Sunday, 10 October 2010

Touched by His Noodly Appendage

So there I was, in the bath, and I spotted the two eyes first. Then I noticed a perfectly formed basket of shiny spaghetti, and cradled in that basket was bottle of "Matey" bubble bath foam. It took me a little while to realise I was gazing upon the great Flying Spaghetti Monster himself, who was offering me a mermaid shaped angel to increase my bath-time fun. I never need to bathe alone again, I shall always know that the FSM is watching over me.

{I am submitting the above post to Bobby Henderson for official verification that this was indeed a confirmed sighting of the Holy Spaghetti Monster.}

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Red Letter Boxes of North Watford

The corner of Longspring, Bushey Mill Lane and the St. Albans Road. Some yobs wiv' attitude!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Google pwned by Pogsurf!

Google don't like other people using logos from their collection. Except of course the one which is found on Wikipedia. Here we find that Google's main logo 'does not meet the threshold of originality'.



So, here on 28th September 2010, I do declare that Google has just been pwn'ed  by Pogsurf.

The above image is the Copyright of Pogsurf, and may be freely used by all and sundry, Except Google. Please be WARNED that Pogsurf will defend its Copyright using the full force of the Law.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Battle of Britain Bicycle Fly-past

Veterans of the last two World Wars will attempt a bicycle fly-past along the St. Albans Road, today. .................................................................................... SCHEDULE IS: 09.30 - assemble on the sunken wreck at the corner of Leavesden and Lowestoft Roads. De-brief and note weather conditions. 09.35 - roll out to agreed destinations 09.45 - arrive at CMHS HQ, Upton Road, for freelance Bombing Raid and tea coffee with friends/deadly foes 12-00 - 2nd de-briefing, or free time for participants thereafter ____________________________________________________________________________________ EQUIPMENT: Biscuit tin plus small packet of edibles to share. Moustachioed disguise, or similar for ladies, so as to not look too suspicious. Treasured item to be left in the wake. Legal tender for bartering, gambling and flashing around. This is a first operation to see if Watford Crime Partnership can play nicely together, or whether are really just a bunch of disorganised Yobs. We will be going behind enemy lines, into a locked facility. Expect the unexpected. We shall count them all out and count them all back in again. We shall NEVER AGAIN surrender!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Word of the day: mulcted

A quick tip for Global Jihadists and mental health patients who might suffer from 'a slight muzziness'

I had quite a break-through yesterday, in my campaign to avoid a 'flame war' developing between the Universal Church of Orthodox Spaghetti Monster Fans and the Royal College of Psychiatrists' yoga club. The thing is, learn to tread very carefully as soon as you realise that your position is extremely finely balanced. My wife tends to type articles in longhand first, then slash and burn the deadwood out of her essays at a later date, I on the other hand, being a philosophical tight-rope walker, logician, and the world's first semi-professional Wobble-omit'rest, pedant and games-master, likes to take a Gamble. No one could give me odds on the recent High Court case in India with respect to ownership rights for Hindu and Muslim holy-places, so I couldn't place a bet. It didn't mean I wasn't interested, or even that I wasn't worried about being mulcted, it's just that particular high-wire must be so taught and so high I would have been sliced right through.

Wiff-waff finals: Today @ 2pm. BST

Incredibly America and Great Britain, have not met in the finals of this semi-pro-am tournament, nor was it ever likely. Wimbledon bid to host the finals, this later being consumed by the corruption scandals. The outer Parisian subburb of Chorleton-cum-Hardy win now Host the Silver Cup.

Will Eric beat Larry to a pulp, squashing his fetid little corpse into a pox ridden hole, or Page thrash Schmidt using daring turns and twist, backed up with a back-hand as vicious as the legendry Tommy ack-ack gun?

Tune in live at 2pm. to find out. Ask at your local police station to provide precise time zone co-ordinates.

Watch out for violence - non predicted as yet.

Paddy Powers is offering 4/1 on a U.S.A. Victory, Ahoy shipmates!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thought for the Day

Education:
In a pupil/teacher relationship, only one can learn. 
It is not the pupil.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday child is ...

A quick tip for Global Jihadists, and/or mental health patients who might suffer from 'a slight muzziness'.

I had quite a break-through yesterday, in my campaign to avoid a 'flame war' developing between the Universal Church of the Orthodox Spaghetti Monster fans, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists' now sadly defunct yoga club.

