09 April 2010


Robert de la Salle found the mouth of the Mississippi River and claimed the entire river basin for France in 1682.  Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia in 1865, ending the US Civil War.  Marian Anderson performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after having been denied to perform at Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The first British-built Concorde took its maiden flight in 1969.  Twenty people were killed in Tblisi in 1989, when Soviet troops dispersed what had been a peaceful anti-Soviet demonstration.

Born today:  Isambard Brunel (1806-1859), Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), Paul Robeson (1898-1976), Jean Paul Belmondo (1933) and Dennis Quaid (1954).

It is the feast day of Saint Waltrude.


  1. Well, dropped in last night after coming back from Skye but left fairly quickly after reading Paul's comments. He was a nice guy when I left, making interesting observations. Must be something in the water at Cif i reckon, a sort of Cifphyllitic infection.

    Love the Muybridge photo Montana. Someone said he was among the first to prove the world is not as we see it - before him we all saw horses running with legs outstretched!

    Liked this -
    'Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia in 1865, ending the US Civil War. Marian Anderson performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after having been denied to perform at Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution.'

    It's been argued that the south lost the war but won the peace, especially with regard to race. Like all liberal Scots I have issues with those bloody 'Daughters' who see northerners as a mix of English pervs, Irish peasants, European trash and blacks. They think of themselves as noble Scots. Ha ha and Bollocks to them!

  2. Good morning.

    In the words of Uncle Monty in 'Withnail and I', 'Ah! Baudelaire...'

    'Les Fleurs du Mal' was one of my set texts for French A-level. There are some very beautiful as well as some very strange poems there.

    That is all.

  3. Morning all,

    Medve, thanks for the links, I'll take a look.

    Should I feel left out after a lack of insult last night? Did his lordship let you know where you should all f*?k off to?

  4. Muybridge is also the subject of Phillip Glass's "the photographer" truly lovely record, he shot his wife's lover dead don'tchsknow?

  5. The morning after, and people come out moaning they weren't insulted (yeah, I'm talking about myself here, too).

    Cameron claiming he will do more for gender equality for women than Brown is doing? Yeah, feminism is surely totally not political mainstream, as some feminists never tire of repeating.

    (Note that it is not a bad thing per se that feminism is mainstream, it would just be nice if people would acknowledge this.)

  6. elementary,

    As you've probably noticed I'm not very good at swearing (sorry, was raised by a primary school teacher). Would you accept:

    You're a right 1, now 3 off?

  7. Morning all,

    NapoleonK, if you are reading. I see from WADYYA you've found a flat in Glasgow. Whereabouts? Don't know how much you know about Glasgow, but if there's anything you want to know,just ask.

    And of course Edwin is Mr Glesga, so I'm sure he'll give you a few pointers.

    As for a collective noun for the anglo saxon derogatory term for a ladies front bottom, can I throw in:

    a cornucopial coven of...

    Some good 'C' alliteration going on there.

  8. Edwin,

    I see the biggest 'Glasgow Boys' art exhibition is on in Kelvingrove before heading down to London. Are you going to take it in? A pity I can't go and see it.

  9. Elementary

    As I understood it - Ms 'Jocelyn Bell Burnell' was, at her time, the only female Physics student at Glasgow and most of her post grad (PhD) contemporaries and supervising researchers at Cambs were 'traditional academic males - that's why I thought of her as working in an exotic area.

    What I found very interesting about her was the relationship 'tween of faith (Quaker) and her ideas on 'truth' in science. And how both were subject to developmental forces. Food for thought for agnostics.

    I could have listened to her for a week. She came across as delightful human. How she spoke of the disgraceful oversight in the exclusive award of the Nobel prize to her supervisor(s) was moving and noble.

    I'm watching out for the repeat.

  10. ....a cornucopial coven of... ...

    I think I might be sold on that one.

  11. Thanks, dot, but it just doesn't feel the same if it comes from someone else than you know who.

    What about a country of cunts? Yeah, I know, it's so 17th century, but still ...

    deano: Totally confused Bell for someone else. Good that I put a IIRC before that remark. Now, if someone wants to call me a sexist for thinking all female astronomers are indistinguishable, feel free to do so.

  12. First time I ever read of Gropecuntelane. I wanted to live there.

    Life must have been 'interesting' in London in 1230....when the above street was first noted.

  13. Henrietta Swan Leavitt was who I meant, working on Cepheid variables, not pulsars. Must remind me of the difference between the two.

  14. 13thDukeofWybourne

    Denistoun. Near Alexandra park. I've looked on Google street view, and it is in a quiet cul de sac off of one of the main roads.

    Other than that I think I will be fine. As long as I have internet access. I will settle down, get a job, or training leading to employment, and keep studying part time. Looking forward to theatres, art galleries and museums.

    More pressing at the moment is this. I have to have an x ray on my nadgers next week as I have been having pain there. Hopefully it will be nothing. I suspect it is just a sport induced sprain, but I guess it is better to err on the side of caution.

  15. Elementary - one I can answer! Cepheids are pulsating variable stars where the frequency of pulse varies directly with the absolute luminosity. That means you can measure how fast a Cepheid pulses and how bright it looks from here, and deduce how far away it actually is. It was Cepheids that let Hubble prove that Andromeda was a separate galaxy. They're named after one of the earliest ones discovered, Delta Cephei.

    Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars a v long way away, emitting twin beams of gamma rays along the 'north' and 'south' axes of the spin. If the star's oriented right, one of the beams points towards us, and the star seems to 'blip' rapidly as the beam sweeps over us like a lighthouse's would.

    Hope that's clear enough...

  16. NapoleonK,

    Dennistoun is a good location. You're not far from the city centre and it does have a lot quiet areas. I have a couple of mates that stay in Dennistoun.

    You should walk the opposite direction sometime towards Celtic Park for a more 'interesting' cultural experience...

    I know the Gael population in Glasgow (I'm assuming you're a Gaelic speaker, pardon me if I'm wrong) congregate in the pubs in Partick, the Lismore pub springs to mind.

    And the great thing about Glasgow is the sheer amount of Museums, art galleries and cultural activities which are free of charge.

    Sealbh math dhuit!

  17. Thanks, Peter. Although I still think having pulsating variable stars and pulsars not being the same is a bit of misleading.

    They did much better with name of "Hubble Bubbles", especially the "Hubble Double Bubble". Now "those" are good names for astronomical things.

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  19. Gropecuntelane, grandfather to Ronnie Lane, heir to Tamberlane and Charlemaine. Hope this helps.

  20. Elementary - well, quite. A certain lack of imagination among the astronomical fraternity (and, of course, sorority). You'd think, with stars swelling up and going down again like balloons and others crammed down into degenerate matter a few miles across and spinning at zillions of rpm, they'd be a bit more romantic.

