Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More thinky stuff: Evolution

I don't want to get into a huge discussion, as my brains mainly thinking about cannibalism (obviously I'm not actually thinking about that lots, I just mean thats my current hypothetical discussion topic).

Here comes the question: How did bats evolve? Hannah was given a leaflet thing with that very question. Bats are mammals so evolved from another mammal. Most people ("evolutionists") think it was something like the shrew.

For us to believe in evolution (which I mostly do) we then have to accept that:

  • There was some creature between a bat and a shrew (or similar) that existed long enough to give enough offspring to be the father of all bats (possible, 1 mutation could produce offspring in an isolated place where they multiplied)
  • The in-between creature (randomly) mutated longer and lighter fingers (I can see how this could mutate a bit, but not enough for a bat to emerge without creating a really unfit creature, the fingers would not be strong enough to dig, not light enough to fly). Update: Tom's commented again saying a gradual process would work, like with gliding squirrels. The problem I have with bats though is that when a ground-dwelling, digging animal starts mutating wings, the hands will be less fit at digging and not suitable fit to start gliding. I don't think it could be a mutation over millions of years. Maybe nuclear radiation or something mutated a few creatures lots and they got lucky.
  • There are no intermediate fossils between species around today (acceptable, I haven't done sufficient digging myself). Update: Tom's commented again! He says the creationist argument of the eye not being able to evolve (e.g. 1/2 an eye wont work) is poop. I think it's poop too. Tom also says not having fossils isn't really a problem. I'm not so sure. As there's lots of fossils, by chance there should be fossils of inter-special creatures. I don't think there are any. If there were then everyone would know about it. Let me know if I'm wrong.
It definitely seems possible. Personally I find it much easier to believe that God took a shrew and converted it into a bat. I bet he even said "Hazzar!". What do you think? (Tom, I expect another prize-winning comment :-)

Update: Mike's said "evolution is a fact (probably)". Facts and theories aren't opposite things, they're different categories. Evolution is a theory based on facts (and I guess some assumptions too). Becky says "appreciate them for really cute furry flying machines". I do. Becky also seems to like simplicity (maybe that was a bit rude. Sorry :-).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cannibalism. How wrong?

OK, for those of you who don't want to think about cannibalism, don't read this post. Seriously. Stop now. For those of you who like thinking about random things, culture, ethics, society, etc. read on, you may find this interesting...

What I'm wondering is why cannibalism is so wrong. If someone dies suddenly of natural causes (e.g. broken neck) should it be wrong to eat them? Presume the dead person is definitely healthy to eat. Note: these are only my own (crazy) views / ideas. I could be wrong.

On a desert island you may have no other food sources. I bet most people would resort to cannibalism if they had to. If you think you would resort to it, do you think it's actually wrong to resort to it? If it's not wrong to resort to it, what would have to change to make it wrong?

From a non-social viewpoint (e.g. if you were a recluse cannibal and no one knew), most people would probably not eat another person due to the fact that the dead body represents the past life of the person who's body it was. If you believe people just die when they die (no afterlife) then there should logically be no connection between a dead body and a persons life.

If you believe in an afterlife it could get complicated. Christians believe a dead body does not contain a soul or a spirit, so they should have no problem eating them on that basis (although they would have other reasons, see below). As far as I'm aware, Muslims and Jews believe the same (please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd like to know).

People who believe in reincarnation, ghosts, contacting dead people, etc. would probably attach more value to the dead body. I don't really know though. Anyone care to comment?

Christians, Jews and I expect Muslims believe that God (or Allah) provided people with food such as plants and animals to eat, not other humans. In that case, it would be a sin (wrong) to go against what God wanted for us. Though, is it a sin to eat a dead body if you're starving on a desert island? Would you be tempted to sin, or would it be the right thing to do? Would God want you to die when you could easily live?

What about the millions of starving people in places like Africa? It isn't very ethical to waste chicken, port or beef meat when there are people who haven't had a meal in over a day. Is it ethical to waste human meat?

I guess this all sounds controversial, disgusting, distasteful, and so on. Sorry about that. Our culture has taught us that it is wrong to eat dead people. Why has it taught us that? Our society used to be mainly Christian in the UK, that cold be affecting today's culture. Or maybe cannibalism isn't evolutionally very efficient. Maybe it's because eating creatures which have naturally died can give us diseases. Maybe it's because people associate eating food with killing it.

