Sunday, 14 April 2019

Israel

What a silly Isy
I suspect that not many of my readers in the northern hemisphere are aware of Israel Folau. Down here in the Antipodes, Israel, is somewhat a celeb especially in Australia. Mr Folau plays rugby for the ‘NSW Waratahs’ and is apparently rather good. Consequently, for chucking a funny shaped ball down a muddy field he gets squiddles of lovely, cash. Well, he did until he got the sack. Did  Waratahs' finest rage rampant down Brisbane high street in a drunken stupour assaulting passersby and smearing their still vibrant blood across shop front windows? Did poor Israel eat a live ferret on live tele while defecating on the Australian flag? No, Mr Folau did not engage in the aforementioned activities. However, he did post on Instagram. The following image appeared together with a disjointed comment and quotes from the Bible.

A quick look at the list makes me realise that none shall be spared. Mr Folau is festooned with tattoos. I’m sure there is an injunction somewhere in the ‘good book’ about the desecration of God’s living temple. What about the bit about casting the first ferret?     

The ‘fallout’ was not slow in coming and the airways were incandescent with indignation. The Australian rugby associations were a tad slow in their condemnation (Israel is rather good at rugby)  until prodded by an SJW stick……. And so, eventually, Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union announced: “Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts. We have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action — in the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it’s our intention to terminate his contract.”

Bugger! I bet this ex-rugby player must be kicking his own arse mightily with both legs and with gusto. His rant has cost him a lucrative contract and it is doubtful that he will be re-employed, soon. Perhaps when the dust dies down?

It is my contention that Mr Folau has been ‘guilty’ of stupidity and gross fuckwittedness of the first order. But what do expect when part of your job description requires you to be bashed repeatably about the head by other large men. The whole process is not conducive to concentrated mental thought. Tis a wonder he can tie up his own rugby boots. That said, Mr Folau has committed no crime and he is entitled to express his opinion as befits a society proud of its freedom of speech. Now, I’m of the opinion that Israel’s comments were rather stupid considering the likely adverse impact on his income following the predictable indignation from the vocal ‘snowflake’ brigade. His comments were also rather silly from the perspective of intrinsic merit. But he should have a public platform to state his inane bollocks without losing his job.  

Shame on the Australian rugby authorities for pandering to this strident minority ‘voice’.

The story was picked up by an ‘Athiest Commentator’. He was of the opinion that Mr Folau was rightly sacked. I placed a polite comment in dissent. Strangely, my comment seemed to disappear into the aether. Fearing the worst I followed up with: “Oops my comment has disappeared. I'm hoping this was an admin glitch and not due to my comment disagreeing with the author and general 'thrust' of the comments here. Anyway, I stated that Israel should not have been sacked for his meanderings. He said nothing illegal and, although I think his comments misguided, they fall under the banner of free speech. I think to sack Israel is pandering to an SJW agenda which seems hellbent on closing down opinion and debate, not in tune with its narrow viewpoint. As atheists, all we have to agree upon is a lack of belief in supernatural deities- nothing else, and why should we?   

It will be intriguing to see if my comment remains upstanding.

Update: my original comment has mysteriously returned and my second comment has also been published and has flourished. Whoopy do………….Free speech has been sustained (nay, nourished) and vindicated with veritable aplomb. Arse.  

     




Thursday, 11 April 2019

Zama

 
Zama

Throughout history, there have been a few defining battles that have changed the course of Western civilisation. Consider Alexander the Great’s success at the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC which destroyed the Persian empire. The battle of Tours in 732 AD ensured that Europe, apart from Spain, would remain Christian. There are other battles to contemplate. But in my opinion, the battle of Zama (202BC), as far as Western civilisation is concerned, is THE defining battle, the battle that determined that Western civilisation would be based upon Roman culture and values.

To understand this pivotal event in history it is important to understand the crucial events which led up to this famous battle enacted on the north African plain. What follows is a brief sketch of those cardinal events.

