davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
Was really very good, but it did confirm my personal dislike for Ricky Gervais. However the host, Robin Ince was very, very good, with his Hannah-Barbera Feynman impressions, and humorous rants about Anne Coulter, Stephen Green and all the other people who provide a reason for the "New Atheists" to be so vocal. Plus he gave a shout-out to Tycho Brahe. Who doesn't get talked about nearly often enough at comedy gigs.

There were a couple of acts that didn't quite work for me. Mostly it was the musical numbers. Which I'm sure were a matter of personal taste. I'm not really sure that the one-man Beach Boys parody quite fitted.

The Carl Sagan snippets were very well chosen. I never watched Cosmos when I was a child. I don't think they repeated it much in the 1980s, unlike the ubiquitous deity that is Sir David A. But on the basis of those few minutes I can understand why he was so popular with so many people. (And then the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra played a very silly version of Thus Sprach Zarathustra).

Simon Singh was good, and it was nice to hear his Katie Melua rewrite- as sung by the lass herself. I remember hearing it on the Today programme a few years back.

I can understand why Dawkins chose the pieces he did, and it reminded me that I still haven't got a copy of Unweaving the Rainbow. Though if he'd spent the entire time talking about Fig Wasps that would have been equally enjoyable.

Stewart Lee was very good too. I will never hear the "dance as ancient as time" cliche in quite the same way.

Natalie Haynes was rather funny, and I shall have to look out for her work in future.

Ben Goldacre's polemic was fantastic. His columns are always worth reading, and he brings the same mix of wry humour and outrage at the actions of people like Matthias Rath to his spoken word stuff too, and provided a reminder that pseudoscience is not harmless.

Tim Minchin rounded off the evening with a brilliant beat poem. Someone else I shall have to look out for in future.

Sadly I couldn't find someone to take up the spare ticket I ended up having. But at least this time I remembered I was supposed to be at a gig. ;)
davegodfrey: Coelacanth (Science)
The following is adapted from a dissertation I wrote several years ago.

Fossils have been recognised as the remains of living organisms since the time of Leonardo da Vinci and before. At the close of the 18th century the French anatomist George Cuvier developed the idea of extinction, demonstrating that many fossils are not those of modern species. Erasmus Darwin and Jean Baptiste Lamarck formulated some of the first ideas suggesting that species were not immutable. At the same time James Hutton was formulating his theory of the earth, and demonstrated that the earth was much older than the ages biblical chronologies allowed (Bowler 1989). These three ideas were to become important questions and discussed much through the following century.

A (very) brief history of collecting )

Agassiz (1835) described osteostracean remains in his works on fossil fishes, creating the genus Cephalaspis for four species, C. lyelli, C. lewisii, C. lloydii, and C. rostrata. These species were not initially recognised as jawless. Of these four, Thomas Henry Huxley restricted Cephalaspis to C. lyelli, and created the genus Pteraspis for Agassiz’s other species in the genus (Huxley 1858). E. Ray Lankester separated heterostraceans and osteostraceans into separate groups in his 1868 monograph.

Ostracoderms. Some of the best fish ever... )

Revolutions in science are not instantaneous. New theories and ways of thinking take time to spread and gain respectability. The paradigms influencing the work of the second period, the work of Cope, William Patten, and others are the result of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859, thirty years before, and the successful spread of evolutionary thinking in the latter half of the 19th century. Similarly, while Løvtrup produced one of the first cladograms of modern vertebrates in 1977, the cladistic method began with the entomologist Willi Hennig’s influential 1969 book Insect Phylogenetics where the principles of cladistics were first established.

References. )
davegodfrey: Marvin: ...and me with a terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side... (Marvin)
So I went to the cinema last night with [personal profile] innerbrat, and watched Helena Bonham Carter's breasts being interrupted by singing.

davegodfrey: Cyberman: The Future is Shiny (Shiny)
So Spiderman went emo, and it was nearly as bad as you said. Too long, and too many bad guys. As Mary-Jane said "its always about you", and I'm getting sick of it very quickly.

There were some things I liked. Gwen Stacey was pretty. Robert Englund the bloke from I Robot/LA Confidential is it. The Bugle ran a "Doc Ock Still at Large" headline at one point. Oh and the trailer for Transformers. All Kinds of Awesome. So good I can forgive Bumblebee not being a Beetle.


davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
The Evil Atheist Your Mother Warned You About

November 2013

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