Sunday, July 08, 2007

Perspective Shift illusion via Mindhacks

White is the New Green

Don't ask where that turned up from. But it is interesting: a reasoned argument which stands out in stark contrast to the ignorance and vagueness off the celebrities asked to say their piece about global warming.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It wasn't like that in my day.....

How glad I am not to be a teacher any more:

The wreckage of the Education System

Spiked 10 May 2007. Emile May

Never mind by the time they leave school these kids will all be able to become model Police-people, finding the job perfectly understandable, what with all the form filling and computer-using they get so used to their teachers doing instead of teaching them.

Having started in my previous post to make Gordon Brown a Lenin (rather than the Stalin most claim), it is only a short step to suggesting the peasants (= teachers) revolt to take over their schools, running them to teacher rather than provide easy-read, groovy bar- and pie-chart statistics for ministers at their desks. It shouldn't be too difficult to do it all on the same day, so that all British State school teachers take over all schools on a given day, say for administrative convenience the beginning of term.

Headmasters, of course, to be locked up or shot without due process, Committees of Public Safety (er, Education) running the everyday business of ensuring pupils are taught something or other rather than used as fodder for social experiments.

Ahhhhh,(sighs nostalgically, not) I remember the text books I read, or half read on my post-graduate teacher training course, in particular one by a certain Olive Banks (Sociology), where she defines education in various ways including something to do with (loosely paraphrased) providing for the occupational/economic hierarchy. And a great philosophy of Education tome, The Logic of Education.

Teaching was always, axiomatically, about economics in that the product of the education system (mainly) went to work or higher education then work. You would need to study the history of the education system in this country over the last 150 years to grasp where things went wrong in the state sector, which clever little political theorists realised could be used to further the countries economic interests over those of the individuals going through the system - while millions of privately educated pupils were beneficiaries of a good solid and life enhancing education, and are to large part still are.

The evidence for this can be found in many areas including the retention of sport as an integral part of independent school life, whereas the sports ffields of the state schools have been largely sold off for housing development, a sort of digging for Britain de notre jour, except the spuds grown in the second war were marginally more useful and probably educational.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Brown

OR, The Elephant in the Room or The Blind Men and the Elephant

After watching
Wajda's Danton a few decades ago, read an awful lot about the French Revolution. Developed a party game based on J.M. Thompson's Leaders of the French Revolution, selecting modern-day big-nobs in political world equivalent to the main characters. Recently, came a re-reading of Gubb's Lenin (a little bit of boning-up required for a script idea on Trotsky) and a web-based reading of the main players in the 1917 Revolution. Choosing modern-day analogues from both historical sets can be an instructive exercise.

Watching various TV programmes on Gordon Brown's Premiership, and part of a documentary on CH4 on how the Chinese government rides rough-shod over its own people in its quest for economic growth, my normal healthy cynicism rose to the fore once again. History, in this view, simply repeats itself right down to the same ever repeated appearance of amixtures of ideologues and chancers. Politicians have an overweening desire to get power which they say they need in order to help us, but their constant meddling rarely makes life better for us, as 10 years of Labour has proved.

In a flash came the image of Brown with the same mad revolutionary zeal as Lenin, who from the beginning corrupted the whole idea of transforming society by insisting to do so would require brutal methods. Saving the revolution - at the expense of millions of people who had no choice but to join in or accept what they were powerless to counter - became the overriding objective. Under Lenin's control the ideals of socialism were still-born. Convinced if they were not extremely brutal and super-organised (which in effect meant the development of the paranoid, arbitrary police state par excellence used as model by generations of other leaders from Honecker to Saddam to strings of Asian and African leaders) the forces of reaction would recover.

Brown is having his narrative written for him by the image makers since il n'a pas le truc of doing it for himself: the core notions are Honest and Authentic: "With a father like that he is man we can trust in a way we realised we could not Blair" { once he had lied willfully over Iraq to make sure we continue sharing American military nuclear technology. If we upset the U.S. too much they can withhold the delivery systems, or at least hint they could. Check the web for the details of our relationship with America over our nuclear deterrent.}

The other issue with Blair which made him go down in the polls to as little as 30 odd % was going down the same old colonial road (some old FO hand giving him a briefing on Iraq's history probably did it.....Churchill...Larence....Gertrude al ) of ensuring we got the contracts Britain 'deserved' in the New Iraq (see defunct Baghdadskies for my views). Oil a given. We are frightened the Russians with their gas will have us by the short and curlies, so ensuring the best cruse in the region for the next decade or two means lying about going to war is o.k., not. Why the hell don't we pay Ghaddaffi to fill the Libyan desert with solar panels?


China today, with its corrupt and venal dictatorial elite running the country mostly for its own interests is only to be expected if one set of people pass to the reins of power to another over 70-odd years without let or hinderance. Taking into account the realities of human nature, this echoes much of post-revolutionary Russian political history. The miraculous economic progress in China within the dual model would have the Russian nomenclatura of the time of forced industrialisation marvelling. How possible,they would be puzzling, to create economic growth without forced labour (allowing for the fact that the Laogai still exist in China albeit in modified form) it down the peoples' throats at the point of a gun and the threat of imprisonment or death? Indeed, if you think of it the low-wage economy that even the Gordon Brown's of the world endorse are in reality a kind of slave labour even if they get to go home at night to moan about one more day working in that call centre and keeping the thoughts of suicide at bay by impromptu three-dayers in European capitals.


Brown is a socialist ideologue but one of the more modern type (Compare and contrast Socialist vs. Social Democrat) who talks the talk about various trendy ideas from across the Atlantic (Clinton is hovering around right now) but has for the last 10 years been the Maximum Leader taxer and spender in a way that even he recognises - within reach of the top job - is not the right image: he now is talking about the sort of society where people have a say, which might be called a truly socialist politics.

Though elected he has been the dictator of our destiny through financial decisions he makes without much reference to the people: a world in a bubble where he can, could, make wrong decisions and have years for the effects to show. Pretty comfortable. The ordinary guy, despite Brown's new promises to devolve power and decision making as prime Minister, such as ideas about how to spend money on health and education, will have little say nonetheless. It is impossible to be in charge and let other decide in a thoroughly democratic manner. Things would never get done.