In 400 BC the Mediterranean was ruled by the superpowers of the age, the Greeks and Carthaginians. The Greeks were a loose ‘confederation’ of independent city-states, although often at war with each other, the states were bound together by culture, language and an abiding sense of superiority. With the rise of Macedonian power under Philip II (359-336 BC), the privilege of Greek independence was curtailed. The fragmentation of Alexander the Great’s Empire after his death in 323 BC resulted in political chaos and civil war within the Macedonian Empire. By the time of the First Punic war, in 264 BC, Macedonian power in Greece had waned and had been replaced by the Aetolian and Achaean leagues. Although to be fair it is difficult to chart the shifting alliances and wars in the region, at this time.   

To the west on the north coast of Africa, Carthage dominated the scatter of Punic city-states. Although the cities were nominally independent, the great city of Carthage welded the greatest power ensured by a large fleet and a mercenary army. The Greeks and Carthaginians squabbled mightily and often (580-264 BC). Most of the fighting occurred on the island of Sicily where both powers had colonial offshoots. Into the mix came Rome. In 270 BC, after a series of bitter conflicts, Rome had taken control of the Italian peninsula. In 264 BC the city of Taranto on the coast of Sicily appealed to Rome for help in a conflict with the city of Syracuse. Rome accepted the challenge and removed the Carthaginian garrison by force (tis a long story, go read). Inevitably, this led to a war between these powers. The war continued for 23 years with many shifts and turns of fortune. In the end, Carthage was totally defeated and as a consequence lost her possessions in Sicily and was required to pay a hefty indemnity to Rome. An uneasy peace existed between these nations but further conflict was inevitable (compare with the First and Second World Wars two thousand years later- the parallels are uncanny).

In 218 BC the mighty Hannibal Barca provoked a war with Rome and crossed the Alps to bring battle to the Romans on Italian soil. This was a bold strategic move by Hannibal, a move with grave risks. While on Italian soil Hannibal was able to maintain a tactical advantage and exploit his position throughout the 16 years he remained on Roman soil. Hannibal was a captain of immense genius and resilience and although he inflicted several major defeats on the Romans he was unable to break up the Roman confederation from which Rome gained her political and military strength. After 16 years, Hannibal was recalled by Carthage as Roman forces had invaded North Africa. On Carthaginian soil, the Romans had already inflicted two defeats on the Carthaginians before Hannibal’s arrival and were about to invest Carthage. After 16 years of war, Hannibal’s army was in a poor state. Carthage had failed their greatest general by keeping him chronically short of men and supplies. Before his return to Africa, Hannibal due to lack of transportation had to leave his horses behind, a resource, whose loss he would rue in the battle to come. And so, on a day in October 202 BC, Hannibal’s makeshift army of 40,000 came across Rome’s veteran army of 35,000 commanded by Rome’s greatest general, Scipio Africanus. Although Hannibal had the larger army he lacked a large cavalry arm and his troops were of uneven quality. In contrast, Scipio commanded infantry well seasoned in war and he was endowed with the finest cavalry of the day. The battle was lost before it began and Hannibal and Carthage were forced into a humiliating peace. Fifty-five years later the city of Carthage was burned to the ground by the Romans and only one great power remained supreme in the Mediterranean.

So why is the battle of Zama the most important battle in history for Western civilisation? Well, that is a good question, I’m glad you asked (wibble nuts). The destruction of Carthaginian power had enormous ramifications for Western culture. It has been estimated that Hannibal was responsible for the death of 250,000 Roman soldiers; only Rome could sustain such losses and win. With the destruction of Carthage, Western Civilisation and its subsequent development would be based on rugged Indo-European Rome and not lush, Semitic Carthage. Hannibal’s enterprise was doomed before it started and the battle of Zama had been lost centuries before it was fought.       

Do my readers agree with my analysis? I would welcome opinions as a basis for subsequent discussion.

Scipio Africanus in realistic repose 








        


         
  


  







   




     





Friday, 5 April 2019

BEER


I do enjoy my beer and although I’m no connoisseur or beer snob, I’m particularly fond of traditional English Ales, especially those well endowed with hops. Hoppy IPA beers are the ‘brew of the gods’ but it’s an acquired taste which many find too aromatic, too astringent and too harsh on the palate. Tis not for the fainthearted and it is definitely not a subtle brew especially as it's high in alcohol content. Anyway, you can imagine my delight when my son’s girlfriend purchased a ticket for a ‘brewing experience’ to be shared between my son and myself as a Christmastide present.