The thing is, learn to tread very carefully as soon as you realise that your position is extremely finely balanced. My wife tends to type articles in longhand first, then slash and burn the deadwood out of her essays at a later date. I, on the other hand, being a philosophical tight-rope walker, logician, and the world's first semi-professional scientist in the emerging discipline of wobble-om-metry (whilst always reserving the right to be a pedant and games-master) tend to blunder in and type with the precision of a blunder-bus. Both disciplines have their merits, learn to spot the difference with ease. I find that distractions can help. If your problem is mental in nature, try a spot of golf, if it's physical, theology might help. I used to play a bit of football whilst studying at university; the divinity colleges nearly always had the most aggressive sportsmen. They knew they we're right!

There's always enough common humanity kicking around to let people enjoy a bit of reverse polarity from time to time. Didn't you ever play games whilst you were in the cubs or the brownies? Game on!

In closing, if Freud thought that religion was an illusion, why did he claim that he could predict the future of it? I haven't read his book on the subject, just yet (nor have I asked him to sign it), but there's no reason to think it doesn't contain interesting insights, or knowledge, that might be useful elsewhere. Alternatively, pondering on what your own particular Nemesis might do in the same situation, is always instructive.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Musings Upon a Wonderful Creation

I recently took a stroll to a country pub, with a small group of friends plus a dog. The dog was wearing a muzzle. When I enquired as to why, I was told that it had recently picked up the habit of eating dog shit.

That's a pretty unpleasant thought and you can see why any dog owner would want to break that particular bad habit. The thought of the dog licking you, or mooching around the kitchen after indulging in its scatological passion is enough to put anyone off their breakfast. Joy of joys I have to dog-sit this particular mutt in a few weeks time.

Unpleasant as the talk of faeces is, there is a profound sense in which humans, as part of the wider animal kingdom, are the daily creators of this wonderful thing called dung. Rich in bacteria, each "doing" shoots off down the sewage system, to join a nether world of unseen (and unsmelt) effluent. If you want to know the correct relationship between an all powerful Creator God, and a new universe, look no further than Man, trousers rolled around his ankles, sitting upon his throne.

It's not right for a man (or woman) to pay too much attention to their own business - once it has been released into the wild it becomes a taboo. Concentrate instead on a good digestion and a regular habit, then you will have done enough to set this new microverse of DNA and roughage spinning down the pan, and out into its own nascent world.

Much as I used to enjoy Channel 4's series "You Are What You Eat", if only to witness helpless souls being harangued by Gillian McKeith, I'd never be as daft as to try and follow her advice. It's not just that "@gillianmckeith is a poo-bothering quack" as twitterer eleanora_ succinctly puts it, it is also a fact that McKeith is offending the very laws of creation. When all is said and done, each and every one of us leaves behind a glorious trail of steaming turds. This is not to denigrate the wonderful work of professional sewage engineers. Anyone who helps expediate the evacuation of waste from my house to any anywhere else must be applauded. On the other hand, anyone who thinks you should defacate in a sandwich box then poke it around with a spatula needs their bumps felt.

In a funny way of thinking, this brought me around to the Pope. Andrew Brown at the Guardian wants us to design an anti-Pope t-shirt. I had a go, and then I realised I had quite mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, I think the superstition and pagentry of the Catholic Church is ridiculous. But on the other hand, the world would be quite a bit more drab without him. This is a romantic notion, that somehow I need other people's refined eccentricities to liven up my day. Perhaps I should be putting a lot more work into my own passions, and pay a lot less attention to the passions of others? Something to ponder, at least, the next time I am sitting on the lavvy.

Lost Worlds

Interesting to note that Michael Bywater's Lost Worlds blog has itself become a lost world. At least it didn't just 404.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bloody celebs!

There I was, sitting peacefully in Watford High Street, sipping an 89p cup of tea from MacDonalds. Who pops up, but Peter "Bloody" Serafinowicz, all lost 'cos he can't find Watford Palace Theatre. Naturally I sent him on his way quick sharp.

Bloody celebs!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Adventures in Time Travel

As observed by humans, time consists of three distinct phases: past, present and future. Moments in time, which were once thought to be universal in the Newtonian scheme, are now understood to be relative since the discoveries of Einstein. Two paradoxes about time travel appear to make it an impossibility. The first is that if time travel were possible, why haven't we seen time travellers from a later technological age travel back to our time? The second is that if you could travel back in time, wouldn't you be able to modify the events of the past, and so change the present day?

