The universe is a little less “fundamentally interconnected”

2 July 2012

Dirk Gently is probably, without question, one of the most baffling, confusing, mind-boggling, and yet entertaining, creations to make the transition to paper from the inimitable mind of the late, great Douglas Adams.

Those of you who watched the Dirk Gently TV series, based on Adams’s books (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul), may have heard that the BBC decided to drop the series. I missed this story, so have only just caught up.

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The wonders of the universe are not for sale

25 June 2012

Following the recommendations published in the Finch report, I’d like to ask a fairly simple question: should scientific publications be freely available?

At the moment most journals charge the reader for access. To those of us already familiar with scientific publishing, this is nothing new. This is how it’s been for years. But does that make it right? Readers can either pay for individual articles, or subscribe to the journal. Sounds reasonable. What about if you include the fact that the author of the article also has to pay to have his or her article published? What is the price of knowledge?

Before reading any further, stop and think for a moment. What would you pay for access to the results of publicly funded research?

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Beware of bluetooth

18 June 2012

Call me paranoid, but I’m suspicious of people wearing a Bluetooth earpiece. Although, you can press it into your ear and pretend to be a secret service agent… Ok… I’m suspicious of other people wearing earpieces.

Firstly, it’s embarrassing when someone is wearing one, but you can’t see it, and so think they’re talking to you. Especially if you respond to what they’re saying. But that’s another story…

My main reason for avoiding people with earpieces is that I’ve seen that Doctor Who episode.

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R.I.P. scientific method

11 June 2012

I went to see Ridley Scott’s Prometheus last week and I was left sorely disappointed. As a prequel to the Alien films, it explains almost nothing. In fact it leaves you with more questions than you start with. In attempting to explain who/what are the remains that the crew of the Nostromo find in the first film, it creates a confusing back story that asks many questions, and offers very few answers. In fact, just watch the trailer. All the key scenes are there:

Prometheus blatantly disregards the laws of physics, lacks any perceivable motivation for most of the characters, and has a non-sensical plot in which things keep happening for no apparent reason.

Since most of the above will probably be covered better by other people (first video contains spoilers) reviewing the film I’m going to focus on something else that seemed off to me. This revolves around a single scene in which the two lead ‘scientists’ (you’ll understand the reason for the inverted commas soon) explain the reason for the Prometheus’s mission.

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The good, the bad and what the hell was that?!

28 May 2012

Last weekend marked the 2012 Eurovision song contest. There was the usual parade of good, bad and bizarre. Below are some of my highlights including a few you may have missed if you didn’t watch the semi-finals.

So, without further ado, my Eurovision high-(and low)-lights. Those of a nervous disposition are advised to proceed with caution (especially when it comes to the Albanian entry).

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Don’t let hate change the government’s mind

21 May 2012

Less than a month remains before the government’s consultation on how to introduce same-sex civil marriage in England and Wales closes on 14th June. If you support marriage equality and haven’t taken part in the consultation yet, please do so. Time is running out to make your views heard.

Background info can be found here and here.

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Destroying your soul with hyphens

14 May 2012

Nonsense business phrases annoy me. There are so many out there which mean almost nothing. Those that have a clearly discernible meaning are just ways of saying something simple in an overly complicated way to inflate one’s own sense of self-importance. Read the rest of this entry »

Too many buffalo

30 April 2012

I’ve just come across what might quite possibly be the best sentence I’ve encountered yet:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

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Déjà entendu

23 April 2012

Have you ever noticed that, after a while, all music starts to blend together and sound the same?

(if the widget embedding doesn’t work, try here instead)

That piece was dedicated to anyone who’s had a birthday in the last twelve months (including today). Happy birthday!

I just spilt wine all over my leopard

9 April 2012

After seeing an xkcd comic a few weeks ago about setting an internet browser to replace all incidences of the word “keyboard” with “leopard”, I decided, being the complete geek that I am, to have a go myself.

The result was fairly entertaining at first, but the novelty soon wore off, and I forgot all about it. However, I also forgot to disable the script.

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