The Maldovarium

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    Mudlark @mudlark

    Since we have been tangentially discussing Einsteins General and Special theories of Relativity on the World Enough and Time thread, I thought the following might offer an interesting sidelight.  It was formulated by my brother some years ago while observing an Air India flight.  I hope that he would not object to my offering it here for your consideration.

    One of the persistent problems with Einstein’s General and Special Theories of Relativity has been the impossibility of reconciling them with Quantum Theory, and even more so with modern developments such as String Theory.

    A recent development, known as Poor Relativity, leads to a tentative bridging of this gap.

    Poor Relativity postulates that your mass increases not only as a function of the speed of your travel and the distance of your destination, but also the extensiveness and degree of your relatedness with a set of points, known as ‘relations’, at your destination, and finally with their properties of extensiveness. Those ‘relations’ having the least extensive properties are known as ‘poor relations’, and cause the greatest increase in mass for a given travel speed and distance.

    The reason for this increase in mass is to be found in the time relationship between the traveller and the destination particles. The traveller, as occupying a 4 dimensional space, can be said to occupy a series of non-finite 3-dimensional sections, or instants, or ‘nows’, which he can be considered to be carrying with him. It is the cumulation of these ‘nows’, or ‘presents’, which cause the increase in mass, as anyone who has paid excess baggage can attest.  Put very briefly, the traveller’s ‘presents’ are the ‘poor relations’ future.

    What Einstein failed to consider were the consequences of space-time dilation applied to the accumulation of ‘presents’ in his  unmodified theory. Unrestricted dilation, applied to the curvilinear, 3-dimensionsl ‘presents’ would result in the detachment of successive ‘paper-thin’ 2-dimensional surface layers from them, leading to the total disaggregation of the ‘present’. The applications of String Theory in overcoming this theoretical defect are obvious and trivial 


    Nick @nick


    Your brothers a bright guy ! He right that physics at the largest scale (Relativity & gravity) and quantum physics (smallest scale) dont reconcile at all (In fact Einstein couldnt accept quantum physics could be right) and spent the end of his career trying to find a way to make things work. Along the way, he invented the maths that support an expanding universe, but rejected his own idea as he couldn’t believe that the expanding universe conclusion was correct (even after the first real world proof was first documented by Edwin Hubble after being proposed by a French mathematician).

    Its interesting to note that even the brightest and best can be blinded by their own prejudices. The real bane of science (along with plenty of other areas of life). At least within science, the evidence always wins eventually, which is something that cant be said elsewhere.

    The latest proof of general relativity is the very recent detection of gravitational waves in space-time. As I understand things (and I probably dont), all other “forces” such as the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism all have a force particle apart from gravity. If gravitons exist and can be detected, then the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Physics should become a lot easier.

    That said since we have no evidence what dark matter and dark energy may actually be, there is almost certainly a deeper, simpler form of physics yet to be discovered.







    That is a masterclass in equivocation. Very good.

    Whisht @whisht


    If I’m right (probably not!) in my mind I find it amusing that:
    – I can get fatter by eating more Mass (than you).
    – I can get older by getting more Time (than you). And to get more Time (than you) I just need to travel faster or get closer to a massive gravitational object (than you).

    So Blondie were kinda wrong in advocating living faster in the lyrics??

    Live fast – die older?

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @nick  Yes, he’s bright and, though he’s not a physicist exactly, he is like me interested in physics, quantum mechanics and cosmology, albeit much better qualified to follow the maths.

    @whisht  I’ve never held with the notion of living fast and dying young. On the whole I have always maintained it is better to live slow and retain at least some of one’s looks and faculties.  In vindication of this philosophy,  I recently encountered someone I had not seen for more than thirty years and his reaction may have gone to my head a little- though the lighting was subdued and wine had been taken, so perhaps I should not read too much into it 😉

    Whisht @whisht

    aww hell @mudlark – read everything into it and simply glow (even more)!

    But yes, “rock n roll” is probably not the best source of advice for living one’s life*



    * if people disagree then over to the Music thread!