    At least the quantum mechanics gave us top, bottom, up, down, strange and charmed quarks. And red, blue and green gluons to stick them together.

  21. Oooh physics!

    Can anyone explain to me the whole "gravity is weaker than other forces and that's proof of other dimensions" theory please?

  22. Penars for Cepheids and gyrars for pulsars would have been less likely to mix up. And the first word would have been funnier :-)

  23. Well, dotterel, it can be measured that gravity is weaker than other forces; this fact can be explained using theories which assume more than three (four, if you count time (which one should)) dimensions.

    It doesn't necessarily "prove" that there are more dimensions, but if some practical physicists find those dimensions, the theoretical physicists can say, "Told you so!"

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  25. Sorry elementary, I should've said "evidence" not "proof", I should know that!

    I suppose I meant could someone explain to me how the 5+ dimensions theories work, please?

    Are you having trouble seeing comments after you've posted them, until you post another? I was yesterday.

  26. Dotterel:

    Having enjoyed the fruits of your answer to my malapropian vitamin C question i must hurry to respond .. vague memories of a maths/phys degree somewhere in the bowels of the 20th C.

    I did read some more recent stuff, so i will have a go a little bit later.

  27. Cheers medve. It was last explained to me (a biologist with GCSE level physics) by my brother (a chemist with A-level physics) at about 2am using a tea pot and an apple: I'm afraid it didn't quite stick!

  28. Oh god you do right on getting it checked Nap. There's a good wee Dennistoun community site I discovered recently -


    My brother still stays in the Drygate (Toonheid I suppose rather than Dennistoun) and he loves it.

    Yeh will catch the Glasgow Boys at some point your Grace and indeed lots of gaels in Partick!

  29. Dot: Sorry, no exact knowledge about the details of the 5+ dimensions theory., but I recall them being rolled up and only very short. That is usually the point where you best abandon imagination and trust calculation, frustrating as it is.

    And yeah, I see comments posted usually only after posting another one. The test of those posts of mine usually are a variation of "This comment will self-destruct in 10 seconds." :-)

  30. Elementary and dot - There's only a problem with gravity if you think that Grand Unified Theories are a good thing, and that things should be symmetrical and mathematically neat. But as I do think those things...

    The idea is that gravity's extraordinary weakness compared with electromagnetic, nuclear weak and nuclear strong forces (or its corollary, the extraordinary lack of mass in the proton compared with charge) could be caused by gravity's propagation in all spatial dimensions rather than our everyday three. These additional dimensions are looped in on themselves in a very small volume, with a radius surmised to be around 10e-17m (the range at which the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces unite into one). Most of the gravitational force loops around there, and the bit that leaks out into our three dimensions is the remainder.

    For reasons not understood (although even the above is not really understood), gravity alone of the four fundamental forces propagates in multiple dimensions in this way.

    There's a good series of PBS documentaries on the subject here, if you've got a few hours to spare...

  31. Edwin - indeed lots of gaels in Partick....

    I read that that as lots of gaols at first.

    Napoleon - good luck with the tests. Hopefully you are right and it's just a sprain.

  32. PollyT on world@1 still bigging up Labour. Very strange...

  33. Dott - I had the said problem last few days.

    Napoleon K - I've only been to Glasgow twice but I liked it very much. Intending to visit again, and again, now me grand daughter is at the Art school there.

    Good luck with x-ray. Last thing you need now, with a world class town to go at, is your equipment ordered to take a compulsory rest for a short while.

    The spring is moving at a pace here - saw two bumble bees whilst out. The day is the first of this year when I was conscious of wearing thermal underkit. Got me thinking what an enormous saving in fuel would be achieved if the wearing of thermal underwear between Oct-April was made compulsory.

    My sometime always had the heating full blast and resisted thermals ....Could be I'm a perv 'cos I still find lasses great, even in thermal knickers.

    I can feel a PhD coming on....................a delight in the finer points of female anatomy could be the result of which way you happened to be looking when your eyes opened and cleared at the moment of birth........Or it might simply be an over-active or sillied imagination.

    Lunch over.

    Edwin "....a sort of Cifphyllitic infection...." was a grand start to the reading of the day.

  34. Napoleon - well done on flat, hope nadger-situation gets sorted out...

  35. Nap - congrats on the move, and I too hope your particles continue after inspection to orbit each other in accordance with nature's laws.

  36. strange quark? would certainly explain my (German) Aunt's cheesecake.

    boom and, ahem, boom.

    I do like the idea of charmed quarks, though. Am developing mental image of a sparkly little thing flitting around with a wand. Possibly not helpful. But rather cute.

  37. .......course the identification with gropecuntelane being no more than a variant of the identity confusion that some birds find at the moment of hatching. The first thing they see is fixation thereafter...

  38. Bumble bee just entered me van - I like bumble bees.

    If me new camera's manual wasn't 155 pages long, and as yet unread, I'd take its picture.

  39. Now Prescott. I swear, sometimes I can actual feel the English language shuddering...

  40. Bumble bee! Good sign of changing weather. I like the way they combine being fat and stripy and furry. The most comfortable-looking of the insect kingdom. And honey! Evolution really did well there....

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  43. PB ".. most comfortable looking...." a delightful way to describe them!

    I think I once read that according to the physics/maths of flight they shouldn't be able to fly. If so, no wonder they have an appearance a smug happiness too.

  44. PB and Deano - a bumblebee just bumped into the window behind the screen here, having taken the wrong route home from the daffodils in the back yard. Definitely springish.

  45. 'comfortable-looking' - I take a very similar view on chickens. the fluffiness is probably a significant factor.

    I liked the idea that bees were somehow smarter than physicists - but I understand that the egg-heads have now worked out how they do it, and have given the bees permission to carry on...

    Sometimes, I swear, the buzzing sounds very very like the bee laughing. These things are probably unconnected...

  46. Yep, I saw a bumble bee last week, love the way they always seem to be flying drunk.

    They don't make (very much) honey though, that's honey bees.....

  47. This year's bees seem to all be absofuckinglutely ginormous.

  48. Oh, and thank you for the physics lesson Peter! Can't quite get my head around how they come up with these theories!

  49. Deano

    "think I once read that according to the physics/maths of flight they shouldn't be able to fly"

    Did no one else see Richard Hammonds "Invisible Worlds" a few weeks ago? One of the best programs I have ever seen. Loads of really intersting stuff caught on super hi speed cameras, like the shock waves of bombs (look like big jellyfish) and bumble bee flight.

    It was calculated that due to wing speed, size, etc, mechanically BBs shouldnt be able to fly. They used smoke and high speed cameras to show how it stays in the air. Even on the upward movement of its wings it creates downforce by angling its wings.

