Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Interview......

We are privy to the interview between Prinz Andy Dandy and the court Jester, Rosencrantz. 
Here is a faithful and true record of the proceedings as scribbled down on vellum.

Prinz Andy in repose

Rosencrantz (for it is he): "Prinz Andy Pandy, when you heard that Sir Jeffried Epstein-Barr Virus was found riddled with a hundred yard shafts what did you think?"

Prinz Andy Pandy Dandy (tis no other): "My doublet hose did twist grievously, I tell ye. The worst case of assisted suicide I’ve ever seen."

R: "it has been suggested in the scurrilous parchment, ‘The Daily Midden Pit’ that there were certain features relating to Sir Virus’ death which suggested that the arrows were let fly by purposeful hands and he was willfully slain by varlets unknown."

A: "I wasn’t there; I didn’t do it. I was down at the local bawdy house sweating a lot. You must be referring to the supposition that his head was espied in one field and his wretched torso in  t’other." 

R: "The damsel maid Upalot says that she caroused with you at the local Alehouse, ‘The Bawdy Monk’; that you bought her mead; that you performed a merry jig in her presence; that you did put your hand on her moist pudenda and afterwards you both retired to Tipton castle where you carried away her maidenhead, in a jar. What  say ye?"

A: "No, nooo, nooo, noooo, twasn’t me. I have never attended such Alehouse and when I did attend my sticky fingers were ensconced in another maiden of the same name. Also, at that date and time, I was elsewhere attending and taking part in a massacre of Frenchmen, in a field."

R: "But we have a pastel shade sketch of you with your hand on said damsel’s naughty bits." 

A: "That is me in the sketch, but I contend that the purported royal fingers were elsewhere engaged in extra-curricular activities, various/nefarious. Indeed, the fingers espied in the sketch belong to the court juggler, Donald ‘Da Dwarfed’. He was standing behind the poorly rendered wench in sepia, although at a jaunty angle, with digits a clamped on said naughty bits, cunningly contrived."  

R: "Why did you visit Virus in his castle in Dudley wilfully knowing his role in the despoilation of nubile wenches of scant years?"

A: "I’m an honourable rogue and thought it only polite that I spend two weeks in absolute luxury so that I could tell him that I wouldn’t be able to attend the orgy scheduled later that month as I had a prior orgy appointment with wenches barely in the flower of first womanhood."

Following the interview, prince ‘No Handy’ Andy has been disabused and disavowed of all his courtly duties. No longer will he have responsibility for inspecting the Tipton home for fallen nubile damsels: 6 groats a dozen.

The king, Carl, ‘The Shrubhugger’ has stripped prince Andy of any work whatsoever. Henceforth, he will retreat to his extensive/expensive estates to live a life of idle idyll living off revenues countless. This will be his punishment for getting caught.  

To be continued............

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Snow Flakes

Wonderful snowflakes, assorted SJWs, and folk belonging to the 'woke' community are so selfless and full of the human fraternal spirit that they take on board the onerous task and responsibility of informing us lesser beings on how to think, speak and act on almost everything. If we ever fail to live up to their high standards they are always ready, with strident hysterical tones, to berate us for not doing as they say. Well, thank you for enforcing your proscriptive, silly and frankly bizarre world view on the majority of the population. Makes me wanna burn down a thousand safe places!

Here is a good example of SJW madness: A remake of the 2000 film, 'Charlies Angels' has recently been released to an unimpressed film-going public. It was clear from release day plus one that the film was a flop and unlikely to recoup the $100,000,000 spent on production costs. The film has a very clear agenda: the female Director is a full card paying SJW member and part of the 'woke' fraternity (should that be sorority?) and consequently, the film has a very strong feminist theme and direction. As I recall the previous incarnation was a success because it portrayed the 'Angels' as strong but sexy women. The bikini scenes were universally beloved by men everywhere (probably not pooftahs though). All men wanted to 'date' the lead characters and all the women wanted to be them. Sexy chicks, plus a simple action-packed theme/film equals success. The new version was destined to tank straight from conception. First off, it was bound to alienate 50% of the potential audience; gratuitous sexy scenes did not abide there. Furthermore, the majority of women are not interested in having an SJW/Woke agenda rammed down their throats. Predictably, the Director, Ms Elizabeth Banks blamed men for the film's lacklustre performance and said she was proud of the film. I wonder if the investors are proud of the film? Typical SJW behaviour: blame someone else- she is too blinkered to see that the film is unrelatable to a mainstream audience.