    Craig @craig

    Once again, something rather lovely has happened on Twitter. If you need faith restored in humanity for the second time this week, then here it is. Just click on the tweet to read a rather marvellous thread.

    wolfweed @wolfweed



    That is the weirdest conglomeration ever! Nice to see that they defrosted Zoe Ball after all.

    Hoping that Ollie is not a gargantuan megalomaniac by now…….

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    That’s lovely. So nice to see Twitter not used for evil for once….

    Mudlark @mudlark


    You really shouldn’t stroke my ego; it encourages a vanity which is quite inappropriate in one of my years – or any years for that matter.

    But I would never be so ungracious as to spurn a compliment – so *glow*


    That is truly heart-warming, and testimony to the fact that social media are not dominated by the mean-minded, even if the latter are a noisy and toxic presence. I just wish that this kind of compassion and empathy were more commonly extended to humanity in general, though it is human nature to identify with the individual and with those with whom one has a direct connection.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Just accepted my <b>Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities, First-class Honours </b>from the Open University. Six years, where I rescued in total 21 dogs with health or emotional issues (one of them is ‘David the dog’ in Coronation Street now), moved house (which meant keeping a house with eight dogs in it viewer ready, moving into temporary accommodation than moving all the way to Wales), cared for a boyfriend with a degenerative condition, cared (for the last year) for  his son who has mental health issues, and helped my friend set up a recruitment agency by doing the copywriting (so if anyone ever asks you what you do with a degree focusing on ‘imaginative writing’ as my degree information has it, that’s one thing) So I would have forgiven myself pretty much any classification. However, I like this one, it’s pretty!

    And the OU was great, gave me full funding, two cash prizes, and more dyspraxia support than I, eventually, felt I should accept, but bless them, they kept offering.

    And @bluesqueakpip, thank you for the help with my creative writing modules. I am eternally grateful.

    And thank you @craig for this sight, and @everyone for being on it!

    wolfweed @wolfweed
    Craig @craig

    @miapatrick Many congratulations. Overjoyed for you. It’s the people that make this site, not me, and I think you are shining example of that.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Congratulations! Very well deserved – and I say that as someone who got to read some of your assignments. Well done. 🙂

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Belated congratulations….

    RorySmith @rorysmith


    You give hope to humanity. Thank you because all of your love, care, and sacrifice will not be overlooked. Congratulations.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Absolutely brilliant.

    Missy @missy

    Happy Birthday to me! *Big smile*


    nerys @nerys

    @miapatrick Sorry I’m so late on this, but congratulations! You amaze me!

    @missy Oh, and happy birthday, Missy!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Many happy returns!!

    winston @winston

    @missy  Hope your birthday is a great one!

    winston @winston

    @miapatrick  Congratulations! Well done!

    Missy @missy

    @miapatrick: Just read this.

    Well done. Very well done. *thumbs up*

    @nerys: @winston:

    @jimthefishTime Lord:

    Thank you it was.


    Nick @nick


    Can you (belatedly) wish Puro happy birthday 🙂 or perhaps I should say I hope that she has had a very happy birthday.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Shifted the general ‘economics of the future’ chat over hear for fear of boring everyone else on the Spoilers thread to death. Just a couple of things I’d like to say.

     I don’t think it ever be the case for films and much TV as a whole (as well as other cultural pursuits, which require significant training to become skilled).  You really do need the $ to generate a “product” which reaches a mass audience

    But I think that’s changing — and really quite dramatically. It’s certainly easy to overstate the skills and training angle. Most people with an interest in, say, filmed narrative can pick up the skills from observation and from online tutorials on everything from YouTube to to DigitalTutors (or whatever it’s calling itself these days). You only have to look at sheer level of competence in fandom these days to see that (let’s not forget that the Capaldi titles were conceived by a fan, albeit one with a professional background in motion titling). It’s possible with enough application to teach yourself the rudiments of film-making without ever setting foot in a formal training establishment.