Both paradoxes can be debunked, but first I want to tackle the present "now", to show that its component is not just "time", but "space and time". An event which I personally witnessed will be used to illustrate this, but you can easily check the data for yourself. In 1999 I travelled to Kamen Bryag in Bulgaria to see the solar eclipse as detailed by this map. A solar eclipse as viewed from the Earth is the moment when the Moon obscures the Sun, and darkness is observed during daytime. The darkness typically lasts a couple of minutes, but this will vary according to how close you can get to the centre of the eclipse, and to where and when the eclipse occurs on the Earth's surface. Kamen Bryag was on the centre line of the 1999 eclipse, and is on the Black Sea coast, so it can be located as the mostly easterly point of landfall for the eclipse on the map.

From the map you see that I would have witnessed the height of the eclipse at about 11:12:20 am on 11/08/99. Since the Sun, the Moon an myself were perfectly aligned, you might expect that the time was aligned too, but this is not the case. We know that light takes about 8 minutes and 12 seconds to reach us from the sun. This means that an observer on the sun would not witness the eclipse at Kamen Bryag until 11.20.32 am (ie the time on Earth, plus the time it takes for light to travel back to the Sun). Similarly a witness on the Moon would not see the event until 1.3 seconds after an observer on Earth.

So three objects are aligned, but witnesses at each different place note different times for the alignment to occur. If I shout "now" at the moment of the height of the eclipse, we note that there is one shout of now at each observation point, and they occur at different times. Now is both a measure of space and time.

Travelling forward in time is trivial to demonstrate. I get in my car, and and I drive to Leeds. It takes about 2 hours. I have travelled through time and space to reach Leeds. How do I travel back in time?

This article was written in 2010. Suppose I want to witness Earth in the 1970's. Simple, I travel to a place in the galaxy which is 40 light years from Earth and I build a massive telescope to witness Earth from 4 decades ago. The truth of the matter is that in that part of the galaxy which is 40 light years from Earth, it still is 1970. The "now" which is 1970 Earth is a matter of both space and time.

Another example of travelling backward in time goes like this. Take a fantastically fast space ship and send it to a place which is 1 light year from Earth. Suppose that observed from Earth it took 4 years to get there. To the occupants of the space ship, it will have taken just 3 years to reach their destination (ie 4 years observed from Earth is 3 years travel, plus 1 year for the signal to travel, saying they have arrived). The ship then returns to Earth. From Earth the return voyage takes 4 years again, a total journey time of 8 years. To the occupants of the space ship, the return journey takes 3 years, a return voyage of 6 years. In other words, the occupants of the ship will have travelled 8 years into the future on Earth, for a journey time of 6 years. The occupants of the ship will have travelled forward in time 2 years. But all motion is relative, why not regard the Earth as having travelled, and the space ship as having stayed put? In which case the Earth will have travelled back in time by 2 years.

So what of the two time travel paradoxes? The first is mundane. Time travel is actually so commonplace we are are rarely able to spot it. We don't need to invent time travel, because we have been doing it all our lives. Move through space and you will reach a different time.

The second paradox is demolished when you understand that to observe a different time, you must be so far away that you cannot change the past. To observe the 1970's I needed to be 40 light years away. To try to influence the 1970's it would take another 40 years for my signal to arrive.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Should ITV hire bigot Paul Staines?

from: Martin Wiesner
to: xxx@itn.co.uk
date: 30 April 2010 16:14
subject: Fwd: Do you know who you have got into bed with?


Dear ITN, I am informed by ITV you are people to contact here. Please read my original e-mail below, Martin



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Martin Wiesner pogsurf at googlemail dot com
Date: 30 April 2010 15:54
Subject: Do you know who you have got into bed with?
To: viewerservices@itv.com
Cc: info@rethink.org


Dear ITV,

The charity Rethink is right to be proud of its compact between the three main party leaders not to make slurs about other politicians mental health. As Dinesh Bhugra, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “This election may be a battle – but it should be a battle of ideas, not slurs. Candidates must be able to be open about mental health without it being used against them. Discrimination against people with mental health problems should have no place in society, and certainly not in politics."

http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/news_and_media/press_releases/decision_to_ban_ment.html

Work to end the stigmatization and discrimination of people with mental health problems is important, and so I would expect to see the party leaders example being followed by others, including public bodies such as ITV. How disappointing it is to learn that ITV is in fact hiring one of the most unreconstructed mental health bigots to cover the election for them?

