Provincial Letters

Far from the mad crowds of the city, Blaise Pascal passed comment on the strange behaviour of this urban contemporaries in his Provincial Letters. The connection between them and this blog is somewhat tenuous.

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Location: Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

My star sign in Superstition. And I didn't believe in reincarnation last time, either. The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance. I am a fanatical ant-fanaticist. I am bigotted only where bigots are concerned. I am a fundamentalist atheist. I'm proud to be a product of evolution; I know it in my genes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Posted @ 22:30Cold Wednesday Reading

Just some observations and referrals for people with minds (the rest can enjoy them, too).

Can Scientists Be Funny?

Apart from simply creating preposterous practical jokes (most practical jokes are not jokes at all but subtle forms of torture, revenge or sadism — often all three — rather like Ricky Gervais), scientists are usually associated with lack of humour. Often bearing the brunt of humour (and condemnation) as "people playing god", they are characterised as serious-minded souls whose idea of a good time is reciting the Periodic Table backwards. Leaving aside Tom Leherer's (a mathematician in "real life") brilliant rendition of the Periodic Table (forwards, unfortunately), do they ever laugh?

Well, of course they do. They enjoy a laugh as much as everyone does except fans of Canon & Ball. For example, you should read "Uncommon Scents" in Scientific American and giggle. I did.

If you don't get some of the references, that's OK. If you get none of them, you are seriously lacking in your education.

Wrong & Right

Staying with science thing (there's not enough proper science about), another article in Scientific American caught my eye — "engaged my interest" would be more anatomically correct but more pompous — in amongst all the other stuff that was damn interesting.

In the all-pervading claptrap that surrounds the so-called debate of Evolution versus Creationism ("Intelligent Design" is just Creationism packaged in a shiny, consumer-friendly wrapper for the chattering classes), "Wronger Than Wrong" manages to shed a scintillating light on the weasel-words that surround the subject; particularly the "Just A Theory" (so-called) argument.

If this posting seems a little more agressive in tone than some of my previous ones, that's because it is.


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