Archive | Science

Even more on Aerial

Still listening to this more or less all the time, depending on what I’m doing. I’ve made a concession to the office. Parts of it elicit pure emotional responses from me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I get goose bumps and am moved to tears in various passages. Amazing. Isn’t music one of the best things ever?

There is a PDF of a Nature article on the evolution of our brains and why we like music in the files section of the TalkScience mailing list.

Kansas board of education shoots itself in the head

The Kansas board of education voted 6-4 today to adopt rewritten science proposals that mandate kids in Kansas are taught lies about how life on Earth evolves. Evolution is a fact. If that pisses off some fundamentalist christians whose faith is so weak that they can’t accept reality then tough. More details at

In better news all 8 of the board members who introduced a statement about “intelligent design” into the curriculum in Dover, Pa. have lost their seats in the recent elections. That case went to court and the Judge will rule in January whether it violated the US constitution separation of church and state clause. On the evidence presented it should be a major defeat for the ID movement. Once that happens then those kooks in Kansas should get sued big time.

Update: More info at New Scientist.

Human Papilloma Virus Vaccines

There is a really good article by DarkSyde on the Human Papilloma Virus, the recently developed vaccines (that studies show are 100% effective at stopping it causing cervical cancer), and the efforts of some religious groups to prevent a mass vaccination program. It beggars belief that I can still be shocked by the actions of these religious kooks. You can read the article at the UTI site.

Talk Science discussion group

A new discussion group has been set-up on Yahoo groups to provide a place for the discussion of various science topics.

The group is an off shoot of the DebunkCreation group. Any science related topic is suitable for discussion. Some things are off-topic however as they usually lead to flame-wars. The list description gives details but basically politics, religion& ethics are off-topic. We stick to the how questions of science not the why or should we questions.

You can join the group here.

The Ancestor’s Tale – R. Dawkins (plus) The Road To Reality – R. Penrose

Was at a meeting this morning in the centre of Belfast so I popped into Waterstones bookshop to pick up a copy of Roger Penrose’s “The Road to Reality“. Got that okay. We will get to that presently.

Sitting proudly in the Just Published section was Richard Dawkins “The Ancestor’s Tale“. So I got a copy of that as well. All I can say is “Wow!!”

First impressions; this is a beautiful book. The production quality is superb. It’s 528 pages long. Between A4 and A5 in size, hardback, excellent paper quality. All that’s fine and dandy but “what about the content?” I hear you cry.
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Eclipse lyric

I wrote this little ditty in 1999 when there was a total eclipse that tracked over Europe. The recent interest in the annular eclipse in Scotland reminded me that it was lurking on my PowerBook hard drive. The appearance of Brian May on The Sky at Night show in the UK and Brian’s thoughts about the eclipse on his web site prompted me to send it to his Soapbox email address. I got a reply from Brian and the lyric is also posted on the letters section of the Brian May web site (page it was on no longer available).

Anyway as it is now out in the wild I may as well post it here. Nothing serious. Just a bit of fun.


Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
First contact thrills us as
The sun sets in the day
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Twilight comes and light fades
In a spooky way
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
It gets colder and the wind blows
In a peculiar way
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
The atmosphere dances madly as the
Shadow bands play
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Totality is upon us now as
Beautiful as they say
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
The corona shimmers brightly as
Prominences dance and play
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Blazing forth the diamond ring as the
Moon goes on its way
Dead of night will fall away
With the return of day
The eclipse it is behind us
Time we were on our way

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