Category Archives: Science

Test-tube Tribute Bands & The Ultimate Encore…

The Alternative Advent: Day 7

zztop advent postThere’s nothing remarkable about it—

All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself…

Johann Sebastian Bach

We live in an elegant universe, which according to some is composed almost entirely of a very large string section, indefatigably riffing out an eternal coda without rest. It has absolutely nothing to do with what it eats, no matter the Bard’s avowal that if music be the food of love— because it plays on regardless of physicists harping on about attraction.

It certainly has nothing to do with love … or sandwiches...

It is what it picks, plucks, taps, sweeps, shreds and strums— and it does it without a single fret, which might I suppose, render certain things inexplicable but at the same time, it would explain why the world goes round as it does.

It does it for us, so we can play ourselves; or with ourselves: ultimately it all depends on how enlightened or blind we want to become.

If you’ve ever heard of The Boys from Brazil or The Second Coming Project, you’d know that neither of them have anything to do with the universe, football or sex— unless of course, you count Pele’s Viagra commercials, which in a delightful quirk of the universe working in harmony to connect my vagrant ideas, I can ingeniously, albeit inadvertently have it all my own way and cover all the bases.

No, they are in fact about the cloning of a bunch of baby Hitlers and a bunch of baby Jesus’.

Now far be it from me to question the dedication of either party, since I regard such endeavours purely as entertainment first and then  just expect the inevitable ridicule to turn up at some point or other. However, as hypotheticals go, it’s an amusing one and all well and good until somewhere along the way someone has the notion to have them doing something together.

This would be problematic for some, because they’d probably get along— Jesus got along with almost everyone after all. But to do it, just to do it, would pose unique ethical problems, so they probably wouldn’t. The fact of the matter is, they couldn’t be trusted to get it done right.

Cloning should therefore, be left where it belongs— in the only place where ‘ethics’ is still a dirty word: reality television. And they should treat it with the levity it deserves.

The format would be the primary hurdle, but I was thinking along the line of something really quite simple. Something like:

The cloning of famous historical figures to create the ultimate tribute bands…

Take these guys for example:

Untitled-1 Robert Engels, Karl Marx & Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin

Sure, they were instrumental thinkers, but if we brought them back— I’d much rather see them with instruments. It could just be me but I think their resemblance to ZZ-Top is uncanny.

But why stop there when we could have:

jfk as bowie1x1JFK as David Bowie

grant flyn bogart gable 2 1x1Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable & Humphrey Bogart as The Beatles

malcom x jackson 1x1Malcolm X as Michael Jackson

miller and joyce do the proclaimers1x1James Joyce & Arthur Miller as The Proclaimers

The potential for abusing the genetic material of luminaries is boundless— and if I can have this much fun with google and photoshop, imagine how much fun the universe could have with a bunch of test-tubes and a T.V.

Half the game is 90% mental…

Yogi Berra

If Einstein had’ve had Scurvy…

The Alternative Advent: Day 3

einstein alternative advent 3

The Trials of Chip:

Autistic boy genius…

It had been Chip’s turn to impress the judges of the science fair for as long as he could remember; you were born for this he told himself, just five short minutes and it’s over…

He took the stand, avoiding the small damp patch left over from the experiment Tina had performed with the goldfish and bag of washing powder only seconds before— took a deep breath and began.

“If Einstein had’ve had scurvy the world would be a different place— however, he did not and so the ‘model of the universe’ is incomplete. It’s almost as if the way we’ve looked at the sky because of this, has been determined by the very darkness of space itself— and in doing so— left darkness occupying the thoughts in spaces we should have left retaining their brightness. Take the apple for instance— the true ‘model of the universe’ and inspiration for centuries of health, thought and enlightenment. If [they] hadn’t been so eager to get to ground, then Newton wouldn’t have been so inspired to’ve been so quixotic with his numerals; William Tell wouldn’t have been immortalised by a cowboy and sailors wouldn’t have had so far to go with only a paddle to skull to shore.”

It’s going well he thought, not daring to look up… right then—

“Instead of looking to numbers, which is understandable since mathematicians seem to like them; which is foolish, since there are few of us who know what to do with them besides pulling the odd face and nodding knowingly— and smirking. We should look elsewhere.

“So, if Einstein had been a poet, he’d have chosen a different route, and perhaps weighed his own impressions with his own collection of grimaces. Had he been a carpenter instead of a clerk, or perhaps a gardener with a keen interest in botany— the development of something tangible, like explaining the movement of clouds, would have been cultivated instead. He would also have found the apple and in it— the solutions he wanted so desperately to prove; since a mathematician without proof is just a scientist practising; a gardener without a crop just goes hungry for a little while— so the ‘knowing’ is preferable to the ‘perhaps’ of thought.

