Sunday, 31 January 2010

A reply! "Dear Science, from Astrology" (No. 3a)

Believe it or not, someone wrote a rather extensive reply to my original letter to Astrology.

Although not adopting the anthropomorphic personification viewpoint, it's still an exhaustive reply as to why Astrology is not just equal to but BETTER than Astronomy and science in General. The main basis for his claim seems to be-

1. Astrology is very old
2. It deals with the world beyond physics.

So yeah, not exactly subscribing to the rational viewpoint, but gives you a gist of what to expect.

A particular highlight is

"Well, if you prefer evidence over wishful thinking, I think this is a good idea, but the problem is that evidence is only a word and it is used for all what seems to be real, but isn't it really"

Not really much that can be done with that.

Anyway, enjoy! (Also, latest letter is to advertising. Please feel free to keep the questions, suggestions and feedback coming. Like most scientists, I am dreadfully insecure)

"Hello. I'm ******. I think in old times some people have had knowledge
about the signs of the sky, like the people in India in the Indus valley
culture. They have had knowledge about the two invisible Moon nodes,
which they called Rahu and Ketu. That shows that they must have done
astronomy work. But I don't think, that this stuff is an object of

Astronomers? Yes, people called that a sect, they have separated
themselves from Astrology. Now they have nothing but formulas.

All night it is dark; I do not knew what people think about eclipses.

Well, I do not see any cause on the movement of the planets or the Moon.
It is said: "Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause)
and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence
of the first." But to my knowledge no one ever have shown, that the
movement per example of the Moon is caused.

Well, if you prefer evidence over wishful thinking, I think this is a
good idea, but the problem is that evidence is only a word and it is
used for all what seems to be real, but isn't it really. As one can
recognize, the colour of the sky is not real outside, it is, as you may
know a reality in a living consciousness.

If one accept it as true, what seems to be real, but isn't real, he
maybe is on the level of science. This as an big impact, because objects
of time, space, logic, music, harmony, algebra, brightness or colour
can be defined as evident, but not ever observed by the methods of
physics. And if this is to be recognized as true, it makes no different
whether one accept the nature of logic or the nature of a language like
French as true.

Well that are a lot of points you have come up with from your own
individual personal experience, but mostly all is not stuff of science,
but rumour.

I will try to pick your points up.

There are moving objects on the sky (and suns which do not move) like
the planets of our sun system. Relevant for the astrology are only the
moving objects and our sun. The sun is not really relevant, it is the
moving and rotating earth on their way around the sun. Because all
objects have a mass, a moving like an oscillation of a planet with a
frequency is because of the Planck constant an energy [eV] and because
this holds for all interacting movements like the rotation of the earth
surface with peoples, one can be understand, that it makes a different,
whether a body is placed in the east or in the west. Science people know
this effect as Doppler Effect. Because evidence is only to be
recognized, but not to show, like physical forces, and this is accepted
in the logic, in the music, and all other forms of evidence like algebra
or geometry, it is also possible to recognize the core of the language
of astro_logy like other languages. And of course it is no valid
argument, that a logic of a language like French has no evidence,
because it cannot be proved by the methods of physics; only he, who has
learned the language of French or astrology can speak valid scientific

Predictions. If you know the astronomical algorithm for the
Earth/Sun/Moon system, you can predict a planetary constellation or an
eclipse of the Sun or the Moon. That is simple, because J. Kepler has
found out the relations of the undisturbed timeless motion.

In the core, astrology do not deals really with predictions of events,
but with the evidence of geometrical patterns (like music), which was
learned from the cycles of the moving objects. These patterns are
connected with the occurrence of a special mentality of born peoples,
which can be learned as evident. It seems like a mirror, that the
planetary pattern mirrors the scope of the mentality and fate of a born
individual, like the identity of the DNA can lead to loads that person
have like the mother or the father. This is not a business of belief,
it is a business of science in that one study evidence relations beyond
the science of physics as the science of natural forces.

As mentioned above, objects of other sun systems as our are not relevant
for the astrology. But if you speak on the delay of light from far
distances, as it is evident also for the force of gravitation that
should rule the planets, one can see, that Mr. Keplers accepted formula
for the undisturbed motion includes not any time delay from
gravitational interaction, and this holds also for objects like Quaoar,
in a distance of 6 light hours one way. With other words this means,
that there is no causality of time or space. Once again this moves a
phenomenon from the interacting physics to beyond the nature of physics
in that area, which is called metaphysics and which is taboo for the
sect of astronomers.

Science. The discussion what science is, is not a scientific discussion,
but a political discussion or a belief war. Like truth no one can
define, no one can define science, because it is not to be shown, but
only to be recognized.

Theories. Your understanding of scientific work is based on your belief
system called 'science' and believes that there are must be theories
first. But this is only your own belief. Nature or the order of nature
exist well without theories, like you can find out the relations of
tunes of a string by dividing the string into other lengths. Like
Pythagoras has taken that, what is, without any theory, and J. Kepler
has taken that up again and have added the relations of integer ratio
numbers by dividing the 2 Pi circle of the ecliptic with its bodies in
harmonic angle distances, which are used as language of the sky since
the old days in India to learn and recognize the own self, there is no
need for a theory. Theories are connected to functions, and functions
are connected with cause and effect. That what is, is no function.

Claims. I think a discussion on claims is not a scientific discussion.
It is a war. I think there is an agreement possible on that, what is
and/or on that what is to be recognized as true. And if this is true,
there is never anything that is in the same time true and untrue. This
means that there is only one nature which is without contradiction.
There are no two truthes posible.

Layman. If one is an expert in Neuroscience, he is not necessary an
expert in Geology or an expert in Sanskrit or astronomy. The rules are
that he, who would discuss competent on a discipline, he must study the
discipline first. This holds for every discipline in science. There are
also rules, that he, who is a laymen to a discipline, hardly can ask
questions with the reason only to fight a belief war, whether temporary
disciplines on universities are superior to the things down in the county.

There is a big phantom power with comedians like you, because in real
there is nothing, that any science is called doing can show, except
physical forces. But beyond, this only finger touching world of truth
called physics there is claimed time, space, truth vs untruth as
essential evidence, but no one of this educated peoples ever have given
a proof for this 'objects'.

Philosophy. I think it is sensible to show the own experience instead of
make suggestions as layman in another discipline. But if this is the
purpose of a layman, I think it is senseless to discuss with on the
level of science. Because there is only one nature with living people,
who knows nothing where they come from or why they live here a fate,
born with AIDS or born to die as child.

Astrology is a tool that helps people to understand the world beyond
physics as this the Chaldeans coming from India 4000 years ago to
Babylon have lived for, as told by Diodor. The sect of astronomers have
nothing; no philosophy about the own consciousness. Empty they come in
this word and empty they leave this world"

That's us told!

email: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

Friday, 29 January 2010

"Dear Advertising, from Science" (No. 6)

One for the weekend. "When will it end?!?", I hear you shout. As soon as people stop reading it, I reply.

"Dear Advertising

I'm writing to you on the advice of my lawyers (I have about three). Please pass this message on to Marketing too, as almost all of this applies to him too. To be completely truthful, it wouldn't surprise me if you guys were the same person. I would say "I've never seen the two of you together" to support my argument, but seeing as you're both abstract concepts that's not surprising. But then so am I, so I can write to you and you'd better bloody read it or I'll come and find you.

Rest assured, I'll work out how, what with being Science and all.