I'm not condoning cannibalism. I think it is wrong as God did not tell us to eat other humans. I know it's socially wrong: eating people from car accident scenes is sick. I know medically it's probably a bad idea. Though I'd like to know why non-Christians think it's ethically wrong to eat someone.

Anyone like to fill me in? Argue? Correct me? Back me up? I'd really like to know what people think.

Update: Tom's commented nicely. To summarize (not very well, sorry Tom):
Cannibalism is bad because of the same reason stealing and murder are wrong. It affects families / friends. People want to know where their deceased loved ones are. People want to visit where their corpse is to pay respects.
Last-resort cannibalism is like donating organs as its saving someones life. People could say there's nothing wrong with necrophilia if casual cannibalism is alright.
You don't need a God to tell you not to do something to make it wrong, people always know murder and stealing is wrong and the such things, its built into most people's morals.

My reply: If cannibalism is bad as it affects families / friends then it should logically be OK to eat someone with no family / friends. Maybe? On a different note, why do we as living people like to know about dead people? Why does it help with grieving? I don't really know psychology stuff.

Good point about cannibalism being like donating organs. I never thought of that. Necrophilia is a whole other (grim) topic, but to summarize I think sex is best when 2 people are in love (e.g. married). I think necrophilia is wrong for the living person, though I don't (personally, at least yet) respect dead bodies. For example, I would have no problem with my body being chucked away or used for ammunition testing if I was dead.

Where did we get morals from? If we murdered then our friends would not like us and we would be at a higher risk of getting murdered ourselves. The same with stealing. It's bad for society, so society affects our morals. Do we get our morals from anywhere else? Cannibalism is only bad for society as it is bad for society. If it were socially acceptable to murder, steal and cannibalize then people would stop killing, for fear of death; they would stop stealing, for fear of burglary. What reason would they have to stop cannibalizing?

Becky has also commented about vampirism, (most probably as it's that day of the year when little kids come round, knocking on your door and you wish you had one of these). Vampires generally only take blood from living victims. This is basically murder. If the person is dead already and someone just wanted to drink their blood (some people are actually into that kind of thing) then that's a different matter.

What about if a living person has a limb amputated then donates it to you for food? That would be a weird thing to do but I don't see anything morally wrong with it. What if that same person said when they were dead they would be OK with someone eating them? That is it morally right? What if on average the general population didn't mind their dead body being eaten? In the same way that most people are OK with donating organs. Then would it be morally wrong?

All very interesting hypothetical situations. Though remember readers: eating people is wrong (at least for now).

A time zone to remember

I woke up an hour early today. Except i didn't. My phone woke me up, after changing it's time zone from BST to GMT. My watch was still on BST. My brain wasn't on anything.

You're probably thinking that you like time zones most of the time, except when they change. I don't see their point. Now we live in a 24 hour world. We go to Tesco at 3am, some people start work at 11pm.

What do there times actually mean? Well, there's "elevenses" and "after eights". Is there anything else based on the name we give to time? You could argue midnight and midday are based on specific times, but what if meant what they actually meant? The middle of the day and the middle of the night.

China seem to have a good idea. They have 1 timezone for the whole country, even though China covers about 4 time zones laterally. This means sunset is a few hours different across the country. We have this in the UK to a much smaller extent. The Sun rises about 25 minutes earlier in the East than in the West of the UK. It makes sense to standardize time in the UK, even though it means midday is at different times. We don't have sub-hour time zones in the UK (because we communicate with the whole country, not just our own town) as that would be silly.

Now we live in such an international world, isn't it a bit silly to have sub-day time zones?

What if every country used UTC (basically GMT, but more international)? Events would not have to have a timezone stamped after their description. People would no longer have to ask what time people meant. Meetings would be much easier to schedule. People would still get up when it was light, and go to bed soon after it was dark. In the UK it would get light around 8am, whereas in the USA it would be light around 2pm. There, people may go to work 3pm-11pm. In Japan people may sleep from 6am until 2pm.

Any switch from different time systems will be chaotic, but in the long run I think it would work well.

Any comments?

Photos of Hannah and her gall bladder

Just before Hannah's operation we went for a walk. here's the photos with this BubbleShare thing. It seems to work quite well. Click on the photos to see them larger.

Exeter Reunion

The week before last Hannah and I met up with people in Exeter. Here's an exciting photo thing of what happened (as there's no good way to upload more that 4 photos to directly blogger yet).

