Evolution, Reification, Homunculi, Anthropomorphism, Teacups and Storms

What’s wrong with this sentence: “This is how evolution stops bad mutations building up to dangerously high levels in a species”? I count at least four things wrong… This musing was prompted by the following snippet: When we reproduce, our children inherit a shuffled bag of mutations, and those with a collection of particularly bad ones are […]

Liberals Embrace Science? Yeah, But No

Senator Sinodinos – the Minister for Industry, Innovation, and …  whatsitsname? Oh yes, Science – said in a recent speech to the Press Club: [I]ncreasingly, there has emerged a lack of respect for the scientific method in some quarters. We see the conclusions of experts being cast aside, in favour of ideological positions and selective use of […]

Freedom: Of Speech, Religion, & Discrimination – Or – In The Language Of Flowers, What Does A Pineapple Signify?

Can a florist refuse to sell flowers for a couple’s wedding because the wedding is against the florist’s religious beliefs? The answer to that question took me on an interesting journey through the Australian Constitution, the High Court, Australian Standard 1266.0 (2011), the language of flowers, the Australian Human Rights Commission Act and the Sex Discrimination […]

Computers are bad, m’kay

Suddenly all of the jokes about economists aren’t funny. Here is an economist, Tim Harford,  writing about applied psychology, AI, and control systems in the article https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/crash-how-computers-are-setting-us-up-disaster Being likewise an expert in none of these disciplines, but with that little knowledge that makes me dangerous I am disturbed by what seems to be the basic […]

Reporting the Trump of Doom and the Doom of Trump

I have read quite a few opinion and analysis pieces about the presidential race in the U.S.A, which chronologically could be grouped into three phases: Phase 1 “Why Trump can’t win”; Phase 2 “Why Trump is winning”; and Phase 3 “Why Trump won’t win”. I find these pieces fascinating. Not because of their patent inaccuracy, […]

One-term-Tony turns out to be .666-term-Tony

How appropriate. I doubt anything else will change – the destruction of R&D, the tearing down of renewable energy, the attempted removal of the CCA, the homeopath’s NBN – half the network for twice the price,the attempt to create a two-tier education system, a two-tier health system, the wholesale defunding of women’s shelters, aboriginal support […]

Sunshine Beach

I usually post these under the infinite8horizons menu, but today had sky, sea, waves, rain, colour, and detail, so I thought I’d post it here for a change. This is the skeleton of porpita porpita or the blue button, not a true jellyfish but a colony animal like the bluebottle. Thanks to the Queensland Museum […]