I am referring to Paul Staines, who blogs under the name of Guido Fawkes. Here is Staines boasting how he will be under contract to ITV on election night:

http://order-order.com/2010/04/30/wheres-the-election-night-party/

And here is an example of one of his juvenile tirades about the Prime Minister:

"Gordon was angry because he is a malevolent weirdo, unable to relate people like a normal human being, unable to interpret the emotional signals and body language that we all do instinctively.  He is a
bonkers, not like an eccentric old aunt, but like a dangerously paranoid political psychopath."

http://order-order.com/2010/04/29/bonkers-brown-leading-labours-lemmings-over-the-electoral-edge/

I hope you can see the irony of the party leaders signing a compact hoping to bring to an end to mental health slurs, and you hiring the political blogsphere's worst proponent of it.

I look forward to receiving a reply indicating that you will not in fact be hiring this psycho-bigot. Should I not get satisfaction, I will of course look at ways of drawing this to other peoples attention via various new media.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Wiesner

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Please don't laugh

Please don't laugh at the funny man in the white dress. It makes him very unhappy if he is told that he is a figure of fun.

Laughing at him is "seriously offensive" according to the Daily Mail. Making jokes about him is "ill-judged, naive and disrespectful" as reported in the Guardian. In fact the BBC reports it is actually "despicable", which is co-incidentally Daffy Duck's ultimate retort. Are you starting to get a feel for how serious this is?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Fun with place names

Spotted on tonight's episode of Have I Got News For You was this reference to Funbag Drive, Watford:



It's been mentioned in the Telegraph and the Express recently, so it must be true. Oh, and it appears in that oracle of truth and veracity, Wikipedia, too. Watford football fan and Twitterer Kerron Cross misheard it spoken of as "Funbag Crescent", and he asks "Where??".

Where indeed. Funbag Drive, Watford is on the telly, it's in our papers, in fact it's everywhere - except on a map. Google maps says (rather dolefully): we are not able to locate the address.

There are two other rude named places in the Telegraph/Wikipedia list which don't exist. Can you spot them? Or do you prefer facts which are copied from flaky sources and not checked before they are broadcast or published?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Banned!


I was hoping to persuade my wife to accompany me to see tonight's screening of "Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)." Little did I know I only had to mentioned the magic word "banned" and the following text message came back:
"If its banned then def we must go! Xxxx"
Well done to Christian Voice for helping me to organise my social life. My tickets are booked, so now I can let everyone else know.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

wobble-om-metry

Tomorrows word of the day is:
wobble-om-metry
It's not in the dictionary just yet, but it will be by tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

True or false?

Recently, Guido Fawkes turned down a cash offer for his blog. The offer was for a lot more than http://order-order.com/ is worth.

Is the statement above true or false? Answers on a postcard please, to the usual address ...

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The passage of time

An imagined conversation follows, between 2 sock-puppets, who are both part of me.
me: What was the most important thing you did yesterday?

i: I had a row with my wife. We made up later, after I had given her some flowers.

me: What will you do today?

i: Take my mother out for Mothering Sunday, and hopefully pop over to see my wife and I's allotment. As compensation, I will dress my best and will flirt outrageously with all the young women we meet. I am stunningly attractive, and women find me irresistible to talk to. On the other hand, most young men find me rude and abrasive. I like to keep them on their toes.

me: What are you doing right now?

i: Typing this, silly. What did you think I was up to? Run along and put the kettle on!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Curiouser and curioser!


In the "Alice Through the Looking Glass" world of Paul {Pantie} Staines, this would be called a classic snop-couck. (Look it up in the dictionary, if you don't believe me!)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Yesterday's word of the day

We are sorry we were unable to bring you yesterday's word of the day. This was due a large group of starlings nesting on the 45,000 kilovolt line near the electricity substation.

Yesterday's word of the day would have been: abdication.

Tomorrows Word of the Day

"mulcted"

Public Access to Statistics

A wealth of information on scientific investigation, human activity and current affairs is available through statistics gleaned via internet activity monitoring. I have always believed that governments and public bodies should make these widely available to the researchers of today and tomorrow. I have only recently realised there was an inconsistency in my own approach, and for this I issue an unqualified apology. We all learn new things throughout our lives, and so my change of attitude was brought about by the process of growing older, and being willing to make a 180 degree turn at short notice. I can recommend this approach, but I will not be held responsible for the inevitable mistakes of others.

