Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Its funny because its true.........

Just a quick note about a new book by David McCandless (he writes technology news amongst other things) called "The Internet now in handy book form" (the website has some good spoofs on it). It is essentially a piss take of all the site we know and love, I haven't read it myself but Charlie Booker (possibly the best Media critic in the world) says "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll realize you hadn't cried at but had simply laughed again!", so it must be worth a look. Below is a spoof of that social networking site I grace with addict-like consistency and I have to admit it does make a good point!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Join the network, save the world........

Just thought I would inform you all of a very worthwhile little tool that will allow you to be part of the further advancement of human knowledge not to mention helping to find cures for some of the worst diseases in the world.

I am sure some of you remember SETI@home, it was a screen saver program from back in the day (1990's) which when you weren't using your computer would download packets of data from SETI and processes them looking for little green men. Using this the SETI guys could process rafts of data compared with just using their own machines.

This idea has been taken to the next level by the World Community Grid, it hosts research projects for everything from climate change studies to fighting AIDS. Basically you download a client program (BOINC seems to be the best but there are loads to choose from), you then tell the client the URL of the project you want to process data for and away you go. Each project has its own graphics to use as a screensaver.

If you go to the WCG website and sign up it will guide you through the setup procedure, during this it will ask you to join a team, this is optional but if you want to join my team "Number Crunching to Save The World" then we can work to together to save the world and gets some good stats on the WCG!

Alternatively you can go straight to BOINC and download the program and then add projects yourself from their project page, which has a bigger choice than WCG (which only hosts the big ones like AIDS research). You can also add projects from this page after signing up for WCG.

The great thing about this is you can customize how you want to help. If you care more about Climate change than searching for pulsars then sign up for that project, or if AIDS research is more your thing then go for that and so on. You can run as many projects as you want at once, it is a good idea to have more than one as there may not always be data available for you to process from each project, however the more you have the longer it will take to process each data packet so it a balancing act.

I hope the above all makes sense (if it doesn't just email me) and we can get as many people as possible crunching numbers for the good of mankind!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Deadly Leathal Ninja Assassins..........

Those cheeky southern lads have done it again! Reuben have released another great track and more than entertaining video to go with it! Look out for Frank Turner playing "D" the evil scientist! Those of you on facebook click here (you know you want to!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

The coming of endarkenment........

It is something that has worried me for many years now, the growing credibility of completely un-credible "science". For example Homeopathy and other such "earth-mother will heal all" based rubbish, advocating that sticking mushrooms up your nose and meditating is better than seeing your GP, is not only laughable, it is dangerous! Of course there are homeopathic remedies that are proven to work and have real evidence to back them up, but these seem to be in the minority compared to the vast weight of unsubstantiated bovine fecease the seems, in most cases quite obviously, to be concocted by people out to make a quick buck off the not-so-bright.

This trend is even more worrying coupled with the growing belief in creationism and intelligent design, I think "The Endarkenment" (as David Colquhoun refers to it) is a good title for it . My father is a Vicar and so naturally Christianity featured heavily in my early life, he however never advocated that the book of genesis was a literal account of the creation of the earth, he made it clear to me it was a metaphor.

When you analyze it closely the bible gives a remarkably accurate account of the creation of the earth, told in a way that people 2000 years ago could understand. Imagine trying to tell people who lived in mud huts, who had no concept of space, planets, DNA etc that there was this big bang millions of years ago and then as everything cooled rocks began to stick together, oh yeah by the way there is this thing called gravity, then there were these monkeys, well first they were bacteria, and they slowly turned into monkeys.......It just wouldn't have worked and if attempted would probably have resulted in a rapid stoning closely followed with the scattering your body parts to all four corners of the land. So the story of genesis takes place over 6 days, the actual Hebrew translation is "period of time", so 6 ages would be a better way of looking at it. First there was darkness and light (the big bang), then the land and the sea (formation of the planets), then beasts of the sea, land and air and then man (evolution). Of course there are morality tales mixed in with it but my point stands that it is not a literal account and it scares me it is advocated as a scientific possibility let alone a theory to rival well established planetary science or Darwinism!

Anyway the underlying point behind my ill-conceived ramblings are put much more eloquently by David Colquhoun in this article for the Guardian.

I pray for the victory of common sense and the scientific process!