Stop mentioning me in your work! Seriously, cut that crap out. We don't work together, I don't endorse you, if anything I wish you'd just piss off and die in a ditch, or some other filth-filled location, I'm not fussy. You make the money for all of Businesses evil henchmen, and they tempt my lot to go work with them on projects which are utterly meaningless. and generally detrimental to society. So to then claim I'm endorsing or somehow involved in the crap your flogging is just like a massive kick in the nether regions. Using my own leg. That you ripped off without asking.

I'll make this even simpler; I don't like you! I have to spend countless hours (on a shoestring budget) explaining to people the fundamental discoveries I've made, and they barely listen. You, however, get millions to spend and all the media exposure you want, and look what you do with it! And what's worse, it ends up making my lot look stupid!

Just to clarify, here's a brief list of things that, despite your claims, scientists don't spend any time researching;
  • "What brand of cat-food cats prefer", especially when given a choice of '2'. A non-reasoning animal making an arbitrary choice between 2 options does not provide useful information. No, not even if it was a double blind. Anyway, aren't cats arrogant enough without extensive study into what particular type of reconstituted offal they will deign to consume? This is not a valid use of research funding.
  • The design of the toothbrush is pretty much fixed now. A tweak here or there is fine, but one of us could do that on a Sunday morning while waiting for the centrifuge cycle to finish. It's not a series of monumental breakthroughs, as you seem to imply. And electric toothbrushes aren't much better. If you're the sort of person who can't be bothered to move your arm for a minute when cleaning your own teeth then they're screwed anyway, might as well glue a brush to a sex toy and call it good. And don't try the whole '4 out of 5 dentists recommend...' approach either. Dentists are overworked individuals who have to spend all their working lives fiddling about in the mouths of people who probably don't brush; they'd recommend daily bleach gargling if it made their lives easier.
  • On a similar note, there aren't armies of scientists and technicians working on the next big development in disposable razor blade technology. It's a simple system, just add 1 more blade to the existing number then triple the price. Then wait until every posing vain idiot has bought one, then claim that, actually, 'the best number of blades on a razor is one more than we thought'. Repeat until disposable blades are bigger than the human face, then say 'oh no, wait, just the one blade is better'. Cycle repeats.
Just a few examples there of things I'm not involved with in any great way. But you also need to stop criticising the stuff I am involved with.

I've spent decades working with the food industry to make food more commercially viable, better tasting and long lasting, and then you imply that I'm basically pissing in it? Oh no, now you go and really emphasise 'natural' ingredients. Like what? Arsenic? Sulphur? Magma? Mmm, natural! And everything is natural at some point, before it undergoes processing, as I've not yet cracked the process of creating fresh matter from sunbeams or happy thoughts. Have you? I notice you never stipulate how 'natural' something is in relative terms, which isn't even slightly suspicious, of course.

I genuinely saw a bag of crisps the other day which boasted the claim 'Made of REAL ingredients'. I was reassured, those holographic crisps are never as good, and it's nice to have the possibility that we are all part of the Matrix ruled out by a fried potato snack.

And another thing, stop using my words when you clearly have no idea what they mean! 'High in polyunsaturates'? 'Contains Omega 3'? 'Rich in antioxidants'? You don't have a clue, do you? Why are these good things? Are they, in fact, good things? The phrase 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all' has never been one that I've adhered to, so I use my own.

"If you don't have any idea what you're saying, shut your stupid face!"

It's potentially dangerous, too. How many things do you say 'help boost the immune system'? 'Boost'? That must be a good thing, of course. What harm could an artificially increased immune system do? Tell me, are you familiar with the term Anaphylactic shock? I doubt it. But if I'm wrong, and you have discovered a manner to quickly and easily improve someones immune system, could you at least do the decent thing and let me know how? I have some AIDS sufferers who'd love to hear about it, and it would save a lot of time looking for bone marrow.

Speaking of discoveries, isn't it illegal to claim to have discovered something when you haven't? Case in point, that Oil of Olay crap where the secret ingredient is pentapeptides? A string of 5 amino-acids? If this is such an incredible achievement, can you point me in the direction of an organic compound that doesn't have any pentapeptides? Take your time. What does the next miracle cream contain? Revolutionary new 'atoms'? Ooh, wizz-bang!

But seriously, stop it. Stop telling people we're in agreement, stop using my words to confuse them and stop telling them that my work is bad for them.

There is some science to advertising, admittedly. You know how almost every system or process can be boiled down to a series of equations? Here's the equation for advertising.

N = n+1

N = Necessary number of things/services for an individual
n = Number they already posses.

There. That's it. All of advertising rests on this equation. Everyone needs one more of something, be it shoes, computers or level of whiteness provided by a washing powder.Of course, if they obtain one more of whatever it is, N become n. And so it goes on.

If this equation stops, you will cease to exist. I'm working with Maths to try and figure out how to make that happen.

Love and kisses

Science (BA hons)

P.S. That equation also seems to calculate the required number of films about 'Shrek', but I think this is a coincidence

email: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

N.B. After writing this, was reminded of several instances where advertising has been used as a force for good, such as the Atheist Bus Campaign. I really should have titled it a letter to 'advertising which incorrectly uses science for comemrcial gain', but that would have been quite unwieldy

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Humourology Lectures No. 2: The Appendix


As well as the new and ongoing 'From Science' letters series, which can be found here, I'm also trying to arrange a pseudo-regular series of amusing video lectures.
Here's the second one, courtesy of my good friend and Medic Student Dave Steele, all about that tricky organ that is the appendix

More letters and videos to follow. Requests, questions, suggestions, complaints and outright naked abuse is always welcome, just drop a line.

Email: Humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

"Dear 'Apple', from Science" (No. 5)

Wasn't even going to do one today, but if I'm going to claim to be satirical, might as well follow the fruit-based herd.

"Dear 'Apple'

It's me, the anthropomorphic personification of Science. Quite a long title that, I know. Was thinking of shortening it, to something like 'Sci'. I could apply it to all my stuff, I'd have a 'SciPhone'. And everything else could have 'Sci' in front of it so people would know I made it and be cool like me by association.

On second thoughts, that sounds stupid and incredibly pretentious. That's why I'm writing to you. I'm not sure you'll be able to read this though, it tends to be difficult to get enough light with your own head is so far up your arse.

This might sound ungrateful as a lot of the people working for me use your bloody tech. But I wish they didn't. I don't care what else they use, but I'd rather they didn't buy things from you. Because your things are 'cool'. And when scientists and engineers start worrying about being cool, what's the first thing they do?

They stop being scientists and engineers. So yeah, thanks for that.

We're not 'cool', us Science and Engineering types. Probably because 'cool' is non quantifiable and hard to measure (unless we're referring to low ambient temperatures, which I presume we aren't), and that's like fingernails down the blackboard of what would be my soul if I could empirically demonstrate that I have one. Thing is though, we don't care about 'cool'. Yet, it seems to be all you do care about.

You were one of us once, us techies, nerds and geeks, but now it's almost as if you've undergone some sort of... conversion. Yeah, it's like you've been... born again?

That doesn't sound like anything one of my lot would do, that sounds more like something else I know, something that doesn't like me very much...

Granted, the stuff you make does work. Very well by all accounts. I wouldn't know, I avoid all your merchandise to prevent contamination as I'm sure it's laced with halucinogenic crack. But answer me this; does the technology matter more, or is it just the fact that having the slickest tech makes you 'cooler'? My impression is that if the world decided tomorrow that wood was the coolest thing ever, you'd stick a glowing fruit on an abacus and sell it for several hundred a unit.

Speaking of which, well done on associating the well know fruit with advanced science and tech. Nobody apart from Isaac Newton has ever done that, but you've seemingly usurped even him. Now, many people believe that 'Apple' is the only way to get anything done, as if the 'Apple' grows on some 'Tree of All Knowledge'. Why does that sound familiar too...? Still, I'm sure that's just a result of being cool.