    Nor is money the big stumbling block that it once was. I put together a short film that was considered decent enough to pick up a nomination at a film festival in a couple of days. You can film perfectly creditable footage on an iPhone these days. You can download a free version of Nuke from the Foundry website which not only allows you to edit it but incorporate professional-standard postproduction effects. Really, professional training and apprenticeships etc with big-name broadcasters etc were necessary in the old days because they basically were the only ones who had the equipment for you to learn on. It as once again a distribution issue. Sure, you’re not going to be able to do Game of Thrones or Star Wars on your laptop but you can easily, with passion and application, still make something perfectly watchable and, more importantly, that people want to see. The real challenge for modern filmmakers is not distribution, or even money, it’s publicity. It’s making sure people know about you.

     things are as stagnant as they were in the light entertainment orientated 40’s and most of the 50’s, at least in terms of the mainstream, which is what most of us get to see.

    Well, I’d say that’s not an argument against music but once again against the traditional channels of distribution which are increasingly no longer fit for purpose. There is lots of exciting music out there but yes it is a bit harder to find. But it’s not so much stagnation as an explosion in choice, I think. In times past, artists were competing with their contemporaries and not much else. It was whoever was in the charts, on Top of the Pops, in the papers — artists of times past, while you could obviously still discover them were ‘yesterday’s news’. iTunes and Spotify have exploded that. What I’m struck by these days when I meet young people and talk about music is just how wide-ranging their tastes are, how their playlists span the decades in a way that my generation probably didn’t, or at least not to the same extent. Your average band now is not just competing with their contemporaries but also the biggest acts of decades ago too.

    New technology has always increased employment in the long term

    Hmm, tell that to a worker in a car plant, or a travel agent, or a typesetter. While it’s true that technology creates jobs that never existed before while getting rid of others, that’s not an endless process (leaving aside the quality of the jobs they create.) We’re looking at what more than 60% unemployment in 20 years down to automation. That”s going to change things dramatically.

    But I think looking at cultural norms of 30 or even 50 years ago are not going to be that helpful. We’re currently undergoing a paradigm shift that’s as remarkable as the introduction of the printing press, or the industrial revolution. Those changes fundamentally altered the very fabric of every aspect of society. Something of the like is happening now. It’s not going to be just a case of the same players (or similar) with different shopfronts and fancier computers. It’s going to be a lot more far-reaching than that.

    Nick @nick


    New technology has always increased employment in the long term

    Hmm, tell that to a worker in a car plant, or a travel agent, or a typesetter. While it’s true that technology creates jobs that never existed before while getting rid of others, that’s not an endless process (leaving aside the quality of the jobs they create.) We’re looking at what more than 60% unemployment in 20 years down to automation. That”s going to change things dramatically.

    If that is what happens, I’d obviously agree with you. History suggests that this wont happen, but ofcourse it might. Let’s look at self driving vehicles. It seems plausible to suggest that when this technology matures (and there is some way to go yet) a large number of drivers will loose they jobs. Long distance trucks may become much more like a train service, but that isnt where the majority work. For short distance delivery, the driver may go, but one or two people will still be needed to unload the deliveries and transport to the customers door. There probably wont be that much change in this area.

    That leaves Taxi’s. Here it will come down to the cost of the technology and software verses the cost of a standard vehicle plus driver. That equation will probably come down to the price differential and the view of the mass consumer market. Do we watch to switch wholesale from self driving or not ? Without mass scale adoption, the self driving technology is likely to remain expensive. With mass unemployment (and universal income) people are more likely to become cheaper to hire than more expensive (especially as the taxation system will need to convert to mostly not taxing people’s income).

    It seems to me, that this concept certainly has the potential to make very significant changes, but the speed of adoption and the degree of adoption in western economies is by no means clear. Adoption outside western economies ? Very uncertain.

    AI is the another big topic right now. There’s an important debate starting about just what we want AI to do, but it is also important to realise that the technology remains more of a concept than reality at the moment. How long will it take to develop systems that are as capable as a person is an unknown. The extent to which we will allow such systems to take decisions (as opposed to autonomously running systems) is unknown. The size and energy requirements, the ability to make such systems mobile all unknowns.

    But what of other potential technology ? Current research (most visibly around disability) shows a promising start to linking human brains to digital technology to control mechanical technology. It is certainly possible to envisage a future when the human/computer interface is much more integrated that today. What implications does this have for the utility of building AI systems. Will it be necessary ?