We dutifully turned up at the brewery at the appointed date and time. The brewery offers an extensive list of beer for consumption and brewing. So, in order to decide which fine beer should be brewed, it was necessary to sample a gaggle of the beers on offer. The brewery provides a sampling tray and we decided to purchase a tray of eight beers a piece. Each glass contains about 125ml of fine beer. After quaffing our collection we decided to select an IPA with an alcohol percentage of about 5.8%. Just to reinforce our decision we ordered a couple of pints of the IPA to consolidate our selection (hic).

And so to the brewing. There were several groups and we congregated around a series of brewing kettles and implements. Our supervisor explained the process but because of custom and excise regulations, he was not allowed to touch or operate the equipment himself. Sounds crazy, I know- but dems the regulations. Once the correct temperature in the primary kettle had been reached we added the grain and cooked it according to the instructions. The final process involved adding the resultant solution to two large buckets mixed together with a yeast solution.

The main brewing process takes between 10 to 14 days however, after 7 days my son returned to add the hops. Last Sunday I travelled back to the brewery for the bottling. I provided most of the bottles from my previous home brewing attempts. The vigilant supervisor checked my bottles to ensure that I’d bothered to sterilise them all. All very necessary to prevent the inclusion of any wild yeast which might spoil the brew. With the floor awash with beer we finally bottled about 40 litres.

The beer should be left for at least 14 days to allow secondary fermentation, after which, the beer is ready for consumption. This works well as we have a gaggle of friends visiting for Easter. I’m hoping that the Ale lives up to its promise. I am sure my readers are all agog to hear how the brew turns out. Perhaps I’ll post an update? By the way, Shagger is particularly fond of good beer.      


           Cheers!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Lysenkoism

Trofim Lysenko, in repose- seems harmless enough? 
Dogma and science have never made good bedfellows. In the West, science became stifled for over a thousand years by a Catholic church driven by religious dogma; a dogma enforced by violence. It was only with the coming of the Renascence and the Scientific Revolution that the West managed to escape the shackles of Catholic ideology. Martin Luther’s rebellion (see previous post) resulted in the birth of the Protestant church in northern Europe. Christian belief became splintered and the Pope’s hegemony and authority were no more. Effectively, the Catholic church’s secular power waned allowing the growth of new nonecclesiastical thought. Today, I would like to consider another form of dogma equally stultifying as its religious counterpart.  

With the advent of communist controlled Russia following the Great War, almost everything was subsumed to Marxist-Leninist dictate. Anything not in accord with communist ideals was violently discarded.

 At the inception of Russian communism, Russia was a peasant agrarian economy with 80% of the people working the land. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, the Czarist regime had made an effort toward peasant reform. The peasants had become emancipated, and in theory, they could buy their own land. In practice, few could afford to do so. In 1928 a massive shortfall in food distribution forced Stalin to requisition grain. The peasants were mightily unimpressed and resorted to hoarding.  In return, the Soviet government introduced collectivisation of the farms. The farmers were seriously unimpressed and refused to work the land, burnt crops and were collectively, very naughty. Predictably this led to famine. At the height of the famine in 1932-33, 8 million people starved to death. Ideology prevented Stalin from appealing for help from the West. Instead, the Russian media released newsreels of happy smiling peasants amid abundant crops for Western consumption. In reality, the peasants consumed very little. As if to save the day, along trots Trofim Lysenko, a horticulturist not over-endowed with academic qualifications or brains. But he offered a fast, cheap and characteristically communist solution to the famine. Lysenko’s plan was to apply a form of Lamarckism (acquired characteristics) to increase grain production by a factor of three. He even stated that he could transmute weeds into food crops. Even the living God could only turn water into wine. I have dealt with Lamarckism elsewhere. Suffice it to say that by the beginning of the twentieth century the notion of ‘acquired characteristics’ was thoroughly discredited by the scientific community. In essence, Lamarck stated that a characteristic acquired by an organism could be passed on to their offspring. An example would be a bodybuilder passing on their muscled physique to their children without the children undergoing rigorous training. Stalin was no biologist but he was attracted to Lysenko’s methodology and theory for several reasons. Firstly, Larmarckism was very much in tune with Marxism. The ideal/idea that all are equal and improvement can be achieved by work is essentially communistic. Sensible folk know better; humans are not made equal, this is patently obvious. Secondly, Lysenko offered rapid and astounding results. In contrast, conventional geneticists offered slow and scientifically measured solutions backed up by lengthy trials.    
Lysenko’s approach was known as acquired vernalisation. Vernalisation is a process whereby seeds are exposed to cold as a necessary requirement for germination. Although the Soviet regime credited Lysenko with the discovery of vernalisation, the process was well known to Russian peasants. 

