Category Archives: Uncategorized

The New Now

The best thing about the edgy, hit new procedural Sledgehammer and Whore is how very now it is. Nothing in the pilot episode would have been possible five years ago. If their analogues had been included, the story would have played like some urban fantasy set in a tangent reality, in which popular culture is offset, skewed. I mean, describing somebody’s shoes in terms of the colours of a “soccer” team? Or, it would have played like science fiction, with technology which is not just unusual, like a James Bond gadget, but as ubiquitous in the fictional world as it is unknown in ours. It is one thing to portray NORAD using computers with strange powers, but it is another to have everyone on the Network.

I can’t say I think much of the music, tho’. At least they didn’t try to “enhance” the security camera footage during the montage.

(Via Jennifer Ouellette and Sean M. Carroll.)

My Cheap Shot of the Day

This is the Archbishop of Canterbury trying (and failing) to speak about science:

Dr Williams admitted that Neo Darwinism, a theory supported by Atheist Professor Richard Dawkins, is “most problematic” to theology, but he called it “a pseudo science” and “deeply vulnerable to intellectual challenge because it is trying to be a theology.”

And here I thought Richard Dawkins’s professorship was endowed by Charles Simonyi, not Bob Atheist!

I Know Link-Fu

I have more things to write about than time to write them in. Hooray!

So, whilst I vainly strive to catch up with a few of my goals, what are other people on the Network doing these days?

First, Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes hosts the 82nd Skeptic’s Circle.

Then, Martin Rundkvist discovers what a Wikipedian edit war is like, the poor fellow. Which reminds me: one of my ideas for a semi-regular feature I want to try on this blag is a “Friday Wikipedia Woo” series. The “Human Design System” article I wrote about before has been deleted, but sadly, there’s always plenty more where that came from. (If you want to hunt for it yourself, I suggest starting with what links to the “quantum” page.) Give people a free encyclopedia they can edit themselves, and you’ll wake up to find it’s been turned into an advertising service. Sigh.

Elsewhere, Russell Blackford has spelled out his own version of Dawkins’s “Ultimate 747” gambit. Go forth and discuss! Talking of “gambits” naturally makes me think about chess. “White opened with the Blackford Variation on the Dawkins 747. . . .” Maybe chess fiend Jason Rosenhouse can extend the analogy further — recently, he’s put up a couple interesting posts, too.

Meanwhile, a review of Michael Shermer’s new book, The Mind of the Market (2008), prompted Tyler DiPietro to say a few words of his own. Expect more from that quarter in the future (and hang around for a bonus rant of mine in the comments).

Brian Switek has been keeping up an astonishing output, on tapirs and monkeys and hermit crabs, among other things. And then Abbie describes how some viruses which infect bacteria carry genes which the viruses themselves don’t need, but which are helpful to the bacteria they infect.

Life is pretty ^%$)(&@ weird, isn’t it? Fortunately, Masala Skeptic has a few appropriate swear words to use when it all gets too much.