“An apple has a core, a seed, a skin, a stalk and a leaf; through which a branch, a trunk and a network of roots affiliate. They connect, create and make anew— much in the same way a human conditions itself in similar circumstances. So I ask you: how would a scar affect a dream? You sleep to heal and dream to co-ordinate but: a scar is a tissue that disrupts the surface: it is a raised imperfection; imperfections are distortions which need negotiating, meaning obstacles, meaning what?”

Chip surveyed his audience, having paused dramatically. That’ll get ’em he thought—

The purpose of the rough, is to reproduce without the impediment of a lumpy bed. The bark, the ground, the leaves— the skin of the apple— and it’s through which and its cycles we come to the ‘model of the universe’…

“Let’s throw away the universal constant because we don’t need it, not today— because although ‘the speed of light’ is inextricably wrapped up with the ‘time’ we need for the fruition of proof— and not least because I’m burdened by using a two dimensional ‘model of the universe’— combined with the long-time over-looked projection of ‘apple-time’— which is like space-time but better for you; both nutritionally and for the purposes of understanding. Especially if you happen to be a lesser exponent of ‘mathematical aptitudes’. This is mainly because there are none required whatsoever.”

He took a small pause and though he observed a distinct lack of fidgeting; he found some of the bewildered gawping a little discomforting. He took some water and continued…

“The nineteenth-century author Charles Lamb wrote: “Nothing puzzles me like time and space, because I never think of them.” Had he considered the benefits of consuming more fruit in his adolescence, he just might have been pondering differently— realising how ultimately fruit-ile and flawed his reasoning, or lack of it was. You see time flies like an arrow— and just because I like the sound of it: ‘fruit flies like a banana’. But what if they did not and what if ‘time’ could not fly at all. What if it fell?

“Let us consider the implications of such a concept shall we? If ‘time’ falls, it means that ‘time’ can be caught— meaning the future is tangible and can be stopped. In other words: if an arrow was aimed at an apple and [it] moved— the arrow would move to hit [it]. The probability of a hand interfering with the natural determinant of an apple striking the ground by catching it, would also curve the trajectory of the arrow— although, because the interruption could be construed as a ‘distortion’— by the rules we’ve already conceived of— though slight and tersely I may add— it’s of worth to note which would be struck first— ‘the hand’ thus resolving the offending variable— or ‘the apple’ to which the attraction originated…”

Chip looked up from the pages he’d been shuffling to a blank room filled with blank faces. The judges at the front of the hall began whispering amongst them selves— twitching their eyebrows as they did so, before the tall gentleman with the distinguished forehead took to his feet.

“Let me see if I’m understanding you correctly; you say the universe can be explained using an apple. And you prefer this method, to that of one of mathematics? In fact you’d dispense with mathematics altogether!”

“That’s correct sir.” said Chip.

“Then why may I ask, an apple? Couldn’t the same be said about an orange— or anything else that grows on trees for that matter?”

“Well, no sir. I do not believe you could.” said Chip. “Not only is it unlikely that Sir Isaac Newton even ever saw an orange— not up close or anything. But I don’t even like oranges…”

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently…

Friedrich Nietzsche

27218_originalI’m exhausted and’ve barely made a dent catching up, but I’ll get there eventually!

I think my blog-watching will take a few days yet…

Cosmetic labels are linguistic wonders…

And we’re still following on:

What other literary form serves up so much suggested promise while remaining— for legal reasons no doubt, so thoroughly content free?

It’s unfathomable really…

IMG_4691 fix 222Unfathomable perhaps, but it also just happens to be both a trick and a rhetorical question, because everyone knows there’s not a wider selection of swill to be found anywhere in the world, than on wine-menus. But while descriptions of wines at least only pushes the boundaries of creative writing without affecting its taste; with cosmetics— mainly in the hair-care range, there seems to be a desire to push the very boundaries of nature itself— which isn’t nearly so tender to the tongue.

So much so, I feel my dream qualification is finally on the verge of being realised: the field of un-natural science, where I can finally combine my skills to create a superior face-cream that “reduces the appearance of being a raddled old hack.”

A major supermarket chain has in the meantime created its own wonder of nature with its exclusive: Physique hair-care range, which “cleverly uses magnetic-like forces to create the style you want.” Quite how cleverly and magnetic-like, remains to be seen, but I distinctly recall something about attraction and repulsion as long ago as ‘little’ school, and while it would be the perfect means to keep the proximity of boys and girls’ faces to a minimum, the last thing we’d want would be a generation of boys’ heads being thrust together uncontrollably, particularly at such an impressionable age.