Ideologically sound Lysenko was showered with a sprinkling of accolades. In 1936 Stalin appointed Lysenko the head of the ‘Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences’; a member of the ‘Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences’ in 1938 and the director of the ‘Academy’s Institute of Genetics in 1940’. Under such autocratic patronage, Lysenko prospered and persisted with his worthless and potentially catastrophic ‘research’. Encouraged and endorsed by Stalin, Lysenko continued with his outrageous, unsubstantiated and inflated agricultural claims. He contended that vernalisation could be acquired without prior exposure to cold as long as the parental seeds had been subject to cold. Furthermore, Lysenko stated that crops could be grown without artificial fertilisers. Lysenko did not conduct experiments according to the scientific method and only accepted ‘data’ in accord with his madcap theories.

Under Lysenko’s rule, scientifically proven and practical Mendelian genetics and geneticists were ruled counter to Marxist-Leninist ideology. It was concluded that Mendelian genetics was an ‘alien foreign bourgeois biology’. Lysenko’s predecessor, as the head of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the eminent geneticist, Nikolai Vavilov, was promptly shipped off to prison where he succumbed to malnutrition in 1943. Three thousand mainstream biologists were sacked; some executed; some simply disappeared.

Under Lysenko’s, ‘watch’ grain production in the USSR actually declined. After the death of Stalin in 1953, Mendelian genetics underwent a slow rehabilitation, a few backslides aside. By the mid-1960s Mendelian genetics had quietly become mainstream in Soviet Russia. It had finally dawned upon the Soviet hierarchy that Lysenko was a crank and that his insane theories and methodologies did not work. The upshot, of course, was that numerous people died as a result of Lysenkoism due to famine. Valid biological research stagnated and it is thought that Lysenko was responsible for placing Russian genetic research ‘on hold’ for 30 years.   

Dogma is rarely a good thing regardless of the field of endeavour but especially in science. To shackle the pursuit of knowledge to a fanatical and non-inclusive ideology is always going to end in tears. Human history is littered with such examples- go read and weep.                       



Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Social Justice Warriors: The Revenge




I recently wrote about ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and how absurd and hilarious they appear to the rest of sane humanity. I provided a few humour besmirched examples in order to further illustrate my underlining thesis of woe. Today, I have decided to revisit this rich vein of cultural insanity as the previous post was received and rewiewed with mind-numbing apathy and ignorement (not a real word). To be honest such posts are easy to put forth as they virtually write themselves. Basically, I’m a very lazy man and writing serious stuff is hard even for an intellectual prodigy such as myself. So occasionally I like to take the easy option of going for the ‘low hanging fruit’. But remember the lowest fruit is often the sweetest. So, sit back and enjoy and try not to get juice stains on your nice shiny, shell suit. Arse.     

