In lieu of propper content, and because I'm a) doing more childcare than normal and b) getting addicted to the damn wii, have some links to posts by others that you should be reading.

Firstly, on the Atheist Bus campaign[1], three scientist bloggers, Dave Godfrey, Debi Linton and Strangefrontier who says:
Dear Christians on my friendslist, when you feel that atheist campaigners are generalising about your whole faith and railing against you, the real target is folks like Stephen Green. The problem is that he and others like like are so damn loud and have such a constant media presence, they drown out the normal, decent and sane* Christians. No matter what positive PR you throw out there, the attention will be given to some cunt shouting, "God hates fags!"
I especially liked Dave's line If he didn't exist I think the atheists would have to invent him, he's launched a case on which the crux is he has evidence of the existence of God. Well, like Dawkins, if you can give me some proof I'll change my opinion...

Anyway, next topic. Woolworths has shut down. Since he finished his degree, [livejournal.com profile] doctorvee has been working for them, in a number of branches, and I heartily recommend his series of posts on the history of the company and the experiences of working there in its dying days. Like him, I loved Woollies as a kid but found them fairly pointless as an adult, they definitely had no clue what they were trying to be as a chain, and Wilkinson's have definitely displaced a lot of their business in Yorkshire. I had no idea that the company had started out as the early equivalent of a pound store, they only dumped their fixed price policy because of rationing during the war.

Sad news however. Number 6 is dead. In an era where his "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered, I am a free man" speech has increasing relevence, it remains an iconic series and I really hope they don't mess up the reimagined version with Sir Ian as Number Two. RIP Patrick, you were great.

Cool news: Molecular Analysis Confirms Tyrannosaurus Rex's Evolutionary Link To Birds. They didn't die out, they evolved. Next time you eat a chicken dinner, that's one of T-Rex's relatives you're chomping down on ;-)

Want: Trends Are Cyclical: the Asus Eee Keyboard. It a complete fully functioning computer, all inside thin keyboard. How cool is that?

Have to say, I pretty much agree with Tim here, economic protectionism makes us poorer and damages our economy more than it benefits us. Buy British if you want, but if it's not the best deal, buy whatever, the economy benefits from the transaction regardless. ETA: Friday's More or Less is a politics special starring Vince! Yay!

Last up, [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat wants to declared this year as the International Year of True History to commemorate both Darwin and Galileo. She's wrong to call it "true" history of course, everyone knows that real history started at about 1600, everything before that is pre-history, but it's a nice idea.


[1] From which I've taken this icon, I yoinked the LJified version from [livejournal.com profile] strangefrontier but it was designed by [livejournal.com profile] jonworth_eu_fd who coordinated the intial fundraising campaign before it all got a bit bigger than anyone expected. I'd forgotten how good a blogger he is until I found him on Twitter, Labour party members that can actually write well about politics are worth paying attention to, methinks[2].

[2] On a similar line, [livejournal.com profile] blimpish_fd is back, one of the few Tory bloggers that doesn't make me want to shout at the screen at the idiocy and ignorance.
In my post about Darwin Tuesday I said: if you need a bit more explanation, ask a skientist, I recommend Debi the evolutionary morphologist and for damn fine reason.

Debi Linton - On Intelligent Design:
This week, however, I have been asked to give a basic run down of the I.D. milarkey from the point of view of an evolutionary scientist, and who am I to refuse to write about evolution?

About Science and Religion )

Evolution is only a Theory )

Creationism/Intelligent design is also a theory )

Evolution and abiogenesis )

And a YouTube vid )
Making the serious point that Evolution fulfills the serious requirements to be defined as a Theory, namely that a) it is predictive and b) it can be disproved. Intelligent Design cannot be defined as a theory because a) it is not predictive and b) it cannot be disproved [1]. The post contains some very (very) good explanation about what science is (and is not), and makes the solid point that the scientific method can only work with the world as it is, not as we might like it to be. This post is another prime example of why I love the ease of publication that blogging gives us, anyone can be a pamphleteer, and when someone, anyone, writes good content, that post can be picked up, linked to, and the ideas can spread. And spread. Yes, that is a hint to everyone.

I'm, unusually for me, closing comments on this post; Debi welcomes comments and questions, she promises not to bite ([livejournal.com profile] ms_ntropy might object), and it'd be good to keep the discussion in one place. Go read, talk, question, discuss.
[1] I've read some speculation that some Quantum theorists may, or may not, be working on a method to prove the existence of a higher, guiding power, based around disproving the parallel universes theory. I have no clue or links about that one, but what I read (in comments elsewhere and I've done no research on it) was intriguing to say the least.
First up, [livejournal.com profile] scalzi is off on a book tour of the US west coast, and has popped in to Google, so they recorded his hour long talk and posted it to YouTube. Scalzi on eBooks, blogging, journalling, comment moderation and how to tape bacon to a cat. Once you get past that accent, very cool. It turns out, via the next item on my feed, that authors talking to Google employees is a regular thing, here, for example, is Neil Gaiman being typically cool. He talks a fair bit about Neverwhere, the adaptation process and what it's like to be Neil Gaiman, not bad. Yes, I have watched both today, yes, that is two hours spent listening to authors talk, and no, don't want that time back. FWIW, Scalzi's Old Man's War is currently vying with [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch's Lies of Locke Lamorra in my 'best book read thus far in 2007' mental slot.