    It is certainly true that the development of such systems,the nature of the world and employment will probably change. But I very much doubt that anyone today has any real conception of just how let alone when such systems will become ubiquitous. I can remember watching Tomorrow’s World and learning of how the digital revolution, which was still in its infancy, was going to make all our lives less stressed, that we would have to work less hard than today, that we’d have more leisure time. 30+ years later, we are still waiting (and if anything the opposite has been true).  Am I the only one, who finds Google searches (even where the search terms are very specific) pull up more irrelevant information than useful.This from the leading provider and one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. Even then, plenty of databases remain behind paywalls, something which isn’t likely to change in the near future (the opposite surely ?). Don’t futurologists over sell the future; technology companies under-deliver on the hype ?

    The one constant is people’s innate behaviour surely ? For oldsters like me, television remains a primary form of entertainment. I watch the programmes I am interested in at that moment (which includes programmes I would never watch as a first choice) and use catch up TV/Binge watching/streaming programmes with a history that are new to me. 20 somethings watch less TV, but more streaming. Is the proportion of new material of interest to that audience higher than for me ? Perhaps. But how much of the rest of is old stuff that I watched years ago ?

    Of course, they may well spend an hour of time that I spend on TV or reading, playing games, browsing celeb websites via instagram, chatting etc. Does this change the fundamental nature of the Entertainment Media. I don’t really think so. The scope of what we define as entertainment is increasing in size, and we are spending less time on each individual element, but mostly because there are more individual elements available today than in the past.

    The medium is changing, the distributors within that medium are changing, but content remains king. Content suppliers will continue to exist in one form or another. New technology has had a democratising affect of course, by blogs and video blogs, but these have broadened the base for content, not over turned the media environment itself.

    In (film) TV and music, you’re right we are now consuming content over a 30 to 50 year window (depending on medium) rather than just what is new today. This has created an explosion of choice that was previously only available for literature and classical music. Just how new is this as a cultural phenomena ? Isn’t this explosion, really no different than for books ? Can we not draw some conclusions on the future consumption of TV from our history of reading ?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Can I suggest that both religious debate and economic future discussions make their home here and keep the Spoilers forum free for spoilers. (Although both discussions are fascinating and part of why this site is so great.)

    Couple of belated points.


    Well, there is a need. Because if you think you don’t need to explain and justify your liberal and tolerant values you’ll discover that those values are being walked all over by people who don’t believe in them. Paraphrasing Nick, you might never convince those Orangemen, but you might convince someone else.

    Except if that were actually the case we wouldn’t have Trump in the White House, the lacerating self-harm of Brexit, or here in Scotland those self-same Orangemen finding their way onto local councils. Rather what’s happening is the aggregation of headlines, of tweets, of FB posts. The arguments are not being listened to one way or the other, just the soundbites being endlessly repeated ‘make America great’, ‘take back control’, ‘strong and stable’.

    For the record, I’d like to make it clear that I’m talking about people who have reservations about JW, a female Doc, etc. Discussion and debate on those terms is fine and interesting and to be encouraged. I’m talking about the ‘it’s all a big SJW/Feminazi/misandrist conspiracy’ brigade. Yes, you might change the mind of a couple of observers to the conversation but really all you’re doing is helping keeping their argument visible in the mainstream and shifting the Overton window in their favour. I can’t help but feel it’s best not to play their game.


    On technology, AI and economics. Really interesting post which has given me lots of food for thought. Not sure I’ve got a whole lot to add at the moment except that I’m still of a mind that we’re at the beginning of a process that’s ultimately going to fundamentally change our consumption and attitudes to culture(s). Look at the debates around ratings that Whovians (I really hate that word for some reason) get into. During the last 10 years, concepts of overnights, ratings, even schedules, have changed dramatically, perhaps are even on the cusp of obsolescence.