    So unlike other insects that get downforce only on the downward movement, they get it on the up AND the down. Thats how the porky little gits stay in the air.

  50. Thank you very much everyone.

    I should be OK round my privates. I suspect it is sport related, sprain perhaps, rather than something nasty. Heck it may well be because I have been swimming in tight swimming trunks.

    Lots of people familiar with Glasgow. I'm looking forward to urban exploring. I'm interested in the built environment and how people interact with it.

    Secondly, I forgot to ask. Does anyone know what constituency Denistoun is in? I should have time to register for the election, if not I will send a postal vote to my old adress. Not that it actually matters, the electoral system is so useless. But I will be voting Lib Dem as a protest vote even if they can't win.

  51. Semi-interesting VAT fact - were one to move into bee-husbandry, the sale of bumble bees is standard rated, honey bees zero-rated.

    Imagine HMRC would just take your word for it, though, a VAT visit involving an epi-pen might be considered 'above and beyond'...

  52. Dot - I'm afraid asking me where this stuff comes from is not only after my professional time but also way above my pay and brain grade. Those documentaries should help; you might also try books by Lee Smolin, Brian Greene, and Kip Thorne to get the recent picture. Steer a bit clear of Michio Kaku, though. He's considered a touch weird, which in cosmological circles really means something.

  53. Philippa

    Semi-interesting VAT fact - were one to move into bee-husbandry, the sale of bumble bees is standard rated, honey bees zero-rated.

    Silly answer: is that because bumble bees are chocolate coated?

    Sensible answer: presumably because honey bees are for making honey (basic foodstuff) whereas bumble bees are for pollination, which could be for growing anything, including "luxuries"

  54. Thanks again Peter!

    He's considered a touch weird, which in cosmological circles really means something.

    Jesus H. Christ on a bike, will do!

    My brother had a theory that at his uni to get to the physics department you had to go through the chemistry department so that physics students could see what "normal" people looked like. My retort that they should've made both departments through the biology department didn't go down well....

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  56. hi All Yes Dott but the humble bumble is a neccesity - at least to me. You can't tax bees. They don't charge anything for services rendered.

  57. Dotterel, PeterJ:

    Before we go any further, i will confuse us with the Planck length. Let me tease you, if you will, by introducing a length [a quantity in the field of 1 dimension], whose physical significance is unknown, but which nevertheless pops up when we try to make a universal system of weights and measures using the speed of light -- fast, just over a sec to get to the moon -- and the universal constant of gravitation.

    The Planck length is the positive square root of (planck's constant x universal constant of gravitation / two pie x speed of light cubed). this is a hideously short distance, to the point that it is quite insignificantly small even from a point of view with the scale of the atomic nucleus (twenty orders of magnitude smaller). Interestingly, the planck length come up when we consider the entropy of a black hole. It is the area of the event horizon divided by four times the square of the planck length.

    The dimension business.

    An amusing intro can be Flatland: : A Romance of Many Dimensions by EA Abbott.

    As a biologist, Dotterel, you will appreciate that a two dimensional animal cannot have an alimentary canal without splitting into two. I am a three dimensional animal and i have no trouble (as yet) with things passing through me without having to break up into bits.

    Now i agree that it is quite tricky to imagine more spatial dimensions than three. However, if we think in terms a little more relaxed than just the rigid spatial dimensions, a new dimension can be accessed by simply varying something that was previously fixed. So in any system, independent variables occupy different dimensions. Many physicists do not consider sociology a proper science, but i can tell you that many sociologists mess around with 25 dimensions at a time without even getting dizzy.

    pause for breath..

  58. Ah, well, Dot, down the physics dept we regarded chemistry as physics for people who thought atoms were balls on sticks, and biology as just chemistry that moved about a bit. It's all physics in the end, innit?

  59. Paul - just for the record, nothing I said yesterday was intended in any way as a dig at you. In fact, I've no idea what you interpreted as such.

    I missed all the excitement last night as I wasn't logged in except for one flying visit where I didn't actually read the thread, so it was all new to me this morning. So yeah, sorry for all those hundreds of posts today making a big deal about last night. (WTF?)

  60. Ouspensky was very keen on other dimensions intruding our own.
    Was he the original flatlander - Rudy Rucker too of course explored this in a novel - ' White Light '

  61. leni,

    No argument here, that was just my theory on why it was so


    Now i agree that it is quite tricky to imagine more spatial dimensions than three. However, if we think in terms a little more relaxed than just the rigid spatial dimensions, a new dimension can be accessed by simply varying something that was previously fixed. So in any system, independent variables occupy different dimensions.

    Wow! Reading that was a light bulb moment, I'd never thought about it like that before, despite wondering about different dimensions (for fun) and different variables (for work) a hell of a lot!


    "It's all physics in the end, innit?"

    So why haven't physicists solved all those nagging biological questions for us then?

  62. Paul

    I hope we bump into each other again - here or on Cif.


  63. Of course the no argument with leni was for the tax on bees.....

  64. Cheers Jay - I missed it, but I like that sort of programme so will certainly keep me eye open for the repeat.

  65. Well, if biology would just stand still for a bit and let us nail all its variables down except one... :-)

  66. And yes, medve, it's much easier to think of dimensions in this sense as things to measure variables along. It's like spin in the quarky world, which represents a measurable variable rather than a physical reality (which is why you can have negative- and half-spin particles) but always makes me think of actual spinning things with all the mental connotations that go with them.

  67. Or if at least those goddamned cows would start being *spherical*!!!

  68. Cross-posted. However, considering spin:

    You mean spin doctors spun a measurable property into spin? Spinner! (Last word is German and plural.)

  69. Peter,

    Precisely! I'm a field* ecologist BTW, which is even harder than all these lab based biologists with all their nice temperature controlled tanks/petri dishes etc.!

    *field being a general term for "outdoors" not necessarily a farming term...

  70. Dot - ah, you're au naturel rather than in vitro. That always complicates matters. You can't take things one molecule at a time...

  71. The bumble bees stumble around here today too ; )

    Napoleon, good luck with the move, £ under the soap, remember... : D

    The only other thing i wish to add is, a bucket of cunts, is rather uggsome, no?

  72. Just been buzzed by a bumble bee with headphones on, asking Manchester Airport for landing permission. Blimey, they are big, this year. very pretty, though.

    "it's much easier to think of dimensions in this sense as things to measure variables along. It's like spin in the quarky world, which represents a measurable variable rather than a physical reality (which is why you can have negative- and half-spin particles) but always makes me think of actual spinning things with all the mental connotations that go with them."
    that's entirely unfair, speaking as a passively stoned person. ;-)

  73. I see we are through the 10,000 visitors to UT.

    And whist commenting on the counter - I saw we had a Kiwi visitor the other day.

