Archive for October, 2007

THE END OF THE WORLD!

October 26, 2007

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Don’t panic. This isn’t some madcap doomsday prediction by some centuries old crackpot like Nostradamus.

No.

This is all too real a prediction of the end based in hard facts and data, by a leading modern scientific mind.

MINE.

So when can we expect the Apocalypse? Do I need to cancel that two week holiday I’ve booked in the Algarve next April? How will it affect my air miles? If I wear a helmet, will I be safe?

I could answer all of these questions – but it would be a waste of time.

I’m not going to tell you why. But I will tell you how. Global temperatures predicted for the coming centuries are going to trigger another mass extinction. Previously this planet’s worst mass extinction was 251 million years, 4 days, 3 hours and 10 minutes ago when 95% of all species were lost. Dinosaurs, Unicorns, Dodos, Pushmi-pullyus, cats: all were wiped out, never to be seen again.

How is it possible that I could know all of this? Because my fellow scientists have been examining the link between climate and diversity for the last 520 million years. Now, I will concede that much of the research in the early phases was embarrassingly crude. Scientists at the time were admittedly more interested in throwing faeces at each other, and worshipping ‘the big glowing yellow ball of fire that sits in the sky’. But these early pioneers set us on a path of research millions of years in the making, even though their notes are, in retrospect, so much meaningless gibberish.

However, finally now we can see that the results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner. This may be an inconvenient truth, but if our results hold for current warming, the magnitude of which is comparable with the long-term fluctuations in the Earth’s climate, they suggest that extinctions will increase. We could – at worst – be experiencing that in the next century – only a few human generations down the line.

Fortunately, thanks also to Science, within the next fifty years I can confidently predict we will all be living on the moon in pods, and taking trips back and forth from the Earth in a super elevator.

So in the unlikely event that I am wrong about that, sleep peacefully my fellow humans, Father Science is protecting you….

Time to address the ‘real’ problem…

October 22, 2007

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Sir David King, the UK Government’s Chief Scientist has recently advised ministers that badgers should be killed to prevent the spread of bTB (Bovine Tuberculosis Badness) among cattle.

Now I have always had little time for the ‘badger’, I suspect some of my distrust of the animal extends in part to its name. Or rather ‘part’ of its name. ‘BAD’-ger. As in, take away the ‘ger’ and you are left with ‘Bad’. Which is the word ‘bad’, which isn’t good!

I also found him to be a very pompous figure as a child. The Wind in the Willows, such a prepostuourous pack of lies regarding the habits of small woodland creatures (it drove me away from books, not to return for almost ten years) had him walking around on his hind legs, with his little glasses, like he knew everything! So it can be safely assumed that there will be no love lost between me and the ‘badger’. I would care little should they all but disappear, never to be seen again.

Although I would remain suspicious as to where they are… And why they are hiding? But I digress.

King’s report appears to contradict a previous study that said culling badgers would be ineffective. (Much to my disappointment).

What everyone is missing here, is the larger scientific picture.

I was involved some years back in a small experiment to see if cows were susceptible to lung cancer from smoking cigarettes (40 a week, B&H Gold). Now while those results remain inconclusive (by myself at least), I did discover something altogether more startling. Cows are neither as ‘mad’ or ‘stupid’ as other experts may have led you to believe.

Before pointing the finger at other animals (even if they are badgers) just stop to think if, of a morning, you’ve woken up and thought perhaps today, I may not go to work. I may pull what is commonly referred to as a ‘sickie’.

Now apply that thought to cows…

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Incidentally, a government consultation regarding the badger cull of more than 47,000 people found that more than 95% of people were opposed to the idea. Well by my Math that still leaves 46,905 people for it! The numbers speak for themselves.

ANOTHER BRITISH SUCCESS STORY!

October 18, 2007

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As I was enjoying a bowl of Rice Krispies (my one weakness) over breakfast this morning and scanning the science pages of The Guardian newspaper (the usual poppycock!) my ear was caught by a story over the radio. Much to my delight, it has been reported that Britain has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of Western Europe!

As an early pioneer and leading practioner in the field of fertility treatment, I consider this another feather in the cap of British science and consider, in no small part, to be proud in my helping to get so many teenage girls pregnant.

Keep up the good work!

The Criminal Mind

October 17, 2007

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“Bad people are just bad. Or are they? Yes.”

This is how most people think, but they’re wrong. Or are they? Of course.

Because people can change. I may seem a pleasant, emotionally and mentally balanced person now, but I’ll let it be known that in my time, I have killed a man. Well, actually it was a manatee, which is a primitive form of sea mammal, nothing too significant. But the point I’m trying to make is we all have our dark sides.

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Crime is an impossible thing to define. But that’s never stopped me before, so here goes.

From a physical perspective, you can nearly always tell when someone is about to commit a crime – their left (and it is always the left) nostril flares 4 times. This signals the hormone crimonegen (Latin, I think) being released into the central nervous system. Thereby follows a 2-hour window in which the crime will take place, hindered only by a sudden shock or surprise (e.g. being told you were suddenly bankrupt).

Normal people have been known to turn to criminality following the onset of certain hybrid emotions such as ‘jealdom’ (jealousy and boredom), ‘cheery’ (cheeky and worry) and ‘greesement’ (greed and embarrassment). When these compound feelings collectively manifest themselves inside a potential ‘baddie’, all we can do is sit back and wait for the statistics.