?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Zarbi [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
zarbi

free web stats

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Links
[Links:| The Tufted Titmouse The Rehtorical Ranter Billy's Occasional Blog Philip's Tea Fuelled Madness Big Al Anna Banana Strawmen MPhil Diacanu Quine The Critical Thinker's Speakeasy Skepticality Quetz The Erudite Redneck Ivellios The Philosophical Neuron Russell Blackford The Bald Black Hole ]

Framing and Compatibility [Mar. 31st, 2009|09:35 pm]
zarbi
There has been quite some discussion about a post by Matt Nisbet about the ethics of the position that science is incompatible with theism. An excellent response by Russell Blackford has been mentioned in many places, and is quite devastating.

There are a couple of issues to do with this that I find interesting, and that have not been mentioned or discussed in any detail by others.
Read more...Collapse )
Link9 comments|Leave a comment

Stardrive [Mar. 31st, 2009|12:01 pm]
zarbi
In a previous post on the Orion project (a nuclear-bomb-propelled spaceship) I mentioned that a future version of the ship might be possible that would be acceptable for use within the vicinity of Earth, as it would be less polluting - a fusion drive.

We are getting there:
http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/03/30/worlds-most-powerful-laser-has-the-energy-of-a-hydrogen-bomb

With an order-of-magnitude reduction in size, this may approach something that could be used to create the required fusion explosions to propel a spacecraft.
Link3 comments|Leave a comment

The art of not-coarse stand-up [Mar. 31st, 2009|12:31 am]
zarbi
A long time ago I read "The Art of Coarse Acting" by Michael Green. Perhaps I was young and naive, but I found it very funny (as the author intended). One of the main ideas of the book was that "coarse" (amateur) acting could be recognized by the fact that the audience was putting more effort into the event than the actors. I can remember so many occasions when that has been true. What I have noticed is that this is not rare in terms of comedy. So many comedy events involve anxiety on the part of the audience to find what the performer is saying funny. Even when I watch supposedly popular comics perform on television, I can sense the tension, the need for the artist to have the support of the audience. There are few comedians who can rise above that, who can power the comedy themselves, even challenge the audience, move things in different directions, and bring back the humour when they want. They make stand-up comedy into performance art. One such comedian is Stewart Lee.

Here is his latest programme:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jmx6y/Stewart_Lees_Comedy_Vehicle_Political_Correctness
Link1 comment|Leave a comment

The war against disease [Mar. 30th, 2009|09:37 pm]
zarbi
The Tufted Titmouse has posted a detailed comment in response to a previous post, which raises all kinds of issues which I will respond to. But her important campaign against the corruption of conventional medicine (medicine that we know usually works) against "complementary" treatments has made me wonder if in some societies we have forgotten that medicine is a collaborative, community exercise.
Read more...Collapse )
Link2 comments|Leave a comment

Intelligent Design, again [Mar. 30th, 2009|12:23 am]
zarbi
I am going to re-visit Intelligent Design (ID) - the idea that some creator was needed to program in the instructions for certain biological components, because those components are supposedly too complex to have arisen by unguided evolution.

There are many well-known arguments against this position, which I won't bother to repeat. Instead, I am going to describe some lesser-known ones.
Read more...Collapse )
Link7 comments|Leave a comment

Weasel Words [Mar. 28th, 2009|11:23 pm]
zarbi
There has been some amusing recent controversy about Richard Dawkins' demonstration of the power of selection combined with random mutation
http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/03/dembski-weasels.html
Read more...Collapse )
Link2 comments|Leave a comment

Tinkerbelling [Mar. 28th, 2009|08:04 pm]
zarbi
The "Tinkerbell Effect" is when something exists because people believe in it.
Read more...Collapse )
Link7 comments|Leave a comment

Lancet vs the Pope [Mar. 28th, 2009|08:03 pm]
zarbi
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7967173.stm
"One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use."
Read more...Collapse )
Link3 comments|Leave a comment

Awesome Ubuntu [Mar. 27th, 2009|10:01 pm]
zarbi
When Linux distributions don't quite work with your hardware, it can be a real problem. But, when they do, the results can be awesome. I have an awkward laptop, with strange wireless networking hardware. After getting fed up with Vista, which regularly cuts off my network connections, and seems to think that 2GB of memory is cramped, considers that me turning off it asking me twice about almost everything is a security issue, and still requires installation of 3rd-party software to handle viruses, I have tried installing Ubuntu 9 beta.

Wow! The machine now boots in less than a minute. I have almost everything I had in Vista.. gmail notification, firefox, open office, flash, Java development, oracle, and with vastly improved performance and memory use. Wireless networking works fine. I may need to look around for some replacement for iTunes, but I believe there are reasonable alternatives. No longer is Linux having to catch up with Windows for ease of use and hardware support. It is now the other way around. Windows 7 will have to justify itself as competitive with Ubuntu, for me at least.
Link8 comments|Leave a comment

Atomic spaceships! [Mar. 27th, 2009|07:05 pm]
zarbi
Suppose we discovered a large asteroid on an impact course, to hit in a few decades? Could we build a spaceship that could take thousands of people to safety, somewhere else in the solar system, or even to a nearby star? The answer is "yes". Surprisingly, we could probably do it now.
Read more...Collapse )
Link3 comments|Leave a comment

navigation
[ viewing | 10 entries back ]
[ go | earlier/later ]