Now look, you've got me saying 'cool' far too much, and I hate saying things I don't fully understand! Bastard!

Yes, apparently you have the 'best' mp3 players, mobile phones, computers etc. But tell me, how many of those did you actually invent? None, wasn't it? Yeah, the first PC was an 'Apple', but wasn't that just an impressively conveniently packaged assembly of breakthroughs in processing that other people had made? I think it was. Sort of like an iPod. Or iPhone. Or what's that new one? The iCouldn'tcareless isn't it? You do make tech look trendy, but how important is it to be able to check your emails on a bus?

Now look, you've got me, Science, arguing against technological developments! Double bastard!

But I know there's no point arguing, people will swear that your way is the best, and all others are inferior and wrong. That reminds me of something again... Something else encourages that behaviour, what could it be...?

Speaking of which, what's up with the people who use your stuff? What do you do to them to make them like that? Wandering around all insufferably smug, always trying to encourage others to convert to their chosen way of life, pitying those who don't and getting enraged with those who question their views as anything less than absolute.

Again, that sounds familiar. Who else do we know who does that sort of thing...?

And those shops! Hospitals aren't that white and clean! It's like the inside of a fridge. All that bright open space, people tell me that when they pass they're tempted to walk in... walk into the light...

And that logo, it's a bit sinister isn't it? Alan Turing, brilliant inventor and analytical mind, basically invented the concept of the computer, but killed himself by biting a poisoned apple after his relentless treatment on behalf of the establishment for being gay. That's what your logo represents, I hear?

Sick, mate. I mean, what sort of people would emblazon all they make with a visual icon representing the manner in which the oppressed founder of their group was tragically killed? Can you think of anyone else who would do that? Anyone...?

I didn't even want to write to you, but I couldn't do any work today because the announcement of you releasing your new iSlab computer (or whatever) caused the Internet to overload, an irony which wasn't lost on me. What's with all the furore? All the anticipation? Your supporters are acting like it's some sort of... I don't know... second coming?

And on a more personal note, you might want to slow down. By my calculations, the human brain has an information capacity of 2,500 gigabytes. Sounds like a lot, but if Moore's law carries on, iPods will be able to store more than that, so that will sort of make them smarter than people, won't it? Then what? Society get's controlled by super-smart mp3 players? I'd hate that! I'm Science, I'm not good with music, you know that! Triple bastard!

Anyway, just a note to say some of us are worried about you. Hope you see it that way. Although I won't be surprised if you ignore my rational arguments in favour of knee-jerk bile and scorn. You're not the first to do that to me.

Rational debate and criticism. Remember that? I'll be here when you want to relive the good old days.

Yours very sincerely

Science (BA hons)

P.S. I'll admit that MSN is shit, but that's as far as I'll go.

E-mail: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

"Dear Economics, from Science" (No. 4)

Wrote this when ill, so if it shows a marked drop in quality, that might be why. Or I'm just crap, can't completely rule that out.

"Dear Economics

Hope this letter finds you well, but I'd settle for conscious. It's me, the anthropomorphic personification of Science. I'm writing to you because all the intangible concepts that form elements of society told me to. Apparently, when it comes to revealing things that people don't want to hear that are nevertheless true, I'm the expert. I can't argue that, your friend Politics usually does the opposite, and Religion hasn't spoken to me cordially since the whole Darwin thing. To be honest, unless you count the occasional screaming fit and frequent burning bags of 'organic waste' lobbed at me, Religion doesn't speak to me at all any more.
To be honest, everyone thinks I'm a bit autistic. I couldn't care less either way, but that supports their argument when you think about it.
But I digress, so I'll just get to the point.


Seriously, where in Newton's name has it all gone? I've heard about these people who selflessly allow friends/relatives with drug problems to stay with them, then end up with all their possessions sold for smack and their trusted friend/relative slumped in the corner of the now-empty front room, dribbling and giggling. That's exactly what you've done. And no, the giggling is not endearing. And that 'whoops! Clumsy me!' expression is far from amusing.
Thing is, you haven't emptied someone's home, you've flogged the house several times over! We all put you in charge of all the money because you assured us you knew what you were doing. This is something myself and Mathematics were dubious of from the start, but no-one listens to use because we're boring, apparently. And I admit it was sort of a relief, nobody would object if someone offered too do their accounts, at least not until the point where they find themselves eating out of bins.
Help me understand here. A lot of the things you do to 'regulate' and 'control' the flow of commerce are really confusing. And that's ME saying that. Science! I understand quantum wave functions. I pretty much invented complexity. A lot of the time, your behaviour made it look like you were making it up as you went along. Turns out, you were making it up as you went along.
What are you, a chiropractor? What sort of idiot bases a system INTEGRAL TO SOCIETY on the ridiculously fragile grounding of people's temporary optimism? As far as I can tell, the strength of the stock market depends largely on how much money people expect to get from certain actions. If we'd known that was what you were doing we might as well have put Astrology in charge. At least he'd make predictions based on celestial configurations, something he can't control. You make predictions based on how much money you think you'll make, and the amount of money you make is determined by the predictions of how much money you'll make? And you don't see anything wrong with this? It's self-referential! It's a closed system! And haven't you heard of the the second law of thermodynamics? No, you probably haven't. To be honest, I'm not sure to what extent physical laws apply to entirely made-up systems. I'll leave that one to Philosophy.
(That reminds me, I haven't visited her in a while, I really should, but then she does tend to babble on about stuff I don't really have any interest in, but then that's the same with most elderly parents I hear. Sorry, where was I?...)
Maybe I've got this completely wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, I've got a bit of a blind spot when it comes to people's behaviour. Maybe you operate according to something else entirely. Please, enlighten me if so. I prefer to study complex systems and try and figure them out so they become understandable; you seem to have done the reverse. It's impressive in a way, but also makes it quite easy to work things for your own benefit without people realising.
Not that I'm accusing you of anything underhanded of course (despite the megatons of evidence to support that claim). I know Law tends to weigh in on your behalf whenever anyone does. Utterly spineless sometimes, that guy. So much so that I'm reworking the biology classifications to put Lawyers and Jellyfish in the same genus. A bit harsh, admittedly; Jellyfish never sting people on purpose.
I suppose you are to be commended in some ways. I would have sworn it was impossible to violate the principle of conservation of mass, yet you've managed to make something like a trillion dollars just vanish! It's very impressive, it's as if Physics were to tell me he'd lost the moon. Seriously, where did it go? Have you checked down the back of the sofa? That's where my money sometimes ends up. Of course, that much loose change down the back of the couch means you'd end up sat somewhere in the ionosphere, but might be worth a look.
Seriously man, you have a problem. A junkie always hurts those around him. Look at Environment! Could you at least clean up your act long enough to stop repeatedly kicking her in the face? We need her a hell of a lot more than we need you. And don't think we don't know that Politics is enabling you, he's given you all our stuff so you can indulge your filthy habits. Meanwhile I've got particle physicists here who are having to do work with bloody abacuses! You could argue that what they do is 'non-essential'. And what you do is? Bovine faeces!
Anyway, the rest of the guys might be afraid of you, but I'm not. You want me and Technology to keep supplying you with things to sell to fund your habit? Not happening. Your guys make ten times as much as my guys on average, so don't play the bleeding heart angle with me. Most addicts go to rehab, they don't get given other peoples valuables just so they can keep getting high.

Sort it out, dickhead!

Yours increasingly angrily

Science (BA hons)

P.S. Have I introduced you to my friend Logic? You guys should meet, you clearly need him in your life.