    How much more is that going to change in the next 20, 30, 40 years? You’re right, I think, when you say that the media environment has not been overturned, but I don’t think this is how these things work. It’s more like a Darwinian process, a gradual erosion. And there’s every sign that old media are failing to adapt. At the moment the ‘ecosphere’ allows them to cling on but that won’t be the case forever. Record labels, publishers, newspapers, studios, broadcasters, few of them are not taking a digital hit of some kind or another, some more so than others.

    Nick @nick


    I would leave Trump out. He’s President because the US election system is flawed.  You win all electoral college votes from all (most ?) States, even if your vote majority is only 1 person. If electoral college votes were proportional to the actual number of ballots cast, then Clinton would have won, since she got more votes overall (I haven’t done the maths for each state, but that seems the most likely outcome. It certainly would have been very close either way).

    I would argue Brexit has more to do with UK Politicians ignoring large parts of the UK’s population because they don’t vote (younger people, low turn-out in many seats) instead of doing their electoral duty of representing the entire community. UK government would also be a lot more communal orientated if the allocation of MP’s was more closely aligned with the proportion of votes cast by party. That doesnt help fix the no vote issue. but it at least makes the result more democratic.

    Getting back to the Who point ( 🙂 ) if you dont engage then you will never get the chance to convince the one or two who are open, to change their mind or at least listen to your point of view. To my mind, that is a worse outcome by miles. As a society, we’re very good at appeasement by silence. Our government does it all the time (political expediency). We should try not to as individuals, but neither should we jump to conclusions before we have listened.

    Nick @nick


    Isn’t Streaming more like listening to a specialist radio station (easy listening, country etc) where you get to listen or watch what you want to (or at least think you want to). Interesting for a while, something good to do occasionally, but ultimately a little dull ?

    Sometimes, I do think the more things change, the more they stay the same (in a different way). Progress has always been pretty slow, and even now, when the pace is as fast as it has ever been things change quite slowly. Having reached 50, its hard to appreciate just how different things were when I was 15.

    Yes old media styles are dying out slowly. Newspapers are the most obvious one. There filled with less news, more reporting of PR output, more comment (and perhaps more comment disguised as news) then they were. Perhaps, overall we are less interested in what goes on around today than in the past. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there’s widespread appreciation of how much internet based “news” is actually opinion or propaganda yet. But we are in very angry and disturbed times right now and opinion and propaganda seem to be what a lot of us are happy with.

    But then even newspaper circulations were much higher (before free internet and TV news dominated) were things really that much better than today ?

    Whisht @whisht

    apologies not been ‘on’ the forum for a while – though I had thought I’d been reading everything.

    Everything that is except for the Spoilers thread that I don’t go on.

    So thanks @jimthefish for shifting the discussion with @nick about future economy to a more open thread.
    I’m intrigued by it but obviously missing how it began and how its developed, so what are we discussing?
    Is it “how does culture change as technology changes?”
    It may not be easy to summarise (especially if its morphed) and if so I’ll wait till I can add something useful (which to be honest may be what happens even if I do know the gist of it!!)

    The other thing I seem to have missed is Puro’s birthday?
    MASSIVE apologies @thane15 – will try and find music.

    Also @miapatrick – enoooooooorrrrrrrmously belated congratulations. You deserve music too.

    May take a while as I want to find some I’ve not linked to before.

    I know I’ve also missed other things but these two stuck in my mind since I last logged in.

    Nick @nick


    It started of as a debate about new media arising from a discussion about the importance of ratings and whether we’d past Peak New Who or not (from a UK perspective) which sort of came out of a debate about the standard internet theme of “moff is a poor writer” which itself started of about the Christmas story and my opinion that Moff shouldn’t being doing what he appears to be doing….

    There are a couple of other tangents that arise along the way as well.

    Its on the spoilers thread if you’re interested (and happy to look there)… 🙂 The more opinions the merrier

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Except if that were actually the case we wouldn’t have Trump in the White House, the lacerating self-harm of Brexit, or here in Scotland those self-same Orangemen finding their way onto local councils.

    Except how much of those things are at least partly due to a consensus that ‘all right thinking people’ will of course vote against Trump/vote against Brexit/not vote for Orangemen. So we don’t have to explain, find good, emotional, arguments why you should vote H. Clinton/vote Remain/Vote SNP. We just have to wait for people to roll out and vote. And laugh as those awful Trumpites/Brexiteers/Orangemen get a tiny proportion of the vote.