Next up, and of no direct interest to me but probably of interest to a fair number of my friends list, [livejournal.com profile] one_track_girl reviews her 5 favourite sex toys. I really like that society has got tot he point where we can, just about, talk about such things openly without dying of embarrassment.

On the subject of sex toys, via [livejournal.com profile] qi_news we get the news that:
prehistoric man engaged in a wide range of sexual practices, including group sex, transvestism, bondage and even the use of sex toys, and was used as a way of building up cultural ties between primitive societies.
More on that story of perfectly natural debauchery at The Times. All this monogamous lovey-dovey crap, it's not natural I tell you, it's against nature damnit!

Last up, for now, a few from [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, firstly, a campaign to stop asterisking swear words online. Potty-mouthed me is, sort of, 100% behind this story, except that I know from experience modding the Temple and blogging in a few places that completely uncensored swearing causes issues for some people browsing from work or in certain oversees countries. [livejournal.com profile] timworstall once had a regular reader and commenter unable to get to his site because Tim had titled a post 'Fuck' and that meant the url was blocked by the Saudi censors. Hmm, what do people think? It's mostly USians that have these issues I think, but are there any Brits that have overly restrictive language-based filters at work?

Then they have another in the snowcone series on silly linguistic myths, this time on the number of words in Arabic for camel. While it's possibly true that there are that many words that recognisably mean camel, saying so in such a manner is about as daft as asserting that English has way ofer well over 100 words for dog. It's true, but it adds little to the debate. Besides, an area very much reliant on camels for basic agricultural use has a breeders show and this is global news? Um, someone better tell the Devon County Show. Just another article in their ongoing series about daft things like "Eskimoes have 400 words for snow". While it might be often said, it is of course completely untrue (although some of the ones on that list are a little interesting, I'd love to know what they do with ertla).

ETA: Oops, nearly forgot. ZX Spectrum far more important than the PS3 will ever be. Help me, I agree with an MSN article! (via [livejournal.com profile] raksaksa)
K, in no particular order...
  • Scotland's interesting message to alien life

  • Miss Freddie is talking about dice and music:
  • Been reading about indeterminacy (think John Cage), and I just had a thought. Dice Music. Assign each note to number on a D12(?). Roll. A lot. Assign lengths of notes, dynamics, other markings, to different dice. Even assign the choosing of instruments to the dice. Brass, Woodwind, Strings, Voices? Then Trumpets, Trombones etc...

    What sort of dice can you get? D20s, D6... what else?
    Interesting comments thread there, with some daft suggestions as to where to go next.
  • [livejournal.com profile] wpts has launched a Does my web site suck checklist, the bulk of which I agree with wholeheartedly (and some of you will have read the draft of my forthcoming rant about flash sites and navigation already - Vincent agrees)

  • [livejournal.com profile] dm_of_the_rings has the most recent episode upDwarven Diplomacy. If Gimli is to be comic relief, at least he can be cool comic relief. And yes, that feed address is just for the comic, the full feed is [livejournal.com profile] 20sidedtale, but I'm a little feeded out at the moment so I used my mighty Wordpress fu to just syndicate that category.
  • On the other hand, just reading the comic feed means missing out on stuff like this review of the Fate Diablo II clone:
  • Fate is one game where I think the “clone” moniker is deserved. Fate is more or less a straight-up Diablo clone. It duplicates the mechanics and play style of Diablo II right down to having the same windows with the same information that are opened with the same hotkeys.
    On the subject of Diablo: [livejournal.com profile] play_diablo, set up by [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking, I have every intention of joining in properly once I've gotten myself a decent connection speed.
  • [livejournal.com profile] davidnm has decided to abandone pretence of being a serious scientists, and explains how we could be descended from alien colonists:
  • It goes like this. Suppose you want to colonise a planet, but you want to avoid either the War of the Worlds scenario (bumped off by native life) or the 'terraforming by accident' scenario (your intestinal flora or whatever outcompete everything else on the planet). Basically, you need to make your proposed colonists fit in with the local environment.

    So, you find some local dominant species to use as a template.
    OK, he's not being serious, but still...
  • Some official communities are starting to show ads. I have nothing further to add to that statement, but isn't it great that they started doing so just before the annual State of the Goat on [livejournal.com profile] news?

  • Was going to write this up properly but I doubt I'll ever get around to it so, lj_nifty: Using Firefox 2 to quickly add RSS feeds to your LJ account:
  • Firefox 2 has a nifty feature for easily subscribing to RSS feeds
    Since discovering this feature hack, I've added over 50 new feeds to various filters. Hence me being a little feeded out; I keep meaning to cut down but, y'know, they're all so cool. I'm not sure if non-paid users can use it to discover new feeds, but if not, or if you want something set up, it's so easy to do I'm happy to oblige.


Phew, that was a longer one; question: Would people prefer I cut this sort of thing, or is having all the links there easily more preferable?
If you weren't aware of the Cobb County, Georgia US school district putting stickers on all their books, there's a link at the bottom of the below.

But a biology teacher at Swarthmore has come up with a pretty cool rejoinder.

Bush actually did say that as well.

http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/textbookdisclaimers/
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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