Cats are fickle and stubborn

In which I attempt to understand what a cat really feels other than contempt.

There is a great video from the UK Cat Protection league on stroking your pet’s belly. Apparently they don’t like it up ’em.

The result is that even if your (apologies for the upcoming sentence, I am British so have a in depth education in entendre) pussy looks like it needs a stoke you should try to resist the urge to give it a little tickle lest something untoward happen.

The reality is that unless the cat is explicitly asking you for something then they don’t want you to do anything. Unless of course it’s the opposite, because cat’s are the most contrary animals in existence.

The danger of this video being released on YouTube is that all the cats on the internet will now want to have their tummies tickled because it’s the opposite of what you will now think. Cat’s are waging a long psychological battle against their human minions which isn’t about supremacy but the complete breakdown of human logic.
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Heroes : Professor Brian Cox

In which the universe is huge.

The radiant cheekboned one is back soon on the BBC with a show in which Professor Brian Cox explains Why are we here? How did the universe make us? Are we alone? And what is our future? And why the answers to all these questions need to be explained from the top of a mountain.

This follows on from “Wonders of Life” where he tells us that biology is basically a subset of chemistry which is of course a branch of physics, “Wonders of the Universe” where everything is massive and brilliant and huge and physics, and “Wonders of the Solar System” where everything is slightly less massive and slightly less brilliant and slightly less huge but still physics.

I imagine the answer to many of those questions will be physics.

Professor Brian Cox, speaking at the Royal Ins...
Isn’t pointing brilliant?!

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The voyage of Voyager

In which we send a message to the stars.

Perhaps the greatest achievement in human history is the launching of the interstellar explorers, the Voyager probes. For a species that 100 years ago was taking it’s fist forays into the skies above our ability to rapidly advance the boundaries of our reach constantly amazes me.

NASA looked to a committee, chaired by the great Carl Sagan, to decide what elements of Earth and humanity should be placed on a golden record to be sent as a potential greeting to any other life that should happen to stumble upon a device that would be but a fleck of dust in the enormity of space. In fact it is so unlikely that anyone should stumble on voyage that Carl Sagan himself said:

The record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement more than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

In those heady days committees actually got things done without need to placate various interested parties and the op-eds in the media. So into the darkness we have sent greetings in 55 languages, details of our solar system and our DNA, music by Beethoven and Chuck Berry and scenes from our every day lives.

Can you imagine the difficulty we would have today trying to get a similarly representative disc launched?
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Heroes : Sergei Korolyov

In which I wish all sides in the Space Race could have got together for all mankind’s leaps.

I believe one of the greatest contributions a person can make is the advancement of the human race, and will put that above their own personal ambition. Some will try to push the boundaries of what is possible, while others will only do so motivated by money and power (looking at you T. A. Edison).

In some cases what you may be trying to achieve is a matter of life and death, not because the science is that important but failure may not be looked on kindly by those who are expecting miracles.

One of my own personal idols is a relatively unknown Russian, Sergei Korolyov. The reasons why he is one of my heroes is not exactly rocket science.

Well actually it is rocket science.
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The danger of Killer Whales

In which I welcome our Orca overlords.

Get your damn flipper off me…

The start of the end of humanity has begun; a court in San Diego has agreed to hear legal arguments over whether a Killer Whale should have the same protections and rights as humans. Of all the animals we could choose to make our equals we chose killer whales, they are not our equals…they are better than us.

I love and fear orcas; if reincarnation is real then I would want to come back as a Killer Whale. They are amazing animals, but also brutally good hunters. They will beach themselves to catch seals. They will drown baby whales. We should not be allowing them the chance to serve openly in the armed forces (or get married because this is the kind of slippery slope I rely on politicians to warn me of).

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Don’t save the Giant Panda

In which I help an animal pass into extinction.

Of all the corporate mascots out there I find the WWF’s the most ironic. For an organization that is dedicated to the conservation of the planet’s species they made the decision to choose one of the few examples of fauna that wants to go extinct. I am an animal lover, and it saddens me when any species slips from the Earth never to be seen again, but sometimes you also have to go “You know what, nature has decided that this particular beast is of no use and must be let go”.

This is the case for the Giant Panda, possibly the only animal on the planet that is still around due to human intervention. If it was a gnarly lizard or some parasitic insect we would have put our hands up and gone oh well, that’s Darwinism in action. Instead with its cuddly little face we have decided that we must save it, it’s Survival of the Cutest and its wrong. Continue reading “Don’t save the Giant Panda”

Dealing with the British weather

In which Jon Snow knows nothing.

It’s hard work in the morning, it’s dark and cold outside but inside it’s dark and warm. This does not make it easy to get up and out from under the duvet, so it becomes harder and tougher to wake up in the morning. It’s not just me that is affected either.

The Feliciraptor is also struggling with the lack of sunlight in the morning. I will go in to wake her up and even though she is two she acts like a teenager and just rolls over. Rolls over in that “go away I am refusing to get up” way, and accompanies it with cries of “back to bed” when I pick her out of the cot.

Winters in the UK are not fun and I’m still never prepared for them even though I know it’s been coming.
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Heroes : Alan Turing

In which an enigma is cracked.

Every government has done things it’s not proud of, history can be a harsh judge especially when past events are filtered through a modern sensibility lens. What was seen as deviant 60 years ago is now seen as normal and causes embarrassment for those in charge.

Such is the case of the great Alan Turing. A man who did more for his country than many others and was then treated inhumanly by a government he had helped to protect. This week the current powers that be are planning to offer him a full pardon, what he deserves is an apology.

For those that don’t recognise the name, Turing was a key member of the team at Bletchley Park that cracked the Enigma machine. This was used by the Germans in the Second World War to send encrypted messages which were for all intents untraceable. Turing helped piece together the algorithms that led to the Allies being able to listen in to the communications of the Nazi war machine.

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Indistinguishable from magic

In which I live under the stairs, because the wifi is better there.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch “The Incredible Bert Wonderstone” yesterday morning. I say lucky because I needed to waste a few hours in the morning and it was the first thing to come on TV and I couldn’t find the remote. What I was lucky enough to be able to do is not wake the baby sleeping in my arms by laughing at all.

What it made me realise is that there is no such thing as magic, it’s all just an illusion. As Arthur C. Clarke said:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

So rather than be imbued with mystical powers I will exchange this for a great intellect that will allow me to appear like a deity before the world.

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End of the World show

In which the end of the world is star studded.

Hey, do you remember the time when everyone thought the world would end because the Mayan calendar predicted it. That seems so long ago now doesn’t it? We’ve barely had a single rapturing and only a few outbreaks that was going to wipe humanity from the face of the earth

Rather than sit around and wait for Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl to come around me and Mrs G took the opportunity to go out for the night. It was an an evening full of science, music, actors, comics and rock stars.

I say rock stars, but this definition means that having a series on BBC radio or BBC4 elevates you to celebrity scientist status. Are scientists the new celeb-job, we’ve had celeb home designers in the early 2000’s and then moved to celeb-chefs. Where will it go from here? I’m hoping something more met like celeb-celebs (although this may just be an extension of reality TV *ahem* stars).

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