There would be a way of devolving the freedom he hints at. That would be for the state to make it possible for individuals to have as much say in the economic process as the few movers and shakers in the wealth crating process. At its simplest this would be to make it possible for a man to have some real say in the market, rather than pretending he does. The mechanism would be to make it possible for a man to be able to live at a very low level without working in order for him to have some input into wage levels. As long as wages are determined top-down by a mechanism which forces men and women to go to work for wages which they are lower than they would chose to work for, they are not free. if they are not free economically whether to chose to work or not they will never be politically free.

Brown as Chancellor is one man making myriad decisions which effect our lives. As PM he wants it to be a more shared process, which shows he is covering his tracks pre-premiership, cleverly, by promising the consultation with his people which he did not bother with as Chancellor.

So who is he like? Lenin for sure. A Vladimir Illich de notre jour. And who of the leaders of the revolution? Robespierre? Sea-green incorruptible maybe, but he's still got a plan for us (a dream which cannot be realised as history has proved since it requires us, the people, to accept his vision of a socialist future within a fully-functioning system which amounts to no more that unfettered free-enterprise plus more and more add-on, unconnected social/socialist strictures of the medicine-will-do-you-good variety which the British people temperamentally do not like and historically have rarely accepted.

We mostly do not like Europe in much the same way as we do not like the Nanny State because it is a wishy-washy, airy-fairy socialist dream - albeit it of a Christian Socialist variety - not based on what humans really want or are capable of achieving: a system which we feel generally profound antipathy towards because it is top-down. What we hate is ever greater and more grandiose systems for extracting money from us to use for ever more pointless, often useless, social projects. Most, of whatever political persuasion, accept business needs to be more competitive. Everyone benefits from a healthy economy. But we are still not using the Euro! Brown, the one who held back with his 4 rules, is now to be in total charge. Is he suddenly going to forget the rules for entry into the European Exchange Mechanism because he is Maximum Leader and because it will give him the ultimate cache to be at the forefront of Europe by now allowing us to use Euros to buy our veg at the corner shop as well as as we do straight from the hole-in-the-wall in Spain?


Imagine the scene in a few months: the dour Scot Brown (Why doesn't he tried to be elected in his own parliament not the English one?), rugged, manly, no-nonsense, hyper-intelligent, going for his first audience with 'Mrs. Brown'. She takes to him quickly. She probably already rather likes him from what she has seen. She becomes enthralled like Queen Victoria became with the first Brown. She likes to talk to him in which she probably didn't with Blair who she almost certainly saw through as a careerist without any real principles (The Principle of Shifting principles?) except those of the benefits of power for an individual willing to do and say anything to get it.

Brown has said he is not interested in the appurtenances of power. Let's see what he likes by his actions. Let us not have him telling us ahead of time He will not be seduced by supreme power: no man alive has not been and Brown, for all his qualities, is no superman. Even he will almost certainly to be seen, like leaders before except the odd few rare greats, to suffer from
Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Flying Spagetti Monster

Stumbled on Henderson's pretty good creation of the Parody religion, and kinda got to thinking. It would be easier for a new religion to overtake an older on that it would be for atheists to persuade the religious it might be a better world without religion at all. Then for that new all-powerful, many-adopted religion to be superseded by another, such that you can hardly catch you breath from reciting the new commandments before there is another set to learn.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Face recognition

Stumbled upon Cognitive Daily:

Casual faces: we can identify "mystery faces" just 6 pixels wide

which refers to a previous post:

Why we see faces when they are not really there (with poll)

which commends a 13 Feb 07 NYT article:

Faces, faces everywhere

I have an explanation (based on the way it is possible to see the picture clearer when squinting) but it just won't come into sentences! Another problem to examine- How you can sense/know you understand or can explain something but be unable to do so. My explanation is so clearly 'there' it is like feeling a poem is about to arrive and being determined not to distract the mind till it is down on paper.

Part of the explanation - which I twigged just now was to be through analogy - is here at the wiki:Pareidolia

Monday, February 26, 2007

What's your beef?

Under this heading I thought I might examine individual websites here and there in order to tease out what it is people think they gain by posting up to the web.

Here (almost at random, but in fact in the course of a surf to find out something about Compeed plasters!) someone uses his for a combination of how he is developing his website, personal opinions, work and life, and psychotherapy. it is designed like a traditional multi-page website (a hypertext, in effect).

Because I am not tech-savvy enough, I have ended up with a flat structure of individual weblogs dealing with different topics. I would prefer what he has got. And as is common now, a side bar which catalogues previous posts under tags. Blogger is now doing this in the new version, but one niggle: when you convert from old Blogger to new, you lose the side links and have to manually cut and paste the HTML from new to old. Not too onerous, but why can't the complete site be transferred?

One of the key ideas discussed in the social network theory circles is the idea of altruism. What you do with your website (say, weblog) is links and content. Though links might be seen as content too (link=someone else's content). A greater proportion of weblogs are circumspect than all revealing. Identities are hidden and personal stories are described with key elements left out.

When you come across a website which seems to give everything away such the of the Bonta family via Via negativa which includes where they live , with a map and photos Plummer's Hollow one is immediately sure they are selling something as much as telling us about themselves! Though in their case it is a subtle blend of the two.

The difference between Bonta and D4D is miniscule: D4D doesn't say what his name is, provide a photo or give his address. But that is when miniscule can be quite large.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What every teacher should know about coke (the fizzy drink)

What happens to you body if you drink a Coke right now?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Doesn't it just make you sick ?

Sorry for the sardonic tone. This article has me apoplectic. How the NHS has been taken over in this fashion (or was it always like this but we were never informed before?) and made into some sort of screen to healthcare provision, rather than a health service provider, is beyond my comprehension. Though, to be honest, I just experienced the dilatoriness and plain down-right inefficiency of the hospital service at first hand in a reasonably serious instance which by its nature clears up pretty quick. No names no pack drill.

I blame in large part the person or committee of worthies (yes, I rememebr now - it was a way to pump up nurses pay ) who changed nursing to some sort of quasi-graduate profession by giving them 'degrees' in nursing rather than the original diplomas, SRN and SEN. I remember seeing a t.v. prog. years ago with nurses doing sociology lecturers in Newcastle I believe, and wondered what had happened. The sociology of the bedpan? Prof. Laurie Taylor, can you help us out here?

