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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Coulter on the BBC

A couple of nights ago Ann Coulter was on the BBC Newsnight program. You can see video of her interview here, it only lasts just over 5 minutes.

For US readers I am sure you all know who Ann is and what has the got people so inflamed about her new book. For readers from elsewhere (i.e. mostly UK) if you don't know who Ann Coulter is I wouldn't worry about it (go google if you like). I only know thanks to having lived in the States and seen the books she writes and the interviews she does. In my opinion she is not a nice person and whatever valid points she might have get lost in the need to throw bile around and try to cause scandalous headlines (in pursuit of book sales).

Paxman was typically Paxman with her; somewhat aggressive and sneering. It is his interviewing style. For my money, Paxman doesn't espouse particularly liberal or conservative beliefs; to me, he often comes across as not interested in nonsense and he certainly does not suffer fools gladly. I like him.

However I think he failed in his interview. He gave Ann plenty of time to air her points which is good as an interviewer as long as you challenge those points. Her first point was about what she calls Darwinism. She claimed there was no evidence for evolution and it makes no sense. I am sure she has studied the subject long and hard with rigorous testing and examination of the records. Oh, no, she can't have otherwise she would know that what she said was false. If she had done the research and said what she said then I would have to conclude she was lying.

Paxman's question was whether she had an alternative? Did she believe that the Earth was created in 6 days? Coulter answered that she was not espousing an alternative just pointing out that the current theory was not supported by evidence and was clearly looney (we are related to Earthworms???).

Of course Paxman should have had the facts about evolution, the facts that there is evidence in the fossil record; that we can witness evolution in the laboratory with species that go through several generations in a few hours. How does Ann explain the fact that we do indeed share over 30% of our DNA with the Earthworm? Is the study of DNA going wrong somewhere?

Paxman, or his researchers, failed on this, relying instead on trying to use the creationism stick - something Ann was clever enough to avoid (she is not stupid).

I had to laugh later on when Paxo asked whether she truly thought that the media was a lefty institute given the amount of coverage she had received. Her reply was to instantly turn herself into the Martyr, sarcastically talking about the 'warm welcome' she had received on the show. That wasn't 'lefty', Ann, that was Paxman being genial.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Some things are always cool...

... no matter how used to them you think you might become.

[UPDATE visitors via google image search please see this post]

I was browsing earlier today and came across a fantastic series of images. They were taken by John Locker, an amateur astronomer and satellite communications consultant from the Wirral peninsula in the UK. If you cannot spot what it is right away it is the International Space Station. It fills me with a sense of awe when we can resolve any object in space to more than a dot of light, but to be able to image a man-made body hanging in the sky above us is breath taking.

I know very well how we can put objects up there and how they stay up there, but knowing and solving the equations is one thing; to see it drift across the sky as a matter of course is something else. Shortly before Em and I left America our friends threw a party for us. It was great afternoon capped off by a leisurely nighttime swim in the condo complex pool. I remember one of my friends pointing into the sky at a bright dot as it slowly arced across the starry heavens.
"That is the ISS, its due overhead right now"
I remember lying back in the water and watching it fall towards the far horizon. Not a memory likely to fade anytime soon.

John Locker has his own webpages including some more shots of the ISS

Thursday, June 15, 2006

In the meantime...

History shows that government is incapable of running any programme with more efficiency than the private sector. Discuss.

Tick, tock

Well, it has been a month to the day when I last posted. That is truly pathetic. Mostly I have been busy with work and when I do have time to blog I feel the urge to watch TV or play Halo instead. I guess that means commitment is at a low ebb. Well, who cares, its not as if I am paid to do this :-)

I have been reading some blogs and commenting but not as much as I used to. I think the most I have done has been over at QandO in a couple of the climate change threads. I'm a glutton for punishment where that is concerned as I think it is a major problem and am always amazed at some of the hostility that one faces when suggesting that it even exists, let alone that mankind has had any effect in the process.

Still got lots of photos in reserve to show you folks and lots of opinions to annoy you all with, but just not today. I'm actually impressed that people keep turning up to check this weblog out, we even had a nice link from someone who thought that this site was interesting.

Anyway, back soon.