 As an aside, Ms Banks doesn't fit the haranguing harridan stereotype- she's really a cute little filly. I bet she would look great in a bikini. Perhaps she should have starred in the film?

Anyway, moving on...........         

The following whimsy was sent to me by Mr Ted Treen. Our Ted has followed my blog for a number of years and always provides pertinent and humorous comment to my erudite and not so erudite musings. He is also a fellow 'Black Country Lad' and therefore we share a bond of fellowship that is not easy to define but exists anyway.

Take it away, Ted:

It snowed last night...

8:00 - I made a snowman.

8:10 - A feminist passed by and asked me why I didn't make a snow woman.

8:15 - So, I made a snow woman.

8:17 - My feminist neighbour complained about the snow woman's voluptuous chest saying it objectified snow women everywhere.

8:20 - The gay couple living nearby threw a hissy fit and moaned it could have been two snow men instead.

8:22 - The transgender man..women...person asked why I didn't just make one snow person with detachable parts.

8:25 - The vegans at the end of the lane complained about the carrot nose, as veggies are food and not to decorate snow figures with.

8:28 - I was being called a racist because the snow couple is white.

8:31 - The middle eastern gent across the road demanded the snow woman be covered up.

8:40 - The Police arrived saying someone had been offended.

8:42 - The feminist neighbour complained again that the broomstick of the snow woman needed to be removed because it depicted women in a domestic role.

8:43 - The council equality officer arrived and threatened me with eviction.

8:45 - TV news crew from BBC showed up. I was asked if I know the difference between snowmen and snow-women? I replied "Snowballs" and am now called a sexist.

9:00 - I was on the News as a suspected terrorist, racist, homophobe sensibility offender, bent on stirring up trouble during difficult weather.

9:10 - I was asked if I have any accomplices. My children were taken by social services.

9:29 - Far left protesters offended by everything marched down the street demanding for me to be arrested.

By noon it all melted

Moral: There is no moral to this story. It is what we have become, all because of snowflakes.

Monday, 25 November 2019

A Geneticist Writes……

There are a number of companies, that for a fee, will provide your genetic information. Thus, you will be able to find out where your antecedents came from in the beguiling guise of a racial profile. All harmless stuff you say. All you have to do is scrape a few cells from your cheek, spit into a tube,  send it on to the lab and for less than $US 70 you can have your genome sequenced. The data generated contains much more than the indelible imprint of your ancestry, as it unlocks your particular and peculiar genetic makeup, in totality. But all that raw data requires interpretation and this is where the problem lies. So much data and so little industry regulation. Mayhap your raw data could be sold on to a third agency for nefarious purposes. In such an instance your ability to obtain health insurance may be compromised; maybe government agencies could gain access to your genetic makeup for reasons known only to them, and god(s). I suspect that if you deal with a well established and accredited laboratory the chances that your genetic data would be passed on for financial gain is unlikely. That said, the number of companies offering genetic profiling has burgeoned of late and their services can be described as comprehensive and utterly useless. These companies will ‘interpret’ your raw data in ways incompatible with reality. Thus, you can be ‘tested’ for a whole range of ludicrous traits. One company will boldly provide information concerning your personality and cognitive ability: they will be able to state whether you are depressed, lonely, introverted, intelligent and uncover your insipient allergies. One particular company (Soccer Genomics) will examine a child’s DNA and then design a sports training regimen designed to turn the child into a professional football player (c'mon the baggies). 