This is a hard one. How many gender neutral names are there? What about Lesley or is it, Leslie? No, can't be doing that- the spelling gives away the gender. Thinks hard. What about Ashley and Kim? Mayhap, this could work. But choosing a baby's name is always going to be hard as both parents have got to agree. And yea, if you want a true gender-neutral name the list is not extensive and let's be honest most of them are a bit too 'exotic' for nice middle-class parents. Why not go for the 'new wave' option that is popular amongst air-head celebs. Call your kid Space Cadet, London, Tipton or something to do with nature like Winter, or Land Crab? Certainly, the lower echelons of society have quickly latched on to this one and mothers shouting out to their offspring, Nokia and Storm resonate loudly throughout every Aldis and Lidl. I think the 'right on' crowd will have to think very hard about this one as the pitfalls are numerous and not subtle. They may efuse about the proles but they do not want to be proles themselves, do they? I've got an idea. Why not give boys girl names and girls boy names? Remember Shirley Crabtree? He turned out to be a successful heavyweight wrestler with the moniker, 'Big Daddy'. And let us not forget that John Wayne was Christened, Marion. Naming your brat is too hard. I recommend going the way of the parents who named their child named, 'Baby'. It had intellectual deficit. Nuff said.

O dem pesky trans folk: sensitive little petals, aren't they? I think we should go through the dictionary forthwith changing all words beginning with 'trans'. Might take some time and what should we substitute 'trans' with? I suggest Twat. Thus Transperson becomes Twatperson. That should work. 


The above says it all, I'm afraid
I confess I had to look up 'STEM fields'. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Yea but what is wrong with a degree in LGBT studies, Black feminist literature (short course), Hispanic studies, Women's studies and Puppetry (no, not a double major)? Did you know that you can obtain a degree in the UK on David Beckham studies? Some argue that we go to university to expand our mind. This is only part of the equation. More likely today you will be exposed to leftist ideology and a pandering to all strange minority weirdo lifestyles and philosophies. Not so much expanding the mind more of a case of narrowing the mind and blocking dissent and debate concerning anything that doesn't fit in with the current shade of Markism. How is a degree in 'Black studies' going to help you in the real cut 'n' thrust, competitive world of work? Imagine what would happen if someone suggested a degree in 'White studies'?

The acid test: After leaving the hallowed halls of acadaemia, how are you going to earn your living and make your way in a tough world? It is my contention that a degree in Native American (what happened to Indian) studies is a fast track to the dole queue. MacDonald's are always hiring. Or you could become a professional economically disenfranchised whiner continually banging on about how a misogynist, white, middle-class, conservative controlled society is the real evil. Or you could, like sensible white middle-class folk, pursue STEM studies thus obtaining nice, potentially high paying jobs and satisfying careers.    



Makes me laugh, it really does. Too much to unpack here for a blog post. Anyway, I just want to make a couple of points. I don't have an issue with homosexuality. As an ex-professional biologist, I'm aware that sexual orientation is not a choice. Most folk are born attracted to the opposite sex and a minority are attracted to their own sex. From a purely biological perspective, homosexuality is an aberration and unlikely to bear fruit. For a gay man to date and have sexual relations with a woman is akin to a heterosexual man having sex with a man. Both would find the situation equally repugnant. The good thing: the weirdos are starting to turn on each other. In dat a sad shame?


Sometimes even my jaded soul is surprised by this crap. Perhaps the above should hide away somewhere, preferably in a box so that messy, nasty, abhorrent real life doesn't insinuate and encroach on their hyper-sensitive sensibilities. How do they react when they drop an egg in the kitchen? My advice: find a house out in the country; find a large room therein, paint it white and sit in the middle gently rocking in the foetal position. Real life should not intrude. And don't go outside, tis full of squelchy, nasty critters and smelly poo.     

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......... No further comment. I'm off out to burn down the local orphanage.



Well, boys will be boys and girls will be girls…….  Innate behaviour will out. Evolution has fashioned differences in the behaviour of men and women and these behaviours become manifest in early childhood. I’m reminded of an ex-colleague. He was very ‘right on’ and was very vocal about raising his young son in a gender-neutral atmosphere. Consequently, my colleague’s son was not allowed masculine toys such as cars, toy guns and any object associated with war and aggression. One morning my colleague came to work in a state of great despond and disarray. Apparently, his son had fashioned a toy gun out of wood and string and was found ‘playing war’ with his friends. Later I heard that the boy in question went on to join the British Marine commandos. So much for a gender-neutral upbringing.




