• Personal

    Oops

    We all know it can happen, and we all try to avoid it, but it tends to happen anyway… Fire off the frustrated angry e-mail in the ‘back channel’ to a friend about someone else and then, with a despairing ‘NOOOOOOOOO‘, realise after it’s gone that we hit ‘reply all’…

  • General

    Quiet Time…

    The blog might go a little quiet for the next little while compared to the usual posting frequency. The last two days I’ve marked assignments until 2 am then got up at 6 am again to prepare classes for the next day, then taught all day, then run around taking…

  • Politics

    Poly… put the kettle on?

    Lorne sent me this link from a Calgary paper: Taboos tumbling down. Seems a touch on the redneck side to me, but I guess that’s Calgary… 😉 (And no reflection on Lorne is intended.) My argument with the people who want to link gay marriage with bestiality, paedophilia, necrophilia or…

  • Philosophy - Teaching

    Ontology and Epistemology

    In my current brainfried state, doing lots of teaching and with a pile of marking waiting for me, I’ll occasionally share something I did in class that was fun here – skip it if you find it too boring or too academic! This is the text of a brief PowerPoint…

  • General

    It’s Only Natural

    Academics study the darndest things: this report includes careful discussion of why Michelangelo’s sculpture of ‘David’, while otherwise a perfect specimen of manhood, is perhaps a little, erm, underwhelming in the wedding tackle department. Turns out there’s a perfectly good reason, but you’ll have to read the report to find…

  • Personal

    A modicum of strange fame

    I occasionally do the ‘vanity google’: put my name into Google and see where it’s spread across the web. My real name (David Geelan) is rare enough, and I spend enough time on the web in various ways, or publish or present at conferences in venues that end up on…

  • Science Stuff

    Bashing Small Stuff Together Real Hard

    Some work being done by University of Alberta physicists (as part of a huge international team) at CERN in Switzerland: The Large Hadron Collider and a spinoff search for magnetic monopoles. Wikipedia has the scoop, as always. Although it’s called the ‘Large’ Hadron Collider, large is a relative term: it…

  • Religion

    Joy or Fear?

    I’m noticing it mainly with Christians, but that might just be because that’s who I’m talking to at the moment. I think it applies in the general population too: some people seem to be driven by fear, and others by joy (or fun, or love, or other positive emotions). The…

  • General

    words of spell to be inteligent

    …apparently someone entered the above search string and was directed here by Google. And someone else who entered “god made a few perfect people t shirts” also ended up here. I wonder what those people think when they arrive? 😉

  • General

    Juxtapositions

    Just heard a guy on the radio who was a paleontologist at the Tyrell Museum here in Alberta (Alberta has major dinosaur fossils). He was talking about some fossils – whole dinosaur skeletons – that were lost during the First World War. According to records from the time, two dinosaur…

  • Politics

    Mandates

    It happened in the Australian election last year, but even more so in the preceding Australian election a few years ago, and now it’s happening in the recent US election. Leaders who are elected then claim that they have received a ‘mandate’ to run their full policy agenda. In John…

  • Technology

    What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

    Something I’ve been thinking about a bit in relation to the activity of blogging itself, as well as to things like corporate and personal web sites: how frequently should the content be updated in order to keep readers coming back? For a blog like this one, it’s really a matter…

  • Religion

    Sweatin’ The… Profit?

    At the video section of Walmart today, spotted this one: Sweatin’ In The Spirit. It’s basically a formula for making money: take a trend and make a whitebread ‘Christian’ version of it. Take the cheezy exercise video, and take out all that sinful bump and grind secular music, replace with…

  • Technology

    Digital Duct Tape

    So, now that I’ve got my main computer at home back, full of crunchy new Athlon 64 goodness (it runs so cool when gaming now it’s like a new computer) I’ve started playing Doom 3, which Suzie gave me for Christmas. Scary, gory, atmospheric and fun. One of the annoyances…

  • Technology

    Computers = Voodoo

                   So my IBM Thinkpad A22m (getting old, but it has to hang on until I get a grant!) suddenly decided it wasn’t going to talk to the network in this building. Which was a hassle, because I wanted to use it in class to show some web stuff to…

  • Personal - Science Stuff

    Science Fair Continued

    Cassie currently has just over 350 total responses, from at least 28 countries. Here’s the current version of her map with the countries from which she has responses coloured: And that URL again (please don’t be helpful by completing it more than once! But do pass it on): http://www.ualberta.ca/~dgeelan/misconceptions.html

  • Philosophy - Teaching

    Who Knows?

    “Well, I’m sure I don’t know…” Dr Stephen Jonas, looking perplexed, was staring at the screen of the Cray quantum supercomputer running the first truly successful trial of his team’s Machine Intelligence1 program. The words continued blazing from the monitor, and echoing in the team’s ears from the computer’s speakers:…

  • Personal - Teaching

    Survival

    So, I taught for pretty much 8 hours solid today. Was meant to be 9, but I gave my evening class (and myself) a break and let them go a little early, because it was the first day and we didn’t have any readings to talk about. We did do…