Friday, 28 November 2008

Touched By His Noodly Appendage

It's odd, people often talk about faith and the lack of evidence in god in a hand-wavy matter-of-fact way but it's quite difficult to fully grasp what this means. Most can be presented with facts and figures but all that doesn't really sink in as there are too many intelligent, respectable people telling you otherwise.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a site which blew that all away and showed (granted, in a fairly indirect way) the strength of the evidence by proposing another hypothesis that also fit the 'facts'. It all started in 2005 when the Kansas school board held a hearing to decide on whether or not intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution theory in the classroom.

The argument here was that there is as much evidence in intelligent design as there is in the theory of evolution. This is, of course, a complete fallacy! Sure, Darwin hasn't been proved entirely and the existence of god has not been disproved 100% (completely proving a negative is impossible as any experimental scientist will tell you); but the evidence for evolution and against intelligent design is overwhelming, to the point where it seems ridiculous to put the two on anything approaching an even keel.

Now part of the problem of putting intelligent design on the curriculum is that most religions have creation theories that have an equal weighting in evidence is the Christian one (as proposed by the Kansas school board). So which one to teach? At this point a completely new and unheard of theory came to light, with an open letter written to the Kansas school board, urging them to consider the flying spaghetti monster as a valid theory. As the letter shows, there is as much (factual) weight behind this as there is in a Christian god.

And thus, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was born. What's really worth mentioning is the correlation between pirates and the average global temperature, genius!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Fog Lights Off

It's rare but from time to time, I come across a great idea that's so great, so useful that I can't imagine how life was like before it. The other day, I saw just that. While waiting for a bus I noticed a police car pull up at the lights. They has a scrolling message board stuck on top by the flashing lights; as the car behind pulled up, they must have been slightly blinded by the fog lights as, on the board, they put up “fog lights off”.

The guy took notice, turned off his fog lights and they all went on their merry way. Imagine, if you will the unlimited crime fighting possibilities that this will bring up. As the car drives by they could put up the message “could you please stop mugging him” or “that knife looks a bit threatening”. Perhaps as they pull into a cafĂ©: “coffee, black, 3 sugars”.

They shouldn't stop there, this could have more social benefits when displaying sighs like “is that shell suite really necessary” or “your trousers really don't go with your jacket”..... It is great to see the Metropolitan police trying out new things to make this city a better place.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Eyes Down

I keep going back to a local restaurant because (and this is the main reason) the food is good. On top of that, a nice service is a good bonus. Now, I rarely send things back as I'm well aware that mistakes are made in the kitchen and I don't need things to be just so, in fact at times a mistake can improve a dish!

The other day, I was in said restaurant and while waiting over 30 minutes for our main course to be served (they were hosting a party and understaffed) I ordered a pineapple juice. It arrived warm, by this I don't mean room temperature, I mean warm! I managed to get the waiter's attention as he was standing by the bar, it was quite definitive; I waved my friends saw the wave, he saw the wave, even the barman saw the wave.

As the waiter makes his way over, I look forward to sipping on a cool glass of pineapple juice soon. A he approaches the table, he lowers his gaze, ignores us and walks on by. I was baffled as to what just transpired, much to the amusement of my friends, how rude.

Sure, we've all spotted someone in the street, someone you really don't want to speak to, so you avert your eyes and walk on by hoping the person hasn't seen you; but this is something else, I was left telling my disbelieving friends that I swore he saw me....

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Year of Creativity (So Far)

This is going to seem like I jumped on the band wagon after the fact but that's just not true! I was an avid follower of a blog titled hermitguide, it wasn't about anything in particular but was always an interesting read. The author (Graham Nunn, who has been seen on more than one occasion lingering about these pages) would muse about mugging old ladies (no not really, it was a joke, he did not actually go out and do this!) and gave the world the excel dance all this whilst he was writing a three-times-a-week web comic ('doormat picnic').

I think that this was too ridged and didn't really take advantage of what it is he can do with photoshop (it's like paper and an infinitely big set of crayons). So 43 days ago, he launched 'Once Around the Sun', with the massively ambitious plan of posting one creative 'thing' a day for an entire year!

His efforts range from the comic to the serious, he sometimes sticks to common themes, sometimes topical or sometimes utterly random. We have the photo-realistic, we have the artistic and we also have the outright surreal, and everything in between! It's a great blog, which I hope you take the time to check out, believe me, it'll be worth it.

