Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bald hair

I was chatting to a religious Brother the other day about how the plurality of beliefs in the world provide evidence that none are true. He thought about this for a second and decided to go down the path of claiming that Atheism is "just another religion". I see this quite a lot, but, to me this seems like a case of poor reasoning on the part of the Theist, there are two reasons for this, let me elaborate. 

Firstly, when you are trying to diminish the position of your opponent it's usually not a good idea to equate the idea that your trying to disprove to your own position, this seems to me like shooting yourself in the foot somewhat? It's like saying, "your position can't be true because it's as bad as mine"... Secondly, Atheism is not about believing a claim (as religions are) it's about NOT believing the claims of any religion, it's as simple as that. Claiming that atheism is a religion is like claiming that bald is a hair colour, i.e. totally illogical, and where shampoo fits I have no idea.


Third day in a row that I've started my daily walk dry and finished it soaking wet, ah the good old British climate. ("shite" is the old-English word I'm thinking of right now, which as we all know was the word our ancestors came up with to perfectly describe our weather..)

Exercising social-distance

Been keeping up with my exercise regime reasonably well during the lock-down. Managing to get out and do something every day (even in the rain) Usually that means a 3 or 5 km run or a 5 km walk, I tend to mix them up a bit to avoid any stresses or strains to particular joints! I did notice an interesting thing yesterday though. With all of the social-distancing stuff going on I've been crossing the road when I see people walking toward me on the same side. When I look at the statistics of my runs/walks I notice that almost every one is roughly 0.05 km longer per kilometre (50 metres), i.e. a  5 km walk is now roughly 5.25 km due to all the extra distance involved in crossing the road umpteen times. Who'd have thought that social distancing makes you fitter!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

"Success" (aka "Failure")

Some interesting data/analysis going on here. Mathematical models suggesting (based on real data so far) when the current pandemic will end in different countries if current trends continue. The calculations (differential equations in Matlab) seem fair enough  to me (look at the notes), of course none of this is guaranteed, if people start disobeying the lock-down rules or Governments lose their nerve and start relaxing the rules too soon then these predictions are meaningless. New (upward trending) curves will almost certainly emerge. If the UK comes out of this at 99% by the end of May then I'll be pleased and surprised, I think we've got some serious issues here with reporting data and so these figures will almost certainly need to be refined, but, let's hope it's there or thereabouts. If you look at the graph for Australia, they come out a whole month earlier, just goes to show what difference leadership makes. Of course people will say that you can't compare the two because of population density and geographical isolation etc., but, you just need to look at Germany or South Korea (which are both more or less as densely populated as the UK) to see much better outcomes as a result of better strategy and faster mobilization.

For completeness here's the table for the best performing countries analysed (top 40), the spread of "success" is quite wide but regardless of what our feckless PM says, you can't look at the UK numbers and claim that we're "succeeding" like he did on Monday, certainly not on the end-date (we're not even in the top 40!) nor on numbers of deaths (Germany has many times less than we do) quite the opposite in fact. So this begs the question, is Johnson lying to us or just stupid, possibly even both, my money is on the former, we shall see.

Midweek Mirth

Here's an interesting thought experiment, what if life on Earth is just one giant simulation in the computer of a vastly more intelligent alien species? If it is then clearly they certainly made sure there were plenty of plot twists, and also plenty of bugs! Maybe we're all just autonomous "AI bots" running around in that simulation programmed to believe we're important and special. Free will is an illusion and the new Corona virus is just a utility program performing a "de-frag".. 

Anyway, must get on..

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Timeline rip

It was 10 years ago today that Gordon Brown (the then PM) called "that Woman" he spoke to on his campaign trail a bigot. Unsurprisingly to most of us, he called her that mainly because she was publicly exhibiting bigot-like behaviour and opinions. At that precise moment there appeared a huge rip in the space-time continuum and a new branch split off from the one we were on. From then on it became worse to call someone a bigot than to actually be one! Subsequently, the rest of cultural history, fake news, Brexit, Trump, Tories, Islamophobia, austerity, social-justice-warriors and gender pronouns falls neatly into place..

Monday, April 27, 2020

Free tits

I do wonder what it is in the American psyche that causes them to think that they're so "free". I've lived in both Europe and America and believe me we're far, far more liberal over here than they are over there. I always used to think that certain parts of the USA felt downright oppressive compared to the UK. What with a practically militarized police force, no social safety net (like free healthcare) and weird religious laws (for example not being able to drink alcohol on Sundays in some states) it often felt like the opposite of "free" to me, perhaps "free" only applies to those with plenty of cash (which also seemed true)? 