Email: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Dear Astrology, from Science" (No. 3)

The sudden enthusiasm for what was just a passing idea has led to me churning out more of this bilge, in a series I'm calling The Science Letters, for obvious reasons. First two are here and here, the latest are here.

And on we go...

"Dear Astrology

Hello. It's me, Science. Remember me? We used to work together a lot in the old days, before I went solo? Good times usually, but I'll be honest, it's not something I bring up on my CV these days. I know we haven't really spoken in a while, are you still sore about two of your guys getting executed over the eclipse business? Like I told you at the time, if they'd spent more time listening to me instead of wallowing in the opium dens, they would have seen it coming.
And before you kick off, no, I don't cause eclipses, I just know what they are and when they're coming, me and Maths worked it out long ago. You want to talk to the cause, have a word with my boy Physics. Good luck with that though, he's thoroughly set in his ways. 'You Can'nae change him', as the great man used to say.
(Yes, I'm a Start Trek fan, why does this surprise you?)
How are you anyway? Not been seeing you around much lately. It wasn't too long ago that you and Media were best mates, you were always together. I guess you didn't confuse him like I do, despite your insane claims. But now he's ditched you in favour of psychics and health gurus. He's fickle is media, it's all about image with him. No doubt he'll also throw those hacks to the curb soon, in favour of Chicken-juggling rain makers or people who predict the future by 'reading' the patterns in spilled muesli, or whatever crowd-pleasing gibberish is 'in'. Whore.
Anyway, Astronomy asked me to write to you, largely because people keep getting him and you mixed up. I can see his problem, apart from the similar names and obsession with all things spatial; you guys have nothing in common. Oh, and stereotypically you are both advocated by socially awkward people with weird hair in long coats who speak in bizarre ways. Astronomy insists that that's not how he is any more, any comments on this yourself?
Thing is, I hesitate to have a go at you. We've worked together in the past quite well, and unlike most other pseudosciences you don't seem to have this desire to relentlessly attack me and my lot for having the gall to prefer evidence over wishful thinking. So cheers for that.
So, if you could somehow make it clear that you and astronomy aren't working together, that would be cool. He wants to know how things in Space work; you want people to think that things in space effect how we work. Can't say I agree with that, but then if there are people out there who feel they need the arrangement of celestial bodies to govern how they live their lives then I guess they need all the help they can get, so fair enough.
Of course, this could be a simple oversight. Perhaps you know something I don't, and your predictions are 100% accurate, but your proponents have not taken into account the light-speed factor. The stars we see in the night sky, their light is actually from anywhere between dozens to hundreds of thousands of years in the past. Maybe your predictions are completely true, but for people in the 3rd century? You might want to hook up with History and Archaeology, see if there's something you can work out regarding this.
My main issue is that I've heard people describe Astrology as 'a Science'. And we both know you're not. You don't pay the union dues for a start, but that's by-the-by. Did you ever think about becoming a Science for real? It won't be easy, but should it be a challenge you wish to take up, there are several things you need to do.
Firstly, you need a rational basis for your theories. You contend that the arrangement of bodies in space directly affects what happens in the lives of individual people. Why would this be the case, and by what mechanism could this occur? In actual fact, the equations governing gravity and its effects do suggest that all matter in the universe affects other matter, regardless of distance, so there's something you may want to look into. (Not that this really supports your claims, seeing as a Walnut in a village in Brazil has more noticeable influence over a Mongolian goat herder than stars light years away have over individual people, but it's something to think about).
Secondly, you need to be more specific. 12 star signs limit you to 1 prediction per 500 million people, at least. Yeah, going by those odds, your predictions will be accurate for some people, but you'll be wrong a lot more than you'll be right. Granted, you could select a few of the 'accurate' examples, ignore the rest and say you were right. But why stop there, why not just start selling people water to cure their illness and argue that 2000 years of medicine are wrong?
There's no need to be so limiting these days. You've got the planets to work with, sure, but Astronomy has discovered at least 424 extrasolar planets now, with more coming in all the time. I'm sure he'll let you borrow some. You know what 'happens' when Mars is in Sagittarius, or Venus is occupying Aries, but what about when PSR B1620-26 is passing Capricorn? Or SWEEPS J175853.92-291129.6 is waxing in Pisces? The names aren't as catchy I'll admit, but a couple of nicknames won't hurt. Spread the net wider, play around with it a bit.
Speaking of which, I hope it didn't throw things off too much when I demoted Pluto. I was sorry to see the little guy go too, but there are bigger rocks than him out there and I can't start focusing on the ones I like. Remember what I said about cherry picking the data? Bad boy, naughty now!
This is assuming it did affect you, of course. But if it didn't, that raises interesting questions. Exactly how big does a celestial body need to be in order to 'influence' us? If Pluto can do it, why not the billions of other rocks and comets (in this system alone)? Or do they affect the non-human 'lower' creatures? Another lucrative market, perhaps? Horoscopes for animals.

"Virgo: On Sunday, you will face challenges in the form of next doors cat, which will again attempt to encroach on your territory. An irritable Cancer, a bad sign for romance with Virgos, will reject your advances when you try to hump his leg. Avoid chicken bones as these will lead to bowel upsets. Be wary of worms"

There you go, easy. The point is, the more data you have, the more accurate the predictions you could make (and before you think to argue this, don't bring up Meteorology, he does his best, and you try to make better predictions of a system which is the embodiment of chaos!). The more accurate the predictions, the more credible you could be. I'll admit that accurate Horoscopes would be quite unnerving for people; I tried them out myself a few times. But still, credibility or crowd pleasing? The choice is yours. And if you were more accurate, I'm sure Astronomy wouldn't mind being mistaken for you so much.

Fond regards

Science (BA hons)

P.S. Please spare me the jokes about how 'you knew this was coming'. If I'd got the reply before I sent this, then I'd believe you.

Email: Humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

Liebe Homöopathie, von der Wissenschaft

For some unknown surreal reason, my Science letters have suddenly become very popular, to the point where someone names Ulrich has translated it. Here it is, for posterity

Brief an die Homöopathie:

Liebe Homöopathie!
Hallo. Wissenschaft hier. Ich dachte, dass ich mich besser vorstelle, als hätten wir uns noch nie getroffen. Ich weiß, dass du es liebst den Leuten den Eindruck zu vermitteln, dass du eng mit mir zusammenarbeitest und dass ich dich irgendwie beneide, so dass ich versuche dich zu unterdrücken. Aber da wir beide die Wahrheit kennen muss ich fragen: Wer bist du und was willst du?
Sicherlich können wir uns erwachsen darüber unterhalten? Ich weiß, dass wir unsere Verschiedenheiten haben. Ich bin die antropomorphe (menschliche) Verkörperung des Konzepts der Wissenschaft, ein Jahrtausende altes Gebiet der Forschung und Lehren, basiert auf die Errichtung von Beweisen und rationalen Theorien, lebenswichtig für das Funktionieren und Fortschreiten der Gesellschaft, und du bist… naja du.
Was bist du eigentlich genau? Ich frage, weil ich wirklich verwirrt bin. Es scheint, dass du die Leute glauben lassen willst, dass du ein wesentlicher Teil von mir bist, während du gleichzeitig den Leuten erzählst, dass was ich tue sei falsch. Scheint widersprüchlich zu sein, nicht wahr?
Hast du jemals einen professionellen Skydiver getroffen, der nicht an die Schwerkraft glaubt? Natürlich hast du das nicht, weil es einfach lächerlich wäre. Bin ich zu subtil? Übersieh nicht die Tatsache, dass der Skydiver, den ich gerade erfunden habe, ohne Zweifel in einem Kübel vergraben worden wäre. Das ist etwas vor dem du dich vorsehen musst, wenn du so weitermachst wie bisher.
Ich habe bemerkt, dass du redest und handelst, als wärest du Teil meines Teams. Das ist im Speziellen interessant, wenn man in betracht zieht, dass die Dinge, die du sagst, völlig beknackt sind. Du hast keine tatsächliche Wissenschaft selbst betrieben, so woher bekommst du all die großen Worte? Unabhängig davon, habe ich bemerkt, dass jemand meinen Müll durchsucht hat. Es fehlt nichts, nur ein paar alte Papiere. Ich sage nicht, dass du sie genommen hast. Ich glaube das wirklich nicht. Um die Wahrheit zu sagen: Ich glaube nicht einmal, dass du lesen kannst.
Reden wir mal über Wasser. Das Zeug, von dem du behauptest es besser zu verstehen, als die meisten (alle!!) meiner Leute. Du weißt schon… das Zeug, das 2/3 des Planeten bedeckt. Das gleiche Zeug, das in mehr Zuständen existiert, als du die vorstellen kannst (abhängig von den Umgebungsbedingungen, lies es nach). Das Zeug, von dem alles Leben abhängig ist. Das Zeug, das tatsächlich in festem Zustand leichter ist (bei gleichem Volumen) als in flüssigem und somit der Biosphäre der Erde erlaubt zu existieren. Das Zeug, das eigentlich einen viel niedrigeren Siedepunkt haben sollte, als es eigentlich hat – chemisch gesprochen. Du hast recht. Das ist nicht interessant genug.
So. Wasser hat ein Erinnerungsvermögen. Weißt du wie lange Wasser schon auf dem Planeten existiert? Ich sags dir: Mindestens 4 Milliarden Jahre. Wahrscheinlich viel länger, wenn es in der Staubwolke entstanden ist, aus der sich die Planeten gebildet haben (wenn das, was ich sage, zu hoch für dich ist, könnte es mich nicht weniger interessieren. Grob, ich weiß. Welche Art von Bastard bombardiert absichtlich jemanden mit großen Worten und Konzepten, die man nicht versteht? Erschreckendes Verhalten, nicht wahr?). Der Punkt ist, dass 4 Milliarden Jahre eine lange Zeit ist, genug Zeit um Hunderttausende Harnröhren passiert zu haben – vom Quastenflosser über Dinosaurier über Säugetiere bis Jack Black. Warum würde sich Wasser daran erinnern wollen!?! Geheiligte Vergesslichkeit ist seine einzige Hoffnung ihr grausamen Sadisten.
Nur um es klar zu sagen. Nicht jeder, der mit euch nicht einer Meinung ist, ist im Verbund mit der Pharmaindustrie. Ich gebe zu, dass die pharmazeutischen Firmen nicht gerade meine beste Stunde ist. Aber zu meiner Verteidigung muss ich sagen, dass es die Idee von Geschäft war. Ich bin eine Weile mit ihm herumgehangen in den Achtzigern und du weißt wie er damals drauf war. Ich hatte Glück da raus zu kommen und noch alle meine Füllungen zu haben. Ich gebe zu, dass ich noch immer mit ihm zusammen bei der Pharmaindustrie arbeite. Ich könnte natürlich alle Verbindungen zu ihm lösen, aber dann gäbe es keine Medizin mehr und Menschen würden sterben. Stell dir das vor… ein Multimilliarden-Euro-Unternehmen, das kranken Menschen Medizin verkauft, die tatsächlich funktioniert!! Ich könnte nicht mit mir leben. Wie hoch ist eigentlich der Marktwert deiner Vertreiber, nur so aus Interesse?
Ich weiß, dass dieser Brief übermäßig aggressiv und angreifend wirken muss, aber wann immer einer meiner Leute einen deiner Leute in Frage stellt, benimmst du dich so. Daher nehme ich an, dass es eine Art von kulturellem Ding ist, das ich befolgen muss um höflich zu sein in deinen Augen. Es ist wie furzen nach einer Mahlzeit: Nur weil es unappetitlich für mich ist, heißt es nicht, dass andere es nicht schätzen würden. Ich kann das respektieren.
Aber bitte entscheide dich. Entweder hasst du mich, oder du bist ein wertvolles Mitglied meiner Gruppe. Hast du dir überlegt, ob du vielleicht an einer multiplen Persönlichkeitsstörung leidest oder einer Art Schizophränie? Wenn ja, ich hab dafür Pillen. Hast du? Wenn ja, solltest du sie vielleicht nehmen. Obwohl du sie wahrscheinlich bereits seit Monaten nimmst, was für einen Unterschied es auch machen würde.
Hast du jemals das Eminem Musikvideo für seinen Song „Stan“ gesehen? Es geht dabei um einen besessenen Fan von ihm, der versucht alles nachzumachen, was Eminem tut, sein Aussehen kopieren und dann verrückt wird, weil er nicht bei ihm sein kann und nicht die Anerkennung bekommt, von der er denkt, dass er sie ohne ersichtlichen Grund verdienen sollte. Es endet damit, dass er seine Freundin und sein ungeborenes Kind tötet. Und sich selbst.
Das bist du. Es ist ein idealer Vergleich. Ich bin Eminem (sehr berühmt, aber nicht besonders gemocht oder verstanden von jemandem und sage ziemlich grobe Sachen die meiste Zeit). Du möchtest meinen Respekt und meine Glaubhaftigkeit ohne ersichtlichen Grund, und wenn du die Dinge selbst in die Hand nimmst, werden Leute verletzt. Oder getötet. Ich sage nicht, dass Leute mit Sicherheit getötet werden, denn das wäre verläumderisch und deine Leute sind ziemlich schnell mit Verklagen. Das kann ich verstehen, denn es ist einfacher als deine wilden Behauptungen zu beweisen.
Um das alles nun zusammenzufassen: Beende diesen Mist!! Du möchtest nichtexistierende wasserbasierte Heilmittel an Leute verkaufen, welche nicht mit Denken belästigt werden wollen? Sei mein Gast. Aber mach weiter mit deinen Behauptungen, dass ich dich Unterdrücken möchte und ich muss etwas unternehmen. Im speziellen werde ich die Leute vor eine Entscheidung stellen: Sie können entweder Behandlung von dir oder von mir annehmen, aber nicht beides. Denkst du, dass du die Langstrecke erdulden kannst? Ich geb dir sechs Tage, maximal.
Wie dem auch sei. Meiner Mutter (Philosophie) sagte mir immer mit etwas Positivem aufzuhören. Somit muss ich dir sagen, dass ich deine Beständigkeit mit deinem Denken bewundere. Du behauptest, dass je verdünnter eine Flüssigkeit ist, desto wirksamer ist sie. Wenn die Leute, die für mich arbeiten, die überwältigende Beweislast gegen diesen Glauben ins Spiel bringen, führst du immer die Einzelerlebnisse an, wo es einen vagen, mehrdeutigen Hinweis auf einen Beweis gibt, der dich unterstützt. Das ist nicht Ignoranz, das ist Beständigkeit. Natürlich. Je verdünnter der Beweis ist, desto wirksamer ist er. Nach deiner eigenen Logik funktionierst du. Also gut gemacht, was das angeht.