Bookmark it, take some time to go through the previous entries and then perch your self on the edge of your seat as you see what happens next...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Monk Bust Up

Imagine, if you will seven different sects of the same religion, working together to maintain peace and harmony for all. I'm taking about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the supposed tomb of Christ (you'll note I didn't say 'final resting place'). They do a good job in keeping and maintaining the Church but the problem is they don't really like each other. For this reason, the complicated sharing of responsibilities that has evolved over the years is followed to the letter, even the slightest divergence from status quo is bound to upset people.

On a hot day during the summer of 2002 a Coptic monk who was stationed on the roof to express Coptic claims there (this is a given but the monk still sits there), moved his chair to a spot in the shade. Unfortunately the Ethiopian Orthodox monks saw this as an act of aggression and the resulting farce saw eleven people hospitalised.

With this amount of tension amongst the tightly wound monks one really has to wonder what was going through a Greek Orthodox monk's mind when he picked the time the Armenian Apostolic monks prepared to mark the annual Feast of the Cross to go into the Edicule. Yes that's right, it makes no sense at all, regardless from which angle you choose to see. With this obvious violation to status quo, it's not shocking to learn that these monks came to blows over this, throwing whatever they could get their hands on.

The police were called in and a number of people were arrested but as I see the footage and read the story I can think only one thing: What the Fuck?!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The Times, They Are A Changing

I'm sure everyone that reads this will be aware of the momentous event that occurred last night. America held it's presidential election with a whopping 70% of people turning up to cast their vote. The president of the United States, like it or not, will make decisions that effect the entire world. For this reason, I hoped that the people of the US would not vote in an out of touch old man and the funniest woman alive.

My faith wasn't misplaced in this case as with a landslide victory, Barack Obama is the new president elect. He promises change, in terms of foreign policy, and is willing to take steps that other world leaders refuse to. I'm incredibly optimistic about his term in office, after eight years of frustration with George W. Bush and choices he made that almost made me tear my hair out!

So, I sit here on the edge of my seat, let's see what happens once he takes office; I know that the 'honeymoon' period will be short and he'll be under close scrutiny. I have faith that the choices he'll make, will be choices for the better.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Great Impressions

Tina Fey (American comedian and one of the funniest women alive) does a great impression of Sarah Palin (American governor and one of the funniest women alive, though probably not intentionally). In the run up to the US elections (Tuesday, I believe), Fey and been bringing her Palin character to Saturday Night Live with a number of sketches, it's like watching Palin herself!

This time though, she was out done by a guy who does the best impression of senator John McCain:

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that this wasn't a great impression but was, indeed, John McCain himself. Yes it reeks of desperation but it is hilarious!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Does Nothing, Goes Nowhere

Last night, I went out to see the new Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace'. I don't really know what I was expecting, after seeing a number of adverts by Ford, Sony and even Coke using Bond to flaunt their products, I knew the integrity (ish) and style of 'Casino Royal' was gone. It was a huge disappointment, even the gorgeous Olga Kurylenko couldn't half-save it.

So rather than rant about how pointless and disappointing this film was, and believe me, it was; Bond villains should make you quake in your boots, they should be crazy, will stop at nothing to rule the world, this one wasn't. I'll make a mention of another film, loosely related as Kurylenko starred in one of the 5 minute segments, I'm talking about one of my favourite films, 'Paris, je t'aime'.

Paris (the city not the Hilton airhead) is split into 20 districts, starting at the Louvre and numbered as you move outward in a clockwise spiral. The concept of the film was to make twenty stories, 5 minutes long, directed by different people which are loosely based around the theme of love. At some point during production, two of the segments were dropped so Paris, je t'aime consists of 18 short films.

The film features some well known directors and actors, for example: the segment about the the 1st district (titled “Tuileries”) stars Steve Buscemi and throughout the entire sequence, he doesn't say a word but it's truly brilliant and sums up the age old rule: never make eye contact on the Metro.

The film about the 16th is just beautiful. Some of the segments are comedies, some are just plain weird (the Eiffel tower one and 'Porte de Choisy'). A few of the segments are heart breaking and some are quite intense (I remember one of the segments was filmed, entirely, in one shot). In short, there really is something for everybody in this movie it really is worth getting and I can almost guarantee that you'll love it!

This is one of the few films that I knew I would get on DVD as soon as I walked out of the cinema. I believe the producers are making an equivalent for New York and though I doubt it can be as good, I'll be sure to catch it when it comes out.