Radio is No Sound Salvation

lilah

BBC Wales woke me, Rosi and the baby at 7am this morning. Forty-five minutes later I was being interviewed live on the telephone by some “celebrity” about the 10th planet

I found our erstwhile celebrity interviewer something of an ill-informed pain. Not content with belittling this discovery from the start, he got even more tetchy when I corrected his curious notion that the 10th planet was created at the moment of the Big Bang. My “not quite, you’re about 10 billion years out, there” really seemed to rankle. “Is this sort of thing important?” he asked. No, mate. Of course not. Let’s just content ourselves with the more important recent media obsessions such as Speedos vs. boxer swimming trunks, some fatuous bint walking out on Big Bruvva, and the training of squirrels for the new Willy Wonka film. Very worthy indeed.

Can’t we please have Melvyn Bragg at Llandaff, please Mr Grade. Okay, he could do with the odd snort of Sinex, but he sure knows his stuff, or would at least bone up on it.

For those with a curious nature, the latest details of 2003 UB313, the largest object found in our Solar System since Neptune was discovered in 1846, can be found here .

Rant ends.



11 comments


    markbanerji

    July 30, 2005

    Has the discovery of the new planet inspired you to finally write that SF Novel, but you wonder if you can find a publisher then perhaps “LULU”:http://www.lulu.com/ has the answer.

    They combine the ease of uploading a electronic document together with a print/publish on demand system. Just Like amazon you can order a book online and they will print and bind it to order. The advantage is that you are not tied to minimum print runs and your remainders wont end up in “HAY ON WYE!”:http://www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/

    The Graduate

    July 30, 2005

    What sort of professor is still in bed at 7am? Most decent lecturers are on the way to work by then.

    markbrake

    July 30, 2005

    On a Saturday?

    markbrake

    July 30, 2005

    As regards to Mark’s idea about LULU; you truly MUST be psychic!
    We were only discussing this recently at CASE.

    You bugged the place, mate?

    By the way, Rev Neil and I are doing a couple of London Science
    Museum gigs in late October; see you there?

    markbanerji

    July 30, 2005

    “Memes?”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

    Robert Andrews

    July 30, 2005

    Dawkins is a ****, but memetics is spot-on.
    Lulu is not so much a meme as just a website that was “profiled”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4720779.stm on BBC
    News Online last week.
    However, it’s a kick-ass website that’s playing its part in the
    wider demoncratisation of publishing.
    As part of a distributed project, I’ll probably be using it in the
    next few months. “This book”:http://www.lulu.com/content/66215 was featured on the front page a few months back.

    markbrake

    July 30, 2005

    I prefer the idea of coincidence to memetic transmission.

    Memes has a lot of bad press (along with Dawkins) for reducing
    the culture of human experience to alleged scientific “laws”.

    Dawkins??? original intention was, in fact, to identify one
    fundamental principle that directs the development of evolving
    life anywhere in the universe. That principle was that ???life
    evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities … I
    want to claim almost limitless power for slightly inaccurate self-
    replicating entities, once they arise anywhere in the universe …
    given the right conditions, replicators automatically band
    together to create systems … that carry them around and
    work to favour their continued replication???.

    And, in an attempt to offer another example of a replicator, he
    posited the meme ???to cut the gene down to size, rather than to
    sculpt a grand theory of human culture???.

    Cultural transmission is analogous to genetic transmission
    in that, although basically conservative, it can give rise to a form
    of evolution, and ???just as genes propagate themselves in the
    gene pool … memes propagate by imitation???.

    Trouble is, people got carried away, applying memetics to
    everything. In this particular case, at least, Dawkins is innocent!

    Robert Andrews

    July 30, 2005

    What Dawkins knows about *psychological*, as opposed to
    *biolological* evolution is beyond me, but memetics, as
    appropriated by *social* studies analyses, is a bang-on mode
    of studying cultural transmission that chimes very well with the
    way ideas spread in our viral communications sphere.

    If I have to credit media studies scholars, Malcolm Gladwell or
    The Tipping Point – and not Dawkins – with popularising
    memetics, more the better.

    My “problem”:http://www.robertandrews.co.uk/weblog/2004/01/think_different.php with Dawkins is exactly as you say…

    bq. Memes has a lot of bad press (along with Dawkins) for
    reducing the culture of human experience to alleged scientific
    ???laws???.

    His devotion to rationalism and evolution comes with an
    arrogant certainty that smacks of the very blind faith he
    derrides.

    markbrake

    July 30, 2005

    Indeed, Rob. I think many of us have that same problem with
    old Dickie Dawk, though I’ve seen, on the odd occassion, that he
    really isn’t that bad when prodded and questioned further.

    CASE’s new external examiner, “Carol Oliver”:http://aca.mq.edu.au/People/coliver.htm , Assitant Director of the Australian “Centre”:http://aca.mq.edu.au/ of Astrobiology, has Prof Dickie Dawk as one of her PhD supervisors. I’ll have to ask her for the inside information.

    She’s already surprised me once by telling me that her other
    supervisor, world-famous cosmologist Professor “Paul
    Davies”:http://aca.mq.edu.au/PaulDavies/pdavies.html , also at the ACA, is actually an atheist, though he’s received the
    $1million Templeton Prize for services in healing the science/
    religion schism.

    markbanerji

    July 30, 2005

    Sounds like beginnings of a book ‘Why Memes are a bad idea’.

    markbanerji

    July 30, 2005

    “Stephen Hawking”:http://www.hawking.org.uk/info/iindex.html once said that there should be a publication where Scientists could make retractions about there own theories. But he didn’t think there would be many contributors.

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