Liebe und Küsse


Danke, Ulrich

Friday, 22 January 2010

"Dear Homeopathy, from Science" (No. 2)

(The last one suddenly got very popular, so here's another. Number 2 of several, the latest are here)

Dear Homeopathy

Hello. Science here. Thought I'd better introduce myself, seeing as how we've never met. I know you like to give people the impression that you work closely with me, and that I'm somewhat envious of you so try to suppress you, but seeing as we both know the truth, I have to ask; Who are you and what do you want?
Surely we can be adult about this? I know we have our differences. I'm the anthropomorphic representation of the concept of science, a millennia-old field of study and learning based on the establishing of evidence and rational theories, vital to the functioning and progression of society, and you're... you. What are you exactly? I ask because I'm genuinely confused. You seem to want people to think you're a valid aspect of what I do, while simultaneously telling people what I do is wrong? Seems contradictory, is all.
Did you ever meet that guy who was a professional skydiver even though he didn't believe in gravity? No, of course you didn't, that never happened because it would be ridiculous. Am I being too subtle here? Don't overlook the fact that the guy in the comparison I just made up would no doubt have ended up having to be buried in a bucket, that's something you might want to be careful of if you carry on like you're doing.
I've noticed you do tend to talk and act like on of my team. Interesting, especially when you consider that the actual things you say are utterly bonkers. You've done no actual science of your own, so where do you get all your big words from? On an unrelated note, I noticed that someone had been going through my rubbish the other day. Nothing missing, just a few old papers. I'm not saying you took them, I don't think that. I don't think you can even read, truth be told.
Lets talk about water? The stuff you claim to understand better than most (ALL!) of my people. You know, that stuff that covers 2/3rds of the planet? The same stuff that exists in more different states than you can imagine (depending on the surrounding conditions, look it up)? The stuff on which all life depends? The stuff which is actually lighter when solid than when in a liquid state thus allowing Earth's Biosphere to exist? That stuff that should have a much lower boiling point than it actually does, chemically speaking? You're right, it isn't interesting enough.
So water has a memory. Do you know how long the water on this planet has been around? I'll tell you; 4 billion years at least. Possibly a lot longer if it formed in the dust cloud out of which the planets coalesced (if what I'm saying is too complex for you, I couldn't care less. Harsh I know, what sort of bastard deliberately bamboozles someone with big words and concepts they can't understand? Shocking behaviour, isn't it). Point is, 4 billion years is a long time, enough time to pass through hundreds of thousands of urinary tracts, from coelacanthes to dinosaurs to mammals to Jack Black. Why would water want to remember that!?! Blessed forgetfulness is its only hope, you cruel sods.
Just to point out, not everyone who disagrees with you is in league with 'Big Pharma'. I'll confess, the pharmaceutical companies aren't exactly my finest hour. But in my defence, it was Business' idea. I hung around with him for a while in the 80's, and you know what he was like back then. I was lucky to get out with my fillings in place. I admit, I still work with him for Big Pharma. I could sever all ties with them, but then they'd have no actual medicine, and people would die. Imagine that, a multi-billion pound company, selling sick people medicine that doesn't actually work! I could never live with myself. How much are your retailers worth, just out of interest?
I know this letter may seem overly confrontational and aggressive, but whenever one of my guys questions one of your guys, that's how you behave, so I assume it's some sort of cultural thing that I have to do to be polite? Like farting after a meal; just because it seems distasteful to me, doesn't mean other people don't appreciate it. I can respect that.
But please, make up your mind. Either you hate me, or you are a valid member of my group. Have you considered the possibility you have multiple personality disorder, or some sort of schizophrenia? If you do, I have some pills for that. Do you? If so you might want to take them. Although you may have been taking them for months for all the difference it would make.
Did you ever see that Eminem music video for his song 'Stan'? It's where a crazed fan become obsessed with him, and tries to emulate everything Eminem does, and copies his image, then goes insane when he can't be with him and doesn't get the acknowledgement he thinks he deserves for no rational reason, and ends up killing his girlfriend and unborn child. And himself.
That's you that is. It's an ideal comparison. I'm Eminem (very popular but not particularly liked or understood by anyone, and say quite harsh things a lot of the time). You want my respect and credibility for no real reason, and when you get things your own way people get hurt. Or killed. I won't say people definitely get killed because that's libelous, and you guys are very quick to sue. I can understand that, it's easier than proving your wild claims.
So, just to sum up. Stop your crap! You want to sell non-existent water-based cures to people who can't be bothered to think, be my guest. But keep claiming that I'm trying to suppress you, and I'll just have to take action. Specifically, I'll make people choose; they can either take treatments developed by you or me, but not both. Think you can endure the long haul? I'd give you six days, max.
Anyway, my mother (Philosophy) always taught me to end on a positive note, so I have o say I admire your consistency with your thinking. You argue that the more dilute a substance is, the more potent it is. When guys who work for me point out the overwhelming evidence against this belief, you always cite the instances where there was some vaguely ambiguous evidence to support you. That's not ignorance, that's consistence. Clearly, the more dilute the evidence the more potent it is. By your own logic, you definitely work, so well done there.

Love and Kisses

Science (BA hons)

Twitter: @garwboy

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


A blog, written entirely in tweets (Twitter entries, for those who don’t know. Messages of 140 characters or less)

My blogs are usually too long winded and waffly. I accept this. I will try to resolve this in future posts.

It can’t be doing me any favours, less people are prepared to invest a great deal of time into reading something like that.

Weird how that happens, you’d think our brains wouldn’t prefer how information is presented, gradually or instantly.

Some people think the same about drinking water. “Small gulps absorb better” and crap like that. You can tell the difference, your gut cant.

That clematis in the window either needs watering or is just really bored.

But maybe the brain isn’t like that. I should know really, I studied it for four years. We don’t remember all things equally.

Specific points in your memory stand out from others, if they’re more ‘significant’ than the norm.

Long periods of commuting are forgotten. Except the one time you saw a burning dwarf chasing a pig along the carriage.

That sort of thing will stay with you forever. Even if it was brief.

Just found some of my old passport photos. At least I think they’re passport photo’s, I don’t remember being arrested.

So we’re probably predisposed to remember brief instances that are packed with information. It makes sense, really.

Hence why short attention spans seem to develop quite easily. An evolutionary imperative?

This would explain the rise in text speak, twitter etc. More information in smaller packages.

I can’t see how machines could take over the world if they whine like bitches and refuse to work if you use the wrong printer cartridge

Try explaining to someone why you like twitter. It’s hard to explain how it works. Like trying to describe a smell.

A smell you’ve never experienced before, and that doesn’t resemble any other smell. To someone with a cold.

But still, it’s getting more popular. I expect it’s because it delivers a constant stream of easily digestible nuggets. Like KFC.

But it does mean you have to churn through a lot of crap and worthless filler. Again, like KFC.

If I put ginger hair and glasses on my feet, they’d look like the Proclaimers.

Pointless fast-food analogies aside, it’s oddly addictive. Like Beer. It tastes crap and gives you a headache, but you still persist

Eventually you get hooked, lose all your teeth and money, and die under a bridge of liver failure.

Twitter may also have this effect, it’s not been going long enough to tell. I doubt it though.

Unless you have an iPhone, then who knows? I don’t have one, but they seem addictive and they turn people into tossers. Like booze.

A downside of twitter is you keep getting sidetracked while trying to follow a conversation or thread.

Is this really the best way to communicate important information?

There are two cats either fighting or screwing outside. Sound alone cannot differentiate the two.

Twitter can be hypocritical too. Championing free speech and communication, then hounding people who say anything upsetting

Also, people who complain vociferously about Government spying are also willing to voluntarily share every waking thought with strangers? Odd

But it’s an interesting social experiment. People willingly telling others about their waking lives, instantaneously.

Next step, we all form one homogenous linked-society, accessing a constant stream of Binary. Nice.