While it is true that there are significant genetic influencers concerning the above-mentioned traits, it is also true that, given our present understanding, we have no way of extracting and interpreting the data in any coherent manner concerning basic human behaviours. Essentially these companies are providing entertainment and their predictions are as useful as a horoscope. Needless to say, most professional geneticists consider these upstart genetic companies with frank disdain. They cynically deceive the curious, but scientifically naive, for their own financial satisfaction by providing a service which is not based on our current understanding of the underlying genetics. The genetics of complex behavioural and cognitive traits is poorly understood and we haven’t reached the stage where we can confidently and cogently make predictions based on DNA sequences. Of course, these companies are not particularly adept at informing their customers about the limitations of their interpretation.

As always, prudent folk should exercise and engage their intellect before partaking of any genomic service. They should research pertinent questions concerning our current comprehension of the fundamental genetics underpinning complex traits. The data we obtain from spittle in a jar is formidable and voluminous and herein lies the crucial problem and limitation: as always the devil is in the detail. We are unable, even with stupendously powerful computer programs, to extract meaningful information concerning basic human behaviour. Mayhap this will change, and sometime in the near (or distant) future, we will acquire the necessary scientific wisdom, and tools, to unlock the indubitable mysteries of our nature. But until then I counsel extreme scepticism and caution.

If you crave ‘genetic knowledge’ then I suggest you send me $US 100 and your pinky toe, and as a professional geneticist I will then cast the runes, or bones depending on my medication cycle and whether or not I have imbibed copious amounts of brown ale (hic). Thereafter, I will ponder deeply and delve into my vast reserves of intellectual rigour and provide answers to your earnestly sought questions pertaining to your innermost and darkest personality lineaments………… . wibble, fanny, arse bollocks.       


Saturday, 16 November 2019

The folly of youth.....

The folly of youth. Read and weep. Weep as I  did some 40 years ago (ago, go). Never said I was perfect. Luckily I found a woman who accepts my past transgressions and puts up with my current lapses  

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) affect and blight the lives of up to 10% of our youth today. The social stigma and shame should not be underestimated. Also, knob rot hurts like fuck.

Here is my cautionary tale…….

Dat ain't me
Imagine a young Flaxen Saxon, brash, wickedly handsome, with long blond hair a flow, out with his mates on a Saturday night at the Brum Locarno Night Club and Abbatoir, circa 1974. All dressed in wide lapelled crushed velvet jackets and flairs.

Sometimes I’d leave at 3 o’clock in the morning covered in blood and snot. Sometimes I’d leave at 3 o’clock in the morning with a vaguely feminine form clamped to my arm. To be honest, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the chicks from the fellas in them days. All that beer, flashing lights and strobes. In the disco, in the dark, mistakes were made. My opening gambit, was always: 'Are you a guy or a chick?'   Once in the alley, at the back of the nightclub, I would distract my ‘date’ with a humorous impression of Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin. An impression I was particularly adept, whilst pissed.  In those days, I always kept a small squeezee bottle full of Domestos discretely inserted down my trousers. Whilst distracted, I would give my intended a quick squirt around the ‘bowl and rim’. I’ve always believed that prophylaxis is better than cure. Often I would add a couple of crushed Palma Violets just to show that I cared about feminine freshness.

As I’m sure you will remember, Domestos used to proudly announce that it killed 99.9% of all known germs. Alas, on one occasion I became a statistical outlier and anomaly. I had an inkling that something was amiss when two weeks later I expressed a small amount of bland, serous fluid. I thought the best course was to ‘wait and see’. Three months later my fireman’s helmet had the look of a busted pomegranate and issued forth a foul-smelling odour. As I lapsed in and out consciousness a moment of serene lucidity descended. My tumescent and weeping member popped up, winked and wiped a thick, yellow tear from its eye: ‘you dozy, fat, blond twat, catch the number 127 bus from Dudley Castle to Birmingham General Hospital.’ And then it kissed me. I decided to take a premed of seven pints of Bank’s bitter before alighting in Corporation Street. Although late at night, my swollen member gave off a faint ethereal glow and I was mysteriously guided to Ward 19.

Dr Mugumbo (for it is he) took a long drag on his cigarette, squinted and softly exclaimed: ‘Mr 74/3879, that’s not clap, that’s applause.’  After a vigorous course of antibiotics and scouring, the end of my cock sloughed off. Thereafter I was as good as new. Chastened, I never performed Keith Chegwin impersonations again.     

