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Interest in science is cyclically regular, but declining

Posted 24-Nov-2015 at 03:46 PM (15:46) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Just for fun, I did a Google Trends search for "science" versus "fiction". The results show worldwide that science as a search term is strongly cyclical, but declining over time since 2005. What to me is strange is how the results for the USA alone are very regular in cyclicity indeed. Interest in science dips to lowest every July, and peak every September and January. Not being in the USA, I have no idea why; I suspect science-project competitions or the like. Meanwhile, interest in fiction remains...
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Neither Salon nor Michael Kimmel will help you understand rampage killers at all

Posted 30-Jul-2015 at 06:04 PM (18:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Salon won't help you understand rampage killings at all. What's worse, neither will Michael Kimmel, an American sociologist. Salon published an excerpt from his book, "Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era". In that excerpt, he tells us all that:
"Let’s be clear: just as we cannot understand rampage school shootings by focusing on the fact that they are always committed by boys, neither can we understand these cases simply by recognizing that they’re all men."
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The women nobody wants to see: public virtues and private viciousness

Posted 04-Jul-2015 at 01:10 PM (13:10) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

There are women who are very much in the news without being in the news. In an enforced black-hole of public memory and sanctimony, their presence is only obvious because of people refusing to admit their existence. Let's cover some examples here. A few years ago I supported a woman who had been accused of fortune-telling and of inciting a mob to destroy a crocodile sanctuary. Those who leaped upon the bandwagon to denounce her didn't even know she was a woman. Her being a person, let alone a...
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Frustrations and the #GE2015 UK election

Posted 12-May-2015 at 02:48 PM (14:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Tags ,

It's not bad enough that the opposition failed to put up a credible election campaign in the British general elections, but after the full scale of the defeat became apparent, some decided to make it worse. First off, there were a few who decided to get violent at an anti-austerity demonstration in London - after someone had vandalized a memorial sculpture which was built in honour of women in WW2. There were a few Socialist Workers Party (SWP) members at the demonstration, which is what I assume...
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The #HugoAwards 2015: examining the nominations

Posted 21-Apr-2015 at 09:29 PM (21:29) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I am a book-lover, I love science-fiction and fantasy, but I've never really interested myself till now for the awards scenes. However, as everyone knows, at the moment the Hugo Awards are the center of a sea of rages. Let's do the single-most important issue first: let's go through the Hugo Award Nominations for 2015, and see what's up with them. What follows is what I know at the moment myself, and my own opinions on what I've read:

Category: Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots,...
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Where I come from. Part Three: My friend Newell or Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone (3)

Posted 15-Apr-2015 at 01:06 AM (01:06) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 15-Apr-2015 at 01:13 AM (01:13) by BluePoppy

In memoriam W. Newell Hendricks (1943-2015)

Newell at the piano with his wife Barbara on the violin.

Yesterday the Boston Globe ran the obituary for my friend Newell. You can read it here. Since it includes only a couple of lines from a poem he wrote last November which I found quite remarkable, let me share it with you:
Little Things I can still do

I can sit.
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Talking about evolution

Posted 10-Apr-2015 at 02:09 AM (02:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Evolution happens, but it's not a simple thing at all, and it's often burdened with projection and myths by people with agendas. Evolution only really gets interesting once we talk about complex things; and those things are the hardest to explain, of course. One of the most comon agendas driving myths about evolution is based on the myth that simple answers can be given off-the-cuff to complex questions, which is of course wrong. One book that really helped me begin understanding evolution is a...
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The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context

Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 04:23 PM (16:23) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Six days ago, Al Shabaab gunmen entered Garissa University and murdered at least 148 people. The initial death toll was reported as 147, thus the hashtag #147NotJustANumber, which was created by Kenyans to honor the murder victims. The terrorists had taken over 700 as hostages, then let most of the Muslim students go, and ended up murdering 149, mostly Christian students aged between 19 and 23. At least one Muslim was also murdered by the Al Shabaab terrorists.

Al Shabaab is an Islamist,...
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Where I come from. Part Three: My friend Newell or Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone (2)

Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 03:07 AM (03:07) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 15-Apr-2015 at 12:48 AM (00:48) by BluePoppy

In memoriam W. Newell Hendricks (1943-2015)

The group from Nicaragua arrived in Boston in early September of 2001 and was with us during the September 11 terror attacks. For most, if not all of them it had been the first trip on an airplane. While everybody tried to keep calm, you could tell how scared they were the first couple of days post 9/11. No planes were flying and many wondered, if they would be able to return home as planned. Others were scared of the destructive
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Where I come from. Part Three: My friend Newell or Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone (1)

Posted 05-Apr-2015 at 12:11 AM (00:11) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 08-Apr-2015 at 03:15 AM (03:15) by BluePoppy

In memoriam W. Newell Hendricks (1943-2015)

Where I come from has many aspects. Family, social and racial background, beliefs of all sorts, education, thoughts and books I have been exposed to, travel and last but not least the people I have met along the way. I have no particular order in which I write about those influences. I’d rather like to follow my daily
Views 1262 Comments 2 BluePoppy is offline

How to make a complaint and/or claim under the British Data Protection Act re the BlockBot team

Posted 28-Mar-2015 at 05:07 PM (17:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

