Archives for April, 2010

Atholl Brose

To my surprise, I found that the Cocteau Twins’ 1988 song “Athol-Brose” is not named after a comet but after a Scottish drink consisting of oatmeal, honey, whiskey and cream. I’d like a Bose-Einstein condensate with mine, please.

Trainblogging

It’s been more than four years since the first time I blogged about how cool it is to have broadband on a train. But I still haven’t gotten over it. Trainblogging again! The sun is shining and Södermanland zips past outside the window. I’m on my way to Linköping to drop off finds at the…

Dear Reader, you need to listen to the Drabblecast. I just listened to the latest episode and was completely blown away by the vast amount of work, wit and musical talent that goes into each episode. Norm Sherman is like this uncapped oil well that’s constantly shooting a big fat unstoppable wad of creativity into…

Banal Sex

One of H.P. Lovecraft’s least successful horror stories is “Medusa’s Coil“, a 1930 collaboration with Zealia Bishop. The story builds to one of the hideous final denouements that Lovecraft liked to end his stories with. Nor was it right that the neighbours should know that other horror which my strange host of the night could…

The 90th Four Stone Hearth blog carnival will run at A Hot Cup of Joe on Wednesday. Submit great recent stuff to Carl, your own or somebody else’s. Anything anthro or archaeo goes! The next open hosting slot is on 9 June. If you’re a blogger with an interest in the anthro/archaeo field, drop me…

On Moral Relativism

In the context of religion versus atheism. Dear Reader Jason has expressed a need for moral absolutes that is quite common among conservatives. Wrote he, “The bane of atheistic thought based on naturalism is that it cannot account for objective moral absolutes. All that is left is societal ideals and individual preference.” “There are two…

In many of the world’s most affluent countries, the population is shrinking because people aren’t having enough children to replace the folks who die. This offers some hope to solve global overpopulation, though unfortunately the solution involves eradicating poverty and establishing global ecological sustainability, which ain’t exactly easy. These shrinking populations become demographically top-heavy, with…

Why Am I Not Agnostic About Gods?

The comment thread on the entry about the shroud of Turin grows daily and is (perhaps not surprisingly) mainly not about the shroud but about Christianity and atheism. Some people are praying for me and my family, others are calling me names, just because I identify as an atheist and offer the scientific consensus view…

De Profundis

Three cool pieces of science have been retrieved from the depths. In the L’Atalante basin, one of the Mediterranean sea’s deep hypersaline anoxic basins, anoxic metazoans have been discovered. That means multicellular beings like you, Dear Reader, who live without oxygen. They’re loriciferans, Sw. korsettdjur, each less than a millimetre long. Instead of breathing like…

I Don’t Like My Philips Shaver

After about twelve years of regular use my Braun 5515 sounded like a chainsaw, so I decided to buy a new electric shaver. Mind you, I had repeatedly replaced all the bits I could: the mesh, often; the knife, several times; once even the accumulator pack. But I figured that having someone replace the worn-out…