30 October 2009

Natural Selection and Beer

There is a great theory about beer and natural selection which goes something like this...

"A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain is limited by the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine!

That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers...."

It's a good theory, but the tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.

The point being that while natural selection definitely does work, beer doesn't make you smarter...

Poor old Tony Blair...

Gutted to hear that the ego that is Tony Blair might not get to be European President - shame.

When labour came to power in 1997 we thought it was a new beginning and to a certain extent it was. After years of Thatchers poisonous legacy anything must be better, surely?

But then along came the spin and the sleaze, the pandering to the neo-con nightmare that was running the US, the illegal wars which were clearly against the will of the people and all the associated lies and deceit. All this was coupled with the continued destruction of Britains manufacturing base, started by Thatcher and finalised by new labour.

And to cap it all off, just to prove he really is just another dumb religious zealot, like his mates George B and Ian Paisley, the smarmy master of spin made a huge song and dance about converting to Catholicism as soon as he left office. Yes Tony you really are a cretin.

The great irony about his failed bid to be the first boss of Europe is that he has been betrayed on both sides. The centre right of Merkel and Sarkozy have dropped him because he is supposed to be a socialist and the centre left of Spain etc have hung him out to dry because he pandered to Bush and led Europe into a futile and pointless war.

When you dance with the devil you wait for the song to stop...

Vikings in the Congo

Interesting case that has been big news in Norway but hardly made the news elsewhere in the World is the curious case of Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland, two Norwegian adventurers who have ended up facing the death penalty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The facts of the case are rather muddled both because this is Africa and nothing is ever clear cut and secondly because I am trying to follow the case in the Norwegian press.

The facts as I can determine them

1. The two guys are ex military, some reports say they were in the Telemark Battalion which is sort of special forces, but not quite the SAS!
2. They were wandering around Africa, although it is less clear why. They claim they were trying to start an adventure tourism business - unlikely! They also claim to have been trying to set up a security company, which is more probable but less well advised.

3. Somewhere in the jungle, their Congolese driver was shot and killed. They claim by bandits, the court claims by them. There is no obvious reason why they would shoot and kill their driver.
4. There is a rather incriminating mobile phone pic of one of them cleaning up the blood in the car - rather like the Pulp Fiction scene (see below). There is no real explanation for why he is on brain detail or why he is smiling.

5. After the shooting they did a runner, they claim to escape the bandits, the government claim they were running away.

6. They gave themselves up a few days later and were arrested and put on trial.

And then things got really weird...
They were put on trial for murder but the prosecutor upped the stakes and claimed they were spies working for the Norwegian government. The DCR government then issued a bill to the Norwegian government for 500 billion USD. The Norwegian Government predictably denied any involvement and refused to pay. The DRC prosecutor then issued a photo of their "controller" who turned out to be a reporter from some small local newspaper in the Oslo region. He was rather surprised to see himself on TV since he didn't even know where the Congo was. Other sources have suggested that they were adventurers, kids who were trying to set up a private security firm and got in way out of their depth. One thing in their favour is that the area in which the incident happened is notorious for armed robberies by gangs and there is no logical reason why they would kill the driver there or then. The case from the prosecution does not address this, focusing on the spy story, presumably for financial gain.

After a fairly shambolic trail held in french, which neither understood, they were found guilty of murder, espionage, attempted murder etc and each given five death sentences. Interestingly, they both seem pretty calm, despite the fact they are obviously in some African hell hole and on death row. They are currently appealing the conviction.
Reaction in Norway is very mixed and provides an interesting insight into the national psyche. Many think that it is disgraceful and that they are arrogant white neo-colonialists who killed a poor black person and they deserve what ever they get. Another group simply can't understand why anyone would leave Norway, let alone go to darkest Africa. The final group is outraged that a Norwegian could possibly face the death penalty, given that no Norwegian has been executed since WW2.
The truth may never come out, the fact that a man died is inescapable, but how is a mystery. The behaviour of the DRC government, trying to generate an international incident to extract vast sums of money simply muddies the waters and paints them in the same league as the Nigerian 419 scammers who offer you the chance to have your share of a dead bank managers 20 million. The behaviour of the guys, their calm demeanour, the photo, what they were doing, why they ran all just add to a rather intriguing story which is significantly more interesting than the usual "Moose breaks flower pot" .

21 October 2009

Speedy Judgements

We all have ways of quickly judging someones character. Not so much on a moral basis, are they good or bad? Axe murder or hero? But more "are they someone I can get along with?"

For me their are several. I will typically try and buy someone a drink (assuming we are near a bar) and if they don't buy me one back during the course of evening or at least offer to - then they are a prat and they will have an uphill struggle from there. This doesn't apply to my friends who have, by definition already passed this sub-conscious test - I will buy them as many drinks as they want.

Another is peoples automatic attitude to speed...
If I said "was driving home last night at 140 with Faithless blasting out the stereo and not a care in the World" I could get a series of reactions

1. That's dangerous - people like you should be banned
2. Driving at that speed is irresponsible you might hurt someone
3. Weren't you scared?
4. What happens if you had a blow out at the speed?
5. That's not very fast yesterday I did 240 in my BWM
6. What about all the extra CO2 you are burning
7. Which road was that on?
8. What were you driving?
9. Miles or kilometers per hour?
10. Nice one
11. Which Faithless track?

