Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Scientist Magazine

As a self confessed Science geek especially when it comes to Physics, Psychometrics and Evolutionary Psychology, I have Found New Scientist (NS) to be an excellent read. I am into my fifth year of subscription and intend to renew next year as well.

What differentiates NS from competitor publications Scientific American, American Scientist, Discover etc is the openess of the magazine to new ideas that are on the edge of scientific examination. A recent article on obtaining energy from Iron was such an example as were some thought exercises on greater than light speed travel.

This does not mean that the magazine ventures into Fortean absurdities of werewolves and demons, but it challenges the reader to question the current scientific dogma.

This for me is the healthy aspect of science. The feature that makes it dynamic. It is what drew me into the pursuit of knowledge in the first place.

Kudos to the magazine.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Positive signs

I am delighted to see that Kadima emerged as the largest party in the knesset. Unforunately Olmert will have to tread very carefully. A coalition with Labour might prove necessary but the thought of unionist Amir Peretz having a say in the running of the government is enough to incite any gag reflex. The Leftists at Mertetz could be drawn in as well. A better hope for Israel is if Olmert can form an alliance with Likud and the more right of center parties. The former being likely to scuttle its leader Bibi Netanyahu for new blood.

On the Palestinian front I was pleased to see an announcement from the Canadian Government concerning the cutting of ties with Hamas.

Its great to finally have a government in my homeland that doesn't play footsie with terrorists.

Congrads to Italy for taking in Afghan Christian convert Abdul Rahman whose life was under threat by radicals Islamists in his still religiously intolerant homeland.

News Flash

My website www.lonelythinker.com is up and running.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Moore and Columbine

I was digging through my old blogs and I found this one on Bowling for Columbine. It is as pertinent now as it was once then.

I don’t know who Mike Moore paid to win his Oscar but there is no way that Bowling for Columbine deserves this title. Look I am not pro-NRA, not by a long shot, but if you are going to profile an issue, at least give near equal coverage for both sides of the argument.
Moore fails hopelessly on this account. His documentary is so one-sided that it could be used as a propaganda flick for the gun control lobby. Objectivity is completely missing as Moore skews for his own gain a controversy which is way more complicated than ‘Columbine’ lets us believe. What hurts me is not so much Moore’s depiction of his universe but the fact that so many ‘intelligent’ people fell hook, line and sinker for his interpretation of events, especially his comical, selectively edited interview with an obviously mentally compromised, Charleton Heston. Are we so willing to see our believes championed that we will settle for cheap showmanship and circus tricks that masquerade under the umbrella of a ‘documentary’ ?

Art Museums

The best to the worst that I have visited. Now let me see. Best one has to be the Louvre (I am a sucker for the classics). Worst the National Art Gallery in Ottawa (drab beyond words).

Top Ten Art Museums visited

1. Louvre - Paris. Visited in 1984 and 2005.
2. Tate Art Gallery - London. Visited in 1993.
3. Uffizi - Florence. Visited in 1984.
4. Musee D’Orsay - Paris. Visited in 2002.
5. Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York. Visited in 1991.
6. Museum of Modern Art - New York. Visited in 1998
7. Sistine Chapel - Rome. Visited in 1984.
8. The National Art Gallery - London. Visited in 1993.
9. Whitney Art Museum - New York. Visited in 1991.
10. Rijks Museum - Amsterdam. Visited in 2002.

Still on my agenda to one day visit:

1. Hermitage - St Petersburg.
2. Prado - Madrid.
3. Barcelona - The whole city is an art gallery.
4. Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam.
5. Andy Warhol Collection in Pittsburgh.
6. The city of Sienna in Italy.
7. Milan to see the Last Supper.
8. Ravenna - for some reason I am attracted to Byzantine Art.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Some Nudniks on the US Political Front

Pat Buchanan - represents the ‘bury your head in the sand’ side of US Foreign politics that sees isolation as a viable option. Also goes out of his way to champion those accused of Nazi war crimes. His appeal to the xenophobic element of the American populace reminds me of the American ‘Firsters’ prior to World War II. Thank the almighty that he was reduced to the political wilderness in the 2000 US Election.

Robert Novak – Mr. ‘High and Mighty’. Goes out of his way to deny his Jewish heritage by being as anti-Israel as possible. Could best see him presiding over an exclusive country club, sipping champagne with the Dulles brothers. Go away Mr. Novak and take that mouth full of teeth with you.


Noam Chomsky – The poster boy for the left. Has political views that only a na├»ve college student (and there are plenty of those) or brain dead idealist (but more of these) would find appealing. Pretty much accuses the US of everything under the sun but then has the hypocrisy to hold down a prestigious chair at that center of the Military Industrial Complex, MIT. Chomsky calls himself a socialist libertarian, but would he give up his expensive house if he had to? Methinks not. Should have stuck with linguistics.

Mike Moore – Has made an entire career conning others that his overly one-sided documentaries are a work of art. It fooled the Cannes Film Festival People (not a high bar to begin with there) but not the public who saw through his sound bites and voted Dubya back in office.


Barbara Ehrenreich – Claims to be the logical voice of the modern American woman but her comments don’t reflect this. Once argued that God owes us one for the South East Asian Tsunami. Listen Babs, God owes us nothing. The only reason we are here in the first place (both you and me) is because of his good will.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Awakening - A Poem

Science entrenched into the body of the porous mind
leaking syrup onto deserts sweetened by reason.
Fields open by practicality strangling the sentiment of old
and so toss aside beliefs nurtured by fear.
Transposed analogies, witch-physicists emerge
to take their place alongside Shaman-logicians.
Replacing the powers of the supernatural with light
transmitted from the cuticle of the true being.

