Archive for July, 2009

mind bullets

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Here’s a great post from 10 fascinating cases of mind control. It’s not for the squeamish – generally the examples are parasites who alter the behavior of their hosts in order to increase their likelihood of being passed on to a new host, and in most cases the hosts are insects. So it’s all a bit creepy.

I’m pretty amazed at how this works, and of course it raises questions about how these behavior-altering behaviors came about. It seems very complex for natural selection (until you think that there were billions of years, and therefore tens of billions of generations for this to happen) or if you prefer the designer theories you have to consider that anyone who would come up with these kinds of designs has to be some kind of sick maniac.


Monday, July 27th, 2009

I’m not going to just post Mitchell and Webb videos, but I liked this one about homeopathy:

My only objections – they missed talking about Raiki, and I think the beer at the end was about 100,000 times too strong for it to have been homeopathic. Surely the water only needed to have the “memory” of beer in it?

summer camp report

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Toby has had a week back at regular YMCA summer camp, after enjoying a week of the outdoors at the Y’s Camp Kici Yapi. I think he really enjoys both, but the outdoor camp was something a bit more special. Too exhausting for him to go every week, but he’ll be doing back in a couple of weeks to do more archery, swimming, sliding and fort building, and get more of a tan and more mosquito bites. In the meantime, here’s his report sheet from the first week (click on the picture for a closer view):

Toby's July 2009 YMCA outdoor camp report

Toby's July 2009 YMCA outdoor camp report

in news we trust

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

An interesting online poll from Time magazine on who the most trusted news broadcaster is:

Bear in mind it’s an online poll so not scientific or anything, but still, it shows the power of what Stewart has done, and the fact that he is seen to call people out when they’re clearly not telling the truth.

(Story from here)

this must be what happened

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I’m sure this is accurate in every respect, except maybe the accents

squid news

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I haven’t posted any aquatic life news for some time, but around three years ago there was a flurry of piscine activity on this blog. Well now I’m moved to tell you the horror of giant squid attacking people near San Diego (in the ocean side, fortunately, so at least they’re not roaming the streets). You may note that all the people who are attacked are swimming or snorkeling – more proof that exercise is bad for you.

news from scotland

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Things have been all a-flurry at my mother’s church in Aberdeen, where they recently chose to select a new minister who happens to be openly gay. Although the church has been fine with being flexible with other biblical rules, such as allowing ministers to eat shellfish, wear clothes of mixed fabrics, and not having their wives have to shave their heads before attending services, apparently being open and honest about yourself was a stretch too far for some. But after a lot of deliberation the appointment went ahead.

The first service by Scott Rennie was this last weekend, and apparently it went very well with large attendance and lots of smiles. The biggest blot was that someone had nailed a sign to the front door of the church to greet my mother on Sunday morning. Here’s what she had to say about it

I got up to church at 8.45 this morning, the first person to arrive in the building because the beadle was late, to find a huge wooden notice nailed across the front doors. It was painted black with cut-out letters stuck on : THIS CHURCH IS NOW A DEN OF INIQUITY AND IS DAMNED!! I waited until a couple of other people had arrived, so at least there was someone else in the building, and then got out the tool box and prized the huge nails, over 20 of them, out of the wood (kept the nails cos they might come in useful if WE ever want to nail notice boards about the place!). There were also three candles underneath it which I removed, but sadly couldn’t keep to use again because they had burnt themselves to the bottom.

What she didn’t know is that she was photographed by the local paper removing the sign – here’s the article.

america’s place in the world

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

To celebrate Independence Day (Emma’s and my first one as real American citizens (it doesn’t feel much different from before to be honest, but great to have a day off and we’re having a great day with the kids)) here’s a lecture Stephen Fry gave recently, on America’s Place in the World. Enjoy!