Friday, April 25, 2008

Shark gets confused, bites sexagenarian

Shark Kills Triathlete

Poor guy... one minute he's swimming along, next thing he's kicking, but nothing's happening. At least he got a good go of it, still doing triathlons at 66...

And what about the shark? He thinks he's going to get a nice juicy seal, next thing he's chomped down on two sticks of jerky.

Yes, that's the theory; sharks eat people because we look like seals when we wear black wetsuits. Which raises the question: why do we wear black wetsuits?

So far as I know, there's no flourescent green seal. There's no yellow-and-red striped seal. If we added glowing strips - which must be possible with today's technology, possibly some sort of LED - we wouldn't even look the same in the dark. Nature uses colour codes to say "do not eat", why can't we?

So anyway, condolences to the family on their loss, along with this blogger's wish that they found a charitable research organisation to create wetsuits that don't look like seals.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I just had to share this with my currently non-existent readership:

How cool is that?

One has to wonder what the inhabitants of these galaxies are thinking. Of course, this is the normal state of being for them, and two galaxies can pass through each other without a single collision between stars, but still...

I can remember the first time I heard some amazing ideas, like the size of our galaxy. It's part of what drives my love for science. Imagine how many more kids would have their imaginations fired by the idea that our home is colliding with a giant conglomeration of stars.

Actually, don't imagine it. I want to see this mentioned in every primary school class in the world. Show those pictures. It can't hurt a bit.


The problem of beginnings

This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps... no, wait, it's not even the end of the beginning. It's the beginning of the beginning.

And that's a pretty cool place to be. This could become anything.

But for now, I should tell you what it is, so when it changes, you can spot the difference.

My name, for the purposes of this blog, is Wazza. It's a persistent pseudonym; I also use it when I comment over at scienceblogs, and I expect most of the readers of this first post will be familiar with it, since they'll have clicked the link wrapped around it there to come here.

No, I'm not going to tell you my real name.

I'm an atheist, a liberal, and (to use the terminology introduced to me by dear old Randall Munroe) a sciencer. This means that:

1) I don't believe in any god
2) I will, however, defend to the death your right to believe in a god
3) I apply the principles of science in my everyday life, but slept through too many chemistry lectures to become an actual professional scientist
4) I'll be amongst the first up against the wall when the Dominionist revolution comes.


I think you guys all get what atheist means. It means not believing in any gods, as opposed to not believing in all gods except the ones in your particular faith. Some of you may think of us as amoral monsters, because the Divine Command theory of morality makes sense to you. It doesn't to me. If I'm not following a moral code I really believe in in and of itself, am I truly being moral? Atheism means following more or less the same moral code as the more enlightened christians (with maybe a little more lee-way in areas which are called immoral but don't actually hurt anyone), but doing it because you think it's right, not because god told you to. Unless you decide a different moral code is right, but personally, I base my moral code on


in particular, the modern kind that still rejoices in that name in the US as opposed to classical or neoliberalism, the two kinds which together make up the philosophy known as conservative. What this means is that I believe that people should be allowed their freedom, so long as the exercise of their freedom does not infringe on the freedom of others. Once it does, the government is allowed to infringe upon their freedom in order to protect others' freedom. I also believe that any definition of freedom includes freedom from fear (necessitating a police force), freedom from illness (necessitating public health), and freedom from starvation (necessitating some sort of government support scheme for the unemployed and unemployable). Libertarians are, in my estimation, idiots. Yes, enjoying untrammeled freedom is all very well and good, but what happens when there's a disaster? Who funds the rescue effort? Who cleans up afterwards? I ask a lot of questions like this. It's one small part of being a

Like a scientist, but without the lab coats.

As for my personal details, I'm straight, single and studying at university. I'm not going to tell you any more, because being hunted down by people with agendas is bad for my health.

Readers of Pratchett will remember that the problem of beginnings is that there's always a before. I have another blog, but it's more personal and includes my real name. Don't try to hunt it down. Please?