Anyway, to all those Americans protesting about having to stay indoors and eat pizza while watching Netflix, I would say "stop being complete tits!" (hence the photo) Among that fraternity there seems to be a slightly sociopathic tendency to think the restrictions are there to oppress them as individuals? You see placards like "my body, my choice" which of course totally misses the point about what action is needed in order to suppress a pandemic. Unfortunately this isn't about us as individuals, it's about preventing any individual becoming a vector that passes the virus on to others, some of whom may be less able to fight the disease. This "transmission" issue which, regardless of degrees of selfishness (which are clearly high among many Americans) is unavoidable due to the nature of this particular pathogen is our real challenge at this time. Thankfully we finally seem to have got the message here in the UK, which is lucky since we seem to be suffering more than most in terms of deaths per head of population, hopefully the infection rate will fall here now that we're all getting used to not feeling weird by crossing the road when you see someone else walking along the pavement toward you. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Tried a new beer yesterday from Bristol brewers "Lost and Grounded", called "Running with Spectres" it's a dark 6.5% ABV "porter" beer made with roasted malts. Very enjoyable, made a change from my normal Saturday evening tipple and I suspect would go really well with some stinky cheese and crusty bread. Unfortunately I only had the one can but since the weather was cooperating I managed to drag it out over about an hour sitting in the garden reading a good book (The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray), must look out for this one again sometime.

Friday, April 24, 2020


I see that some countries are re-opening their schools (with suitable distancing and PPE) this month. This is amazing, shows what fast (and science-lead) decisions can achieve given a complaint population and good leadership. Looking at this photograph though, causes me to think back to my school days when teachers (we used to call them "masters") still wore black gowns and actually threw things like chalk and sometimes even board erasers at troublesome pupils to get their attention. Oh how I wish we had PPE like this back then, would have made us invincible....

Friday Smirk

Obsessive rituals, weird hats and obscure (mysterious sounding) language are just some of the tools that religions use to convince people that they're not man-made but special or supernatural somehow. From the outside though, non-religious people just see a bunch of primates that are exactly the same as us, desperately wanting to believe that death isn't real!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Utterly pointless

The power of prayer by invoking the name "Jesus" proves itself yet again, i.e. utterly pointless..

Evidence based leadership

I see that in Germany they're making the wearing of face masks in public mandatory, a sensible move in my view, especially as lock-down rules are slowly relaxed and the virus becomes mobile in the population again. Since Germany has handled this pandemic much better than the UK, with far fewer deaths, I'll probably switch to doing what their politicians say rather than our own. I'm calling it "evidence based leadership", I'm sure the UK Government would approve since that's what they claim to be doing too. Now all we need to do is make some masks, now where did I put that snorkel?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The parasitic life-cycle

ha ha - interesting thought, could also apply to yogurt, home-brew and kimchi

Monday, April 20, 2020

Meanwhile in Dickville USA

Hard to imagine such a lack of empathy or motherlode of ignorance as these people are exhibiting. It's tempting to say screw them, let them catch it and look the other way as they infect and kill their diabetic relatives, parents and grandparents. But, responsible and humane people know that it's not just the assholes that die in a pandemic, unfortunately. It's always the weak and the vulnerable who suffer first and most. The health workers these protesters so callously disrespect will be expected to be there (putting themselves and their loved ones at risk) to mop up the pieces when it all goes horribly wrong, C19 doesn't give a fuck about your country, your politics or your god.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

BS Bingo

Yep, seems about right..

Friday, April 17, 2020

New Zealand

Just a random "brain-fart" but what with the donkeys Government we have running the country, Brexit and UK C19 deaths being up there with the worst in Europe etc. I can't help but think New Zealand is looking really attractive right now, I wonder..

Facing up to reality

A doctor writing in the Daily Mail today. I completely agree. Face masks are OBVIOUSLY beneficial in slowing down the spread of this virus, not only do they obstruct person to person transmission they also inhibit the distribution of droplets when people cough and sneeze in public places, i.e. the droplets don't end up on surfaces to be later picked up by other people. 

The science is clear on this now but the problem is that you can't buy them anywhere because guess what, the perfect storm of shortage and greed is playing out in front of our eyes. If you look on line you'll find that a pack of 50 masks is £50, however when I bought a pack back in February I got 100 for £5, and even that is OTT for the materials involved! (there must be a way of making these at home, I can predict a run on the price of elastic coming!)

