February 2010


Wonders of the solar system – next sunday (7th March) BBC2 9pm

I feel like today I have been staring at this trying to figure out where the lines cross.  Not literally, just a metaphor.

via 3Z

This morning I heard the sad news of the death of a trainer in Orlando, Florida.  They are claiming that she fell or slipped into the pool and drowned when attacked by a killer whale (orca whale).  Although eye witnesses report that she was attacked and dragged into the water.

I remember seeing killer whales in a show and feeling quite sad for them.  Part of me thought that it might be like keeping pet cats (like chubby and needy Tillie and Tallie), but then I have to remember that domestic cats are domestic.  They have had many hundreds of years (probably  thousands) of domestic breeding and are far from being a wild animal.  I shudder when I think of Tallie trying to  survive on her own in the wild.

Killer whales are wild animals, they are carnivorous and they are intelligent and calculating hunters.  A few months ago I heard a person say, on TV, that killer whales have never been reported to kill people and the few attacks that have been reported have been put down to mistaken identity as they thought we were seals.  I think that this is a very narrow minded and blinkered opinion.  They are killers, and I remember reading about Ernest Shackleton’s account of being hunted and attacked (in a highly organised and intelligent way) while in antarctica.  I remember reading it and it being chilling.  These were cold calculating hunters who knew exactly who and what they were after.

I got let out today to go for my annual visit to the university.  Standing in front of uni students from 9 to 5 (with 2 hour break) is a lot more draining than standing in front of pupils.  I feel wiped.

I did get a day pass to the new library though.  I got to spend half my lunch just dandering round it and browsing obscure books on organic chemistry.  I especially liked the CS Lewis reading room.  You have to walk through the wardrobe to get into it, ha ha.  Although there was no fir trees or snow, big let down.  Much more effort required from the library people.

I agree with Ben, the BBC reporting that homeopathy cures cancer is irresponsible.  That’s not what they reported but they did have a woman on claiming it and that’s what people will see.  The group of MPs seemed to have looked at the evidence and decided that the NHS should not waste money on something that works no better than placebo.  This is a good thing.  However, the BBC did not seem to want to give it enough air time or proper debate.

Anyway, let me take this opportunity to present Ben on Homeopathy:

And on the nacebo (sp?) effect.  WARNING:  Ben says some naughty words at the start of this next video.  I DO NOT approve.

Actually he swears a bit in the middle and he swears a bit near the end as well, so don’t watch it and trust me, the negative placebo effect that he talks about is INSANE

click here to watch the nacebo video

snow @ 6pm?

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