    Paul - good luck with your stress inducing problems.

    I should add that I think you are mistaken in your judgements/assessments of people here, and a bit premature in reaching them.

  74. Dotterel, PeterJ:

    Peter, respect. First and foremost.

    Dotterel: Peter's pointers to The Elegant Universe look great. The is a book by Brian Greene with the same title, which i would recommend to you as well.

    However, leaving the string (and M) theorising aside for a few moments, i would refer to The Life of the Cosmos by Lee Smolin. It is a theory of evolving universes. In a nutshell, the game is that with each collapse of space into a black hole a new universe is born ["inside that event horizon?"] with properties close to, but randomly slight different from the "mother" universe in which that black hole came to pass. The theory addresses the very strange "tuning" of the parameters of the standard model of elementary particles. There are some twenty of these parameters, but in order to brew up a universe in which stars are possible at all, and which they cook up carbon the parameters have to hit a long shot of 1 in ten to the power of two hundred and twenty-nine. Makes winning the lottery an absolute cert!

    Most universes with random parameters are not viable and collapse upon themselves in a about a planck time leaving only one "offspring" universe in the resulting black hole. However, universes with parameters that allow copious star formation (and about one in ten thousand stars seems destined to become a black hole obviously have more "offspring" Thus we can map the parameters into a fitness landscape which will therefore have peaks close to maxima for black hole production.

    This is a "proper" scientific theory in Popperian terms, because it leads to a falsifiable prediction: The parameters of our present universe are tuned so that it produces close to the maximum number of black hole possible.

    .. breath work and school business.

    more later if you like.

  75. deano,

    have you ever visited Glasgow Art School? It's fantastic, 100% Rennie Mackintosh designed both inside and out.


    Dennistoun is in none other than Michael Martin's former Constituency, Glasgow North East. Unsurprisingly it has been filled by another Scottish Labour twonk.

    As for Urban investigation, you're in no better city, just look up for Georgian and Victorian splendour in the city centre and west end. A great place to go is the botanic gardens in the west end.

    There's an underground disused station there (Botanic Gardens Station) and although it closed in the 1930's, it's still almost completely intact. It's haunting and eerie but very atmospheric. Here's a link: Urban exploration- Botanic Gardens Station

  76. medve,

    more later if you like.

    Yes please!


    There are some twenty of these parameters, but in order to brew up a universe in which stars are possible at all, and which they cook up carbon the parameters have to hit a long shot of 1 in ten to the power of two hundred and twenty-nine. Makes winning the lottery an absolute cert!

    But we have won the lottery haven't we? We're here to wonder about it because it happened. Looking back thinking it's nearly impossible is like a lottery winner doing the same, slightly different in probability terms than calculating the probability of it happening when it hasn't...

    This is a "proper" scientific theory in Popperian terms, because it leads to a falsifiable prediction: The parameters of our present universe are tuned so that it produces close to the maximum number of black hole possible.

    Doesn't that assume that we're quite far through process of "universe evolution" though? Couldn't we be an "early" universe, better at making black holes than one that instantly collapses, but worse than the "best" possible? If that's true wouldn't it be difficult to decide whether to reject or accept H0?

  77. Duke - not yet. I'm a great Rennie fan and I can't wait to sit in that library, walk that staircase etc.....

    Botanic Gardens Station now also on me list!

  78. Dot - very good - food group zero-rates "live animals of a kind generally used as, or yielding or producing, food for human consumption"

    'animal' defined as including 'bird, fish, crustacean and mollusc', though, which I've only just noticed - wide enough for bees?

    do hope so.

    sun is out, am pottering off to see if i can see bees...

  79. Dot - I'll leave you in Medve's capable hands on the cosmology, if that's OK; I'm more the sub-microscopic type.

    In which context, there's fascinating stuff coming up in electronics where the shrinking circuitry starts bringing quantum effects nearer the surface. Single-electron transistors with indeterminate '1' and '0' states, anyone? That's enough to screw up anyone's spelling.

    I had a piece planned on this kind of stuff, but it got canned by the last technology recession but one. Maybe I'll resurrect it, although Cif would not be interested I expect.

  80. Speaking of:
    Crazy Railway Engineering

    Not far away from which we used to have split level station with one level serving the LMS and the other the LNER.

    Now what was that about the unquestionable efficiency of the comptition of the private sector.....?

  81. Philippa,

    Given that "bird, fish, crustacean and mollusc" doesn't include cows, sheep and pigs (all mammals) I assume that include doesn't mean "limited to", so bees (insects) are fine.

    Peter, maybe you could put your piece on UT2?

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  83. very good point, dot - presume 'animal' is a higher up word than 'mammal' etc (genus? family?).

    got concerned so checked the HMRC manual - it's OK, everyone, honey bees are included.

    really need to go out now...

  84. "Now what was that about the unquestionable efficiency of the comptition of the private sector.....?"

    One of the most destructive, exploitative lies imaginable. Its another bit of traditional economic theory that seems to disappear when the traditional economic purists get to the subject of privatisations: economies of scale.

    How can 10 smaller firms compete on the effiency savings of one national firm? Plus pay huge salaries? Plus pay millions to shareholders? PLus reduce costs?

    Of course, as well all know now, they cant. Hence they double prices and demand a 4x bigger public subsidy to plug the gap.

    Pure theft from pure cunts.

  85. Philippa

    Scientifically, Kingdom Animalia, but animal is such a common word it can have different legal meanings etc.

  86. Deano - there's another great example where trains to the south-west of London go from Waterloo and trains to the south and south-east go from Victoria. All the lines have to cross somewhere; and thus is explained the otherwise inexplicable Clapham Junction. Could never have got that result from central planning.

  87. Afternoon everyone


    Very good luck in Glasgow. Its a wonderful city and you'll have a great time. I lived there for 5 years and only left it (with great reluctance), because of family demands for my presence elsewhere.

    And very good luck with the tests on your nadgers - I'm sure you're right about it being a sporting injury. Let us know when you get the results.

    Great physics discussion chaps - not that I understood most of it...but am fascinated like a lot of others, especially with what they're getting up to with the LHC at Cern.

    Would like to know, if anyone can tell me, how to attract bumble bees to my 4th floor, inner city balcony (not a lot of trees and shrubs around here) - and butterflies, small birds etc. but do have large balcony that could easily accommodate wildlife.


    Have nothing to add to what I said last night, except i hope you're feeling better today..

  88. ah, animal kingdom... should really have got that, shouldn't I? heh heh.