NHS centres 'rationing consultant visits'

Beezy Marsh, Health Correspondent, Telegraph, 15 October 2006

In my case on exit from the hospital ward, I had to make sure I had the canula removed from my arm before departure, and had the right drugs (in the end it was was left till I left: rather than brought to my bedside all calm, I was incandescent with rage when told as I departed the ward, entered the pharmacy and told it would take up to 2 hours to be doled out my prescription. I told them to ***** it and walked out without them.)

Although the reason I was in hospital was relatively straight forward and I expected that priority cases in casuality would be, well, prioritised, I did not expect to wait there for six and a half hours before being taken to a ward, have to call out for food and water and have the complete Acicident and Emergency Team turn around in silence to me as if i had said "I have the plague". Then grudgingly provive a sandwich and a drink. In actual fact, I had been administered a drug by my G,P. only days before which I learnt by assiduous web-research causes dehydration. So it was not a normal thirst: it was a raging thirst and was implicated in the onset of my condition another twice, once while I lay there, another asstood outside at one point desperately trying to ring people to let them know where I was on my mobile (getting someone to pay attention to you to lend you the house phone was quite difficult as the whole casualty department seemed to be swearing and shoutung and in a bubble of their own).

I always did have a jaundiced eye about the NHS from my days as a student when I did a long stint in a London hospital as a porter. Although there were pockets of decency and good work, in the main I saw the NHS as, in essence a giant, make-work programme. My view has only hardened over the years. This may be because I am rather exacting in my standards, seeing it the duty of someone in such a vital role in our lives actually to look as if they cared about caring for us. The level of ennui and self-centredness I came across showed how lax the system had become even nearly 40 years ago. Matron certainly did not keep it buzzing, even in those days.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Quangos: make-work by another name

This has always been a keen interest of mine because it represents the one the the core elements in political power: doshing out other people's money.

Taxpayers foot huge bill for 'quango state'

882 different bodies costing £124bn…Blair's quango state

Both by Robert Watts, The Sunday Telegraph, 24 Septemebr 2006

The Government's official definition of a quango is: "A body which has a role in the process of national government but is not a government department… and which accordingly operates at arm's length from ministers."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Odeo: Coverville 234 (Bowie " America")

powered by ODEO

Odeo: coverville 227

powered by ODEO

Bowie: over an hour of classics

powered by ODEO

Bowie : Lyrics

self-awareness in animals

The simplest test is the mirror....

Animal Imagination?

a post from blog Armed and Dangerous

Monday, August 21, 2006

Private Finance Initiate - Norfolk and Norwich Hospital - PPP

Well we've seen some more of the nitty gritty on how half-witted politicans have afound a trendy way of wasting taxpayers money in order to make it seem as if the government is borrowing less money. I thought Liam Halligan's Channe 4 Dispatches effort extremely efficacious.

A month or so ago I had the opportunity to have a decko at Norfolk and Norwich. My friend, as I wrote in a previous post, had a small outpatient op. arranged, so I popped him down and waited around while he was done. I soon noticed that although he went in through a main entrance, he turned right and right again into a mobile spliced onto the side of the main building which was obviously one of these privat set-ups, probably South African.

A wierd, funny and ironic thing: popping into the shop right next door to the mobile for a cooling icecream, the headline in the local newspaper on the till desk shouted up to me all bout the rake-off the P of the PFI had made and which the hospital was getting no share of. Halligan gave us the basics. They re-finance at a lower interest rate than first arranged and 'agreed', once the thing is set up, and collect the difference. In The N & N's case this was about £120 million. Plus the companies are off-shore and pay little or no taxes, to add insult to injury.

I would earnestly ask Norfolk people to consider making waves on this one since 120 mil. could built another hospital or keep the wages paid at N & N for many years. As it is the hospital management are sacking people already to make ends meet on their side of the deal.

If push comes to shove we will have to adopt a revolutionary style approach to this: over-running th hospital, setting up ad-hoc committees to run the place and tear up the PFI contract, kicking out their reperetatives and running it as the Norfolk people's Hospital. Of course, this will only work as long as the staff would be preapred to endure hardship. the govt. would soon manage to strangle the 'revolution' by cutting off the wages. But once people in Norfolk realise they could remove a part of their council tax to account for this shortfall, things would soon be on the up.


Documentary slams private finace initiatve

A Conspiracy of silence on PFI, written by Halligan in the Telegraph, 13 August 2006

Warning over PFI hospital schemes, Guardian

Bill Totten's Weblog - post 10 May 2006 , " An Easter egg Hunt"

weblog: Andy Meyer: Brown's PFI timebomb

Wiki: Private Finance Initiatives

Blast from the past: Amey, What Can the Matter Be? From, 2002

Last refuge

When all else fails (you don't have an answer to Islamic fundamentalism or why Americans are so obesssed with Liberals (they're a bit unrealistic but quite harmless folk really...look at their Shadow Chanmcellor of the exchequer....oh you mean those sort of Liberals...well why don't you say so.... Commies), the booze is in short supply and you can't have sex, listen to music. It always works when reading is too much to bear.

I'm seriously thinking of a sub-wblog which posts some of the music I've come across.

It will mostly come from Odeo because it can be played immediately rather than downloading the MP3s.

After a morning session a small selection of what can be found :

Kel McKeown: Instructional Video

Indie Spanish stuff

Mellow Monday Show 18:

powered by ODEO

Of course you will need a decent set of speakers...don't stint at least £50 or more if you can afford it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No, never heard of it either.

But there's an awful lot in it. Something for everyone

Check it out from the topics page at

Try this link :


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Omega 3 - its everywhere now

I am not the only one to notice how many food packages are emblazoned in prominent lettering with the words Omega 3 . I was talking to a friend the other day who offered me one of his very nice coffees. As I added milk to my cup from the plastic bottle I saw it on the side: "Omega 3" in large slanting letters. I remarked that milk always contained Omega 3, and that it had been there since the beginning of cows. And, what they weren't telling you was that it also contained Omega 6 which is is said our diet already provides plenty of.

Omega 3 is used as a selling point because it is on of the HDLs. While it is often not clear whether O6 is a goodie or a baddie from the popularising articles, this sort of report from The Australian (22 June 2006),Depression link to low fish intake, does at least show that the O3/O6 balence in our diet is a problem.

This Google search has enough to keep anyone interested occupied for hours sorting and sifting fact from fantasy.