Take home message: Substitute the Parma Violets with 2 parts battery acid and 1 part Vim. Oh yes, and always listen to your cock.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Christianity and Evolution: Ponderings of a Part-time Biologist

Religion and evolution have never been happy bedfellows. While certain Christian denominations and Christian apologetics would have you believe that evolution is just an unproven theory and unlikely to be representative of how nature works in reality, scientists have universally embraced evolution as the best explanation for how organisms change through geological time. There is little doubt that selective environmental forces, together with genetic variation, are responsible for the vast array of life forms we see today. The evidence is overwhelming, has been for a long time, and has been garnered from many quarters of the natural sciences. When Darwin’s, ‘Origin of the Species’ was published in 1859, it was rapidly absorbed and accepted by the Victorian scientific community and equally reviled by the religious hierarchy. Religious leaders were right to be alarmed: the indisputable reality of the evolutionary process challenges firmly held and cherished Christian beliefs and tenets. Over the past 170 years, the way the church has reacted or evolved to evolutionary theory has been interesting. At one extreme we see fundamental bible literalists denying evolution outright, while at the other extreme we see liberal Christians embracing evolution wholeheartedly. The latter tread a dangerous path. On the one hand, they are concerned about losing their intellectual integrity if they deny evolution, on the other, they are in peril of losing their faith as the two belief systems are fundamentally incompatible. This hasn’t stopped savvy Christian thinkers from forcing some form of reconciliation.

Christians should be afraid of evolution. Christian dogma and theology are primitive, pre-scientific beliefs. While it is true that Catholicism, and by extension some forms of Protestantism, has accrued a patina of Greek philosophy, lavishly applied, over the past two thousand years- a philosophy totally alien to its Judaic roots, by the way. It is also true, that the Neo-Platonism and Aristotelean foundation on which it rests has been thoroughly debunked. If you scratch the surface of Christianity you will reveal its atavistic and primal true self.

Here is a question for thoughtful Christians who seek to embrace evolution in all its manifestations and with all of its implications: how do they square a god of sublime mercy and love (have you read the Old Testament?) with a system that is based on wasteful misery? Evolution gets the job done, but at what cost? It is certainly not merciful. For every successful organism, there is a heap of dead compatriots extending out into the distant Eons. Evolution was not designed by a caring and loving deity, or a deity concerned with garnering resources. Perhaps god devolved this bit of reality to his adversary, Satan? According to Christianity, ‘Man’ is the pinnacle of ‘God’s Work’. Everything was put forth for us to thrive- humankind is at the centre of All. But to accept evolution is for the Christian, an abrogation/negation of our specialness in this world. Evolution demands/commands that we are but one in a teeming mound of organisms, a little smarter, perhaps, but not particularly special. Our dominance is a product of accidental not providential events. There is also the uncomfortable truth that in the past three billion, or so, years that life has existed on this planet, humankind only made its appearance 100,000 years ago. God took a while to get round to forming his favourite child. And if we are just another animal, what are the implications for the soul? Do amoebas have souls? And if not, why not?

To accept evolutionary theory as true, the Christian must be prepared to ditch the underpinning tenets of Christianity to such an extent that the term ‘Christian’ is an insubstantial vessel; hollow and devoid of content. To remain a ‘Good Christian’ there is a need to deny evolution as true. But here is the rub: evolution is true. The evidence supporting, the so-called theory, is implacable and scientifically impeccable. To deny evolution is akin to denying gravitational force.

Thus, what are we to make of this abomination? Can we make the supernatural edicts of Christianity mesh in harmonious accord with the intellectual rigour and the inevitability of evolution? You can try. There have been quite a few attempts by folk who are of the opinion that there is no problem in trying to form some accord between these two realms. And while they freely admit that religion and science exist as separate ‘Majestria’, they contend that they sometimes come into contact, and interact, on occasion. Imagine a Venn diagram, if you will, consisting of two circles with a portion of overlap. On reading Christian apologists who dare to tread/dread, into this territory, it is apparent that there is a woeful misunderstanding of the scientific method. The scientific method is a self-correcting process based on empirical data gathering and induction. It has no truck with the supernatural. By definition, science can only concern itself with the natural world. The supernatural, if it deigns to exist, is, by definition, beyond our ken and we can only speak of it in metaphor. In terms of reality, the concept does not resonate or can be considered compatible, with our reality.      