  89. sheff - had bees 'visiting' a second floor flat before but not sure at what point altitude sicknezz kicks in. if they can stand the height, honeysuckle or lavender seem to be popular. anything they can smell from a way off, suppose.

    (can bees smell? anyway)

    the bee-talk makes me think of that Kit Williams book. beautiful... summer izz as summer duzz...

    off now, see you later

  90. Nap, Monica Pitman is launching her new book of (Gaelic) poems tonight at


    My wife and other Gaels are going I'm probably too knackered after Skye. Dunno if you're into Gaelic never mind Gaelic verse of course!

  91. Excellent point(s) Jay - as I have said before a lot of political/economic educating for maths teachers to do......

  92. Sheff/Philippa

    Yes bees can smell: that's the whole point of flowers smelling! ;-)

    Anything smelly and bee pollinated should do it, but there has to be sufficient nectar in the surrounding area, and the right place for a nest, possibly difficult in the inner city (where nests are likely to bee removed...)

    I do happen to know a bee expert, she's always busy punning about bees on Facebook, I could ask her..

  93. This comment is being sent down the blogger pipes just to bump the last one onto the page...

  94. Phillipa/Dot

    I already have Lavender and was thinking of culinary herbs like marjoram, oregano, thyme etc which all flower. Plus a couple of flowering shrubs. any idea which would be best? Pity you cant get a dwarf Buddleia - which would be ideal.

    There are quite a few old factory buildings and derelict churches with lots of nooks and crannies round here which could make good wild life havens.

  95. Baroness Scotland's overstaying (illegal immigrant)Tongan cleaner found guilty of conning the Chief Law Officer..........

  96. Hlo All

    Can't respond individually as thread has moved in many directions since I last looked in. Please don't feel ignored.
    binge drinking - how do people get into it ? So delighted was I by the sunshine that I took me of to pub garden - chatted with the peeps and admired the bees. One wine with lemonade and I am useless - just don't have --- 'whatever it is '.

    All advice welcome.

  97. @PeterJ

    It's all physics in the end, innit?

    Well ... they used to say that biology was just applied chemistry and chemistry was just applied physics, but he thinking these days is that it might all just be applied mathematics, and specifically applied geometry.

    I hope not, I always thought geometry was rather dull.

  98. Paul

    Look after yourself, I hope whatever is responsible for your stress gets sorted out soon.

  99. Sheff,

    Have Facebooked my bee expert (currently her status is moaning about bumble bee import regulations!)

  100. Paul - I think you are making an incorrect assumption. I am not online all the time. I have a heart condition that makes an afternoon nap necessary most days.

    What you interpret as 'ignoring' is simply that for lack of time I haven't read the whole thread.

    I often do not reply to people after reading their posts - this may be due to:
    tiredness or because I can't think of anything useful to say.

    Sometimes people talk about football - not my thing! or some genres of music - that I know little about.

    I have not at any time 'deliberately ignored you' and have on many occasions been 'ignored' myself. I just assume people haven't found my post interesting or that they are too busy engaging with others. I don't take it personally.

    You say you announced your racial origins here - must have been one of the posts I missed. Didn't know you were black and that would certainly not be a reason for ignoring you why on earth would it be?

    Oh and by the way I do not tolerate Hank's outbursts but I choose not to counter them with more of the same. I don't believe that throwing insults about is a sensible way to carry on a discussion I try to avoid it but I am only human and your comments to others yesterday got me on the raw, I apologise for this lapse from my own standards but you did admit you were being childish. Generally I prefer to engage and explain my points more carefully. But I find aggression difficult to deal with, my problem not yours.

    I do find some of the more extreme posts by more right wing ciffers quite troubling and depressing but I also wonder if they are worth the energy.

    I don't feel that way about you. I don't believe you have any more right to be listened to than anyone else including me but some of us have been posting here for over a year and on Cif longer than that. Cyberneticly we all 'know' each other. I appreciate that this can make it difficult for newer posters sadly I think your outbursts have made it harder for you but not I hope, impossible.

    Finally I do not know you and you do not know me. WE obviously disagree about politics but that doesn’t make either of us hypocrites.


  101. Edwin Moore
    Cheers, but I'm still in Stornoway. Not going down for another week and a half.

    I know a very small amount of Gaelic, mostly related to Geogrpahical place names.

  102. Shef et al

    Be friendly environments.

    Carder bees like a sunny bank - make small tunnels and put soft moss in for them. They ae solitary and like a warm blanket.

    Humbles - come ot as soon as temperatres start to rise. Early flowering shrubs and land resses (most regard as weeds ) alng with species crocus, primula wanda and Feb. gold daffs ofen flower at early bee flying times.

    Summer is easiest to provide bee friendly plant - Indian balsam - invasive but beloved by bees . Leave 2 or 3 plants for bees. Thosands of seedlings which sprout in March can be pulled up and used as green manure.

    Late flowering sedums prolong bee feeding season.

    Spots of honey, sugar water will revive bees caught overnight in colder areas. Move bee to sunny area and offer sustenance. If I am in garden in summer I can judge approximate time by bee waves . I have bee time and blackbird time. Don't need clocks in summer.

    Can I put in a plea for the humble - but lovely - harvest man ? They often limp around on a deficiency of legs - they too like a drink of water. They carry their brain in a leg so treat them with care. They are like people - need loving kindness.

  103. Napolean
    Best of luck with the adventure. I am never at ease long term in cities - though I love the museums etc and the diversity of people and ideas.

    I am just a peasant with dreams of grandeur.

  104. Dotterel:

    Having arrived home from victorious battles on the school versus paediatrician front and having set the pre-digest equipment going for the evening meal for our tribe, i can dream up another mini installment in few moments.

  105. Last reponse for now - I am aware of tiddly self rabbiting on while sobre self tut tuts somewhere on the ceiling.


    Maths teachers have much to answer for. Watched some round about 11 year old in local shop. They paid for a bubble gum, the asked for something else which they paid for and so on - they had no idea of how much a selection would cost in total .

    I think economics is about balance - spreading available resources equally among all - but then I'm rather old fashioned about these things and don't like luxury yachts for a few taking precedence over the hungry many/

  106. I was thinking of starting to keep bees... Any one know owt about that?

  107. turminder

    A friend of mine joined the local bee keepers association before he started. Got lots of help and advice - then bought bees, hives etc from them. They were vey helpful and welcomed new members and enthusiasts.

  108. Evening all

    Friday night. Glass of wine. Brain already mashed potato, but I get to lie in tomorrow morning. Sorted.

    Paul - what deano said. It is easy to misjudge people online when you don't know them. Hope you manage to get things sorted.