But it might be worth adding a few other facts which I gleaned from The Sunday Times March 23 2003, which ran a supplement, Heart Health: All you need to know to beat the cholesterol time bomb.:

* Cholesterol is mainly made in the liver from a variety of foods., but mostly by those containing saturated fats., such as beef, lamb, pork, butter and lard. Cholesterol is vital as it strengthens cell walls and membranes throughtout the body, as well as helping to make bile and some hormones.
** To carry out essential maintenance and repair work, cholesterol attaches itslef to special proteins in the blood to form lipoproteins. It then moves freely around the body in lipoprotein particles.
*** There are two main types of lipoproteins: LDL, known as 'bad' cholesterol and HDL, known as 'good'. HDL is thought to be protective and one theory suggests it strips cholesterol from the artieries and tranports it back to the liver for disposal.
**** When the body had too much LDL, instead of maintaining cells, surplus fat builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply the heart and brain forming plaque, which narrows the arteries and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and angina.
***** There are multiple risk factors implicated in coronary heart disease (CHD) - age, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, family history - but the greatest is cholesterol.

There are hundreds if not thousands of webpages on what essential fatty acids are. This is just one, but seems to cover it pretty comprehensively: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) for Your Health

You don't habve to use fish supplements, plain old linseed oil, used on cricket bats, sold as flax oil, can have 45% O3, 14% O6 and 17 % O9. Anyone know whether O9 is good or bad ?


Colleen AF Venable's Amazing Math Trick

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dave's got Wind!

well, no. But he would like to for personal and political purposes:

BBC man's wife leads objectors to Conservative leader's plans

A friend recently gave me a teelgraph cutting on the Wind Problem: whether to have it or not.

Its here under Bricks and Mortar:

Reader asks:

I am trying to find a wind turbine for my house, which is on a windy hill facing the sea, and want to generate power but without the eyesore. I am looking for something that has a vertical axis - like a large oil drum with spinning vanes. Is there such a thing or do I have to have blades on top of a pole?

The Answer David Snell pretty much covers it.

Perhaps david should pay for one to be placed at the bottom of some friend's garden in the country and do a deal about the electricity produced? There are many choices: he could let the guy use the few kilowatts produced and ask him to send a cheque for the cost. The electricity generated could be sent straight to the national grid.

Though I will probably vote Tory for tactical reason to remove simulcrums Blair and Brown and their fat cat friends, I will write a lot of emails to dave between now and the elctrions telling him under no cisrcumstances to put up that silly thing in the middle of London where there is little wind except of the arsical or verbal kind, mostly issuing from people trying to sell you something or other material or ideological.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh no it isn't !

Fiasco as Reid abandons have-a-go campaign

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It's your job to fight the yobs, Reid tells public

John Reid, the Telegraph reports, expects us to "stop moaning and take action ". He will now receive hundreds if not thousands of reports by individuals who have done just that and ended up no better off and with the Police nit-picking about the methods used by members of the public to achieve the desired result. I remember once going ballistic because of tanuts as I got into my car and after sevewral weeks a Police report which concentrated on all the in correct ways I had gone about dealing with the yobs, while nothing at all on the accusations I had made. The method of clearing up the problem (i.e. not getting to the paperwork stage) seemed to be to attack the complainant rather the the source of the trouble.

The biggest issue for people is low level nuisance. And that in essence of young 'uns gather on street corners. If this was for 10 minutes most would accept it. However, they tend to stay all day with the attendance noise, mess, and intent to irritate, intimidate or harass anyone within reach. This can involve such very annoying things as making it difficult to drive you car past them by refusing to get up off the road on which they might be lying, or the bog standard soto voce insults or jibs to anyone passing which seem to be part of in-group bonding.

When the Anti-Social behaviour Act came out in 2003, I perused it with due diligence, hoping this would mean more coppers would appear in our village to disperse the usual suspects and keep an eye on what they were up to. In the old days the booby knew the kids and talked to them on his rounds.he had uptodate intelligence on what was going on, and who was up to no good. Now it is all procactivity. A car patrols - if you are lucky, or because you have harassed your local station with requests fora visit - the police stay in their cars, then a few minutes later they depart.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All going mad - just some doing it quicker than others

Free NHS of politics, says top doctor

Is pretty much the sort of idea I espouse. It would never be implemented simply because of all the vestedly interested who would stand to lose through this sort of set up. I had thought a kind of national franchise could operate, the rules as to how to operate laid down in terms of standards expected, then each area allowed to get on with it. However, once a bureacracy exists it is very difficult to to remove the functionary mentality or indeed to remove the bureacracy itself.

Notice over the years how the main problem with the NHS has been jobs and conditions (the large unions involved) rather than patient care. That is what defines a bureacrcy: the function for which an organisation was set up being subsumed to maintaining the organisation itself.


Explosive illness?

I would have thought that's merely the epoge of the me society: the suicide terrorists might be better classified under this category.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust

My first visit to this new hospital, albeit delivering a friend for an op., gave me an long-for opportunity to snoop around. It is a bright and clean place, with layed-out garden and a fish-filled pond. But it is hell to get around. Once you have been there a few times, easier perhaps. I got the hang of it thesection of the maze I needed by retracing my steps a few times during the course of my wait, which lasted for about five hours. But as I said to my post-op., sore friend when he came out of the day clinic, the architectural team who designed the place must surely have hanged themself en masse when they realised the balls-up they had made of what was a standard design task. I challenge someone to do some video-ing of people movement around the place to demonstrate what an unnecessary warren it is. I'd bloody do it myself if I had a movie camera. Come on Anglia News and BBC Regional, fingers out.

Walking in the Plaza in the sunshine at the front of the hospital, people to-ing and fro-ing as if sautering across St. Mark's on a quick Venice break, I noticed there was a substantial and permantent-looking large white mobile, with a six foot fence around it, stuck on the outside of the Sir Arthur South Clinic where my friend was having his operation. Afterwards I taunted him with jibs along the lines of did your surgeon have a n accent a bit like P W Botha?" The "mobile" clinic/theatre is next to the shop inside one of a pair of rotundas one at each side of the building (the other holds a coffee shop).The name:, neatly stencilled on the top. As I was browsing the shop which had a wide variety of items including some gardening books on how to grow bonsais which caught my attention, I saw a local paper with the headlines "Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust...Scandal" on the cashiers desk. The few words I manged to read before having to move on concerned the business of a 700 bed hosital now housing over a 1000 patients.