Please feel free to browse the appalling low visitor statistics for Pogsurf. As ever I am always willing to listen to the candid remarks of others, whilst I reserve the right to ridicule those who disseminate silly ideas.

The full access point is via the link below:

http://my.statcounter.com/project/standard/stats.php?project_id=4130854&guest=1

Fascinating couple

Professor Brian Cox and Bill Gates are both very interesting fellows. Curiously neither understands there is a perfectly good nuclear reactor found in every human stomach.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Official

Queen to abdicate in about four days time.

Poem of the day: lift-off!

There once was a man called Michael Finnegan,
He drew whiskers on his chin-again,
He wore Whiskas on his glynnegan,
Poor old Michael Finnegan, begin again, ...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Thought for the Day

"The last of the time lords is really just the first of the slime lords."

Tuesday 9th March 2010

Tuesday 9th March is a very special day. It has been declared "make a wish day". For one day only, you can make a wish and all sorts of very crazy things will become true. Try to make the most of it, and try to understand why life is such a complex mix of highs and lows, and you'll go on to lead a very long and productive life. Loose the plot, and you're heading for an early bath.

Remember to close you eyes and never tell a soul what your wish is. Things spoken out loud have terrible habit of being smashed to pieces.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Friday, 5 March 2010

Multiple Twitter Tweet

There's a common misunderstanding that the psychiatric condition schizophrenia is connected with someone exhibiting multiple personalities. The etymology of schizophrenia doesn't help - in Latin, it means "split mind". Confusion is made possible by a very confusing name.

Multiple personalities and confusion are also a tempting offering in the nickname demotic of the internet age. Done covertly it takes the name of sock-puppetry. I don't know if the practice has a name if it is done overtly. But what is to be made of the following tweet?
RT @nadine_dorries: I've noticed that the London's posters get ruder as they get smaller. No, really. The ones in phone boxes are the worst.
Tim Ireland, through a twitter account called Nadine Dorries, retweets his own tweet, but this time through an account called Tim Ireland. Tim is pretending to be Nadine, and simultaneously he is pretending there is a second Tim. Or is it just Tim being Tim? If so, why use Nadine's name at all? I expect a psychologist could make a stab at what's going on here, but I don't think I've quite got the stomach to try myself.

As to the text, I think he (or she) is trying to make a joke. It doesn't really work for me the first time. The second time round it just seems weird. I don't know if the real Nadine Dorries (there is one, but she and Tim don't seem to see eye to eye) has recently pronounced on posters in London, and I wouldn't expect the "joke" to improve if I did learn the background. Jokes work best if we can laugh with people, not at them. It's hard to see if we are meant to be laughing at Dorries, at Ireland pretending to be Dorries, or Ireland pretending to be Ireland pretending to be Dorries.

Tim Ireland sets a great store by the fact that he is open about the internet accounts he creates. It is as if he sees openness as a substitute, or guarantor, for motive. I'd be interested to know what his motive is for his repeated attacks on Nadine. But given his propensity to "over explain", I don't expect I shall be asking him directly, any time soon.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Was I even there?

On Friday, I attended the inaugural event of the Kingston University Debate Society, entitled "Is God a Delusion?". I was made to feel welcome, the debaters and the audience were interested and respectful, I learnt new things. Considering many factors, it is my judgement that it was a good event. I started to make notes about how I would write the event up, but then it occurred to me that I should report the event in a way which readers of this post may find unusual. Please allow me to indulge in a very short background.

When I was young I was fascinated by the lives and ideas of many people. Among them I can remember Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare and René Descartes. They were inspirational to me because they evidently had talents in many fields. When it came to choosing which GCSEs to study, I rejected the traditional split between arts and science, I wanted to do both. I was very good at mathematics, but when I went to university I struggled with statistics, and so I later managed to convince the Dean that I should split my time between maths and philosophy. I loved books, and this gave me the chance to read more. I am proud to say that I was the first person to graduate from Bristol University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, all be it at a pass degree only.

During one year of philosophy we tackled the philosophy of religion. My final essay, for the degree which I very nearly failed, was on the subject of self-deceit. Self deception is a fascinating subject to me: how can one part of you "know something", and yet another part not know? My studies were in the realms of deity and delusion, the subject of the Kingston debate.

