Two remarks about flight MH370

I don’t understand two things about flight MH370:
– If I buy a 150 quid smart phone, it can track me anywhere and everywhere on the planet, all the time, via GPS. And a several-hundred-million dollar commercial airliner does not have a multiple-redundant GPS device? With its own little power supply? What’s the point of all the black boxes if something simple like GPS is not included? (and did none of the passengers accidentally leave their phone on with GPS enabled?)
– The NSA and GCHQ spend billions of tax payer dollars and pounds on watching the porn we download, browsing our texts about where to go for dinner tonight, and listening to us talk about football with our friends over the phone. But they don’t, post 9/11, actually track airliners to, perhaps, see if they are headed towards a skyscraper? Do we need even more damning proof of how useless their programs are?

To smile or not to smile

You sometimes hear good advice of the type “people should smile more; it will make the world a better place”.

Call me a grump, but I disagree – I think it’s putting the cart before the horse.

How about this advice instead: “the world should be a better place; it will make people smile more”.

So if I don’t smile very often, it is because this world still needs a lot of work.

The future of science is… losing its reliability?

Unfortunately, almost none of my scientist friends will be bothered to read these articles. As a scientist though, it is important to acknowledge and confront problems in the field, not stick your head in the sand and your fingers in your ears.

So if you’re a scientist, do read this, think about it, and try whatever little you can to change it. The core of science – its trustworthiness – is at stake.

The main article in the Economist

Comment on the above article, also in the Economist

What’s wrong with the ‘left-wing’ newspapers recently?

Putting a DENT in Independent: in one week, Independent publishes outlandish attack on “new atheists” for their being “Islamophobic” and follows this up by giving a free, unedited, unbalanced platform to Andrew Wakefield, utterly discredited and dangerous MMR scare lunatic. Comments not allowed (anymore in either of the articles either.

The Guardian going down the same road, publishing one attack on new atheism after the other and publishing an uncritical “science” piece about a clearly bogus “remote hepatitis C detector”.

What is it about left-wing newspapers lately? Is it the humanities graduates running them? Who never learned to think critically? Who think that in every debate there are two, equally worthy, sides? There’s no need to suck up to religion, superstition and other woo. Leave it, please.

Dear BBC iPlayer,

Why is it that every time – EVERY TIME, without fail – that I download something from your website, it is necessary to do “an essential update to Adobe AIR”. Usually from version to or suchlike.


Do you realise how annoying that is? Does the person who is responsible ever even use the iPlayer? If it really is necessary to update so often, does that not mean the whole thing stinks to begin with? I surely can’t see any difference in speed or reliability – except it takes five minutes to download a program instead of ten seconds. Oh and the program usually crashes or freezes during the update. And then forgets what it was I was downloading. Yeah, that’s improvement. Not.

So please: stop sucking ass bigtime and fix it properly,

Yours truly,


Marriage according to the Bible

I was recently in a hotel in Ireland (so they obviously had a bible in the bedside cupboard) and decided to have a fairly random flick, see what I’d find.

Now, I live in the UK and there’s this whole kerfuffle going on about gay marriage, with most against claiming that marriage ‘always has been and always will be’ between one man and one woman. I also read that that is definitely not what the OT says. So I thought, let’s check for myself.

So the first bit I found, don’t recall where, was about what to do with what bit of an ox (I presume after a sacrifice unto the lord), which goes on for what looked like a whole page or more.

Then I bumped into a passage (IRC somewhere in Deuteronomy) that first described what to do if you capture a slave girl that you fancy: something along the lines of: change her clothes, let her grieve for a bit (because you’ve killed all her family) and then have sex with her, which makes her your wife. Charming.
And just below that a passage that started like “suppose you have two wives, one loved and one unloved, and you have a child with both.” One man, one woman? My holy arse. And again, charming.

And I literally found that shite within a few seconds, not after hours of searching.

On a side note, I agree with what has been said, that if anything should make one lose their belief, it is READING the freggin’ thing.

And as to the debate about same-sex marriage, I don’t understand that anyone can get away with the argument about “one man and one woman” because that is just a patent lie – if even an avowed atheist like me can find passages that disprove that claim in minutes, anybody can – and Christians themselves certainly must know it (and therefore lie), or have a seriously different way of reading the Bible from other people.