Saturday, January 14, 2006

Simon Singh and the ever growing idiocy of the general public

While I realise that the title to this post is long, it's deservedly so.

SFSoc in association with Astronomy Ireland held a talk in Trinity about his new book Big Bang. (Not to be confused with the other bestselling book The Big Bang.) While I expected the talk to be a certain amount of PR for Singh's new book, I didn't expect Astronomy Ireland to be hawking their wares every five seconds. Out of an hour and a half talk, 20 minutes were spent waiting for the head of Astronomy Ireland to stop talking.

The fact that there would have been no venue for the talk if it wasn't for SFSoc (disclosure: I am a committee member of the SFSoc), was glossed over quite quickly. The fact that many of the audience seemed to have problems in understanding concepts which Singh explained in laymans terms also brings into question what sort of people Astronomy Ireland are accepting money from. (By the sounds and looks of it, everyone and anyone... seriously, if someone wanted to convert from kilometers an SI unit to light years why would you ask an author how to do it?)

On the upside, Singh's talk did more than just advertise his book. He had some pretty good basic information there about the Big Bang theory. He also explained some of the background to the whole Big Bang debate. An electrified gherkin brought applause (come on public, do bright things still interest you that much?!) and he used the power of suggestion to make over 300 people hear the "hidden message" when you play a verse of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' backwards.

For those interested, the backwards verse is said to contain the words:

oh here's to my sweet satan.
the one who's little path would make me sad,
who's power is satan.
he'll give those with him 666,
there was a little toolshed where he made us suffer,
sad satan.

You can listen to the track both forwards and backwards on Jeff Milner's website.

Enough ranting, I've got projects to do...

...and that

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ryan's Rules

Rule Number Thirteen: Don't procrastinate with ideas, instead research, plan and assess how you can go about bringing these ideas to fruition. Then go ahead and follow the plan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Got home yesterday to see my package from amazon had arrived. The two Jack Johnson DVD's I had ordered took less than a week to get here (surprising, given the last time I ordered a DVD from them, it took about four weeks!).

Being a fan of his music, but not of surfing in general, I was quite happy to find I enjoyed both films. While short, The September Sessions (~26mins) is quite well shot and gives you a nice warm feeling most 'extreme' sports films don't. Johnson's second offering Thicker than Water gives a longer run-time (~46mins). Twinned with the use of 16mm film and a slightly fleshed out message (read: plot) the film evokes the same sunny day feeling as his first.

The scores also please, being an affront to the typical mix of amateur speed metal and rap you find in most extreme sports flicks. The melow tones of Johnson, G-Love and some more traditional sounds (cringable when combined with Bundoran, Donegal but just as cliched as the trad stuff from the Pacific islands...) give a warm tone to the film.

All in all, a thoroughly chilled out evening yesterday...

...and that
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