Anyone reading this article has a desperate problem of evidence. Can you be sure I was there that night? Am I a reliable witness? Yet I know I was there with complete certainty. Ruwayda Mustafah, President of the debating society knows it too. We exchanged e-mails beforehand, and she was kind enough to bring me a cup of tea before the start. But others will struggle to understand if what I write here is precisely true. Professor Stephen Law, for instance, will know that I occasionally comment on his blog. Hamzas Tzortzis is unlikely to recognise me. To practically everyone else I expect I was quite anonymous.

To me, the question of "Is God a Delusion?" is almost equivalent to asking this: Stephen Law, Hamzas Tzortzis, Ruwayda Mustafah, Martin Wiesner and about 40 to 50 other people were present at the Clattern Lecture Theatre on 5th March 2010. Was God in the room too?

Even though I am an atheist, it may surprise you to hear that I think that the answer is both yes and no. This is not to say that both Law and Tzortzis failed to make compelling arguments. I found Law considered and thoughtful, as one might expect a Professor of Philosophy to be. Tzortzis, who is younger, and a practising Muslim, is both charismatic and engaging. Unfortunately, both speakers suffer from at least two common delusions, which I shall come to later. Before I do this I want to give just a little bit more about my own personal history, and of course try to set out the two arguments I saw laid before me.

Some time after leaving university, I had a breakdown. I suffered quite protracted periods of distress, and then I returned to a much safer place. I currently have a diagnosis of Bipolar I, although I hope to speak to my psychiatrist soon about a full discharge. What I am saying in a roundabout way is that I have had practical experience of delusions. Not many people speak openly about the delusions they suffer from, the stigma of mental illness is all pervasive. Unless you can express the hopes and fears about your own delusions, how can you hope to condemn or discuss them in other people?

The debate

Professor Law spoke first. He defined gods as "agents which are necessarily temporal beings". He questioned why if god is all good, there is so much bad in the world. He used the example of an imaginary distant planet, almost identical to earth, except the people there worshipped an entirely evil good. On planet "Eff", people questioned why there was "just too much good". Comparing the populations of Earth and Eff, he asked: "Which set of beliefs are more reasonable?" He couldn't answer that question.

Hamzas Tzortzis had the advantage hearing Law's arguments before replying. Tzortzis argued that "God makes sense of the meaning of the universe". When he spoke about the idea of the "big bang", he dismissed it as a possibility by saying "out of nothing, nothing comes". However to explain how God came before the universe, he said "this cause must be uncaused". He spoke quite rapidly, and I noticed he quoted very many references and sources. Tzortzis is certain that "God makes sense of the fine tuning of the universe". He felt that Law was not attacking the very God of the Muslims, stating instead that God is not good, but "God is just, god is wise, god is the one who punishes."

Both speakers were allowed to speak for a second time. Law described how his opponent was committing the Salesman's Fallacy - only two goods offered, the God of the Muslims or nothing, when in reality more options may exist. According to Tzortzis, Muslims are "going to be in paradise forever". Members of the audience were keen to ask questions at the end (I am always too shy!), which allowed the two speakers to agree on a couple of points, the substantive one being that the amount of good and bad in the world just about balances out.

In conclusion

So what of the two shared delusions that the speakers hold? The first one I have just referred to. Both believe that you can measure suffering, and having done so, that you can compare it to the amount of joy in the world. But where is the research? Where are the measuring tools, and the charts and the statistics that show that good is roughly equal to evil? Neither referred to such concrete science, so am I right in perhaps inferring that they weren't speaking literally, but that they meant that it feels as though good and evil balance out? So all we are left with is that they agreed that they both felt good and evil were at a balance. I disagree, by the way, I feel that there is always more good than evil, but I am not going to push this further here. I think we will all just have to respect our differences here.

Now for the second delusion. It's to do with the arrow of time. In the hall that evening, time was measured according to the Christian tradition, in hours and minutes, using a nominal date, near to the birth of Jesus as the year dot. Muslims use a different reference point, they would recognise the current year to be 1431. As a human, I have an internal before and after calendar, using my memories of experiences to determine where I was in time. Like most people in the UK I tie my experiences to a reference point called my date of birth, which has a lookup on the Christian calendar. But what is the date on the planet Eff?