  109. Anybody else seen this? Apparently my voting power is worth 0.109 of a vote. Good old first-past-the-post system...

  110. Dotterel:

    I'll start with this your question:

    This is a "proper" scientific theory in Popperian terms, because it leads to a falsifiable prediction: The parameters of our present universe are tuned so that it produces close to the maximum number of black hole possible.

    Doesn't that assume that we're quite far through process of "universe evolution" though? Couldn't we be an "early" universe, better at making black holes than one that instantly collapses, but worse than the "best" possible? If that's true wouldn't it be difficult to decide whether to reject or accept H0?

    Forgive me if i don't answer your question directly, but embark on side-show.

    My body is a thermodynamic system definitely NOT in equilibrium (while i live and breathe).

    The atmosphere of the Earth is (chemically speaking) definitely NOT in equilibrium, because it contains lashes of oxygen [if it were not constantly replaced it would get used up oxidising anything oxidisable].

    The Solar System is definitely NOT in thermodynamic equilibrium [sun thingy pouring out literally masses of energy].

    The Milky Way Galaxy is definitely NOT in thermodynamuc equilibrium. There are waves of star formation cycling their way around.

    All these systems are also self-organising.

    === end of side-show ===

    A slightly more direct answer to your question above is evolutionary-biological one. Dud universes only reproduce themselves. Black hole sprayers gain advantage exponentially.

    Suppose i am the uber-god and set things so there are universes that have one offspring and there is an other kind that has ten. within a small number of generations the universes having ten offspring will outnumber the ones with only a single heir.


  111. *bb's eyes glaze over...*

    Seriously. I am fascinated by physics but don't understand a bloody word of it because I was kicked out of physics and chemistry aged 14 for being so shite at it.

    I am particularly fascinated by quantum mechanics,(largely because it comes up a fair bit at some of the more serious buddhist discussions I have been to) of which I understand about a quark's worth at best. If someone hasn't already written "Quantum Mechanics for Dummies" they really should.

  112. Hey folks,

    I know nothing about bees, sciencey stuff, or Glasgow.


  113. Hi All--medve, that's impressive! Are you the Stephen Hawking of the Danube? (-: Interesting stuff, though I'm a bit like BB in that cannot get the heed around most of it.

    Leni--Practise,practise my dear. One must build a tolerance for the drink, which takes a lot of time and money. (Should mention too that your bullshit meter becomes finely tuned while sitting in pubs for any length of time.) That said, metabolic variances don't make it possible for everyone to take the tipple equally.

    Sun is out, sky is blue, I'm off with the hound. Bye for now.

  114. Hi James - I'll tell you summat else you didn't know............ there is a new Yorkshire beer called Fred Trueman Ale.............

    I shit you not. Eldest son and lass just called by and took me for an evening meal at me local and there it was.......Fiery Fred's face on a beer engine, not bad either. A quick three pints and the conclusion...............very promising.

  115. shaz - just did the voter power thingy and mine is worth less than yours.. ner ner ner ner ner!

    My vote is worth... wait for it.... 0.028!

    Tah dah! \o/

    Feckin Surrey and their feckin Tories. Pah.

  116. Deano

    Not sure I'd want Fred Truman gurning at me from my pint, somehow... :p

  117. Cheers Deano,

    It certainly sounds interesting.
    I'm quite a fan of most Copper Dragon stuff, so I'll try and persuade my mum to put some in that 'care package' she's been promising to send me for the last two years!!

  118. OK - I will say it. I might be wrong. But "melissadarley" is a ringer. I spotted "her" from her first post. Call me paranoid if you like, but it is someone taking the piss out of the Waddya regulars.

  119. James - how often do you manage to get home?

    I lived in France for over 7 years but it was easy for me to hop back a coupla times a year to catch up with friends and family. Not so easy from where you are though...

  120. BB - my sentiment too but what the hell I'll try owt once, twice or thrice.

    There was an unintended ambiguity about my choice of words to Paul - I was of course only disagreeing with his negative assessments, I couldn't disagree with his positive ones.

    Just time for a quick evening walk with me dogs.

  121. 'Would like to know, if anyone can tell me, how to attract bumble bees to my 4th floor'

    Sheff I need help getting rid of the bees within my 4th floor bunnet!

    Enjoying the physics - i feel like Homer Simpson ('Great - I understand nothing').

    Hi Your Grace will be going to see the Glasgow Boys for sure - looking forward to it.

    Don't know if you like Joan Eardley - I love her stuff. She had a studio just a couple of streets away from us and used to paint some of the kids round about (but not me alas). They used to come home with sketches and wee paintings and of course they would end up being thrown out. Even the sketches fetch scary prices now!

    Oh the things we throw away. . .

  122. !2 months?! I'd fucking give them 12 years!!

    How can anyone do that to their own child?! And note how well they looked after their spiders and lizards, the evil fuckers.

    God this has made me angry.

  123. BB - 'Her school raised concerns in March 2009 because Charlotte regularly turned up with excrement on her hands and in the wrong clothes for the weather conditions.

    When they raised concerns, her parents transferred her to another school.'

    So easy - WTF happened to this?

  124. BB,

    It depends really.

    I was home at Christmas, and I'm sort of hoping to go back for a bit in August/September, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens!!

  125. shaz - that really concerns me. As you may know, I am involved with the soash because of the foster-lad, who was on the "at need" register before he came to us. Well-meaning though they are, I find them to be a bit of a pain in the arse, to be honest. Not that they are any real bother, but they come round on a regular basis to check everything is ok etc. And this is a middle class family in a decent household with no poo anywhere that it shouldn't be.

    Is it really a case where they expend more effort on the "easy" problems to make the stats look better, do you think?

  126. The evidence would seem to suggest so. In addition, the more of these cases that surface, the more it appears that clear signs of neglect which seem apparent to others, eg schools, are not picked up on - but why? Is it just overload, or is there an inherent feeling amongst SW professionals that other people are not competent to make judgements on child protection?

  127. I am more inclined to believe that it is overload - cock-up rather than conspiracy in other words. What little dealing I have had with the soash in the family courts seems to back that up. And being a child social worker is still one of the occupations on the "shortage" list for immigration purposes too.

    Hardly surprising when you think about it. They have had such a bad press in recent years that who in their right mind would want to work in child protection, particularly in a difficult borough?

  128. Very true. It's bloody frustrating to refer kids on though only to have the case closed because the parents - who may not be able to read - haven't responded to letters. Do they think we just refer kids for fun?

  129. Sorry, was forced to be away. Which are the bits that are hard to get?

  130. Medve - which bits?

    Well the bit that starts "This is a "proper" scientific theory in Popperian terms" and then the rest of the post after that.

    As Otto in a Fish Called Wanda would say: "What was that middle bit again?" :D

  131. shaz

    Hang on. Let me get this right. School sees problem. School refers problem. Soash write to parents. Parents don't reply. Soash closes the case.