Not sure if we’ll still have all the disjointed distractions though.

The cats have gone now. Goodnight.

Monday, 18 January 2010

"Dear Media, from Science" (No.1)

(letter 1 of several, latest ones are here)

Dear Media

Hello. It's me, Science. Hope you're well. You seem a bit angry of late, snapping at people for no real reason. I've heard we all get a bit more right wing as we get older, but seriously, calm down. Try some meditation or yoga or Chamomile tea. And this is me (the personification of the abstract concept of Science, just to clarify) saying that, so you know I must be worried.
Look, I know we haven't always got along in the past (I know there was that Nuclear arms race thing, really sorry about that but you know what the 60's were like). Normally this wouldn't be a problem. My guys and your guys could simply avoid each other. But that's not really an option, because my guys have to go through your guys to tell people important stuff they've done. And that's where we have an issue, and it's why I'm writing to you. We really need to have words, because frankly you're making my job a lot harder, and it's clearly already way too hard for most of your people to get their head around.
(Seriously, do you bother with interviews any more, or just pick a badly scrawled name from one of the hundreds in Kelvin Mackenzie's hat? I mean, John Gaunt? Watson and Crick never discovered anything that twisted).

Firstly, would it kill you to be a bit more specific when you tell people what I'm up to? The number of news stories I've read which end with "...say scientists" just drives me to distraction. And I can't afford to be distracted, a lot of my work is quite delicate., some of it involves brains!
Do you realise how vague a term 'Scientists' is? It's like 'cars', there are hundreds of different types. It might be accurate, but it's not specific. You'd never say "'Kill all homosexuals', say religious people". And I don't blame you, there'd be uproar, but it's basically the same thing. You're not helping by grouping my lot together like that, they're a very diverse bunch. Einstein and Pasteur were both Scientists, but only one has anything useful to say on the laws of relativity. That and the big mustaches are all they have in common (both were also from mainland Europe, and they're both dead, but let's not get bogged down in this).
This implication that 'Scientists' are all in agreement whenever a 'breakthrough' is made is gibberish. As a result, people think my lot are some shadowy cabal who meet once a month in order to decide what new rules we have to dictate to the general populace. I've tried telling them that they're thinking of the Freemasons, not my lot, but to no avail. You're the one who's giving this impression, not me. Cut it out will you! If a botanist says there's no climate change, don't class him as a scientist, assume he's an idiot and ignore him, you have my permission. Some specificity, please. I know it sounds like extra work, but how hard can adding or changing a single word be? You're not writing the Bible here, and even if you were, same applies.

In keeping with the previous point, just because someone says they're working for me, it doesn't mean they are. This Gillian McKeith person for example, I've never seen her before in my life. Yes, she's successful, but that doesn't mean she has a clue what she's on about. She's written a bunch of books filled with bizarre concepts and fantastical processes. Hoo-bloody-ray for her, but does that give her the qualification to dictate diet? Why stop there, why not J.K. Rowling pills? Tolkien supplements? Think, will you! Scientists are reputed to be intelligent, why would an intelligent person willingly choose to indulge in close up examinations of an obese person's bowel movements? And you're the one who put it on TV! I have a number of good therapists working for me if you fancy sorting that out.
Here's a good rule of thumb; if the person you're talking to is wealthier than you, odds are they're not one of my lot. Spread the word. Please don't encourage that sort of behaviour, just tell people straight; it's a con. What's that? Lot's of people believe in things like nutritionalism and homeopathy? Yeah fair point, we wouldn't want the media telling people things they didn't know, what a crazy system that would be.

Oh, by the way, this whole 'balanced argument' thing you've got going on. I see your point, but make your mind up! Either you present 2 sides to every argument or none, why is it just when it's a controversy involving me! Yes, some people think that MMR and Autism are linked, some people think that Me and my guys would knowingly build a device capable of swallowing the planet with a black hole and turn it on just to see what happens. These people are wrong, you know they are, but they get to air their views anyway. When a murder is reported, do you get statements from the people who thought that the victim had it coming? Why not? If balanced arguments are so vital, why are some stories exempt? Come on mate, a bit of fairness is all I'm asking for.

Yeah, I suppose I do come across as a bit demanding. I mean, why do what I say? What do you owe me? A fair point, I've no right to tell you what to do, you're way too powerful to care what I think. By the way, the printing press, radio, electricity, ink-jets, laser printing, typewriters, lenses, cameras, photography, video technology, air travel, satellite communication, television, mobile phones; you're welcome, don't worry about it. I mean what's a few civilisation-changing breakthroughs between friends? No doubt you could do without them, no problem. But bear in mind, I also invented blogs and the internet, you ignore me and I will obsolete your ass! Not something that can happen to me so easily. I'm the embodiment of the abstract concept known as Science, don't know if I mentioned that.

And yes, you can argue that, as you're dependant on the general public ,you have to give them what they want, but it won't wash with me mate. There are plenty of smart people in the general populace, but catering to them would be more effort wouldn't it? Path of least resistance, lowest common denominator and all that. Don't you have any pride in your work? But I guess it's easier to become sloppy when it's possible to just make up some stuff that sound's good rather than do the research like I have to.

Speaking of which, what's with all the 'opinion' columns? Why the hell would anyone care what Piers Morgan thinks? And don't say 'But they do' automatically. Try a little experiment; For a week, pretend that Piers Morgan doesn't exist. I hypothesise that the World won't spin off it's axis. If anything, I predict it will get somewhat better; people will go about their lives feeling more jubilant and free without knowing why, like a dog that's had a painful growth removed from it's genitals. Prove me wrong!

Anyway, hope you take all this on board. Have you seen Politics lately? I'm afraid I haven't spoken to him since he cut my Nutt off. Git. And how's Big Business? Don't protest, we all know you've been sleeping together for years now. It's embarrassing, watching you make excuses then scampering away behind the Bushes (Presidents and foliage) together, just admit it will you?

Anyway, think about what I said, yeah?

Science (BA Hons)

P.S. Reading this back, I do come across as a bit of a sanctimonious prick, don't I. I'll work on that.

Twitter: @garwboy (a follow up letter is now available, here)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The world's most powerful sex toy

My wife and I went to Asda earlier to purchase a DVD player. We did this, then we came home. As I drove into the car park, I couldn't help but notice that one of the cars by the main entrance had a very disturbing hood ornament.
We parked, got out, and went to double-check what I'd believed I'd seen. Yup. Stuck to the bonnet of this flashy silver car was (is) a large bright-red dildo. I say large, I'd have said it was small, but according to the law of averages, it's actually large.
I have seen marital aides before. I have seen cars before. Never have I seen the two be merged in this fashion. For what purpose has this surreal union taken place? Being a scientist, I feel compelled to concoct some theories.

The car itself is Silver, like a surprising number of cars in the car park. Did it persistently reflect sunlight into the window of someone's flat, disrupting their sleep? Sleep deprivation has been known to have a wide range of side effects, depending on the individual. People become more irritable and less focused, and can even show signs of delirium and madness. Did one resident of my building suffer this process, to the point where their sleep pattern was completely disrupted and they started having hallucinations, to the point where some illogical train of thought led them to think that fixing a large phallus to the bonnet would solve their problem?
Given the facts of our recent weather, the limited focusing properties of silver car bodywork and the fact that people don;t normally sleep during day when the sun is out (unless they're working nights, which is possible, but this would still require the sun to remain stationary for an extended periods, which it doesn't, or to put it more accurately, it does but we Earth doesn't, and if you think this is unnecessary pedantry just appreciate the fact that I haven't thought to bring up galactic rotation and Universal expansion apart from to stipulating that I won't be discussing them)

Is it a gesture of revenge from a spurned lover? Or perhaps an attempt at wooing from a hopeful but deranged wannabe lover? I can't really see any logic behind gluing a false penis on the car, it's slightly embarrassing but too weird for an act of revenge, and definitely memorable but hardly complimentary enough for an attempt at wooing. But then logic doesn't really apply when someone has been spurned or is in the throes of lust. Poetic, but strange.

