Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Haiku time again

Beautiful maiden
dancing across every thought
until I see her

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ode to drugs

Written while drinking coffee today at work. I failed in my coffee free day!

Tea takes the edge off coffee
and cola takes the edge off tea.
Caffine is what I must desire,
as life takes the edge off me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

99 words

This is actually a summary of my novel in 99 words. Contractions count as one word, right? By the end of this year this shall be expressed in 200,000 words. I'm sure of it as I'm already about 3% there!

The future spread before her; she pauses, unsure of where this ledge hangs over. Seeing things she shouldn't know, hearing things she can't change; she needs to find the way to use all she knows. She visits a manor house, a kind old man tells her what she needed to know, but didn't want to hear. Throwing all she holds dear away she searches for what she wishes is real. In the end she is alone in an ice house, crying while on the cold floor. An old friend speaks to her, it is finally time to step forward.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Intelligent Design vs. Evolution

I've been listening to some discussions on intelligent design vs. evolution. I'm quite ashamed of the people involved though, so I've not taken part. They either seem to be very stuck in their ways (on both sides) convinced that they are right, or to just argue about some abstract thing which doesn't really relate to the discussion but that they can have a civilised debate on. It just seems sad to me that they have to either run away from the discussion or stand firm and attack each other.

Anyway one of the big points seems to be if ID follows the scientific method and seems to revolve, at least in part, around if it's falsifiable or not (and that scientific theories should be falsifiable). Issue which haven't been drawn in are the offering an explanation of something which hasn't previously been explained by evolution but is by ID or visa versa and the issue of simplicity of theories.

I wanted to get people into a discussion about the whole idea of missing links being missing, so you don't see half animals very much in fossils. Now clearly this is a problem with evolution if we expect things to be going at a gradual rate, but if sudden changes in the environment cause more rapid natural selection then the half whale half bear creature would only be around for a few 10,000 years, so is unlikely to be captured in the fossil. After all the earth is a big place and it's very difficult to get fossils.

This then brings me back to the idea I had about ID: so it's about a designer manipulating the genes to design things (at least I think that's what it is, if I'm wrong please someone mention it). I assume this means the designer causes the genes to mutate, as I can't really see any other way it could be justified as there is LOTS of evidence for genes. So how can we easily separate one mutation which is brought about by the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curve of energy and one which is brought about by a designer? But then I'm clearly having this influenced by my own ideas about how the universe happens, so perhaps both sides would totally disagree with me.

It also strikes me that the proponents of evolution sometimes accuse the ID supporters of bringing in religion through the back door; but how can we be sure they are doing that? Is it a viral meme at work (which to be honest, religion is!), is it through some fear of evolution or is it done truly to get people to be more open minded (and maybe more vulnerable to certain memes, sorry but I can't help being sinister!).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The phlogiston theory of combustion

I found this interesting article today and thought I should post it here.

It's a history of a brief period of the 18th century when some alchemy was becoming more like modern chemisty. It's a really interesting read if you think in a modern chemistry mindset and it's a real challenge to set your mind to work like it did for those early scientists.

If you're not of a modern chemistry mindset then it might not be nearly as fun or interesting, but it doesn't go into complex detail so you might find it interesting for a different reason to me.

Anyway a good exercise for scientists to try shifting their paradigm and not to bring with the shift any thoughts of: "well they were so silly in those days, this is such an quaint idea".

Go on, I dare you!