IMO the government should requisition some garment factories (we must have at least a couple left in the UK?) and get unemployed people or convicts manufacturing surgical masks as fast as possible and by the million; they should have done this 4 weeks ago at the start of the lock down and by now should be handing them out at tube stations, on buses and in supermarkets. Fat chance though, I think this Government should have a lot to answer for when this is over, but unfortunately I fear that it'll all be brushed under the carpet as the weaker minded in our nation feel sorry for Boris, and the rest of us are simply relieved that the surviving population has in fact, survived!

Friday Smirk

J&M pointing out the rather weird obsession that many religious people have with gay sex. Understanding that if you don't like the idea of having sex with someone of the same gender, then you don't have to! Seems perfectly fine as a position to me. You'd think that people in possession of the ultimate secrets of the universe would be happy, but our Abrahamic brothers and sisters seem not to be until everyone else believes what they do too.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Mid Week Mirth

Nothing like a bit of dark humour to lighten up an otherwise mediocre Thursday..

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Ha ha, not sure where this meme came from but it seems on the money, from what people are saying on social media etc..

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Blueberry sunshine

Blueberry's and beer, the perfect lubricant for a sunny day in the garden playing badminton and boules. Called "Much ado about Muffin" it's a pale ale flavoured with blueberries and comes from my local brewery Siren, really refreshing. We're all feeling really sorry for people who don't have their own garden this weekend especially since the British weather is being as contrarian as usual, doing exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, testing everyone's willpower to the max!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Saturday Smile

Seems legit to me?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Effective communication

Brilliant, a master class in effective communication. When this is over we should do a "best public health communication" awards TV show and then let whoever wins do public health communications for everyone from then on, makes so much difference when such a significant proportion of the world's population is scientifically and mathematically illiterate (BTW we need to work on that too!)

Friday Smirk

The excellent Jesus and Mo alluding to a real story last week about the apparent health benefits of drinking Camel urine. There's a story in one of the Islamic Hadiths that tells the tale of how the prophet (Mohamed) ordered a tribe of people to drink the milk and urine of camels as a medicine and they apparently were cured of whatever they had. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has had to advise people to stop drinking camel piss during this current pandemic. Clearly those among us who've only read one book struggle with this kind of thing, but to clarify, not only is it a potential source of MERS (Middle-Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) which isn't a great thing to be catching about now, but it's also a load of old tosh that won't cure you of anything. Still, I bet you can find some in Waitrose, probably fine if you mix with some "fever tree" tonic water.. (see what I did there)

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Thought for the day

Thought for the day.. 

How come we never see Christian "faith-healers" (like those pictured above) ever in hospital wards laying their actual hands on actual (contagious) Covid-19 victims? 

Oh yes I remember, because it's all a load of bollocks and a scam devised by immoral con-men to extort money from vulnerable and gullible people. You'd think that if this stuff actually worked the health-services around the world would be making a b-line for these people, they're not. Instead these hucksters have locked themselves away behind glass and concrete, covered their faces in fake tan and continue to broadcast their lies to the faithful. 

If there was ever a crowd of people that needed to be seriously "disrupted" its this one.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020


Looks like the Australian high court has overturned an earlier decision to convict Cardinal George Pell of child sexual abuse in 1996. Now, we have to respect the decision of the court, but, it undoubtedly leaves an extremely bad taste in people's mouths, particularly the accusers and victims of sexual abuse at the hands of officials of the Catholic church and those supporting victims. There has been a protest and backlash in the cities and towns where the abuse was said to have occurred, slogans and insults have been daubed on the doors of churches in Melbourne and Ballarat. The only avenue open to people now is to bring civil actions against him, it's a huge financial risk for people to do this and most people haven't got the bottomless pockets of the Catholic establishment to fall back on. I've blogged on this story several times now and it's certainly been an up and down journey for those invested in it. I can only hope that justice will be done if it hasn't already, a sad and distasteful affair. In my view, any moral authority claimed by this organisation in the future needs to be greeted with the contempt it deserves, certainly nothing violent or destructive, but definitely ridicule, anger and a resolute two-finger salute!

Midweek Mirth

This virus thingy is going to change a few things...

Great minds

Someone (obviously much more talented than me) had exactly the same thought about those bat-shit crazy Christians in the USA (I bet there are some here too!) who couldn't give two shits about their fellow human beings and congregate in large groups to whisper magic spells and give money to their favourite con-men during a pandemic. Nothing more useful and powerful than ridicule and satire to point out the assholes in our midst.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Beg to differ

For those people who say "it's just flu" this chart would beg to differ. If you know any people like this then please don't waste your time trying to explain line graphs to them because they are clearly too stupid to understand basic science, arithmetic or biology. Instead, simply print the chart out on A4 paper, then roll the paper up very tightly into a cone and stick the pointy end in their eye until they agree.