My thoughts on what I had seen overall were pretty much what I had had before seeing the place and based soley on what I had read and seen on TV: that at all costs the health service must not be privatised by the back door. I do not think this from some sort of socialist principle. I don't see the poit od the edication system being under state control for example: most do nbot want to be educated in the way I understand it, so why not let them chose if thy want it or not. But health, water, the environment should all be government run.

In the case of the N & N well described by Bill Totten and any other PFI, we have the power to invoke laws which revoke the contracts and take our money back. This sort of talk is always poopoo-ed by the grisled experts (many who are earning a god living as eiher consultants or academics by so doing) in the various associated fields, but it could be done. The state took control of industries and then gave up ownership before.

Barclays in NHS rip-off scandal

other sources:

An Easter Egg Hunt George Monbiot 9 May 2006 in Znet

Thirty-fifth report: The refinancing of the Norfolk and Norwich PFI Hospital (HC 694)

Public Accounts Committee 2 May 2006

Norfolk and Norwich shelves iSoft PAS

Buy now pay later (a lot more, a lot later) By Ross Clark and Edward Simpkins, Telegraph, 7 May 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blair and what is to follow

Though it is only a minor theory, I believe Blair is staying on as long as he thinks he can because it will make him richer afterwards not because he believes he can do anything constructive for the country. For example, by swanning around the world fixing other countries problems - being seen, in effect - he will be increasing the readership for his memoire opus, for which he will surely earn a cool £10 worldwide.

it is these calculations, which a man like him (in my view a total egotist and unreconstructed snake oil salesman) will think perfectly normal - his right - which make me sick of politicians. I don't believe Prime Ministers,or Presidents for that matter, should be able to use their jobs to make themselves rich afterwards. I believe they should be satisfied with their massively over-inflated pensions (who gets what they get for such a short 'contribution'?) : and so off to good works for the poor in the West Midlands or Burundi (whichever they feel most efficacious).

Brown wil be a hopeless Prime Minister because he is totally unable to sympathise or empathise with the people he will be leading. He is a poor communicator. He has a brain, indeed he would have been more suited to academe, but its machinations will be torn three ways between the New Labour Man he is pretending to be, his real beliefs which are pretty much clause 4 Old Labour, and his son of the Manse ethos.

It will be a blessed relief for us all if the Conservatives win to get shot of this load of third-raters, poseurs and pretenders, who have managed to hold on to power yet do little worthwhile for the people who voted them in for 9 years.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Council Tax hike plans

Council tax bills 'to rise by over 40pc
By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor, The Sunday Telegraph

There are three areas of public life worthy of a revolution: the NHS, education and the bleeding (as in 'its a bleeding up by the back-door tax) Council tax.

When I write 'revolution', I do not mean get out there with a stick and bash a police man type revolution, but using the power of the internet to let the 'powers that be' (one of those ridiculous phrases which it is necessary to use when in full sarco-mode) know enough is enough: if they don't sort it we will.

This would mean an integrated, sustained campaign to get the government to do what we want rather than what civil servants dream up.

In the case of local government, where the proportion needed to run councils is so highly weighted towards pension provision they can think of nothing else, members of revolutionary committees would be dispatched forthwith to the treasury with a plastic carrier bag for the money needed to run the council. In the meanwhile everyone would be told to stop paying council tax.

The internet is the best place to start such a grass-roots campaign. I would humbly suggests the first stage is for more people to start start contacting other like-minded people, start weblogs, write to the government websites concerned, flooding the system with emails.

Then, using the NHS as an example, tell them that if they don't do what we want, we will walk into the hospitals taking them over ourselves, sacking all the little shiny suiters, and appointing predominantly medically trained boards to run the places as if they were not part of the greater NHS, but simply franchise operations. Someone necessarily will have to make laws for the operation of this 'franchise'. We will surround Parliament in vast numbers till the greasy policians do it.

During this revolutionary period there will be great turmoil for hospital staff and management, civil servants and politicans, but the patients will be properly looked after. There will be no more nursy can't be bothered to check if Mr. Jones has finished on the loo.

There will be no more agency staff, they will be sacked en mass to help bring back the requisite ethos. If necessary volunteers will help to plug the gap in staffing till more nurses can be found.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


The money addicts: its your money they are gambling with
Never mind the patient just tick the box
It's the great NHS spending party - patients not invited
Pay for nurses and surgeons doubles NHS overspend


I worked in the NHS for 1 year in the early 70s. I think I am entitled on this basis to make the claim the NHS is more a job creation scheme than a medical service and had been so since its inception.

The unions leaders, who are needed to protect their workers from low wages and to ptotect their health and safety at work, still have the sort of views unreconstructed characters we might have come across in "Im all right Jack" starring Peter Sellars would spout. When did you ever see/hear a to-camera piece with a health union official saying, the patients must come first?

The recent furore over money wasted is only a matter of degree. For some inexplicable reason (doh...) the New Labour government has seen fit to pump even more vaste amounts of money, the sort of money that would keep a Third World country afloat for another year, or at a pinch its nomenclatura in black Mercedes and flights to foreign capitals for shopping sprees, without first setting up a system to make sure it didn't simply disappear down the hole the rest of the money wnet down.

To say that the mangemet that has strangled the NHS was put in palce to achieve this novble aim is bollocks of a monumenbtal nature. they are there because people who spend tax payers money can always find new ways to spend it.

Picking on individaul historical problems within the NHS at random, I chose firstly, the nurses. Mostly of them very nice, and I've know a few. But when they transferred from on-the-job training to a "degree" in nursing, they effectively destroyed the nursing profession as if was established by, who, someone or other.

The nurse with a degree was taught everything but how to make beds, empty bedpans, tend to superating wounds, turns demented patients with bed sores, and ultimately tie up the dead in whire sheets. Nursy now saw herself (and many traditionally trained nurses left at the stage when this training system was being overhalled and new degeed nurses started to enter employment with the NHS) s some above the bread and butter issue of patient care and more as a secondary doctor. With their skillful indoctination in all maters sociolical and feminist, this was inevitable.

The logic of translating the nursing trining into an academic subject was presiumably inescable for the bureaucracy in charge: it probably involved the persuasion that this new course would encourage more to join nursing training. it failed to deal with the essnetial problem which we can now see at our leisure: the distancing of the nurse from the patient (except in the form of the nursing auxillary, who appears to do the real nursing now).

