Archive for June, 2007

Blow up Rushdie, he wrote a book, apparently!

Once again, some followers of the religion of peace are strapping on suicide socks and blowing off their feet.

Salman Rushdie, noted serious author and Booker Prize winner, has received a knighthood, so from now-one will be Sir Salman. Naturally, some people in Pakistan (where 50% of the population can’t read) don’t approve of this, because he once wrote a book they didn’t read like, The Satanic Verses.

Iran has said this award demonstrates ‘Islamaphobia’ among British officials. Odd, I think threatening to murder an author because of some supposed slight against an illiterate businessman with a fondness of 9 year old girls born in the 6th century is more likely to promote ‘Islamaphobia’ than any book will.

‘Awarding one of the most hated persons within the Islamic world indicates Britain’s hostility towards Islam and will put that country against Islamic societies,’ Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said.

Yes, deeply conciliatory words from that bastion of freedom, tolerance and women’s rights, Iran.

Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Ijaz-ul-Haq said that the award will provoke Muslims to commit suicide bombings, telling parliament:

Britain should immediately tender an apology to all Muslim states failing which the Muslim world should cease diplomatic ties with Britain

He continued:

[Britain’s decision] will encourage people to commit blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed

And more:

The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the ‘sir’ title,” ul-Haq said.

Yes, that will show the non-Muslim world that their particular brand of sky-pixie worship should be tolerated. Nothing like threatening authors with bombs to make the world a more tolerant place.

Here’s a clue, if Muslims don’t want to be treated as pariahs then perhaps they should shut up the more vocal members of their sky-pixie club when they insist on spouting contemptible rubbish.

But please don’t murder me, Allahu Akbar!

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June 18th, 2007

Physics teaching is going to hell in a handbasket

When I was a lad in school, back in the days of yore (ie, the late 1980s) I wasn’t really enamoured with many of the subjects I was taking at ‘O’ level (the precursor of GCSEs) and then ‘A’ level.

However, I absolutely loved physics. I loved the precision, its predictive powers and how, well, sciencey it was. With the right equations you could work out everything from the path of a cannon ball to the energy produced when matter falls into a black hole.

In short, it rocked my physical world.

I didn’t realise this at the time, naturally, but although I wouldn’t go into a career that requires me to use physics every day, it did finely tune my bullshit meter and give me the apparatus to see through nonsense and woo quickly. For example, someone told me that using a mobile phone would literally cook their brain, as if it was in a microwave oven. My bullshit meter immediately went off and after a quick scribble on a piece of paper to work out the wavelengths involved, it was apparent that the human head is simply too small to even interact on any meaningful level with the radio signals involved.

So you can imagine how disheartened I was when a physics teacher called Wellington Grey announced that the new GCSE physics curriculum is basically dumbed down to the point of insanity.

Already universities here in the UK are having to give new students remedial maths lessons, now they’re going to have to teach remedial physics for those poor souls who want to take a hard science in further education.

This is why more people than ever are taking ridiculous ‘soft’ subjects like Media Studies instead of the old, tough subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry et al – why do all that hard work when you can sit around for four years watching TV and still get a degree at the end?

Now the UK government, through its education policies, is determined to produce several years worth of physics-ignorant kids who don’t know F=MA but do know that global warming is a really bad thing, m’kay.

But, what the hell, if you make the exams easier more pupils will get a higher grade and then the government can crow about its achievements in education!

I really wish I was just being cynical.

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1 comment June 9th, 2007

Abandon your kids, meet the Pope

This is not going to be a popular opinion, however…

Frankly, I’ve had enough of the parents of Madeleine McCann. Firstly they abandon their children while they go to eat (checking in every hour hardly qualifies them for parents of the year), three year old Madeleine is abducted and hasn’t been seen since.

In other words, it’s an everyday story of really stupid parents, with some poor kid getting the worst of it. But, judging by the coverage in the media anyone would think that their parents are the second coming of jebus and shining examples of piety and good parenting.

Now, they’ve met the Pope, presumably in some way to get more leverage over their invisible sky-pixie in finding their daughter, the self-same invisible sky-pixie who let their daughter be abducted in the first place. Their non-existent sky-pixie to boot.

Don’t get me wrong, in no way would I want anyone to go through the agony of losing a child in this way, but I’ve seen precious little comment about just how irresponsible these two were in leaving their kids alone, in a hotel with creche facilities which they chose not to use, while they went out to eat.

I really hope the kid is found alive and well, though the longer this goes on the less likely this is, if similar past events are any guide.

As to her parents, life sometimes teaches you very hard lessons, and they need to learn from this one.


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1 comment June 1st, 2007


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