    That is seriously fuxx0rd.

  132. Yep. That's about it. And believe me, a referral is not something we do lightly. Children's services in our area are just shot.

  133. BB: Well, Karl Popper saw a similarity between marxist-leninism and psychoanalysis in that both disciplines could and usually did explain any possible real outcome in terms of their own dogma. According to Popper a "proper" scientific theory or statement has to be falsifiable, that is, there are possible outcomes that could discredit or disprove the theory.

    For example, if you came up with the novel theory that the Earth is round, and i did not believe you, you could say that your theory predicts that when we go to beach and watch ships sail away onto the sea, that their hulls will disappear before their masts.

    It could be like that, or ships could just get smaller and smaller until we can see them no longer. Nevr having been to the beach, we don't know. but we can go there and see which prediction is falsified.

  134. medve

    Well that makes a bit more sense to me. But does that mean, then, that the only valid scientific theory is one that can be falsified? I can feel myself getting out of my depth here already, so humour me... :p

  135. BB:

    This is a "proper" scientific theory in Popperian terms, because it leads to a falsifiable prediction: The parameters of our present universe are tuned so that it produces close to the maximum number of black hole possible.

    I'll have a go to rephrase that prediction.

    It was badly phrased. Should have said close to a maximum for black hole production. (probably not necessarily the absolute maximum)

    This follows if we assume ours is a typical universe. then it must be at or very near to one of the fitness landscape peaks. If we move from the place of our universe in the fitness (to produce black holes) landscape we are most like to go down, unless we move directly to the peak. universes at the lower places produce fewer offspring.

    This prediction can be falsified, because we can tinker in theoretical physics with these parameters, dream up electrons that are heavier, or an electromagnetic force that is weaker and so on. In all the case where this has been tried, there are some that can not yet be figured out, some give ambiguous results and all the rest lead to significant or drastic reductions in black hole progeny.

  136. @BB and medve- just to expand a bit, the Popper principle contrasts with mathematical theories which are self-consistent but based on incorrect axioms. That is, you can come up with a consistent set of mathematical theorems and proofs that all work, but which assume at the start something which is not true. The classic examples are non-Euclidean geometries where parallel lines diverge or cross; these are consistent but don't correspond to any 'real' world. (Up to a point - there are some non-Euclidean approaches to relativity, for example.)

    So, you can come up with a theory where all the proofs work, but where there is no way of getting evidence that could ever prove the theory wrong. Which might be pretty, but doesn't necessarily tell us anything about reality. So a theory has to predict something measurable, and if you measure it and it contradicts your theory, then your theory is wrong, but scientific.

    I hope that clears things up. :-)

    Oh, and BB; I'd be cautious about Buddhists talking about quantum mechanics. They usually seize on some half-arsed understanding of bits like non-locality and uncertainty and say "it's just the same in Buddhism".

    It really isn't.

  137. Right.

    I am really really sorry, medve, but while I understood the words you wrote, the sentences didn't seem to gel. And that is my fault not yours because I am out of my depth on this.

  138. Peter

    Well, from the little I understood about when people were talking about quantum mechanics in buddhist terms, it was based on the buddhist notion of being able to essentially create your own reality - which seemed to tie in with the idea that things behave in a particular way - either as waves or as particles according to how you observe them. So if you observe "life" in a different way, it will change... or something.

    *up to her nose now and finding it hard to tread water..."

  139. BB: when my younger son was three and half he asked me what the laws of thermodynamics are. Well, a bit of a bind. he has no maths or physics. How to explain?

    I said something like: the laws of thermodynamics are like rules to the game of life in the world. The first law says that you cannot win, you can at best hope to break even. The second law says that you can break even only the coldness of the absolute zero of temperature -273 degrees C. The third law says that you cannot reach this amount of cool.

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  142. @BB - Oh, OK, they're going for the 'observer creates the event' thing, eh? Feynman has some good stuff on that, I think - it's the Schrodinger's Cat and Wigner's Friend bit.

    I would have expected an element of Many Worlds - did anybody mention 'multiverse' at any point?

  143. Paul

    Enough passive-agressive already. It is nobody else's fault that you decided to call everyone a cunt last night, hon. You did what you did. I can forgive and forget and move on, as long as you let me do that.

    Your choice. Nobody else's.

  144. Hi there. To everyone.

    medve & BB

    Popper and positivist scientific theory, eh?


    Child protection services are overstretched pretty much everywhere. My sister in law works in child protection in a London borough and says it's been a nightmare since the Baby P case. I'm really unhappy that Sheffield has had some of the worse abuse cases in recent history, doesn't make me feel too proud of my city when children and vulnerable adults die from neglect while their parents / carers appear to be living well.

  145. Paul - if you count responding to being referred to as part of a bunch of cunts 'jumping on the bandwagon' then yeah, I did.

    I thought you were leaving.

  146. Not multiverse per se, although there is a concept of each life moment containing 3000 (yes, it is a mathematically precise number) possible "life states". So I guess that could be "multiverse" in the sense that if you change one of the 3000 elements, it will change the outcome.

  147. BB: I find the link between quantum mechanics and Buddhism fascinating! I wonder how Buddhism deals with the basic idea of quantum mechanics that you separate the observed from the observer. This means, for example, that you could never treat the whole universe quantum mechanically, because then the observer would have to be outside the universe. Quantum theory also predicts that we can at most discover half the information of anything and usually much less.

  148. Hi MsChin. I like Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, and Paul Feyerabend even better, but i have issues with all of them.

  149. BB - that's interesting - is there any reason why it's 3000 and not, say, 2880? That sounds like a theory that isn't falsifiable, right there.

    Many Worlds just says that each quantum event creates a new universe, so that parallel and non-interfering universes are created at the rate of zillions to the power googol per second. I very much doubt that that's falsifiable either, although it's certainly treated as a scientific theory. Popper wouldn't have approved.

  150. MsChin - I've got a friend working in CP in Nottingham. She's extremely conscientious and good at her job, and has been driven to the brink of breakdown on numerous occasions.

  151. @Medve - Some of the difficulty with quantum mechanics comes from the use of the term 'observer', which is used by some in the sense of 'being with consciousness'. This takes us into the anthropic principle quicksand pretty quickly.

    Another term would be better - measuring device, maybe?

    However, you're right, of course, about the consequences.

  152. @Medve - PS - nice to see that you have problems with Kuhn, too!

  153. I have problems with most theorists, inevitably, but I'm more interested in the ontological, so take your point Peter, on meaning & context of 'observer' in quantum mechanics!