Quiz #1- Test your Knowledge on Africa

Africa

1.What is the largest country in Africa with respect to area?
2.What country is completely landlocked by South Africa?
3.The Northern Part of Africa is known by this name. What is it? Begins with an M.
4.Which country has Mogadishu as a capital?
5.What is East Africa’s equivalent of the continental divide?
6.In which country would you find the city of Kano?
7.What is the official language of both Angola and Mozambique?
8. What is Kenya’s main port city?
9. Which country controls the island of Zanzibar?
10.Complete the following country name: Sao Tome and….
11.This West African country was falsely identified as the source of uranium purchased illegally by the Iraqis. Name the Country?
12.What two population groups dominate in both Rwanda and Burundi?

Answers

1.The Sudan.
2.Lesotho
3.Maghreb
4.Somalia
5.The Great Rift Valley
6.Nigeria. It’s a Muslim holy city in the Northern part of the country.
7.Portuguese.
8.Mombassa
9.Tanzania
10.Principe
11.Niger
12.The Hutus and the Tutsis.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cards and Sticker Books

I am still a kid at heart. The following is the story of my ‘card-and-sticker-book’ collecting history.

1975 - Start my first collection of stickers. Plastic Soft Drink Bottle Top pulloffs with images representing different colours of the world.

1976 - Grandmother buys me first British Football sticker book. I am hooked for life now, on the beautiful game. Also in 1976 I complete Treasure Island Bottle Top pulloffs. Toughest Bottle top to acquire is that of Jim Hawkins, the story’s hero.

1977 - Collect rugby stickers with pictures of the World’s greatest players. Start work on my Second British Football Sticker Book.

1978 - The World Cup in Argentina is all the rage. Of course there is a sticker book for this. The hairstyles of the 70s made portrait sticker book collecting all the more fun especially those of the Mexicans.

1978 - Collect motor bike stickers. I am not a huge fan of the bikes but the sticker book collection will do for the time being.

1979 - The Guinness Book of World Records issues a sticker book documenting its many records. Guess who is amongst the first to collect? Don’t ask me where the collection is now. In the same year I start collecting Disney stickers. Why? Because they exist. I am also onto my 4th British Football sticker book.

1980 - A sticker book is released with pictures of the world’s different mammals. Yours truly swaps and negotiates himself into the field of amateur zoology. Another sticker book with the emblems of different World Football teams is released. I jump in to complete this collection as well.

1981 - Its fish this year instead of mammals. Like clockwork I am there again.

1982 - The World Cup is in Spain this year and I collect more stickers to celebrate it. British Footer collection enters its 7th Year for me.

1983- Collecting career grinds to a halt when I enter High School. Oh well it was fun when it lasted.

1991 - I am back again collecting after a nine year absence disturbed by nothing less than girls, school and real life. OK I can be a geek but so what. This time it is baseball cards. The Upper Deck Series. I complete most of he 1990 and 1991 series, buy Ken Griffey Jr’s 89 Rookie Card (the best in the series) and pick up the first year cards of Clemens, Alomar, Viola, Thomas and Sosa. Collections are supplemented by the purchase of Opeechee first year baseball card collection (Opeechee is a Canadian company that is more known for its hockey cards). Baseball card stage is short-lived. Simply put I don’t have the money. After a year I lose interest and resume my true passion, writing. As for the cards still have many of the baseball specialty ones that I will keep maybe to sell one day when the urge drives me.

1998 - Acquire English Football World Cup Upper Deck Series from a friend. There is still a bit of a card lover in me.

Complexity

Recently I have concerned myself in thought with the concept of complexity (perhaps this is an indication of my life right now) whereby simple systems develop in stages and take on new characteristics at each stage Examples are the evolution of the species, complex machinery systems and human social interaction. What fascinates me is the novelty that appears at each level. Its uniqueness that sets it apart from the ‘sum of all characteristics’ of the lower rungs. How does this novelty arise? Why is it often greater than the ‘sum of’? and how does this new intelligence attempt to manifest itself in other layers of organization? Maybe chaos theory tells the story? Somehow I doubt this but clearly there is an emergence of an order that requires explanation. Hopefully I can scratch the surface of some of these problems.

Europe - A History of Control

European Nations which have been controlled in historical times by other Powers.

Country ---- Controller Nation/s

Norway ---- Denmark/Sweden
Scotland ---- England
Ireland ---- England
Poland ---- Russia/France/Austria/Germany
Hungary ---- Austria
Portugal ---- Spain
Netherlands ---- Spain
Finland ---- Russia
Greece ---- Turkey
Serbia ---- Turkey
Northern Italy ---- Austria
Switzerland ---- Austria
Southern Italy ---- Spain
Belgium ---- Netherlands
Bulgaria ---- Turkey
Croatia ---- Austria
Armenia ---- Turkey
Czech Republic ---- Austria
Malta ---- England
Cyprus ---- England
Lithuania ---- Poland
Romania ---- Turkey
Slovenia ---- Austria
Slovakia ---- Austria
Montenegro ---- Serbia

Lonelythinker website is down.

A gremlin has entered the system and my website is down. Should have it up and running in the next few days.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Blog is Born

My old blog was hit by Spam but like a Phoenix this new one shall arise....