The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Recently, whilst casually sliding through the list of potential choices for sonic accompaniment to my morning trek to work using the touch screen of my other half’s MP3 player (he was asleep, he didn’t miss it), I overheard a conversation from the back of the bus that actually put a spring in my step for the rest of the day. One of the normally self-absorbed and entitled little private school shits that I found myself daily sharing public transport with was thoroughly pwning one of her colleagues who, in spite of what must have been a not insubstantial educational investment by her parents, had expounded the idea that science was stupid and pointless. The devastating blow, delivered effortlessly by her contemporary, was the unassailable point that science was entirely responsible for eradicating the diseases that made her existence even possible. Just as I had done earlier in the month when reacquainted with moments in the life of one of my heroes, Neil Armstrong, I felt a twinge of pride at the thought that, as with almost every aspect of the modern world, a geek was responsible for the progress. Read more “The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth”

London Calling

Sport and I have never really seen eye to eye. In fact, we’ve never even really seen eye to navel, what with my general interest in athletic endeavour being somewhere in the neighbourhood of my enthusiasm for the idea of working deep in the very bowels of the Greater London sewer system; other people can do it if they want, but please don’t try to include me or engage me, don’t bring your passion for either into my house, and for fuck’s sake stop going on about it because I really couldn’t care less. For me, the seven year march of the London (copyright LOCOG) 2012 (copyright LOCOG) Olympics (copyright LOCOG) represented nothing more than a £10 billion sports day we couldn’t afford and that was being run for the sole benefit of the corporate sponsors and all the fitness nazis and sports bores who get off on physical displays of repetitive tedium. So, when I sat down to watch the opening ceremony I did so fully expecting to have my abiding cynicism cemented by a cringe-making, cack-handed farce that presented Britain as a nation of deluded spanners. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be proved wrong on an absurdly epic scale. Read more “London Calling”

Off with his head

This week’s post has probably the most potential of anything I’ve ever written to cause the greatest level of discomfort and embarrassment – not just for me, but for nearly a full half of the entire human race. It’s a subject that can hardly even be mentioned without all those who happen to be both in earshot, and in possession of the requisite dangly bits, want to cross their legs while enduring a sustained moment of pained wincing at the very thought of it. As a member of the aforementioned group, I find it especially hard to raise this subject, and not just for the reasons of physical awkwardness thus far stated; my innate stiff Englishness and general inability to be cock-sure and confident when addressing such issues means I am largely incapable of standing tremendously proud when I say, in the words of Kryten, the service mechanoid from “Red Dwarf” who temporarily becomes human and consequently has many questions about his new body, “I want to talk to you about my penis”. Read more “Off with his head”

Here comes the pride

Once again I am compelled to begin my post with an apology for the complete lack of any kind of ranty, word-based intellectual comestibles over the last few weeks. I’m afraid things have been stupidly busy around here again, with a large proportion of my time spent building a website for my dad and his recently published book (go there now and buy it, particularly if you like wizards, quests, and magic, and especially if you have kids). With all the running around (well, sitting down, if I’m honest) trying to organise things – server upgrades, domain registration, installing software – getting everything set up, and making absolutely sure that the whole thing was perfect and ready in time for an immovable, near-future release date, it sometimes felt like I was involved in planning a bloody wedding. And, do you know, that gloriously ham-fisted and clunky attempt at a segue leads me very shoddily on to what it was I wanted to talk about this week? The ongoing and now, thanks to certain presidents, very high-profile worldwide campaign for LGBT marriage equality. Read more “Here comes the pride”

You label me, I libel you

Despite having spent much of my time since the beginning of the easter weekend in and out of the vets with a conveyor belt’s worth of poorly pets (the full exciting story of which can be read in last week’s post), I’m in a relatively good mood … so much so, in fact, that I thought I’d make this week’s offering a bit of a special one by giving you this site’s first-ever actual proper interview (not with me, obviously, that would be mindlessly self-indulgent and bizarrely schizophrenic). Joining me almost live via email is Vaughan Jones, sceptic blogger and lifter of heavy things who found himself neck-deep in lawyers recently when a christian author sued him for libel over reviews he’d written on Amazon (as well as a few comments) telling everyone that his book, a supposed satire on the religion versus science debate, was crap. So, grab yourself a cuppa and a few jaffa cakes, pull up a comfy chair, and I’ll try to set the scene before asking Vaughan some (hopefully) interesting questions. Read more “You label me, I libel you”

Science, bitches: it works

Disgracefully, I haven’t written a blog post in a little over a month; predictably, I have an excuse; surprisingly, it’s a really good one. Since easter weekend my partner, Raven, and I have been engaged in a seemingly never-ending battle against the forces of contagion present in the numerous furry creatures we’ve chosen to take on as pets. As you may be aware, we are the proud keepers of a number of rats, and since Good Friday we’ve been trying desperately to manage an outbreak of respiratory infection that spread through the colony faster than internet rumours about John Travolta’s predilection for man-handling the occasional man-handler. As we spent many an hour trying to persuade our collection of adorable nuisances to take a variety of different medicines, weighing them to ensure correct dosing, measuring the amount of food and drink they were taking each day to make sure they were getting enough, and looking for changes in both their behaviour and demeanour, it occurred to me that we were, in a very real way, demonstrating successful application of the scientific method. How do I know it was successful? Simple … it got results. Read more “Science, bitches: it works”

Dead Jew On A Stick

As a sign of how increasingly eccentric and silly a place to work our office has become, one of our colleagues had organised a massive easter egg hunt on Thursday. While sofa cushions were upturned and coffee jars emptied in a desperate hunt for hidden chocolate, I was reminded of two things; first, that our office is peopled exclusively with adults who turn into overgrown children with the appetites of a cluster of super-massive black holes whenever sugar-heavy goodies are made available, and, second, that none of the traditional symbols of this apparently christian festival have got anything to do with christianity. Forever dodging the questions of exactly what relevance the eggs and bunny rabbits of the pagan celebrations usurped by Team Carpenter have to easter, they will instead try to divert your attention to the one and only symbol they have got; a symbol of the boundless love that the one true god (apart from all the others) has for anyone prepared to devote themselves to his service in perpetuity – a half-naked, Palestinian torture-victim nailed to a tree. Read more “Dead Jew On A Stick”