Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Something Rich and Strange

Only 1% of the ocean depths have been explored by mankind, and more humans have reached the moon than been down there, too. Luckily, the few that made it took cameras with them & photographed such astonishing life:

More pictures here.

(Buy the book or find out more here.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Champion Shuffler

I don't blog much on this blog - especially compared to the chess blog I run and help write. Or rather I should say, compared to the award winning chess blog I run and help write. But now I've fixed my camera, that could all change. Could...

If it does, you can expect stuff like this. How I went to the Great British Beer Festival on Saturday, and discovered a game called Shuffleboard that I actually seem to have some talent for - unlike all of the other games in the universe. Luckily Shuffleboard is a compelling spectacle that demands acts of extreme sportsmanship from its athletes. (Meaning that yes, I am an athlete now.) A sport for the 2012 Olympics? Maybe. They're going to be held just up the road from me, and I'll be ready, just in case.

But before that, what is Shuffleboard? Here's my friend Antony having a go, so you can get the idea before I dazzle you with my own accomplishment:

You have a pile of round wooden things: I assume they are called 'shuffles', since it's self-explanatory which part of the sports equipment the 'board' refers to. You have to get these shuffles through the slots in the bridge. For that you get points - and points win prizes.

And here's how Antony did:

Pretty good. I decided to follow Antony's strategy of drinking a lot, but also add a few novel tactics of my own. The first can be seen from this picture of me getting ready to go:
The unused pile of shuffles are stacked off the board, behind the beer glasses, so not in the way: tactic one. I also decided to go for top-spin, and aiming them at the slits hard. Top-spin proved impossible, but nonetheless I did alright, eh:


And guess what I won? A million pounds? A yacht? Eternal life? Even better: The Big Book of Beer, which is just stuffed full of brilliant tips on how to get drunk, a central part of my Shuffleboard training plan in the years to come. Next, the crowd carried me off on their shoulders...

I don't know. Is the camera good or bad news for this blog?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Which LOLCAT Are You?

Probably the lamest thing I've ever blogged. But... I loved it.

Your Score: Sad Cookie Cat

71 % Affection, 50 % Excitability , 55 % Hunger

You are the classic Shakespearian tragedy of the lolcat universe. The sad story of a baking a cookie, succumbing to gluttony, and in turn consuming the very cookie that was to be offered. Bad grammar ensues.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Friday, May 25, 2007



Congratulations and welcome. You have entered a site designed by bastards, for bastards, in a spirit of unapologetic bastardy.

If you suspect that you are not a bastard, careful questioning of your mother may reveal that you actually are. If not, I confer upon you the title of honorary bastard for finding this site.
I'm not easily confused and not easily amused, but Christophe the Insultor, Archbastard manages both - whilst not managing to insult, alas. Time to open up the insultesaurus for his bastard guest book, though?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


What's the difference between you, and a fruit fly?

Science, religion and philosophy are pub conversations for the likes us, single and drunk twenty-something* Londoners. They're things that other people do seriously, but which we sit judging from our cosy alcoves with the pints lining up.

This isn't to say we don't take them on with a straight-face, or that we can't have arguments. And the arguments usually occur when it comes to free-will and morality. The hedonists amongst us prefer to say neither exists: thus we can carry on glibly partying, thanks Science, thanks Determinism! A few others take a different view . . . . .

. . . . . Morality and free-will are a natural and obvious part of life, they say. Since evolution created them in us, they will occur to differing degrees in other creatures too. And if Science hasn't caught up with that self-evident fact, operating instead on the basis that 'if we can't explain it, it doesn't exist', Science is all the worse for it. Or in fact, no longer Science . . . . . Someone at this point usually objects, that surely we can only expect free-will and morality to have evolved in Humans? But this is a curious remnant of the religious view of human exceptionalism, something you can't have alongside an acceptance of evolution. And the term anthropomorphism is neatly rebutted by the term anthropodenial . . . . . Someone else might add, but isn't the universe deterministic, and that everything - your latest hairstyle, your choice of white - predicted by the Big Bang? Roger Penrose's name comes to the rescue, along with some stuff about quantum mechanics. The more daring suggest that the very explicability of the universe by humans is an argument in favour of its conscious design, and the mystery of 'before the Big Bang' in no way rules that out . . . . . Then someone or other might add how Darwin had identified forms of morality as having evolved in many species - including Pelicans, of all things - and isn't this kind of real-world-first methodology something rather lacking in Dawkins's delineated, logical approach? The conversation tends to shift at that point, because Wikipedia hasn't prepared anyone for this . . . . .

Why am I telling you this? Well, these rehearsals for a serious life that will never happen are going to have to move on a bit. Because: FRUIT FLIES HAVE FREE WILL. So, thanks, Science! I'm looking forward to the local a bit more than usual now.

*-a term that holds, so say we all, even if the something happens now to be a whole decade.

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