    Oh, how we laughed.

    Right now, there’s a wave of massive cultural change sweeping over the world – which is finding different expressions in different countries. The only common denominator is that a lot of people really, really want things to change from the status quo – and they’re not that fussy about any ‘acts of national self-harm’ if it bloody well changes things.

    But it’s really difficult for people to even listen if you think that what you might call the ‘status quo’ values of ‘the liberal consensus’ are so obvious you don’t need to actually explain them. Like the Remain campaign, banging on about some kind of economic Armageddon – and failing miserably to explain what was good about the EU.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    To save @whisht from stumbling onto spoilers, which I know he dislikes…

    @nick is right that it’s been a kind of rolling, evolving thing. But where it’s at at the moment is a rough discussion of AI, automation and cultural production with me arguing that how we consume culture — meaning everything from TV to music to books — is ultimately going to change as the centralising nature of traditional distribution channels, meaning corporations established in a 19th/20th century industrial environment, are forced to increasingly give way to a multi-platform, essentially DIY, digital future. A bit utopian, I know, and not something I’m saying is going to happen next week or even in the next couple of decades btw….

    Definitely interested to hear your thoughts @whisht….

    Nick @nick


    I’m not arguing that @jimthefish is wrong on the changes that are happening, but (in a different way) we’ve been through something similar before which we might use as pointers to what might happen with the way people consume entertainment and that the alliance between content production and money mean that the big TV that drives streaming services like netflix, arent going to make the existing players go away (although their economic model may need adjustment into subscription services as well as free to air) and that whilst the medium of consumption is changing, it will have a smaller effect than Jim thinks in the medium term.

    We widened the debate somewhat by discussing whether AI and similar developments are really going to change things  ie the recent press coverage on the number of jobs that will disappear or whether they will just morph into something different, which is what historical major technology changes have done.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    However I think there is a difference between something that can be proven to be factually correct in an absolute sense (evolution) and something which is subjective and unproven (unproveable even).

    Depends how you define ‘factually correct’ and ‘absolute’. Natural selection is definitely provable by observation and experiment, and the fossil record suggests that it’s one of the mechanisms by which evolution happens. But I believe (though my biology stopped at about first year undergraduate level) that the biologists are still arguing over exactly how to account for the giant evolutionary leaps. The natural selection we can prove seems much more gradual.

    Nonetheless, I’d rate evolution as ‘proven for all practical purposes’, myself, together with ‘exact mechanics are subject to ongoing debate’. I think you’re a little over-confident about the factual nature of ancient history and the origins of Judaism, but that’s probably because you haven’t studied it at degree or post-grad level (I have) and don’t know just how much we don’t know. 😉

    Yahweh had a wife at one time for example.

    Which is where you get into problems of ‘factually correct in an absolute sense.’ It’s certainly possible that at least some sections of early Israelite society regarded Yahweh as having a consort, Asherah.

    Unfortunately it’s also possible that the inscriptions referring to Yahweh and his Asherah mean ‘sacred pole’, because there’s an article involved. Not ‘Yahweh and Asherah’, but ‘Yahweh and his Asherah’ – are they talking about the goddess, or some kind of cultic shrine to Yahweh? It also doesn’t help that the pictures don’t seem to be the same date as the inscription.

    Anyway, when Wikipedia says ‘ongoing debate’ they mean a) we don’t really know and b) the professional academics are right in the middle of a flaming row. 🙂

    It evolved out of polytheistic religions that pre-existed it and merged elements of that and other middle eastern religions before it came into existence.

    That’s the ‘Canaanite folk religion’ theory. Again, not exactly ‘factually correct in an absolute sense’. Another ‘ongoing debate’ and subject to archaeological discoveries wrecking what people had previously thought – trust me, this happens fairly often. For example, you mention that:

    Even then, what is generally considered to be the key elements of the religion (The Torah for example) weren’t written in their current form until much later

    Except that discoveries made in the late 70’s include fragments that predate the Babylonian exile – which is believed to be when much of ‘our’ Bible was edited into its current form. So again, the argument is between ‘old oral and written traditions collected together and edited’ and ‘completely rewritten’.

