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Science

How to get work done at work

Just as TED talks are becoming the subject of well-deserved parody1, via Business Insider, I find an old one  (2010) with useful things to say. Here, Jason Fried suggests ways the office can become a more productive place. I’m not entirely convinced by all of his solutions, but he doesn’t claim they are solutions. By the way, my answer […]

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Phonies

While I’m on the subject of ideologues ignoring facts, this thread over at the Website of the obnoxious Local Schools Network is both informative and entertaining, unlike the article that started it. One of Andrew Old‘s contributions late in the debate says much of what I think about most quack educationalists in two paragraphs: And […]

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Who’s Mad?

Martin In The Margins makes an important criticism of an otherwise mostly admirable and well-intentioned enterprise: As for that plea for a focus on ‘tolerance’, it would have helped if the rally organisers hadn’t included a performer who has expressed the most outrageously intolerant opinions. Appearing onstage in the National Mall was Yusuf Islam, the […]

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“Aimless Hostility”

A few days ago, John Gray reviewed A C Grayling’s latest book Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century. To my surprise, someone I know linked to the review approvingly. I was surprised because the review is tosh: hysterical, pompous, and so self-fiskingly stupid that it’s not even necessary to read the […]

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Jew Do You Think You Are?

Whenever someone implies that anti-Semitism isn’t racism, I point out that it’s one of the few examples of discrimination that really is racism (unlike, for example, the invented thoughtcrime “Islamophobia”1 ) because the Ashkenazi Jewish population is as close as you can get scientifically to the common (and deeply flawed) notion of what a “race” […]

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Happy (western, heliocentric) New Year!

I hope that, wherever you are, you enjoyed the extra second imposed upon you by the imperialist forces of the dominant scientific-capitalist worldview and that you have a prosperous 2009. As for my year so far, I jogged wearily to the gym this morning, dreading the crowds of resolutioners (though it hasn’t been too bad […]

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Always To The Swift

This is a neat little article that sketches out why your skin colour doesn’t determine your chance of growing up to become an elite sprinter; but your genetic make-up might: There are no sprinters of note from Asia, even with more than 50 percent of the world’s population, a Confucian and Tao tradition of discipline, […]

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Mini-Me

A lot of people spend their youth experimenting. As my mother often tells people who really don’t want to know, I spent my youth experimenting: with chemicals, electricity, and the flora and fauna of Birmingham’s green belt. Just like my peers who took part in drug parties, random sexual coupling, and street violence—I suppose I […]

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Jurassic Car Park

There’s a US marine biologist on BBC Radio 4 talking about the leatherback turtles that she and her team have been tagging. Apparently an adult leatherback grows to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Wikipedia concurs—and also points out that this makes the leatherback only the fourth largest reptile, after some crocodilians. I’m scared now.

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Paddy’s Wager

PADDY POWER OFFERS ODDS OF 4-1 THAT GOD EXISTS A bookmaker has slashed its odds on proof being found of God’s existence to just 4-1. Since opening its book just two months ago, punters hoping to have their faith rewarded have placed £5,000 with Paddy Power. It began taking bets on the question that has […]

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Double Exposure With Cream

Remember that very “English” black-and-white print I made of a café in Hove? This supersaturated colour medium-format slide film shot of another corner café, taken in Argentina, is a nice counterpoint to it; even the angles of the shadows are similar. As the photographer says, the stock it was taken with came out of the […]

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Bloke-tastic!

