, but seeing that I just TOLD you that I didn't, that rather gives the lie to that.

It will be a very sad day if a bigger and better search engine comes along to replace google, so one will no longer be able to say, "just google it," with authority anymore. Incidentally, i hope the verb "to google" becomes added to the OED soon....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Coin Flipping

I am absolutely rubbish at coin flipping. I am not exactly famed for my hand-eye co-ordination, but I can normally just about muddle through, say, catching and throwing a ball. But coin flipping.... I can't do it. Now almost of all you will be thinking, "what exactly is difficult about flipping a coin?", possibly even adding in a gratiutous insult, because you are generally nasty people. Well the problem is the flipping part. Obviously, throwing a coin into the air and catching it is not exceedingly difficult, even for someone who's general reaction to having a ball thrown at him is to dive out of the way, the main issue is getting the damn thing to actually turn roun. Countless time I have flipped a coin and seen it rotate... no times. If I DO succeed in eliciting a flip it will invariably head off a mile to the right, crashing into the floor and making me look even more stupid than I normally do when called upon to perform this simplest of tasks.

It's not a major disability, to be fully honest. There are not that many social situations where you must coin flip, you can always resort to scissors paper stone instead, although you get the thing where someone goes ON three, and the other goes AFTER three....... Ah the perils of deciding simple issues.

I think we clearly need a better way of deciding between an issue than these two methods. I propose eyebrow lifting. The person who can raise their eyebrow with the most flair shall win. One might think that such an issue is contentious, but if you've seen my eyebrow raises, there is no contest. Admittedly this would result in me winning each time, but I have no major issues with that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tolerance for flavour

I remember strongly disliking the taste of wine, beer and spirits, and, for that matter tea. I was told it was an acquired taste... and indeed I have acquired a taste for all these things. But why? I really did not enjoy most of these flavours the first time I encountered them, so what inspired me to drink them again? The answer is of course peer pressure, although I have to wonder about the first people making ethanol based drinks, "wow that tastes like crap! I'll drink some more and see what effects it has on me!"

This is almost as baffling as the person who discovered nettle soup. That is some serious desperation for food right there- surrounded by various plants, and thinking, "I am HUNGRY. Lets see.... well I don't know most of these plants so I better not... hey.... nettles! I'm sure they'll taste delicious!"

Even better than this is the puffer fish which you have to chop a billion pieces out before finding the non poisonous bits left. I wonder about that chefs first few meals, "hey, this is a new meal I'm trying... have a bite.... ah....... another death. I guess THAT bit is poisonous as well!"

It does make you think really. Some recipes are so bizzare and overcomplicated that I just can't imagine anyone ever thinking it's a good idea. Yet someone did, and through that path revolutions happen...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Good idea

i think this is a pretty awesome idea.

Dr Who and the Daleks

You know, I'm beginning to get a little bit tired of the daleks. They are an awesome enemy, of course, xenophobic killing machines that truly inspire fear, but after a while their impact becomes less and less. I kind of liked the recent plotline in Manhattan but the emergency temporal shift means we have not seen the last of the daleks. It WAS cool to see them in the first series, and as a shock ending in series 2, it could not be beaten, but now... surely writers can think of some new enemies to darken the doctors door?

No, not cybermen again.

Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole romantic subplot. As someone somewhere pointed out (I can't link it cause I can't remember who said it....), it's not much use introducing the feisty and independent Martha Jones if she spends her time moping about after the doctor. Still, the interplay between the two seems fairly good, so I'll give it a chance. I'm kind of glad we haven't seen too much of her family because mickey was an annoying subplot for an entire series before he finally became fleshed out...

Anyways, I'm enjoying this series. Apparently the episode in a fortnights time is called 42.....