The people who answer any of 1-5 in the above list are not my kind of people. 1 and 2 have made no attempt to establish under what conditions I was travelling at the speed they have just passed judegment because somebody told them it was wrong (baa). 3 and 4 are lame and show very little understanding of risk and 5 is just a cock. Answer 6 is only permitted if you are a bike riding, vegan who never travels by plane and uses no plastic, then I respect you for your belief. Answers 7-8 are legitimate to establish if I was indeed being reckless and 8-11 are all acceptable, with increasing kudos down the list.

What question/situation do you use to make rapid judgements of people?

20 October 2009

HP Compaq 8510w - Review

HP Compaq 8510w

I have one of these, I didn't buy it, it was given to me by work, so I have no axe to grind and no hidden agenda. This review is based soley on my experience with said machine over the last year...

This computer is an utter pile of steaming, useless horse poo!!!

To be work specific
1. Battery - Computer is about a year old, battery lasts less than 20 minutes. My colleague who has the same model is down to 15.
2. It takes about 10 minutes for the boot up routine - I have no idea what it is actually doing during this time but it is very frustrating to sit their waiting and waiting
3. The consequence of 1 and 2 is that once its finished booting up I have about 10 minutes within which to do my work...
4. It perdioically greenscreens, this usually happens when it is plugged into an external monitor or data projector and I am running something that is graphics heavy, but beyond that I have not been able to narrow down the cause. New graphics drivers etc have not helped
5. Even though this is a university computer its full of junk freeware - I hate this crap, Katharine bought a machine in the States that was so full of shitte that was deeply buried we had to reinstall the OS from scratch - its like spam and junk mail it should just be illegal - no discussion

On the plus side it has nice keyboard and a clear screen

Recommendation - Buy something (almost anything) else...

Rant over, I feel much better now.

16 October 2009

My Kind of Yoga!

Another horribly busy week. Dinner at the Potato Celler on Friday, which was excellent, then flew to Pau on Saturday. Sunday went to Biaritz for the day and then a dinner meeting in the eve. Monday meeting at Total, flew back Monday evening, loads of shitte to deal with at work. All day meeting in Stavanger on Thursday and then Dougal came to visit with offspring and bottles of wine Thursday evening. Now it's Friday again and I feel like crap...

Maybe I need to do some Yoga to relax, as demonstrated by these experts.

Have a good weekend

Savanana - Position of total relaxation

Malasana - This position for ankles and back muscles

Ananda Balasana - Position for hips

Salambhasana - This position to stimulate the lumbar area, legs and arms

Dolphin - Excellent for shoulder, thorax, legs and arms

Halasana - This position for back

Marjayasana - This position stimulates the midrift and the spine

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - This position for the brian and legs

Balasana - This position brings a senstation of peace and calm

09 October 2009

A better Friday Joke

I just recieved this from Angharad and it's a much better Friday Joke ...


Hi All,
Over the last month I became a victim of a clever 'Eastern European' scam while out shopping. Simply dropping into Tesco for a bit of shopping turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you or your friends.

Here's how the scam works: Two seriously good-looking voluptuous 20-21 year-old girls come over to your car as you are packing your shopping into the boot. They both start cleaning your windscreen. Their large firm young breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they'll say 'No' and instead ask you for a lift to another store. I agreed and they both got in the backseat.

On the way, they started undressing, and both got completely naked. Then, when I pulled over to remonstrate, one of them climbed over into the front seat and started crawling all over my lap, kissing me, touching me intimately, and thrusting herself against me, while the other one stole my wallet!

I had my wallet stolen on August 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th, and 29th. Also September 1st, 4th, twice on the 6th, three times last Saturday, twice yesterday and every likelihood again this coming weekend.

So Be Warned!


P.S. Lidl have wallets on sale for £1.99 each and John Lewis have them for sale at £1.75 and they look nicer.

Friday Joke - Geology in the media

Still busy and its still raining in the big B
Was in Spain last week, great trip to Ainsa with the Rocksource crew. To many prize moments to get into here - photos will be published and Terry's river dancing will make it to youtube

In the meantime here are some other references to my chosen profession on youtube...

Geology in the movies

Geologist the coolest sexist men alive...

Is geology dirty?

Off to Pau this weekend - have a good one

07 October 2009


This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

06 October 2009

10,000 + hits on karmasotra

About this time last year I installed a counter to see if anyone actually read the crap that I spout. Initially I would check it regularly and try to identify my friends from the IP address and location of the ISP, getting excited and sometimes embarrassed as I worked out who the different readers were.

After a while I gave up as I was getting more and more I couldn’t recognize and the novelty was wearing off.

So I was rather surprised when I checked today and there was 10, 305 hits! That’s quite a lot of readers, in fact 6301 unique visitors with 3548 people coming back for more!

So, thank you very much for reading. Sorry I have been so crap recently, it’s been super busy in both jobs. As the winter night draw in normal service will be hopefully be resumed soon

02 October 2009

Friday Joke - A creationist response

Following on from last weeks theme, a typical, well rationalised and thought-through response from the other side of the discussion