Monthly Archives September 2007

The choice of facts

Robert Park’s article ‘The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science is a result of his attempt to help judges faced with expert witnesses making scientific arguments. He has attempted to come up with heuristics of bad science: ‘indicators that a scientific claim lies well outside the bounds of rational scientific discourse’ Here they are: 1. […]

Links sept 07

Bombed out in space with a spaced out bomb: clips from the film ‘Dark Star’, where some deep-space astronaunts revive their captain from suspended animation to help them reason with a self-aware nuclear bomb that is threatening to explode. His advice: “Teach….it….phenomenology”. Awesome (thanks Jack, I’d completely forgotten the title of the film). This is […]

Boycott Politics

Boycotts have the alure of radicalism, they give a false impression of action through inaction. Really they are a mode of political action which has been colonised by consummerism. The individual consumer choice is seen as the locus of political operation, and it becomes harder and harder to convieve of political action in any other […]

Comments off, tom off

Sorry folks, i’m turning off the comments on the site for a little while. There has been a massive increase in comment spam – a veritable whirling shitstorm and I’m going to batten down the hatches until the spam-catching software has caught up. In other news, I’m in Bristol until sunday and the Oxford monday […]

Quote #210

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are […]

Quote #209

Non-violent struggle offers weak people the strength which they otherwise would not have. The spirit becomes important and no gun can silence that. Whether the Ogoni people will be able to withstand the rigours of the struggle is yet to be seen. Again, their ability to do so will point the way of peaceful struggle […]

Quote #208

It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money, so long as you have got it. Edwin Way Teale, quoted by Carl Sagan in The Demon-Haunted World

Questions for economists

Tim Harford wrote ‘The Undercover Economist’ and also writes the ‘Dear Economist’ column for the Financial Times. His book is excellent — a very readable introduction to economic theory and how it applies to various facets of everyday life. I was going to write him a letter, but then I found out that he’d sold […]

DSEi 2007

This tit-bit from the Observer on sunday n June, Reed agreed to sell the business. DSEI generates around £25m for the publishing giant and is thought to be worth double that. Four organisations have expressed strong interest in the business, though neither their identities nor nationalities are known. DSEi starts tomorrow (tuesday)

Links for 5-Sept-07 Climate protest vs fuel protest ‘Blocking ads is theft’ MP3 of brilliant talk by Richard Smith drawing parallels between closed-access academic publishing and the slave-trade BMJ 1997;314:497 (15 February) Why the impact factor of journals should not be used for evaluating research Per O Seglen (no correlation between journal impact factor and citation rate […]

Ethical consumerism

Ethical consumerism is mood music, rather than a reengineering of the economy in a meaningful way. We’ve got to get away from the passivity of being defined as consumers, and start making things happen Andrew Simms, quoted in the Triodos Bank newsletter (thanks Harry)

Apply to climate change, mutatis mutandis

From a Crooked Timber discussion of WWII and British politicians’ view of the possible end of civilisation: A possibly apocryphal moment, which the ungossipy Lukacs does not treat us to, has Attlee pointing out to Greenwood that if Churchill loses to the Tory grandees civilisation in Europe will be gone, Greenwood retorting that if so, […]

Judge not, for without them you would as bad, or worse

Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing […]

Come and play

Who would like to come with me to any of the following events? Told By An Idiot’s Casanova @ The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. I can definitely make the 12th, 18th, 19th or 20th of September, and am open to offers on other days. Jim White @ Social, Nottingham – 12 October The Battle of […]