Archive for June, 2002

Missionary activity

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

There was a perfect fundie story in today’s Guardian, at the end of the World cup section. Not online, so I shall type in the par I loved.

It came from an interview with the 22 missionaries of the Northwest Bible Tabernacle Church, from Dallas, Texas: “We like to greet people as they come to the gound and talk to them. We also have a lot of free gifts to give away, including some videos and a booklet. The Ultimate Goal . The booklet contains quotations from the Bible, and also testimonies about Christ from some of the world’s greatest soccer players, including Brazilian defender Lucio and Liberian goalkeeper Louis Crayton.”

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Narrow road to the deep shit

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

From Cringely

Now Dash-O no

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taking flight

Monday, June 17th, 2002

We travelled yesterday to the Suffolk coast near Aldeburgh, to look at some of the work being done by Helen Gilbart, a painter currently working in the Geological museum in Cambridge.

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a social disease

Saturday, June 15th, 2002

someone has put one of my addresses in the “from” of a spam. The first I knew about it ws this morning, when there were ten bounce messages in my own incoming spam folder; apparently I have been selling life insurance all night to people at dial.pipex.com addresses who don’t exist.

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news on the brink

Friday, June 14th, 2002

A friend of mine rang up about half an hour ago, from one of the papers. They had had a tip — well, a suggestive silence — from a member of the Crown Appointments Commission, the committee that shortlists the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

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worms engender wit

Friday, June 14th, 2002

They are the most marvellous creatures. They can even make top ten jokes funny. The reason I had been going to the Ward lab was that it has quicktime of worm sperm so repulsive I needed to footnote the URL in my book.

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rowan williams

Friday, June 14th, 2002

Yet another article praising Rowan Williams in this morning’s Times. He is the outstanding candidate to become Archbishop of Canterbury. No journalist has seriously argued otherwise, no matter what bias they started with. The more closely he has been examined, the better his chances have become.

This is clear, I think, to everyone except professional Christians. Williams stands for everything the present Archbishop, Dr George Carey, has been trying with great success to eliminate from the Church of England. Yet if anyone else gets the job, he will be crippled from the start by the perception among broadsheet newspaper readers — who are the core constituency of the C of E — that he is a second-rater forced on the church by lobby groups.

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counting words

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

Word processors are written by programmers but used by writers. There are two things that show this in the case of OO. It has a command to select words by the line — which is a syntactic unit in programming and some forms of poetry. but completely arbitrary in prose — but no command to select by paragraph, which is a meaningful unit of prose. And it has its word count buried.

So when I started playing with it, I first made a document field that counted the number of words. This was unsatisfactory, as it would scroll off screen. Then I discovered how to write a simple dialogue box that showed a word count.

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tricky stuff, DNA

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

I have been ploughing through Genes vii, the standard undergraduate text on modern genetics. For the first time in my life, I understand the appeal of Michael Behe’s arguments: everything in biology is unbelievably complicated when you look at it up close.

Behe derives from this the idea that God must be responsible. I just doubt that anything as complicated as a worm, let alone as complicated as I am, actually exists.

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So the mike was live!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2002

this is an experiment in using Movable type. I hope that it will turn into something both fun and useful. For the moment there’s not much else to record of the day, except that I got to thinking how long a gene might be (measured in