    The problem with biblical history is that everyone has an agenda. And I do mean ‘everyone’. 😀

    Nick @nick


    The mechanisms which cause evolution (natural selection, isolation of species, random mutations, and the others) are well understood both in theory and in practice, which is why the scientific community no longer considers evolution to be a theory. The details though, are a different matter.

    The problem with the fossil record is that there are huge gaps and what seem to be rare (like feathered dinosaurs) can turn out to be be more common place with the discovery of new locations of super-preservation. But the locations of super-preservation are relatively few at any particular time, cover relatively narrow periods of time and probably cover only a limited climatic/physical environment in contrast to the total environmental and bio-diversity of the time. Most life at any point of time isn’t preserved at all. According to wikipedia the current estimate is 8.7 million species today (with a large margin of error) – the number of fossil species covering over 500 million years falls within the margin of error. Obviously it’s going to be very difficult to distinguish between a real major evolutionary leap and missing information. Worse there is no DNA information, which makes tracking evolution much more difficult.

    Anonymous @

    @nick @bluesqueakpip

    Absolutely; agenda creating is the basis of a lot of arguments over evolution and fossil records. Even  Josephus discusses that very matter an awful long time ago…..

    Certainly Nick most theologians dedicate themselves to not only reinterpreting the words within the different scriptures but also collecting more portions of these scriptures which tend to be found ‘every now and then’ and throw universities and Hebraic/Aramaic schools into a psychological meltdown 🙂 which keeps everyone on their toes.

    The radio show, The Infinite Monkey Cage is great -have you listened to any of it?


    Anonymous @

    @nick @whisht

    @whisht -thanks Whisht, Mum would be happy.

    I’m not sure there’s too much to ‘spoil’ but what Nick was saying in brief terms was that Moffat, in the past few years, has taken the show out of the hands of the writers in the past and changed things which has, for some,  created problems and  in other places, even fury. This is about the past season and before. I recall you saying, @nick that the Aknaton episode with DocSmitty was one you said about: “don’t get me started on that!” 🙂

    Also you may have had issues with continuity problems in some of Moffat’s seasons too?

    I could get that wrong and please, if so, knock me about a bit. People use the words “a tad” so I’m taking that up more too. <*- -*>

    Thank you,



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    This is one of those ‘check location before issuing directives’ things:

    Sports Direct puts up an ‘English-only’ notice in Bangor store.

    For those of you who don’t know the UK, that’s a bit like putting up an ‘English-only’ directive in Montreal. 😀

    Missy @missy

    As the 13th Doctor has closed – which is not a surprise, what else is there to say? – I was unable to answer your posts

    @cathannabel and @thane15

    Sorry abut that, but I can’t always spend so much time on here.  Anyway, suffice it to say quickly, I have my opinion and you both have yours – and I could be wrong.  Time alone will tell.


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @missy @thane15  We will agree about some things and disagree about others, and we’re all going to have to wait and see how it all pans out!  I guess one of the biggest differences is that if I really don’t enjoy JW’s interpretation of the role (or the way it’s written), that wouldn’t confirm for me that it was wrong to have a woman doc, just that this particular woman doc didn’t work too well.  But the main thing is, we all love Who or we wouldn’t spend any of our precious time here, and we can all hope that there are things to love about the new Doc and the new showrunner, and the new series when it finally arrives!

    Missy @missy


    As a whovian, I can only agree with you about it’s survival.

    What makes it impossible for me to accept a female Doctor I think, is that having watched the very first episode, as it was aired, and every series since, I have a mind set about it being a male.

    Chosing JW to take the role, from what I’ve seen of her, is simply adding insult to injury in my book, and I cannot get passed it. *shrugs shoulders*


    Missy @missy

    There isn’t a thread for radio, so I’ll use this for now.

    Have any of you dear people ever heard of a radio show called “AROUND THE HORNE?” It was aired between 65-68 and one of the funniest, politically incorrect shows I’ve heard. How the BBC got a away with it is a mystery.

