Science

The Irreligious Policemen

Not having a telly, I didn’t catch the latest from Richard Dawkins, but when I visited his Website to look for clips, I saw this photo of him: All I could think of was Michael Mann directing Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in an atheist actioner: [A convertible Ferrari screams through downtown in slow motion, reflections […]

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Ex-Scientist Recommends Government Offer Financial Incentive To Encourage Members Of CBI To Study Basic Economics

Following on from Tim’s comment, according to BBC News online: More young people would take science degrees if they were given a financial incentive, claim industry experts. […but obviously we’d rather the government came up with this financial incentive while we continue to offer those with science degrees less than they are worth, and complain […]

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Lightly Worn

Beachy Head[click image to enlarge it] I was eating breakfast in an hotel in Cambridge the Saturday morning after I shot that college ball. A tall, intense-looking man with a beard sat down at a table nearby. He pulled a hardback book out of his briefcase and began underlining paragraphs heavily with a soft pencil. […]

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Dialectical Minimalism

Damian: [T]he impression I get is that Norm is more forgiving of Eagleton’s errors of reasoning than he should be Norm: Damian leaves an impression about my viewpoints that I feel I have a right to comment on. Damian: I’d happily place a bet with Norm on which of the two of them will be […]

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Jib Jab

I left The Observer on the shelf at the supermarket yesterday because it had another load of bollocks about MMR and autism on the front cover. Around the blogosphere, people who A) know some science and/or B) can be arsed to use Google show the newspaper’s science editor how to do his job: lizardoid Eustonian […]

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World Of Wonga

I caught up with wongaBlog this morning. I enjoyed this post about Jonathan Edwards’ reflections on his conversion from Christianity to atheism. It’s all downhill from here, Jonathan. Believers might be wrong, but believing often makes for happier and more successful people; and I enjoyed this marvellous rant about anti speed camera campaigners. My apologies […]

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Philosophers: 2 — Scientists: 0

Last Friday I found myself stuck in a room in a Cambridge college waiting to do a photo job so I took Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations down from a shelf and, as an intellectual dwarf perched on Hindsight the Giant, sneered at it. Certain things he said appear absurd in the light of certain experimental […]

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Reductionism

This civil engineering computer simulation [YouTube video] of one of the September 11 impacts is all the more shocking for being created without factoring in the explosions or heat damage. It also omits the fleeing spectating Jews, holographically concealed missiles, and shaped charges planted in the tower by giant lizards. Scientists and engineers, eh? They’re […]

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Size Matters

I used to work for a Professor whose academic homepage listed among his interests “sperm production”. If you want evidence that female animals can be as promiscuous as male animals you should have a browse through the literature on sperm competition. In the case of ducks, that promiscuity is not necessarily the females’ choice, so […]

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Attack Of The Man-Eating Stick Insects

It seems my former employers have funded research into an amazing new drug: Scientists are developing a pill which could boost women’s libido and reduce their appetite. The hormone-releasing pill has so far only been given to female monkeys and shrews who displayed more mating behaviour and ate less. The team from the Medical Research […]

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Hamiltonian Flow

Tom Hamilton’s blogging has been particularly good lately, ranging from the Devil’s Chaplain to the Devil’s Kitchen. I recommend his excellent posts about Richard Dawkins—oldie and goodie—and his fine, if less taxing, fisking of the most superfluous blog in existence not written by someone called Brittany: hoisting out the middle wicket and scooping up an […]

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The European Confession

During the dying months of my doing bioinformatics for a living, I attended a scientific conference in Scotland. I helped to run a few of the seminars there, but had nothing to do with their planning. At one, I marched to the front during a student’s presentation and told a member of the audience to […]

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Who Moved My Deep Freeze?

Today, via Photo Matt, I discovered a phrase that I wish I had known about years ago: “The adage, “Why should I care what color the bikeshed is?“, means: just because you are capable of building a bikeshed does not mean you should stop others from building one just because you do not like the […]

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Needle

When I used to work for the Medical Research Council, I did my best not to bore people with it on this site. I took up the name “PooterGeek”—ironically, the suggestion of a summer student—so that when people searched for my name on the Web they would find biomedical publications to download rather than movie […]

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Doing Wrong

Friends have told me that my obsession with freewill and my belief that there is such a thing as evil are products of my Catholic upbringing. They are, in fact, products of personal experience and of a long, dull training in human biology. I know people who simply do not believe in evil. They are […]

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Mantel Piece

Hilary Mantel is a novelist. I haven’t read any of her books. I have read her review of magician Derren Brown’s Tricks Of The Mind in yesterday’s Guardian. Near the end of her mostly negative assessment she tries to set up a weak joke: she “hopes” that “no intellectual snobbery” will prevent Richard Dawkins from […]

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Tri-band Mobile

If you are familiar with the official French attitude* to the use of English in academic (and other cultural) settings, the appearance of a state-funded TV station, “France 24”, with an English-language feed might surprise you. It did me when I watched one of their online English-language video ads a few days ago. They also broadcast […]

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Another Urban Myth Busted

Regular drivers of cars live in terror of flying on commercial airlines. People deadlock their front doors at night to keep out violent burglars and then die of smoke inhalation trying to open them in a house fire. Pensioners stay indoors for fear of assault by teenagers, keep their cash in boxes for fear of […]

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In Clones Send The

With their characteristically English lack of ambition, scientists from Newcastle University and KCL have applied for a three-year licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to make chimaeric human-cow embryos. The similarly small-minded Korean authorities have been doing their damnedest to bring low the genius of visionary Hwang Woo-suk: Seoul, South Korea (AHN) – […]

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Penis Size: A Scientific Study

Further to this, this. METHOD: To study the effect of penis width vs. length on female sexual satisfaction, 50 sexually active female undergraduate students were asked which felt better, i. e., was penis width or length more important for their sexual satisfaction. RESULTS: None reported they did not know, or that width and length were […]

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But Someone’s Got To Do It

I couldn’t be bothered to fisk that nonsense about the “future evolution” of humankind that was all over the media this week, merely dropping it into my “Pseudoscience” and “Tin Foil Hat Wearers” blog categories in passing instead. Luckily we have P Z Myers to do the job properly.

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