Let us be clear: religion, regardless of stripe, is predicated on the supernatural. In this way, theologians can appeal to the hiddenness of God and the lack of solid evidence for ‘His’ existence. But the serious theologian craves serious intellectual recognition. This paves the way for the introduction of faith. O wondrous faith! We are expected to take on board religious beliefs on the supposed epistemological process of faith. Beware, this is but a beguiling charade. On the basis of faith, you can believe in anything. Here is a worthwhile exercise: whenever a theologian argues for a belief in god, on the basis of faith, simply substitute the word ‘god’ with ‘fairy’. At the end of the argument are you convinced in the existence of fairies- of course not? That would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? Nuff said, for now…….    


Saturday, 2 November 2019

Back into the Fray, Dear Friends

After nearly 18 months of retirement, the hallowed halls of science are beseeching me to return to the fold and once more I am being summoned (nay regaled ) to sally forth to uncover the arcane mysteries which assail the natural world…….

Or more to the point, my old boss has managed to obtain funding for two days work and as no other bugger can eke out a viable living on such paltry terms he has turned to his old colleague to take up the slack. To be fair I could do with the diversion. Retirement is a funny old beast. For most it means transitioning from a full-time job racing at full tilt/tit, to zero: transitioning and reduction does not abide there. It can come as a shock to some folk, especially if they haven’t taken active preemptive measures to fill in the free time that retirement unlocks. I was lucky in that I have a set of extensive hobbies to which I could turn to keep mind and body whole and occupied.

I thought hard about the offer. It was not as if we really needed the extra cash. I receive a small ‘private’ pension and in 17 months I’ll be eligible for the state inspired variety. And, in addition, I have savings which earn a modest interest. That said, we could all do with a little extra cash and it would come in helpful in funding some of my interests. For instance, I always need a new bow, although Mrs S thinks that my current inventory of 25 bows is quite sufficient. She may have a point: I’m running out of wall space to hang them. But I have never been temperate when it comes to acquiring items (“Flaxen, you have never been temperate in anything that you do- ain't dat the sad truth”) which interest me and I feel no need/heed to change. So, I’ve decided to take my, old boss and friend, up, on his gracious offer.

My role will be different from my previous one. No longer will I be involved in teaching, admin, development and research. My job will be to soak up the routine practical and analytical work. I will be a donkey amongst thoroughbred horses. This holds no terrors: at my stage in life, I’m happy to relinquish the innovative work to younger and more nimble minds. Also, it will be an opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues. We have chosen to live in rural New Zealand, and perhaps the only downside is that we are socially isolated. I am not a social gadfly by nature and I’m usually okay with the isolation but I do miss the repartee and banter afforded by my old and slightly crazed, ex-colleagues.

Because I live 2 hours (by train) from work I will commute and stay overnight at my bosses’ place. I could stay with my son who lives in the centre of town, but I would have to catch a bus to get to the lab. I avoid public transport if I can help it- full of smelly, common, weird folk. Also, my son's live-in Danish girlfriend thinks I'm mentally unhinged.  Although my boss lives out in the northern suburbs, at least I will be able to get a lift into work (he knows I'm mentally unhinged).

So, I will see how it transpires. My initial contract/contact will run for three months with an option to renew. If I find the whole process tedious or onerous I will return to my life of idyll exile and rural contemplation. Arse.   


Friday, 1 November 2019

The Life of Pi

And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about. (I Kings 7, 23)

According to the error-free and deity inspired bible, Pi is three.

