2012 — 20 May: Sunday

Though I'm not going to claim that the red, itchy spot now making its annoying presence felt on one of the less accessible bits on the back of my thigh1 is my reason for being up and about this early, it's not helping. Mind you, if a chap wants to avoid such natural hazards, a chap can always wear long trousers...

I haven't liked this date for many years. It was the day my Dad died in 1975. Ho-hum. Tea, Mrs Landingham. I need tea!

Junk science

This is a wonderful piece. Source and snippet:

That's it. That's the whole substance of the paper. Straight-ahead chemistry, exploring a possible explanation for an observed phenomenon and drawing out one tentative prediction. "Showing that it could have happened this way is not the same as showing that it did," the author most properly concedes. He should have quit while he was ahead. What imp of the perverse induced him to add two more sentences?

Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them.

Maybe the PR guy talked him into it. Maybe he wrote that bumf after a celebratory lunch. Maybe he lost an election bet. Who knows? But he provided all that a hungry PR guy needed...

Robert McHenry in The American

I wonder where Randall Monroe would position the PR merchants on his "Purity" scale? Doubtless somewhat to the left of Sociologists.

As for philosophers? Consider this:

Suppose that on Monday I shoot John. I wound him with the bullet that comes out of my gun, but he bleeds slowly, and doesn't die until Wednesday. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, I have a heart attack and die. I killed John, but when? No answer seems satisfactory!

Shelly Kagan in The Chronicle

Having narrowly avoided treading on a dead wasp on the stairs I may have to re-think my indoor (lack of) footwear policy. But not before breakfast. It is, after all, now 07:40 and my croissant won't last forever.

Mercy me!

It's already time for lunch. I must say, BBC 6Music has been a perfect accompaniment to the day so far, even Alain de Botton, bless 'im. [Pause] Now, if only I had a clue as to where the time goes. It's 17:22 and I'm starting to feel peckish yet again. Being busy, and getting stuff done, isn't necessarily the same thing. [Pause] Next thing you know, it's 21:07 and I'm left wondering "when did that happen?"



1  A delayed reaction, no doubt, to a brief feast by one of our nastier six-legged flying friends at some point — probably the lunch stop — during yesterday's stroll.