  154. Well, it comes from an ancient japanese T'ien T'ai (aka Tendai) calculation that there are 10 life states, ranging from hell through to buddhahood, that each exists within (or can be filtered through or affected by) the others, so that's 10 x 10 = 100

    Then you have 10 consciousnesses (ugly word), each of which plays upon/affects each of the potential 100 life states - so that makes 1000 permutations.

    Then you have the three realms of self, immediate environment and society as a whole, each of which can be affected by the 1000 permutations, so you end up with the "3000 realms in a single life-moment".

    Change any one of the elements - for example, consciously changing your life-state at any given time - and you change the outcome for yourself, your environment and society.

    In theory.

    Medve - do you necessarily have to observe it from the outside? Or, more to the point, if you learn to see life as it really is as opposed to how you think it should be or want it to be, could seeing it differently bring about change? I have no idea how the hell it works, frankly.

    MsChin - I don't do much contact/care work where social workers are involved (largely because I find it too upsetting mostly) but I really don't envy your sister :(

  155. BB: I shall have to travel in time or imagination and consult with Leibniz. I will hand in my report tomorrow ;-)

  156. BB

    As i understand it - learning to see life as it really is, as opposed to how you think/ would like it to be - changes you and therefore appears to change life. It may in fact change your life as you would interact with others in a different way - this in turn may change them. It goes on and on - change creates more change.

  157. @Leni - that's very true, in all kinds of ways.

    And, thankfully, it has nothing at all to do with quantum physics, however much people might want to drag it in for a bit of modernist gloss. :-)

    Human perception of events does all kinds of things to internal psychological states, and events themselves feed back into those states, which changes those perceptions, which change those states... and so ad infinitum.

  158. Hmmm .. another self-organising system ..

  159. True that, leni.

    And fair comment, Peter, too. I have no idea, frankly. I go with what works for me, is all. All kinds of stuff, from Jung's collective subconscious to aspects of quantum mechanics kind of give me an explanation as to why it might work, but it is probably all a stab in the dark.

  160. BB: You are very right about stabbing in the dark. Nevertheless i find these pursuits very satisfying.

  161. @BB and @Medve - It's an odd trajectory; I got an introduction to philosophy through science fiction in my teens, to quantum mechanics and cosmology at university, to digital certainty at work (everything '1' or '0', no middle way), to history and more academic philosophy since, and where I've got to is uncertain but consistent, I think.

    Have you heard of Stephen Jay Gould's non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) stuff? I go more for the overlapping magisteria, with a side order of don't you dare go using the wrong concept in the wrong place...

    Gives me a lot to think about, anyway.

  162. BB, have you read KM Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt? I quite like the idea of us all meeting in the bardo between deaths and rebirths!

    Night guys - the physics stuff was fascinating.

  163. BB

    'do you necessarily have to observe it from the outside?'

    That's the point, for me, I'm more interested in ways of being, in the subjective rather than the objective.

    And on child protection, I can't deal with the heavy stuff either.

  164. James:

    I know nothing about bees, sciencey stuff, or Glasgow.

    So glad I'm not the only one!

  165. Edwin - no I haven't, but I will try and get hold of it. Sounds interesting :o)

    Night night to you

  166. Ah, Montana and James, I've never been to Glasgow either. But I've seen at least one bee.

    Night, Edwin.

  167. Not to change the subject or anything, but anyone have a clue why a cat would go apeshit over blueberry PopTarts?

  168. Question

    But - who detcides what life trully is. It is a never ending quest which explains why , I suppose, every generation makes such a mess of everything.

    what is illusion ? What is reality ? We all have other realities - our experiences - which can determine our expectations - our dream and memories. Mine are real to me - you don't even know about them , or I yours.

  169. One bee - are you sure it was a bee ? It may have been a bee fly.

  170. @Montana - I've seen cats go apeshit over ice cream, soy sauce, chocolate, and other odd things. At dinner last night a cat lapped up a soy and ginger sauce and ignored the bits of trout in the middle of it. Different cats, different obsessions...

  171. Leni

    Ain't that the question, though...

    Montana - I have no idea. I used to have a cat who would go absolutely bananas if I ever had prawns in the house. She would literally go bonkers...running all over the place, trying to jump up onto the kitchen counter, you name it. Never for any other fish, or any other foodstuffs, for that matter. Only prawns.

    Go figure.

  172. @Leni - that's deep water. Of course, nobody can ever share the same experiences directly, but only through the medium of language either spoken or written. So in a sense the world we talk about is the product of an agreement about what we're talking about. We agree about things in the world so we can talk about them.

    If you look at perception, there's yet another level of illusion between what we sense and what we are conscious of, so that our conscious picture of the world is something like a narrative we tell ourselves. And communication with others has to assume a shared narrative at some level of abstraction.

    It's all very flimsy, really, and it's not surprising that people find such difficulty in relating their internal thoughts to the real world, or communicating what they really mean to anyone else.

  173. @Leni - and it was definitely a bee. Big, fat, stripy bugger. Banged its head on the window and buzzed off.

  174. My mum's cat goes mental for porridge and Christmas cake.
    Not sure about the pop-tart thing though, do they have a 'frosting'??

  175. Axolotls love shrimp cats love shrimps and I suppose when in their natural swimming around state shrimps love shrimps.

  176. Friday nite and still no choonez?

    Some silence?

  177. BB, good stuff! Here's a song for Montana's cat.

  178. Ugh - can't keep my eyes open. Old age setting in...

    Ten years ago I would have been out clubbing it at this time on a Friday, not thinking that my bed was the most attractive place to be... sigh.

    N'night all. Slaap lekker x

  179. Mmm... stone roses. Have to listen to that before I crash. Ta, Habib. x

  180. Well, ahem, I have just been listening to this.

  181. These are unfrosted PopTarts we're talking about. Now, I will say that she's fairly curious about any food my son or I attempt to eat, but the blueberry PopTarts are like kitty crack to her.

    Nice song, Habib. Oddly, she doesn't like brown sugar/cinnamon PopTarts.

  182. PeterJ, great tunes, I especially liked in the Land of Grey and Pink.

  183. Hello Habib

    I haven't waved to you recently. Hope your are fit and well now. Still working nights I see. Don't miss the promised sunshine this weekend.

  184. Leni, I'm at home right now, but living on night shift hours. Enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day today. Good health to you, my friend.
    A song from nowhere.

  185. Ooh - that was frightening. I have never lived in a city - I find them intimidating as imagery. Feel safe enough when I am in one but some stark city scapes - paintings or pics - have a barreness in them. Perhaps this is because I don't feel life in them.

    Sleeping habits are hard to break - I'm still trying to go to bed earlier - trouble is I start reading about 11 - then don't notice the time.

    Night night.

  186. @Habib and @Leni - it must be bedtime.

    But, contradictorily, here you go.