The resut was many good nurses resigning then coming back in white uniforms as agency staff on twice the pay. The downside was a loss of accountability and the slow erosion of the ethos which was part of the NHS nursing. An agency nurse would come or not according to whim: tired, hang over tempory job elsewhere..

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why are some animals so smart?

A 26 March 2006 Scientific American article by Carel van Schaik of that title.

Link from 3QD

Thursday, March 30, 2006

£52.5 million in 6 years on management consultants for NHS

But it seems it is worse than that. An estimated £200 million has been thrown down the gutter for these tripe-merchants to say the bleeding obvious with the aid or white-boards, PowerPoint presentations and longwinded, big-worded reports which top mangement is too scared to admit they can't understand a word of. Hence the clearly sane response to ask for another report to keep the MC's on the go and out of their hair.

NHS advisers 'cost £200m' as key jobs go

There can be a case for an outsiders perspective but how much time does a person need to spend doing that? Some companies keep a permant work-force of consultants on their staffs. Where did I read that management actually have cannily latched on to other uses for the management consultant - the bringer of bad news and the facilitator for unpopular changes to established practices.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blonde cave girls?

Cave-girls were first blondes to have fun

Now lets check this again.

(1) a blonde blue eyes cave-girl appeared (genetically speaking) and stood out from the crowd of mousy haireds.
(2) The few cave-men who survived the trepidations of hunting were more attracted to her than the brown haired dark-eyed ones
(3) Voila, lots of blue-eyed blondes in Sweden!

Hang on! What happens if they weren't very good looking? Surely whatever brain the cave-men had would be engaged in sorting this little cumundrum out? ugly/ blonde - ravishing/ mousy, which do I chose?

Then again, maybe looks didn't come into in those brutish and short lives.

Back to natural selection and sexual selection. Which one are we dealing with here?

Behavioural economics/ Neuroeconomics

If you ask people, ‘Which do you want right now, fruit or chocolate?’ they say, ‘Chocolate!’ But if you ask, ‘Which one a week from now?’ they will say, ‘Fruit.’ Now we want chocolate, cigarettes, and a trashy movie. In the future, we want to eat fruit, to quit smoking, and to watch Bergman films.
The Marketplace of Perceptions

Behavioral economics explains why we procrastinate, buy, borrow, and grab chocolate on the spur of the moment.


A branch of behavioral economics called neuroeconomics looks inside the brain with scanning tools like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate patterns of motivation.

Both from Harvard Magazine

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pinky and the Brain stem - the Movie

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Beware the IDs of non biologists

Saw the guy behind the anti-evolution organisation, Access Research Network
on TV a month or two ago. Well funded by all accounts.

This interview with the late mathematician Marcel-Paul Schützenberger
comes from there.

I've got to the bit where he says

Darwinists imagine that it requires what? A thousand or two thousand genes to assemble an eye, the specification of the organ thus requiring one or two thousand units of information? This is absurd!
And am now on full alert....

At the most basic one can see though something like explaining consciousness is fraught with difficulties (the hard and the otherwise problem, etc), the evolutionary mechanism is a balance between maintaining the consistency of form and function while allowing for change. The whole of biochemistry and physiology works on a feedback system which is not unlike a sophisticated computer programme with the proviso that the programmer is in there too, patching and adding new sections of code, as it were, according to changing circumstances. Although when one considers the everyday, but complex, functioning of an organ such as the liver, it does become a wonder as to how, qua evolution and the formation of new species, one can continue to have a fully functioning liver which serves the organism it is in, as it should, and to to have the subtle changes required for it to serve the changing needs of the organism (new species or developing species in the offing as well) in relation to its environment.

This brings me to something learnt as a student: Principles of taxonomy/Taxonomy and Evolution. Dr. Garth Underwood,[ Garth Leon Underwood 1919–2002 ] University of West Indies, British Museum, expert herpetologist. Still have his notes (17.11.72, etc.). For example a simple check list

Taxonomic characteristics
Biochemical; including serological
Genetical; including chromosomes
Separate characters
correlated characters
Inapplicable characters
Pleiotropism [genes produce effects not related to one another but which have the same genetic basis]
Allometry [tying together of two characters developmentally e.g. Deers antlers and size of body – so not separate characters]

Character states
Two state characters
Multiple state characters
Quantitiative characters
Merietic[always have 11 teeth not 11 1/2
Continuously variable [adult size is extremely variable: can group the sizew into various categories]
Environmental influence

show how sophisticated it all is.

He showed in his marvellous lectures how one species of snake (his specialism) was distinguished from another often initally only through minute variations skull plate structure. Other differences might then be discovered, such as serum. Even then there might be disputes as to whether A and B were distinct species or varieties of the same one. The more biochemical or physiological differences emerging would firm it up.

Another lesson in all this is from animals such as birds and insects which again might not be significantly different form, but have behavioural charecteristics which defined their specieshood. Species A has one type of song (and that could be a bird song or a cricket stridulation). If I remember correctly (better read up some of those notes) you could get intermediates, but how that worked, qua species, I can't remember. Though in the end it is whether they interbred which counted evolutionarily. Gene pools. But even the notion that two insects do not mate if they fail to recognise or respond to subtly different but not dissimilar calls is easy to grasp. Its not all about gross morphology or some sort of physiological incompatibility that might prevent fertilisation.

While in a sense evolution happens at the individual level, since it is the changes at each meiosis and the combination of complementary set of genes at fertilisation which are what is passed on, and both transmit differences and end up regulating the integrity of the species, evolution is also studied in population terms.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogger Problems

If anyone is having problems posting with one of their Blogger blogs, please let me know.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Great Cholesterol Myth

Malcolm Kendrick Spiked Magazine 18 November 2005

Parents Get Look At Teens' Brains
Post 27 January 2006 in The Committed Sardine Blog

Friday, January 27, 2006


Seed Magazine

Science is culture

e.g. Dangerous Minds
Thoughts from the Edge of science
12 January 2006

Reflections on Mirror Neurons
Broken Mirror Neuron Systems May Cause Autism
7 December 2005

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Selected Minor Works: The Heresy of Intelligent Design

Justin E. H. Smith

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I think I'm doing a public service by linking to this item which shows:

26pc of council tax goes on public pensions

Patrick Hennessy, The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 22 January 2006

which I had heard at least a year ago.