Special relativity tells us that distant objects in the universe are separated from us by both time and space. When we the occupants of planet Earth meet the residents of Eff, we can set a new reference point, the date we met. In fact the arrival of people from outer space is likely to be such a fantastic occasion, that we will create a new calender around the event. I can back this up with an example from personal experience. In 1990, I visited Papua New Guinea. It is well documented that in the Central Highlands, a large group of native people were discovered around about the 1930's, perhaps as many as 1,000,000, who were previously unknown to the "outside" world. When I visited, local people often referred to the time before white men arrived as "before", and times after as "after". Once the shared event has occurred, we have a reference point. But at this point in time, before we have met the residents of Eff, how do we know that "today" here on Earth, is "today" on the planet Eff? The "now" that we find ourselves trapped in, only occurs when we meet. Our individual nows collide, and a shared experience occurs.

Having so rudely insulted our two speakers, by calling them deluded, I think it is time to draw this article to a close. Those of a religious bent inform our feeling of what a God is, and perversely those of an atheistic persuasion inform our intellectual understanding of God or Gods. Thankfully, the mysteries of the world are far deeper than any of us has the capacity to fully fathom...

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Sing Hallelujah

BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Singers learning event



Various community choirs from Watford and the area - Kings Langley Community Choir, Gospel Arts Manna Community Gospel Choir, Watford Palace Theatre Community Choir, Watford School of Music Soul Singers together with conductor Tim Murray, 4 BBC Singers and 6 members of the BBC Concert Orchestra. They learnt and recorded the Hallelujah chorus in two hours.
Event Details

BBC Concert Orchestra/Singers Learning Event

Wednesday 18th December 2009, 7:30pm

Main Hall, Watford Boys School, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD18 7JF

* Visit the BBC Concert Orchestra's website
* Visit the BBC Singer's website

The I'm Feeling Lucky Alphabet

a is for http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/getamap/
b is for http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/?_requestid=1640
c is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_(programming_language)
d is for http://www.digitalmars.com/d/
e is for http://uk.eonline.com/uberblog/index.jsp
f is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit
g is for https://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox
h is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H
i is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I
j is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J
k is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K
l is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L
m is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metre
n is for http://www.addictinggames.com/ngame.html
o is for http://www.o2.co.uk/assets2/errors/maintenance.html
p is for http://www.poferries.com/
q is for http://www.qthemusic.com/
r is for http://www.r-project.org/
s is for http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/sol/index.jsp
t is for http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/
u is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U
v is for http://www.vfestival.com/
w is for http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1175491/
x is for http://www.x.org/wiki/
y is for http://m.uk.yahoo.com/
z is for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z

Monday, 18 January 2010

Octagonal Room

You find yourself in an octagonal room. On each wall of the room there is one door. Seven doors are unlocked. One door is locked and you do not have the key. You want to get out of the room. You stand by the locked door and hope that it will open. This is what it means to be depressed.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Update on: Twaddlology

Just checked on Google and there is just one entry for Twaddlology, my own definitive previous post. To get the ball rolling a bit, I've posted a comment on a Comment is Free article by Charlie Brooker - There's no hope left for Labour – apart, perhaps, from hopelessness itself.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Twaddlology

n., pl., -gies.
  1. The science that deals with twaddle and twaddle-like behaviour.
  2. The foolish and prattish characteristics of an individual, group, or activity: the twaddlology of war.
  3. Puerile tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another: He used poor twaddlology on his employer when trying to make the point.
  4. Philosophy. The branch of epistemology that studies the nonsense, untruths and deceptiveness, and the relationship of untruths to logic and the mind.
Twaddlology - a word arrived fully formed, with its own definition and everything.

Iris drops off the radar

The BBC's headline "Iris Robinson receiving acute psychiatric treatment" means that her status as a non-person has now been confirmed. Mrs Robinson can no longer speak for herself. After all, she might have said something which would be damaging to Mr Robinson's attempt to save his political career, and this was a risk that was not worth taking.

It is better for all the sane parties that the words of the insane are unheard, they may just spoil the party. Iris' dignity is as nothing compared with Peter's salvage operation, so Peter and the DUP are free to comment on her suicide attempt, affair, mental health and anything else which may just give Peter a scrap of hope that he can survive the political heat. Fortunately for Peter, Iris is already widely reviled and so elicits little sympathy. Iris has hurt Peter, so Peter need not worry too much if he now hurts Iris. No one will care. Except Iris. But then that doesn't count because she is mentally ill. Just one more loony, dropping out of sight ...