Fistful of dollars?

Been thinking about the abhorrent attitude and beliefs of the American Woman (not Liz) in the video clip I posted yesterday. I was wondering if, in America, all those countless flavours of Christianity simply boil down to money? It seems to be the case for a lot of things in America that we fund centrally here in the UK (i.e. healthcare), is that really all there is to it? Flogging a dangerous delusion for a fistful of dollars?

Monday, April 06, 2020

"and of none"

My wife (being a royalist) was insistent that we watch the speech from the Queen last night, to be honest I wasn't that fussed one way or another so we watched it. I thought that HRH did really well considering she's 93 years old, a fluent, rational and coherent speech, of course I realise it was probably written by someone else and read from an teleprompter. But in those regards, it was unlike many speeches made by some modern politicians (and presidents) I could name. One thing that she said that I thought particularly important was when she talked about people of faith, she also added "and of none". This was the first time I've ever heard our head of state say those words. It's surprising that I haven't, since most population studies reckon at least half of the people in this country tick "none" in the religion box on the census form. The other pleasant surprise was that there was very little (possibly even none at all) talk of "God", which bearing in mind the situation, was on the money in my view. Our response to this crisis (as a society) needs to be a medical/scientific/rational one, how people react to it from a "faith" perspective is entirely their own affair as long as they stay away from church services with other people! It's good for public figures to acknowledge this fact for a change.

The contrast between attitudes here in the UK and (some religious people) over the water in the USA couldn't be more stark, take a look at this video from Ohio, the arrogance and lack of empathy/humanity is shocking, what Hitch used to say is totally illustrated by this woman, "religion poisons everything".

All of the above?

How about "all of the above"?

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Rush-hour traffic

Lovely walk today (my one-a-day exercise session!) The woods near where I live looking resplendent in the afternoon sunshine, the plus side of biology! It's a shame the negative side of biology is impinging on our lives so much at the moment, a convivial beer festival with live music right now would be just what the doctor ordered (as opposed to what the doctors are actually ordering!) Still, I like to look on the bright-side, at least I don't have to grapple with rush-hour traffic tomorrow morning!

Saturday, April 04, 2020


Like most people we're filling time by doing odd jobs around the house. Yesterday we decided to have a clear out of all our kitchen draws, it was quite cathartic and we certainly unearthed a few memories. As you can see in the picture, one of the things we found was a whole set of children's cutlery. Our two kids are grown up now but it was nice to stop and reflect for a moment, all those meals, all those hours of togetherness, all that time. I took a picture for posterity (as you do these days) doubt if we'll ever see these objects ever again but for a moment it felt good to remember.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Oh America

Genuinely appalled at what's going on in the USA right now, a total failure of leadership it seems. My worst fear is that they're going to be burying a lot more of their people over the next 6-12 weeks than they need to, perhaps even more than we've seen in Italy and Spain. Now I don't wish to tempt fate, the leadership here in the UK our Government hasn't shrouded itself in glory either. First they picked the wrong strategy and then as far as resource distribution and preparedness goes, we've seen too little, too late! Only now are people starting to understand what is required. In my view the country needs to be run by someone different, someone with some integrity and gravitas, someone who can communicate the seriousness of this pandemic and get people engaged and motivated. I sense none of these things in the current PM. Someone like Hancock or Rishi Sunak would appear to have a lot more going on upstairs than the incumbent wally, but, even he is 10 times better than Trump who can't even string a sentence together let alone save 2 million lives, it's shocking, surely there's someone ?

Friday Smirk

Thought I'd pop into the office yesterday to check things are OK...

Thursday, April 02, 2020

April Fools

So, April Fool's gag's were a bit thin on the ground yesterday (for obvious reasons) but I did hear of a couple of good ones. Many people have been using banners and post-it notes to communicate with neighbors during this time of "lock-down", the above note would have been rather alarming to see attached to your kitchen window! The other C19 related joke I heard about was someone who went to visit his 85 year old mother (who lives alone) and upon peering through the living room window saw her slouched in a chair, eyes shut and surrounded (on the floor) by open newspapers, alarmed he was just about to break a window when the Mother opened one eye and mouthed "April Fools".


Lovin the things people are coming up with to keep sane (this is defo happening in my kitchen later!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Midweek Mirth

Gullible? Us? Never! 

No, all those other Gods that people believe in are ridiculous, just made up. Not mine though, mine is real. 

The excellent Jesus and Mo showing us the future of faith, i.e. skepticism (fat chance of that!)