And now a post combining football and science: Imagine a robotic David Beckham six times smaller than an amoeba playing with a ‘soccer ball’ no wider than a human hair … with all of the action happening on a field the size of single grain of rice. Yes, it’s “Nanosoccer“: [S]occer nanobots, operated by human […]

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“That they may see your good works”

I like that one of the authors of this US paper describing gene therapy to restore sight in sufferers from a rare form of blindness, itself a refinement of a treatment first given in the UK, is called “Elizabeth Windsor”: “One of the patients said that the dim red light from his alarm clock had […]

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Special End-Of-The-World Science Edition

Years ago, PooterGeek featured the “Exxxtreme Mini-Bears”, tiny, hardy, beautiful living creatures called tardigrades. Turns out they are even hardier than thought. Some of them can survive being sent into space. The “TARDigrades in Space project is, of course, going by the acronym “TARDIS”. How long before the BBC sues? This is also a lovely […]

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Chuck Off

Writing on his blog today, Damian Counsell, who, if he hadn’t been baptised a Catholic, would be 37 234 933rd in line to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms, warned of the dangers to the planet of Genetically Unmodified heads of state. He pointed out that inbred dynasties are susceptible to hereditary disorders like haemophilia and verbal […]

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Top Tip

You certainly don’t want to go walking through a field of disoriented, agitated and wet honey bees. — Richard Duplain, vice president of the New Brunswick [Canada] Beekeepers Association Unfortunately for one journalist, not everyone got Mr Duplain’s advice in time, says this story. [Thanks, Sue]

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Trouble At T’ Degree Mill

Another “shocking state of our universities today” story has appeared on the BBC news Website. A report from the Quality Assurance Agency says the degree classification system is broken. I smiled when I read this bit: The reports from the QAA raise some worries about the effectiveness of the external examiner system, in which examiners […]

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Pussy Pedantry

My last post prompted a reader to send me photos of her tortoiseshell cats. [Thank you!] Such a flow of cat pics is of course unconventional in cat blogging, but it gives me an opportunity to point out that it’s only some of the much rarer male tortoiseshells that are the true chimeras, mixtures from […]

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Growing Up

[UPDATE: Edited to use the version of the body text that actually makes some sense with the originally posted title.] I’m not that old, so I’m often puzzled by people who make historical pronouncements in ignorance of recent, relevant history, sometimes history that happened within their lifetimes but not mine. Of course, as Catholic dogma […]

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Signs Of The Times

The “pictures” included a front-page one of the torturer dressed in a pink nurse’s outfit that stopped just above the tops of her black stockings For those of you not up to date with the PooterGeek soap opera, having been made redundant from my first permanent job in science (when the Medical Research Council closed […]

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Busy Tone

I’m so tired with work I’m starting to have hallucinations. I’d swear Richard Dawkins starts rapping 1 minute and 6 seconds into this YouTube video. (Christopher Hitchens throws shapes from 1:49 or thereabouts.) Go here for the torrent. [via]

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Future News: Headlines Of 2108

NASA ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE ON CENTAURI IV AND ENCOUNTER POPULATION OF HUMANOIDS SO PRIMITIVE THAT THEY STILL HAVE FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS. PANEL OF HISTORIANS VOTES ON MOST HATED FIGURES OF 21ST CENTURY. SADDAM HUSSEIN, CLONED HITLER, HEATHER MILLS-MCCARTNEY TOP POLL. HUMPHREY LYTTELTON FORCED TO STAND DOWN AS PRESENTER OF I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE AFTER EXPOSURE […]

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Brilliant Physics Lesson

The beardy-weirdy teacher in this Metacafe video is probably a cinder now, having expired when his garage exploded during his attempt to stage a one-fiftieth-scale re-enactment of the Hindenburg disaster, but I do recommend that you visit the film on the end of that link. It has to have been one of his finest moments, […]

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Transports Of Detroit

This video not only contains a collection of excellent car-buying advice (which is almost as useful in the UK as in the USA), but a fine lesson in how to use presentation software to support a talk and in how to give a talk that’s no longer than it needs to be.

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Entertainment Elsewhere

While I’m away, you might want to read Let’s Be Sensible‘s “science” round-up and a couple of posts at Mr E’s place. This one is about a news story that highlights the absurdities of religious schools in England and Wales and this one is about the latest Conservative Party screw-up. When they do get rid of Cameron as […]

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