If you are resident in Britain, the Data Protection Act, 1998, and small-claims-court proceedings, can often be an easy and cheap way of stopping someone from misusing your data. That applies to the present situation with the BlockBot, if the Blockbot team have appended false allegations about you to their blacklisting of you on their BlockBot list, including with your real name or any clear connection to your real name. A similar avenue of redress exists in Ireland too. Here is some official information...
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The "invisible wife", Gia Milinovich, who was slurred as the "wrong wife", was blacklisted on the BlockBot for objecting to racism

Posted 28-Mar-2015 at 05:02 PM (17:02) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Gia Milinovich (@giagia) was a successful science-communication professional on British TV in her own right well before she married Prof. Brian Cox (@drbriancox). She has written about her experience of becoming an "invisible wife" once Brian Cox became famous. What then adds insult to injury is when flamers and BlockBot team members such as Sarah Brown (@auntysarah) attempted to browbeat Brian Cox into remonstrating with his own wife merely for her uttering uncontroversial opinions over Twitter....
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Where I come from. Part Two: Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) or Bridging the Gap

Posted 22-Mar-2015 at 10:59 PM (22:59) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 23-Mar-2015 at 12:19 AM (00:19) by BluePoppy

Muriel Rukeyser, undated

Without her environments realizing it, a poet’s education starts early in life. For a white child growing in to her power of language within white discourse this will naturally be very different from a Black child fending for herself in the projects.

Most of the poetry the white child will read for many years, when poetry is both sustenance
Views 995 Comments 0 BluePoppy is offline

Here's looking at you. Wildlife in Tanzania

Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 02:02 PM (14:02) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

When photographing wildlife in Tanzania, a common problem was the wildlife would often turn its rear end to me, whether in flight or insult. I assembled quite a collection of animal butts, when I would have preferred face-on views. It got so that I picked out photos of mine where the animal is actually looking towards me, or at least not away. Below are a few of photos I selected at random out of the ones where the animal was facing me. All the below photos are from 2012, Tanzania. I will post others...
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Views 3879 Comments 3 Gurdur is offline

My best photo of a mongoose as yet

Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 07:54 AM (07:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I think this may be my best photo of a mongoose as yet. Of course luck played a huge role. Link to a much larger version. I took this photo from the back of a moving LandRover in the Serengeti region, Tanzania, on 23 November 2012.

         Pin It         


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Comments are welcome! Please keep in mind if you are not registered that comments posted here to this blog post may take a while to appear - up to 16 hours after you post them, since they go onto a moderation queue and have to be individually approved, in order to stop spammers. The answer to the so-called "Random Question" is always "human", with no quote marks.

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You won't find ISIS in the brain or genes. The Daily Beast tries to sell you an imaginary Brooklyn Bridge

Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 08:01 PM (20:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Some people have big problems living with uncertainty, so they like to drastically amputate parts of reality till they find a vision they can live with. Perhaps in line with that, David Ewing Duncan (@Duncande) has written an article on the Daily Beast, in which it is generally opined you may find ISIS in the brain, or the genes, or both. No cliché remains unspurned in it, but it's the theology of the article that is the main problem. He starts off by saying:
"Call it a tale of two brains:
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Legal action against the BlockBot team?

Posted 15-Mar-2015 at 10:17 PM (22:17) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Imagine if I was to make a public list. I could call it,
"A list of pedophiles, rapists, and those who shield them in any way.
Plus anyone else I simply don't like."
Now imagine I put your name on that list, and I publicize it high and low. You of course furiously complain to me that you are neither a pedophile, nor a rapist, nor someone who shields any suchlike. I dismiss your complaint airily and say, I never called you pedophile, rapist or suchlike. You should have...
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Views 17923 Comments 12 Gurdur is offline

Where I come from. Part One: Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) or The Interconnectedness of Everything

Posted 15-Mar-2015 at 04:32 AM (04:32) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 22-Mar-2015 at 10:25 PM (22:25) by BluePoppy

Muriel Rukeyser: I remember distinctly the first time I heard her name – at graduate school in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts in 1993. The Five Colleges were the best place for me to get an education in liberal arts and American thought. The consortium Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith College as well as the University of Massachusetts to this day offers the best in higher education and identity formation for young adults.

I was lucky enough to
Views 774 Comments 0 BluePoppy is offline

Of Finnish dragonflies & Himalayan poppy

Posted 14-Mar-2015 at 07:20 AM (07:20) by BluePoppy (A Wild Patience)
Updated 15-Mar-2015 at 04:39 AM (04:39) by BluePoppy

Years ago when I was traveling in Zanskar and Ladakh, I noticed probably the most delicate flower I had ever seen: blue poppy. Unlike my sister, who is a botanist, I would not be able to make any further distinction other than its color. It was very different from Californian poppy (bright orange in color), which I also adore and in turn is a whole different matter than the large poppy fields of Afghanistan that I visited during an assignment there.

However, the sight of this Himalayan variety
Views 576 Comments 0 BluePoppy is offline

And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted 12-Mar-2015 at 09:58 PM (21:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I first met Terry Pratchett around twenty years ago, at a SF/fantasy convention in the Netherlands. I had not read any of his books, and I had thought they must be silly because of the book-cover design. This was not the only huge mistake I was to make. A year later, and a neurology research colleague at Duesseldorf university recommended his books to me. Eventually I actually read one, and I was blown away, hooked for evermore. Once I actually read his books, the book-cover design made perfect...
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Views 6875 Comments 4 Gurdur is offline

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