Err, some confusion here, mayhap? I'm hoping HE turns out to be a man? What do you think?

Bugger! This post has taken a lot longer to write than anticipated. Should have taken the time to write something more cerebral. Could have put the time profitably in a more fruitful endeavour and started my Magnus Opus on: 'The influence of lesbian, black, disabled, mentally encumbered transwomen on the development of Western Society'. Although, on second thoughts, this would take, but a thrice.

Toodly Pip, for now.    

                                                  Bonus image- no comment neccesary



Sunday, 24 March 2019

PARASITE

Have you ever bewailed the lot of the humble parasite? Mayhap you should as they are a much maligned but poorly understood group of biological entities. Let me start with a formal definition: An organism that lives and feeds on or in an organism of a different species and causes harm to its host is considered a parasite. This covers a multitude of organisms from bacteria to vampire bats. But not viruses as they do not constitute life according to strict criteria. It has been estimated that up to 40% of extant species are parasitic to some degree. It appears that, as a biological strategy, parasitism can be profitable. They can be likened to the human economic parasite, Estatus Agentus Twatus Maximus. A most pernicious breed of humankind dedicated to sapping the lifeblood of every human contemplating a change in location. Makes me wanna burn stuff. Moving on…….
Parasites should be distinguished from critters which live in harmonious accord with their host, called commensals. Commensals cause no harm or benefit, or none we can detect. A good example would be the remora fish which attach to sharks to garner morsels of food from prey taken by their gracious host; the ultimate perpetual dinner guest. The next category I would like to consider are species which engage in a beneficial interaction. Mutualism engages both species with benefits without detriment. A good example would be the association of flowering plants with a variety of bee species. In turn for a good feed of nutritious nectar, the bee transfers pollen between plants thus ensuring pollination.
There is contention amongst biologists that given time, a lot of time, parasitic species will eventually, through coevolution, become more in tune with their much suffering host, eventually becoming less malign and therefore entering the stage of commensalism on their evolutionary way to mutualism.  This, of course, is just one scenario. Predictions can only be made if we understand the intrinsic and extrinsic evolutionary pressures, demonstrated, over time. In fact, if there is competition between parasitic species for the same host then drift to a more aggressive form of parasitism may ensue with shorter life cycles for the parasites engaged.
Humans like to classify into discrete entities. For some reason, we are made to view the world this way. Life is not so simple or discrete. Life tends to morph into blurry categories thus predation is but one end of the scale proceeding, by degrees into parasitism, through to the commensal, and ending up with the mutualistic way of life. If only life was this simple.   
Anyway, I’ve provided an example below of the parasitic way of life. This example is said to have swayed Darwin away from a belief in an omnibenevolent deity. In his own words:  "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars." Take no heed gentle reader, Darwin’s atheism came as a consequence of his own deliberations in the field of natural selection and evolutionary theory.
Consider the Ichneumon wasp, a most delightful and clinched waist creature with the habit of laying its eggs in butterfly larvae. Once cosseted inside the grub the egg hatches into a wriggling worm which begins to pork out on the tissues of the unfortunate grub. They are mindful not to ingest vital organs leaving the succulent nervous tissue to last. Thus, the grub undergoes a long lingering death as it is consumed from within. Of note, the wasp has engaged the help of a virus that suppresses the host’s immune system. The intruder thus lurks within without being detected by the grub’s innate internal vigilance system.  Isn’t Nature just a complete treasure in all its manifest horrors. Arse.
And so, I would like to finish with part of a poem from the pen of the satirical cleric Jonathan Swift. This excerpt/extract is taken from, "On Poetry: A Rhapsody". Take it away, Jonathan. In this version, the vermin only teaze and pinch.
Their foes superior by an inch.
So nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
 And these have smaller fleas to bite 'em.
And so proceeds ad infinitum.

Thus every poet, in his kind,
Is bit by him that comes behind: Ain’t dat the sad truth.  