Perhaps it's an attempt by the owner of the car (who I assume is male, it looks like a man's sort of car, and I have nothing else to go on) to improve his image in some way, however wrongly. A big flashy car is often regarded as a compensation for not having a particularly large penis. Perhaps this person wants a car that compensates for small manhood, but can't really afford one that sufficiently says that, so he's decided to enhance its phallic properties in an even less subtle manner. The colour combination is jarring, but if he's colour blind (an affliction that effects mostly men by a massive margin, what with it being caused by a Y chromosome gene, further supporting my gender assumption), then silver grey and shiny red could look quite similar.
Or maybe it's a physical thing. Perhaps it's meant to be some attempt at creating an aerofoil or pick up radio signals better? Don't see why it would, but people will believe anything if you tell them using big enough words.

I've seen some cars with Large Poppies or red noses on them, to support a particular group of people or charity. Is this a similar tribute to a charity I haven't heard of yet? To fallen porn stars or something? Or have the organisers of Comic Relief day just gone waaaaay too far with the design of the new symbol?

I'm only assuming this new attachment isn't being used for what it's designed for. What if I'm wrong? What if it's there deliberately? For some people, the stimulation provided by a few AA batteries may not be enough. A sex toy which gives a whole new meaning to 'Horse Power'. I imagine the vibrations caused by the engine of a running car, coupled with the danger of riding the bonnet of a moving vehicle and the thrill of doing this in public on some Catherine-the-Great-esque device would provide an intense experience for the adventurous lady, or even more adventurous man.

I genuinely don't know, but it's been bugging me all day as you can probably guess. It's far too embarrassing to ask the cars owner, but at least if it's still there tomorrow I can confirm that it's a deliberate modification to the car. Or that it's been maliciously welded on, but seeing as it's very anatomically correct that image just brings tears to the eyes.

Is it an attempt by an enraged former lover to

Twitter: @garwboy

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Big Brother's Big Bag of Balls

Here's how pervasive the phenomenon of modern reality TV has become.

I have not watched a single second, not seen a single still shot, nor have I bothered looking up any details on-line about the current series of Celebrity Big Brother (running in the UK at the moment, for the benefit of you lucky lucky foreigners), yet somehow I know all about it. How did that happen? I've heard theories that you learn faster when you're asleep, which I sincerely doubt, but to actively avoid information only to have it seep into your brain anyway? How does that work.
In his superb book 'Neverwhere', Neil Gaiman coins the phrase 'White knowledge', akin to 'white noise' but instead of a background noise it's background information that the majority of people become aware of without realising it. He uses this phrase to describe how people eventually end up knowing the ins-and-outs of the London Tube system, which makes sense as that would be very useful for residents of London who need to get about. I'm guessing I've picked up my Celebrity Big Brother (and no, I will not call it CBB) knowledge in a similar manner, for all that it is utterly useless to me. So this is what I know about the Celebrity Big Brother contestants.

DANE BOWERS - He was in that band. Another Blue Alert Level, wasn't it? He was the one with the high voice, or is that Blue? Then he went Solo for a bit when they finished, and did a song with Victoria Beckham, which strikes me as the musical equivalent of playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. Then he was with Jordan for a while, which strikes me as the sexual equivalent of the same thing.

STEPHEN BALDWIN - If the Baldwin Brothers were Captain Planet's Planeteers, Stephen would be the one with the power of 'Heart'. A Born again Right-wing fundamentalist, the sort of person who does for regular Christians what Harold Shipman did for GPs, Stephen apparently doesn't believe in evolution because 'there are still Apes'. This argument convinced Dane Bowers and the glamour model one, and he no doubt thought of this as a victory for himself and God. Prick

SISQO - Most people who confess to having an underwear fetish are kept at arms length and usually pitied, but they at least have the decency to admit that it's weird. They don't write songs about it that become international smash hits. For clarification, Sisqo's biggest hit is 'The Thong Song', which is ridiculous; his crowning achievement was his role singing the chorus for 'Wild Wild West', the groundbreaking Will Smith rap/film. Sisqo also stays in my head as his name is a blatant rip-off of Captain Sisko, the lead character from Star Trek: Deep Space 9, who if it came down to it, could easily beat him in a fight.

LADY SOVEREIGN - A Lady Rapper? Whatever next. Apparently she's young and stroppy, like a spoiled Teen. Her credentials as a rapper are apparently 'she raps', by which logic I am a professional film critic as I've seen a film and talked about it before. I genuinely don't know anything about her, particularly why she's considered a celebrity. I imagine when her Rap career flounders she'll go back to mummy and daddy and they'll get her a well paid job as a consultant in 'the city' or something. To me, everyone who has more fame than ability has wealthy influential parents, and I've not been dissuaded of that preconception yet, no matter how wildly wrong it may be.

A WHOREMONGER - A woman who is famous for running a brothel that catered to celebrities. Is this in any way acceptable? Yes, she was in the papers (I'm told) but then so was Ian Huntley, and I don't think he's considered a 'celebrity'. Isn't it normal procedure to punish criminals? Why would she be on Celebrity Big Brother... ah...

SOMEONES GIRLFRIEND - Or is it ex girlfriend? Christ, that could describe any of the female Big Brother contestants. And Pete Burns.

VINNIE JONES - That guy who used to be a violent footballer, but now is an actor playing exclusively violent parts. I saw an interview when he started acting, where he said 'I really want to win an Oscar'. How's that plan working out, Vinnie?

SOME TITS - There's one who is basically a mobile life support system for a pair of breasts. There always is. Names are irrelevant, it might even be the same one every year. Nobody would realise. She needs to be there, to make the possibility of nudity a positive thing

THE OTHERS - There are others, like it makes a bit of difference.

For pretty much all my life, I have been overly aware of other people listening to me. I don't know why, maybe it was because I grew up in a busy pub; there was always someone around. As such, I always behave as if I'm in a library. I'm always conscious of speaking too loudly and disturbing others. As a result, I speak relatively quietly and very quickly, as most people who've spoken to me will attest to. So the thought of wanting to go on V and have millions of people take time to stare at you for hours on end is utterly alien to me.
Big Brother may have been interesting. Not sure if they still do, but they used to bill it as a 'social experiment'. Another example of the double standards of media types when it comes to Science (a hint of science makes something more credible, but if it's said or done by an actual scientist, it's boring and/or untrustworthy, see the MMR vaccine scandal for many examples of this.
If it's an experiment, what's the hypothesis? What are they measuring? Where are the dependant variables? Is this counterbalanced? Exactly how does 'let's put a bunch of twats in isolation and see what they do' benefit society?
2010 sees the last series of Big Brother, celebrity and regular. I personally think it could have lasted longer if they'd been more strict about the experimental aspect. Obviously, given the media Frenzy around it, the 'social experiment' that is Big Brother would have subjects skewed largely in favour of the 'Shallow fame-hungry twat' variety. For a proper experiment in social interaction, you'd need a control group. Imagine watching a house full of people who don;t want to be there, who've been randomly abducted from the street. I'd watch that, no doubt.

That would be quite illegal obviously, but if they're already glorifying Prostitution ring leaders, how is that any worse?

Twitter: @garwboy

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