Ah yes, I remember it well. I was twelve. A Catholic priest brought me into a private room, on my own, and showed me a photograph of a naked boy. The boy was standing on some rocks by a river bank. He was trying to spear a fish with a stick, his tiny penis dangling... Continue Reading →
Project Fear has been ongoing for some time now. Here's a poster urging the plain people of Ireland to vote 'No' to the European Union's Lisbon Treaty back in 2008: I suppose you don't really need me to tell you what happened next. The Lisbon Treaty was eventually passed, after which EU paratroopers stormed into... Continue Reading →
Guess what. Vaccines are not part of the Christian creator's divine plan for the universe. We know this because they are not mentioned -- anywhere -- in the Christian Bible. So says this lady, as reported by this website. To quote: I just decided to just Google what the Bible says about vaccinations. There’s NOTHING in the Bible... Continue Reading →
Hmm. You tell me... It's all quite multi-layered. While depicting Dad as some kind of Neanderthal, the designers *still* manage to hold Mom up to unrealistic body-image standards. I mean, what could be more suitable for pitchside than a tight-fitting mini dress and high-heel pumps? And sporty kid is, well, obviously, a boy (with a frickin' bowtie,... Continue Reading →
John Bolton is back. Trump has made him national security advisor just in time for that charm offensive with North Korea. Last time out Bolton failed to get Senate confirmation, requiring George W. Bush to nominate him (to the post of UN ambassador) as a recess appointment. This time, such screening is avoided. Nominees to... Continue Reading →
https://twitter.com/rtepolitics/status/976510653581221888 Irish upper-house politics time again. Here Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell argues that young people should not be allowed to vote because, er, they used to be even younger: No to the vote at sixteen. No to the vote at seventeen. It's fine at eighteen. Four years ago, some of you were twelve... [Chuckles creepily]. Five... Continue Reading →
Nathan Robinson has written about the obscurantism of Jordan Peterson, and I'm not even the first to blog about it. Pankaj Mishra has been deconstructing Peterson's mysticism here, while Kelefa Sanneh's critique is here. After months of hysterical fanboy cheer-leading, it seems like this is the week everyone finally starts having a go at Jordan. It's... Continue Reading →
From the Guardian: Romanian court tells man he is not alive A Romanian court has rejected a man’s claim that he is alive, after he was officially registered as dead. For more, see here. I mean really.
https://twitter.com/gavreilly/status/974615360996507648 It's (groan) nearly St Patrick's Day, and so the Irish prime minister is doing the usual in the US of A. But this time, there are some new elements. Specifically, the prime minister (the official title of his office is Taoiseach) is newly elected and performing these duties for the first time. He's already had... Continue Reading →
Two thoughts come to mind at this time. Firstly, Hawking is to be greatly admired for being both a highly regarded theorist and researcher, and a genuine celebrity scientist. In this he joins very few who have managed to achieve fame in their own lifetimes by changing the way we understand the fundamentals of our universe.
These days, it often seems that celebrity scientists are not really leaders in their fields, and that leaders in their fields seldom become real celebrities.
Secondly, Hawking — at least to me — exemplified someone who practiced the role of scientist in its totality. He not only talked scientific talk, he walked a scientific walk.
By this I mean Stephen Hawking can…
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https://youtu.be/V8pHbQcom1Y No words needed.
https://twitter.com/MichaelFlatley/status/972480498160324608 Remember the old ways? They were the best. That's why people say: "The old ways were the best!" Michael Flatley -- who last made the news defending himself for performing at the Trump inauguration -- certainly stands for the old ways. (BTW, point of information: Cary Grant, who appears in Flatley's supposed "1917" photograph,... Continue Reading →
https://youtu.be/LEcbagW4O-s?t=9m51s Keep watching. Shortly they customize machine guns with pink paint and gold-leaf epigraphs because, you know, ladies. Other highlights: 3:44 Guy promotes free speech ("Our greatest weapon is truth!") by smashing a TV showing news with a sledgehammer. 11:57 Presenters prepare an unusual gift for an expectant mother, by shooting some jars of... Continue Reading →
Religion. Guns. Religion. Guns. Religion. Guns. Not just any old guns, but -- no doubt because they are 'in' at the moment -- AR-15s. Yes, the type of semiautomatic rifle used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. So what could be more appropriate at this time? How about a religious ceremony to bless... Continue Reading →
You want fame? https://youtu.be/vtgmnhRQir4 Yes, it's FameLab time again! The International FameLab Science Communication competition is returning to Galway in 2018! Book your ticket to attend the Galway Regional Heat during which participants will compete for two places in the Ireland final. Scientists from a variety of backgrounds will offer presentations that will answer a... Continue Reading →
It's tonight. More this: I need to tell you that the tickets are now all sold out. I'll be talking about binary opposition and null hypotheses (hey, I find that funny), so if you want to stand outside and tout your prebooked tickets to strangers passing by on the street, I will understand.
From time to time I get emails like this: Dear Brian M, We are pleased to announce that Marquis Who's Who has selected you for our official 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. You have been selected to receive this prestigious award as a result of your hard work and dedication to your profession.... Continue Reading →
And here they are... It's a super-quaint nineteenth-century cabinet museum, where almost everything is catalogued and exhibited in glass cases. There is no VR here, no animatronic T-Rexes, no interactive installations or contrived 'Did You Know?' infographics in Comic Sans. I'm convinced that some of the furniture is of similar -- or greater -- cultural... Continue Reading →
How can you ensure the success of a toilet? Maybe...call it a 'Superloo'? Well maybe not. In the news today is one such 'super' toilet which cost my hometown over half a million euro to install -- plus €250,000 in subsequent maintenance fees -- but which, according to official figures, made just €300 per year in... Continue Reading →
Speaking as a Brian, I can confirm that this is true... In my 1970s childhood, everyone got chicken pox sooner or later. Whenever I felt unwell, I would eagerly look for the red blotches that would confirm my destiny. The 'pocks', as I thought they were, each individual mark representing a single 'pock'. For reasons that appear... Continue Reading →