We are introduced to the concept of ‘Pi’ sometime during our high school education. I don’t have to explain this interesting constant to modestly educated readers, but for completeness: Pi represents the ratio obtained when the circumference of a perfect circle is divided by the circle’s diameter. The resulting constant represents an ‘irrational number’. Thus, the ratio of the circumference divided by the diameter gives a number that cannot be expressed accurately by a fraction. When expressed as a decimal, the number continues, without a repeating sequence, unto infinity. As I recall, as a snotty school kid, I used the simple fraction 22/7 as a reasonable estimate for subsequent calculations. As an aside: Pi is a transcendental number or a real number that cannot be a root of a polynomial equation with integer coefficients- err, yes, methinks mathematicians have way too much time on their hands or is it chalk dust? Moving on…

Mathematicians are obsessed with the notion of mathematical proof and are not satisfied with large sets of data consistent with a conjecture. Thus, tis not enough to show that the non-repeating sequence extends to millions of decimal places and to declare Pi as irrational. There is a need to put forth an elegant mathematical proof which stands as a bastion of knowledge, forever. While scientists would be ecstatic with such a set of concordant data, mathematicians crave absolute perfection. There are a number of mathematical proofs available for Pi however, most rely on a knowledge of calculus and are rather technical and esoteric in nature: on these proofs, I shall say no more.
Pi has a long history. The ancient Babylonians, 4,000 years ago were familiar with this mathematical ratio and declared it to be: 3.125. The Egyptians were interested in Pi for reasons allied to the building of their magnificent edifices and for that purpose they were happy with a less accurate estimate of Pi, at 3.16.     

The great Greek scientist, engineer and mathematician, Archimedes (287 BC-212 BC) was obsessed with Pi and was not content with previous estimates. Although he was aware that Pi was an irrational number, and therefore any solution generated would always be an approximation, he nonetheless set out to develop a methodology for a better estimate. Archimedes approach was innovative and ingenious. He inscribed a many-sided polygon within a circle and did the same on the outside of the circle. Thus, he was able to calculate the circumference of both polygons. By utilising polygons with 96 sides he was able to calculate an upper and lower limit of Pi (3.1408 and 3.1429). Therefore he found an approximation of Pi bound between these limits- clever fellow that Archimedes. It is possible that he was working on refining his estimate during the siege of Syracuse by the Romans in 212 BC. When a Roman soldier burst into his room he was so absorbed with his circles that he did not heed the soldier’s command. The soldier was so aggrieved at this imagined sleight that he felt a wave of indignation and relinquished his frustration by stabbing the distracted polymath unto death. Needless to say, Archimedes' mathematical ability was never the same again.

As mentioned in a previous post, mathematics (and science) in the West went into a sad decline after the death of Archimedes and would not be revived until the middle ages. In the 15th century, Nilakantha (remember him?) formulated an equation for the enumeration of Pi, based on an infinite series. Thus he saved his contemporary savants from drawing peskily large circles. It is to be noted, however, that his method only gives an estimation of Pi. The more terms added, the closer the estimation becomes. After five terms, the number is within 0.002 of the correct value of Pi. Since Nilakantha there have been numerous attempts to define equations for the calculation of Pi, with varying degrees of sophistication and accuracy. I’m not inclined to place the various computations here- a simple Gogle search will satisfy my reader’s mathematical expectations and perhaps, curiosity. In our wonderful modern age and with the advent of ultra-fast computers, it has been possible to calculate Pi to several trillion digits.    

Why bother you say? In fact, all useful calculations involving Pi only require the constant to reveal forth four decimal points, anything more is simply a mathematical extravagance. I suppose you might ask why mountaineers climb mount Everest or why some folk drink intemperately every Saturday night? However, extravagant Pi calculations are of some practical utility and can be used to test the efficiency of ‘supercomputers’ and have found a role in the generation of random numbers necessary for encryption. Modern-day spies are therefore grateful and indebted to Pi's irrationality.   

The 14th of March is ‘Pi Day’: tis a celebration of all things Pi and is usually an excuse for nerds and geeks to consume inordinate (or coordinate) amounts of homophone Pie. And if your craving for all things Pi is not satiated, or slaked, by one day of celebration, don’t despair, because several months later you can revel in ‘Pi Approximation Day’ on the 22nd of July (ie 22/7). 

To end this post I will simply state (note the clarity and innate beauty): 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286 208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481 117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233 786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006 606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146......

This fraction is only bounded by infinity.