What do you think of my new tongue? 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Schrödinger’s Ferret



The famous thought experiment, Schrodinger’s ferret, devised in the 1930s by the physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, has insinuated into general consciousness without being understood by the general population. The development of quantum physics came hot on the heels of Einstein’s insights concerning relativity. If the concept of relativity is strange and counter-intuitive, the quantum world, in all its glory, is so weird and bizarre that sane physicists have been driven to contemplate the possibility of supernatural forces at work in the universe. More fool them, say I.  
At the beginning of the 20th century, all seemed tame and sensible with the real world of physics. Newton had entertained his vast intellect with the physical world in the mid-17th century and set things to right. He tackled the main problems of physics and prevailed in the realms of optics, gravity and motion. If ever there was a god in the world bedecked in human raiment, then Newton was that embodiment. Such intellectual immortality fosters an air of stifling, intellectual atrophy and although the great Newton described the effects of ‘gravity’ he had no idea of what this mysterious force consisted of and this problem remained a thorn in Newton’s intellectual side until his death. Newton’s work on ‘nature’s wonders’ acted as a block to future discoveries in the realm of relative motion. Newton’s three laws described the motion of physical bodies with such elegant mathematical precision that further exact delineations seemed futile.  But the pesky problem of gravity still remained. Then in 1905 and 1915, Einstein came along with his rather strange theories of relativity (special and general) upending Newtonian physics in a thrice. His theories suggested an explanation of gravity, of sorts, indicating that this force existed as a mere artefact of mass deforming space-time. 
Anyway, I’ve digressed somewhat. At the beginning of the 20th century, the world of the ‘super small’ was showing signs of being rather odd and quaintly silly. In 1900 Max Planck devised his quantum hypothesis of energy consisting of discrete elements (quanta) although the name ‘quantum mechanics’ would not be coined until the 1920s. At the infinitesimally small, particles and energy seemed to exist in discrete states spread out in a blurry mess. Their position in space could only be described statistically (damn statistics) and the ultimate position could only be determined by interfering with the situation by direct observation and measurement. At such a time all probability collapsed and the particle conveniently reverted to a single position in space. The situation appeared so counterintuitive that it spurred the great physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, in the 1930s, to propose his famous thought experiment to illustrate the absurdity of the current status of quantum mechanics, known as the Copenhagen explanation. The experiment is outlined below for edification and general illumination in order that the blind may see.


Imagine a box containing a ferret, it might be Shagger, it might not- can’t say. Also, in the box is a small amount of radioactive material wired up to a vial of hydrogen cyanide gas. Please note, the wire is super strong to prevent Shagger from chewing through it thus voiding the experiment. The lid of the box is closed and the box remains undisturbed for one hour. During that time the radioactive material has a 50:50 chance of decaying. If that occurs the mechanism is triggered releasing the gas, killing poor Shagger.  According to accepted quantum theory, during the experiment, the ferret exists in a zombie state of neither being alive or dead (quantum superposition). The situation can only be resolved by peeking in the box at the end of the experiment. Thereupon the ferret’s situation would collapse into a state of life or demise. 

Tis of course, totally absurd. We know that the macroscopic world does not act this way. We can’t have a continuous sensible extrapolation from the quantum world of the very small to the ‘real world’ of the large. If matter ultimately exists as a blurry mess the appearance of solidity is utterly convincing, at least to our eyes.
The experiment is often put forth as Schrodinger’s way of illustrating the strangeness of quantum theory while in fact, he wanted to illustrate the ridiculousness of the quantum world as it was postulated in his day. He in no way accepted this interpretation and considered the original premises, flawed.
Subsequent modern experiments have lent support to the mysterious blurry nature of matter at the quantum level. How is it possible for a particle to exist in many incompatible states and how does this relate to how matter behaves according to our priveleged perspective? We are starting to stray into the world of metaphysics and rarefied philosophy and I will proceed no further. Anyway, while you contemplate such outré notions, hopefully remaining sane, I’m off with Shagger, assuming, of course, a happy resolution to the experiment, to go a rabbiting.      

 Please note: no ferrets were harmed during the writing of this post