I don't know what happens if you click here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wedding gift list

As you may or may not know, Hannah and I are doing our own gift list for our wedding. This is mainly because we didn't want expensive things from somewhere like John Lewis, or to be too confined by somewhere like Argos. We'd much rather recieve gifts people had some input on themselves; more suprise gifts; and people buying 2 cheaper things than 1 more expensive thing which we don't really need anyway.

So we decided that I should make a wedding list website. I planned out the site then started making it. It's getting there but I still have quite a bit to do. Unfortunately the server (called "pinkstuff", named after a strawberry angel delight food) is currently down. When it's all working you'll be able to log in and see ideas of the gifts we'd like, follow links to buy them, reserve your interest and add notes and much more. If it works really well I may think about selling the gift list site itself. Posted by Picasa

IBM Hursley

When I was looking for jobs I applied to IBM as a software developer. I got through the first few rounds and was told I was through to the next round, but they never contacted me. They had really nice grounds as you can see from this photo. Luckily I now have a much better job at Bournemouth and Poole College, as web developer.
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Brownsea Island trip

A few weeks ago we went to Brownsea Island as it was nearly free. It was also pirate day. I got the highest squirrel count: 1.
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Friday, October 27, 2006

Conspiracy theories are true!

They were right all along! Spiderman does have clones and he does form a brass band. I knew it!

Trip to Arne

This is Long Island, where camping occurs
This is a huge hairy catterpillar. Probably tastes nice though. Posted by Picasa

Oh deer

A while ago Hannah and I went to a place called Arne. There were loads of wild deer! This little one didn't seem to mind humans (and me) being really close. I took way to many photos but this could be the best.

Mike's many blogs

It's official: Mike has too many blogs. Here's a (incomplete) list:

To save all you people the trouble, I'm going to try to keep this post updated with Mike's most recent blogs.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New idea: Community Parking

Many people have driveways near town centers which are free lots of the time, especially during working hours. Many people would like a cheaper parking space near town centers. If the person who owned the driveway could charge a small fee and allow anyone to park in their drive then both parties would benifit.

Problem: No one can find Community Parking spaces.
Solution: Text where you are to a short code number and you'll recieve a text with locations of the nearest unocupied parking spaces.

Problem: People renting out their spaces cannot install a ticket machine or make sure everyone pays the whole day.
Solution: People pay by text, sending their car registration and the parking ID to a premium short code. Most of the money from the premium text goes to the space owner.

Problem: It'll never work. Who's going to do it? It's a silly idea.
Solution: No solution yet. It may be a silly idea but don't you think it's an interesting one? I challenge you to come up with a better idea.

Hannah has no gall bladder!

It's true! The operation was a success. Photo updates coming soon. She's a bit sleepy but recovering well. I should get back to see her now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Woop woop! Honeymoon booking alert!

Hannah and I have just booked a honeymoon! Woo! We're going to a cottage in Gloucestershire! Awesome fantastic! Log fire and 4 poster bed. Nice.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My blogging skills are virtually no more

It's been so long readers. Too long. I bet many of you don't bother reading my blog now as it's never updated. If that's the case, subscribe to the news feed, then you get told when it gets updated. Brilliant! Use the links on the right under "Feeds".

I have loads and loads of photos and videos I've taken which are just left on my phone. Bad me. They'll hopefully be online some day.

Today's news: It's the weekend! Woo! I've just got TomTom (sat nav) working on my phone, which is very cool.

Yesterday's news: Saw Dav Vinci Code with Hannah last night. For a film of a book it was quite good, though there were so many parts which (because I know a bit) are blatently wrong and I felt like shouting "Muppets!" at them.

This week's news: Hannah now officially works for The College! Woo! Though that means we don't work together any more as she's in a different building :-(.

Last week's news: Went to Exeter to see the peeps. Had fun, didn't drink too much, though Hannah was a bit ill. Alex has a very comfy floor. Props to Tom for How I Met Your Mongoose. Silly Looloo not coming, hopefully he'll be around in the future.

This month's news: I've been working at Bournemouth and Poole College as a web developer. I'm working on their new site, going live soon, whilst keeping the old site working. For technical people: I get to play around with things like PHP and MySQL; whilst battlling with CSS in IE and hacking around with RSS and Web 2.0 stuff.

Wedding plans news: Hannah's blog (she's not Jareth, nor in Surrey, but hey) is probably more informative, though we've now finalised the place (Chapel in the Valley), the reception (the CMC, near Canford Church / School), the car (RR silver wraith), caterers, florist, and Hannah has a dress (green with pink stripes). I'm working on an awesome wedding list site, which will be awesome. So will our wedding.

As bloggers around the globe say: Bye.