Far be it from me to start a Council Tax riot, but if we don't like this tax we have to stand up and say so. One of the things you will also notice is that most District Council, and for all I know a lot of County Council) offices are brand spanking new (well only about 10 years old)- probably justified by some bright spark saying they needed a decent building to put the IT in.


Whose pension are you paying?

takes the discussion on.

What I'd like to see is some examples of what they take home on retirement as a proportion of their final salary, of course.


Although, as is made clear her, Police are paid out of a central fund which is partly financed by contributions from councils, this is the folly of letting our politicians do what they like without intervening ourselves to say what we would like. Anyone who has got little or no help from the Police on anti-social behaviour complaints will I am sure feel gretly heated to leanr that as well as calling roud to the house to offer consolation, they spent hours filling forms to note they had done so. "And I said to Mrs. Jones, 'I am terribly sorry to hear your lounge window has been stoved in Mrs. Jones...' " "Mrs. Jones replied, 'Is that all your going to do about this?' " I replied,' Well, times is money, as they, Mrs. Jones. I must get back to fill in a report on our conversation and tick the boxes for the government statistics.' "

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Neuroscience gears up for duel on the issue of brain versus deity

A letter from Kenneth S. Kosik* to Nature

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pope's a Darwinian

Stop teaching 'intelligent design,' Vatican paper demands

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Shaun Bailey and Henry Bonsu

Following from his Centre for Policy Studies sponsored pamphelet, No man’s land, How Britain’s inner city young are being failed, of which this is the pdf chapter one, two articles he has written based on this:

Focus: My battle with liberal Britain
The Sunday Times 27 November 2005

Don't forget the other three pages.

The reason our streets are so violent
The Telegraph 19 January 2006

This week another young man instantly recognisable to many but who I had never heard of, Henry Bonsu, was on Richard and Judy, which I switched on just in time to see him talking along similar lines about (black ) yoof.

Henry I learn from a root around has recently been sacked by the BBC from hosting a radio programme because he was too intellectual (or so it is suggested).


Just picked up on a spiked article by Stuart Waiton:

Antisocial behaviour: the construction of a crime
19 January 2006

Now the New Labour government has revealed its 'respect' agenda, the problem of 'antisocial behaviour' has moved to the forefront of political debate. But what is it?

which is a handy bit of reading to go with Shaun and Henrys thoughts. I have not been able to find a quote based on Henry's discussion but I expect one will turn up sooner than later.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Prof. Raymond Bradley of the University of Aukland in his short digi-piece Intelligent Design or Natural Design , in Butterflies & Wheels, works through the problem at a level which most intelligent people could grasp, plus he has provided a useful graphic as a pdf (concepts of design and their logical liasons).

The An open letter to Anthony Flew from Bradley had a reply from Flew in an academic Journal which has not got free web acesss, but the subsequent
Antony in Wonderland: A Rejoinder to Professor Flew is available, plus an article by Richard carrier ( Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of ) which arose during the media flurry over Flew's original "conversion".

Prof. Bradley's homepage has a series of links to some of his other writing, quite a few on this subject or related in some way to it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Why "monkey see monkey do" isn't for apes

John Hawk's weblog succintly explains the experiment carl Zimmer did comparing his daughter's ability with a chimp following experiments by Andrew Whiten and colleagues on chimps, which he also reports.

Dennett on evolution and religion
A two part Der Spiegal interview with Daniele Dennett:

"Darwinism Completely Refutes Intelligent Design"

and a discovery from this of a weblog, Brain Ethics [consequences of brain science] by

Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy and Martin Skov

who pin-point two academic articles which look interesting:

(1) Cognitive neuroscience of humn social behaviour

(2) Functional anatomy of human social cognition

Pleased to see the mention of autism in BrainEthics because it has been a constant interest of mine in relation to TOM, etc.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You can't prove a pig can fly by showing that butterflies have wings

Cardinal Schönborn's re-explanation, "The Designs of Science", in First Things
following much debate as to what he was on about : Finding Design in Nature, NYT, July 7, 2005

This latter courtesy of The Schönborn Site which summarises the argument in its weblog

I'm not too happy with the distinction the Cardinal makes between Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. Google: neo-darwinism gives a wide selection of references on neo-Darwinism, these {1} and {2} being the first two on the listing.

The Cardinal starts his argument in Finding Design in Nature with :

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.
It is understandable, if you believe in a creator, how you might see the patterns of nature to be proof of God's plan. However, in this stylised debate, we get nowhere unless we are allowed to go beyond these unprovable assertions to questions about order (and disorder) in biological systems, phenotypic, genetic, biochemical, electrical. For example, the neuronal system is pretty much the same mechanism right across the animal kingdom, and though it may be used to argue for a supernatural plan, it also shows certain things stay the same in nature: every aspect of biology is not in a continuous flux explained by mutation and natural selection. All the best arguments for evolution (pre- or post genetics) are based on evidence beyond the reach of the human eye. SEE Plagarized errors and molecular genetics

And please : evolution is not about the origin of life, but the connection between one individual organism and another. When you talk of a species you are talking about a set of individuals. In evolution this is whether they survive to breed or not. Add to that that these individuals exist mostly in groups (populations) and that these populations range about in habitats.


If you want to compare like with like, then you need a set of correct analogues to start with.

In this 1997 paper, Empathy and Analogy, by Allison Barnes and Paul Thagard, we get a little snippet [ section 2. Analogy as a cognitive process] which shows us how Darwin used analogy to push his case. If you teach evolution by starting with the ideas in the Origin of Species this is what you start with, though strangely this is not science but logical inference. The science is the observation bit that animals are bredd into different configurations and that there are different configuration in nature without man's interference.

I recommend Revisiting Science in Culture: Science as Story Telling and Story Revising
if you are a bit hazy about what science is.


other sources:

Argument by Analogy

Wiki: analogy

Analogy vs. metaphor


One of the problems I face in this is the anthropomorphic nature of God's relationship with Man.

Another is that of the human ability to find pattern in everything, even faces in clouds if we have a mind to. In essence this is about subtraction, not adding. We can't (don't unless we are strongly autistic) live in real time with everything we sense. We don't remember everything we see or hear or smell. This would be too much for us to cope with. So we simplify things down (or rather our brains do it for us.

it is interesting to note, too, that one of the best ways to remember things, a set of objects, a shopping list, is to place them in a framework such as a virtual museum, with the scissors in the hand of the man in the foyer, the rubber along the top of the picture frame of the Mona Lisa in room 1, and so on.

