Posted in fatcats, privilege, rant, religion

Bye, bye and shut the door after you

I’m getting increasingly fed up with the rich and privileged bleating on about how they’re going to have to go somewhere else if we fail to continue pandering to their inflated concepts of their own self-worth.
We have banks and major industries claiming that the top executives have to be paid huge salaries and bonuses because we apparently need the best and the only way to stop these paragons of fiscal rectitude from buggering off to pastures new is to force enormous quantities of cash down their unwilling throats. These people are the best we have to offer? Global recession, countries going bust, austerity measures creating real and substantial poverty — this is what we get from the best financial minds in the world?
There are about 70 million people in the UK. I’m sure that, somewhere in that lot, we could find someone who could do just as good a job, and would be willing and happy to do it for a more sensible remuneration.
Recently, we had the unedifying spectacle of the bigwigs in the CofE prattling on about how the church would have to be disestablished if we didn’t permit them to keep their places in the House of Lords and to carry on with their religiously-based misogyny and homophobia. Disestablish the church? Bring it on — step one on the road to a republic.
Now, I see from the Guardian, Jersey has threatened to secede from the UK if we upset its privileged position as a tax haven for the filthy rich.
So, here’s my plan: call their bluff. Let them go. When they get in a strop and threaten to take their ball away, just wave “bye, bye, and don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out”.
Any replacements we get can’t be worse that what we’ve already got, surely?

Posted in science

I frikking love science!

To commemorate the day that physicists announced a new particle consistent with the Standard Model Higgs boson (posted 4th July 2012).

These days I call myself a photographer; for about 30 years prior to that I tried to persuade computers to do what I wanted them to do. Before that, though, I was (briefly) a scientist (that’s to say, I obtained a BSc in Biochemistry and did a couple of years post-graduate work).
I love science. As Richard Feynman said “[t]he first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool”*.
I love the way science provides a mechanism for avoiding fooling ourselves.
I love the way that some scientists will devote their entire careers to gaining a better understanding of, for example, worms.
I love the way that their work, and that of all the other scientists, has helped us to build up a working model of the whole frikkin’ universe!
I love the fact that each new discovery opens up several new fields of study.
I love the serendipity—you never know where an investigation will ultimately lead.
I love the way it sometimes throws up completely counter-intuitive theories—who needs mind-altering drugs, when you can have quantum mechanics?
I love the sheer awesome majesty that it uncovers—the Hubble Ultra Deep Field is one of the most moving and affecting images that I know of.
I love the way that it can be so stunningly simple—evolution by natural selection is such an easy concept to understand, and yet the process is capable of the most astonishing feats of apparent design.
But what I love most about science is simply this: it works.