    Also, Mark Gatiss is narrating another  series of The Man in Black, on Radio 4 Extra , which I listen to a lot.

    The amount of excellent stories and plays, fact and fiction are an Aladdin’s cave for me. How about you?

    toinfinityandbepond @toinfinityandbepond

    Round the Horne was actually an extremely progressive show for it’s time,

    from the wiki…

    <i>Round the Horne</i> played an important role in establishing gay culture within the public consciousness.<sup id=”cite_ref-5″ class=”reference”>[5]</sup> Julian and Sandy and their use of the gay slang polari gave the country a sympathetic weekly portrayal of non-threatening openly gay characters, many of whose catchphrases passed into everyday usage. A good example of this is the adjective “naff” to denote bad or shoddy, even used by the Princess Royal (as a verb) in a clash with the press some years later. They were able to get away with innuendo that would have been unheard of a mere ten years before — in one episode, Sandy refers to Julian and his skill at the piano as: “a miracle of dexterity at the cottage upright“; innocuous in itself, unless one knows that a ‘cottage’ was the polari term for a public toilet where men met for anonymous sexual encounters and ‘upright’ referred to an erection.<sup id=”cite_ref-6″ class=”reference”>[6]</sup>

    This at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Nostalgia time 🙂   I have not only heard of Round the Horne, I recall it and its predecessor, Beyond Our Ken, with considerable fondness and I still find it funny, being old enough to get all the references. It ran 1965-1968, although I listened to it regularly only from 1966 onward when I was engaged in post grad research and living most of the time with my family in Norfolk. It was broadcast on Sundays around lunchtime, and we used to listen to it while preparing Sunday lunch.  Memory of it still evokes the smell of the Sunday joint roasting and the clatter of plates and cutlery as we laid the table.  My brother has tapes or CDs of most of the episodes, and can quote many of the sketches in their entirety.

    I suspect that many of the more risqué  puns and double meanings whooshed over some listener’s heads, but  Mary Whitehouse, the notorious campaigner for ‘public decency’, took great offense and tried to get the BBC to take it off air.  Fortunately and commendably the Director General paid her no attention.

    stevethewhistle @steve-thorp



    On the Wikipedia Julian and Sandy page

    It says “The fiftieth <i>Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures</i> novel <i>Happy Endings</i> by Paul Cornell features a Polari-speaking Silurian musical duo from the 30th century called Jacquilian and Sanki.”


    I don’t know if they are male or female.

    Missy @missy

    @mudlark: I dare say all of us will agree with that. *grin*


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Thank you and sorry to @wolfweed, @craig, @Bluesqeekpip, @jimthefish @rorysmith @Bleckonstopthebrave @nerys @winston @missy and @whisit (and anyone else I missed, I did make a list) for you kind words and no responding before.

    My stepson spent most of the summer having a succession of mental crises (I did, to be fair, mentally implore him to at least wait till I finished my degree before he went off the rails again, and bless him, he did), and now he’s started college and seems to be turning into a little swot (that might be my boy). Now he wants help with essay writing and references. Noooooooo!

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Bluesqueakpip – that article… I can buy they somehow forgot and sent the notice out to one of their non-English store (Don’t think it turned up in my local branch but then, I’d hardly know). Love they way they try to pass ‘must speak English at all times when they are at work’ as poor phrasing of ‘health and safety briefings must be carried out in English’. Plus, any reason why they can’t have the briefings in both languages?

    MissRori @missrori

    Hello out there.  I’ve been feeling some weariness of late. My personal life is in pretty good shape, but here in the U.S. of A. it’s been exhausting trying to deal with the news cycle.  Nothing but disasters, political bickering, and even sports and entertainment have become dragged down in the mire.  They say “look for the people who are helping” at times like these, but I’m not seeing a lot of that.  🙁  I’m not sure how to cope at this point.  I don’t have the same socio-political views as my loved ones, so I can’t turn to them, and I feel my closest online penpals shouldn’t be weighed down overmuch.  Any suggestions for how to cope?  I don’t want to just shut out the “real world”…thanks in advance.

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