Perhaps that's why we like stories so much!


Our relationship to God is based on our consciousness of him. Presumably that is why theologians have always had a problem with the relationship between the animals and God. If they are not conscious in the way we are, how can God exist for them? That wasn't a problem when the Bible was written. They took a secondary role: something that God put there for us to use. Attitudes to our fellow creatures have shifted as society has changed.

All this is essentially about how we SEE God, not so much how he really is, or what he can do. We are bound to think and feel he is something or other, and can do certain things because we have brains to think and feel.


God is necessarily a priori but we argue for him a posteriori !


All this then leads, in a necessary segue, to objectivity and subjectivity, a very big, though mostly philosophical topic of great interest. Before we know it we are re-visiting Plato's forms and all sorts of other technicalities working everything right up to the present day with Chalmer's "Hard problem" and qualia!

Neo-Darwinism: What is at Stake? Tom Bethell
I don't think this is very helpful, but he has a few starting points for discussion.

Evolving Thoughts on the other hand is full of interest and important things which even a non-expert could make an effort to get to grips with.

This site deals with evolution and theology in a comprehensive hypertext based on 'God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A textbook in science and religion.' The author Dr. Christopher Southgate the Co-ordinating Editor of God, Humanity and the Cosmos, trained originally in research biochemistry. He is now a poet and editor, and Part-time Lecturer in Theology at the University of Exeter. His last book was A Love and its Sounding (University of Salzburg, 1997).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You'll never squawk alone
Nigel Bunyan, Telegraph, 25 October2005

It's not just Liverpool. And its probably those memes in soaps that has done it. What they see in East Enders or Coronation Street must be the norm, presumably. Life reflecting art, or vice versa?

Another of my pet theories is that we are so much just mere consumers we do not learn about the little things in our own lives that make one life distinct from another, as we might have done in the past, but through top-down templates, a mish-mash of TV drama, apolcalytic news, product advertising, fantastical lives of the stars and minor celebs, gagetry and debt, etc. Every family in debt is like every other and has the same solution: don't spend so much. Learn to want less. There might be a lot more depression arond. But depression cuts you off from everything even your emotions. So when you have recovered from a downer you suddenly need somwhere to put all that spare feeling....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Watched the documentary - had a few ideas and such

Bill Oddie with his starlings was one of the most spectular sights ever. Guess it must be available somewhere on the internet. No one could possibly look at this sort of phenomemon without going into explanation and analogy modes once the wonder of it all has sunk in. Well I can't.

As a spectacle it is both miraclous and mysterious. They are gathering in the autumn for migration, but to see the patterns they create in the sky, then pouring out of those patterns down to the reed beds below is verging on the incredible. This a rare occasion where you can use one part of the brain to appreciate something while using the other to ask those le-e-e-tle questions humans are prone to ask, such as: Why is this happening and how is it down.

The obvious one to tick off are safty in numbers: the patterns which we appreciate are simply the overt three dimensional result of group action. Yet it seems so coordinated. So do the oceans full of sardines swirling and shimmering to avoid their predators.

Went from this to whether the starlings could tell us something. I wrote a little bit about politics using the flocking patters as an analogy, but thought, today, had better look something up. Pleased to find Context discussing swarming intelligence. It mentions the sort of fact you can always use:
a typical flock of starlings (about 2,000 birds) contains as much brain tissue as a single human, and led to

Flocking together: Study shows how animal groups find their way

from Princeton U.

Essentially it is not as we might imagine some complex set of rules, but rather based on

(1) the need to stay in a group
(2) the desire by some individuals to act on their own information about where to go

Anothet summary post in context does symbiosis, which is the sort of thing to go for if you were thinking about parallels. A fuller article : Cooperation is a No-brainer for Symbiotic Bacteria

Human cooperation: biological basis revealed leads to

Emory brain imaging studies reveal biological basis for human cooperation

Links to cluster computing and swarm technologies

Hey, if notthing else its something to look at whenthe mind is tired of thoughts....but don't miss the text below it

From here I am going back to :

Darwin and political theory

which deals in part with Pinker's The Blank Slate

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Not my cats, just visitors. Luckily for them I'm a fan.

This plastic bowl has internal dimensions of 26 x 26 cm.

Tabby from tip to tip is slightly over 45 cm. long, tail straight.

When I went downstairs to do the measurement, Tonkinese was completely covering her friend....

If only life was so simple for us.

So what do you have to do to find happiness?

It seem quite a lot more than cats and dogs, mice, rats, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, pigs, terpines, lizards, crocodiles, snakes, three-spined stickle backs, cuttlefish.

Our difficulty, according to Daniele Nettle, is that the brain systems for liking and wanting are separate. Wanting involves two ancient regions - the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens - that communicate using the chemical dopamine to form the brain's reward system.

....brain chemistry foils our pursuit of happiness in the modern world: "Things that you desire ar enot the things that you end up liking. The mechanisms of desire are insatiable. There are things we really like and tire of less quickly - having good friends, and the beauty of the natural world, spirituality. But our economic system plays into the psychology of wanting, and the psychology of liking gets drowned out."
Read and enjoy. it is significant.

Psychologist Martin Seligman:

Because our brain evolved during a time of ice, flood and famine, we have a catastophic brain. The way the brain works is looking for what's wrong. The problem is, that worked for the Pleistocene era. It favoured you, but it doesn't work in the modern world.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies

Journal of Religion and Society Vol 7 2005

* basic correlations of the elemental data
* This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health.

Check out the 7 graphs

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Viewing a model as a collection of facts which satisfies a theory, is not the same as viewing a model as something that explains or emulates some phenomenon or situation. This second concept of model is closer to the concept of a scientific theory .

I have been getting myself thoroughly confused in moleskine modality over how to explain the concept of model and relate it to the idea that model, metaphor and analogy are the only ways to explain anything.

One aspect of this has inevitably to be the God Model.

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'.

The Times 27 Septembr 2005

This all reminds me of 30 odd years ago when I though I had a god definition of God which, paraphrased roughly, was

God is the gap {substitute more appropriate word} between what we are and what we hope {would like}{think we ought} to be.

Is this gap theology or apophatic (negative) theology? Could it be termed but rather aspiration theology? Personal knowledge, must include recognition of human limitations.

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