fredag 29 april 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

71001 and 46258 respectively. Good names for replica steam locomotives, eh?

Which just about sums the whole thing up - an atavistic display. And I am not against the monarchy, but this show could backfire in the end.

måndag 25 april 2011

Gods just a human construct?

There is something about Easter that brings out the atheists. They just cannot leave it alone.

To not believe in gods because they are just a human construct is irrational. Everything we know about the world is a human construct. It cannot be anything else, since all knowledge is mediated through the use of signs and symbol systems that are humanly constructed, above all through language. What one "knows" about the world as a French speaker or a German speaker, for instance, is a little different from what one "knows" as an English speaker, even though all three languages are closely related and arise out of a shared historical experience. An engineer "knows" the world differently from the way a chemist "knows" it.

If one thinks of religion as a descriptive system of signs and symbols, the question that then arises is how well they map to one's experience. Or not. From that point one must judge by results and one's own experience. They don't all look pretty and most seem to have persistent flaws, but do they or do they not reflect a reality?

lördag 23 april 2011

Off to France on royal wedding day

I am no republican but am off to France for the day - the tickets have been booked. In my view the monarchy is not helped by letting itself become soap opera. Or perhaps that is part of its strength, since it fulfills a psychological need.

However, republicans need to appreciate that a monarch has an essential important qualification for the job - they never wanted it.

Horrible things can happen under democracies. They are vulnerable to take-overs by rabble rousers, as we are seeing at the moment with the rise of the far-right all over Europe. I can think of one important democratic country which is run for the benefit of a military-industrial complex and is on a permanent war footing.

It is a safe assumption that Hitler would never have happened if Germany had turned into a constitutional monarch after 1918.

lördag 9 april 2011

Handicapped teenager hacks electronic aid

A friend of mine has a teenage son who is classified as handicapped. He apparently has trouble with remembering when to do things so was issued with an electronic reminder device. After a while he got fed up with it and was curious how it worked. So he booted into the operating system which turned out to be some cut-down version of Windows, deleted the programme (which had cost the authorities fifteen grand), and discovered that he had been actually been handed an HTC mobile phone.

He is now planning to install Android and once he has put a SIM in, he will have a useful little gadget. However, this should not impress anyone since his hobby is building and programming robots.

The death of civilised debate

The Guardian has been steadily reducing the number of articles on which comments are allowed. On the newspaper’s web site, which used to ap...