Maybe the Volume Collection just employs good old-fashioned electro-static forces— the force that dares not speak its name in applied trichology since being implicated in the dreaded “fly-away hair” scandal of ’87 or more recently— as proposed right here, with the unlicensed testing on old-aged pensioners: an essential read I assure you.

And then there’s the Control Collection for smooth sleekness, as opposed to that ‘other’ type of sleekness that lacks both? Perhaps it was developed for bonces with surface tension issues, we may never know. I on the other hand have more reason to fear:

Gukk: using the strong nuclear force to stay all day

Which doesn’t sound much like a barn-burner to me; rather something you’d evacuate the whole farm for… and then at least give the surrounding villages a heads-up.

At least it’s not as mind-bogglingly stupid as responding to “permanent, light reflecting colour”.  with totally non-light-reflecting hair dye; for a completely natural look..

Natural look?

It would reflect darkness for crying out loud!

Which under some circumstances, I agree might be cool! If it wasn’t so f@#$%*£ stupid…

Besides. I have a follow-up!

Triboelectric Knitting: the new water-boarding for kinky OAPs…

The Alternative Advent: Day 6

tiboelevtric knittingAnd I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects—

Haven’t yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?

Bill Bryson

Is it any way to capture food?

Of course not, but despite the indelible blow they struck for hapless babysitters in Halloween, their appeal was on the wane— until fairly recently. The information age have made them sexy again. Forget about knitting being the new ‘going out’; because that Roman-Candle just never sticks. Last week, ‘staying in’ was having a revival; before that it was black and it won’t be long before the new black is once again an absence of colour.

It is for some though, the new sex and while there are octogenarians who’d argue that this was always the case— and not just because it strengthened hand muscles and their ability to grip things— but because it catches the imagination in ways I’m only just beginning to understand.

Even I cast a few loops from time to time and rip away for a while error free. I leave plenty ‘signatures’, quite substantial some of them— but any past-time where the word ‘mistake’ is semantically questionable gets the thumbs up from me. They’ve been doing it with every single subject in English schools for a long time.

And is it really surprising it’s thought of as sexy, with stitches called the stockinette or the garter? If they’re for the flirty knitter, perhaps the ribbed stitch is arguably exclusive for her.

That said, I say not. As impressive as these double-knitted, slip-stitches look, they’re just a little bit unmanly. Instead of ‘stitch one, purl one’, why not alternate to the ever diminishing decimal places of pi: ‘stitch one, purl four, stitch one, purl five, stitch nine’ and on and on, ad infinitum?

Combine that with the geometric elements of Cavandoli macramé and you’ve got yourself some yarn-candy for the geeks. For the super geeks though, you’d need something much better…

Triboelectric Knitting

You see, some materials create more static electricity than others because of their tendency to either give up electrons and become positive in charge or attract electrons and become negative in charge.

Wool for example, just throws its electrons away willy-nilly— so it stands to reason that if you made needles that wolfed them down, you’d have the potential for potential energy. That and electric shocks for whomever was brave enough to use them.

I’d probably try a spiny, teflon-coated-copper-core, with a Styrofoam moulding to bring it flush with exposed spines, and finish it off with a non-conducting gripper, so as not to earth any of the latent charge before it had time to get frenzied; or just ask someone who knows the difference between beans to make some for me.

Add to them a miniaturised version of the pedometer to record the number of stitches stitched in a sitting and you’ve got yourself the makings of a game: equation based of course.

There would be two sums involved:

  • The duration of the session divided by the number of stitches recorded; and

  • dropped stitches divided by shocks received

And by dividing the the product of those two sums, you get your index.

Of course, the real fun would be to give a couple of these new fangled sticks to season hardened biddies who have a stitch count you can measure in the balls [of yarn] per minute, or BPMs…

And then just sit back and see what happens…

They’d do it for the status amongst the other biddies—

And respect of course. Who’d wanna mess with a juiced up granny?

Mootax & the mood-syntax button…

I never did very well in math—

I could never seem to persuade the teacher that I hadn’t meant my answers literally

Calvin Trillin

IMG_2343Sometimes the answers lie in what we choose not to say:

The calendar is stricken and reversed; as such, much better counting down to something I fancy. It is a solution most ordinary, but alternative enough had I not known of the palindrome. But no ordinary one: the alternative palindrome.

I’d start at one and on to 12, halt and return forth-with; or perhaps a pattern based upon the alternative kaleidoscope, which unlike the original model, wasn’t random at all, but split into 4 alternating groups descending by a day at a time— in multiples of 6. The alternative ‘primes’ method was considered for a few minutes but disregarded for being too stupid— but it was the only one that was.

I quite liked it at first: the idea of making something, except when it fell on a day that was ‘prime’ in which case, I just ignored it; and why not? I happen to be prime too also: divisible by myself and one. It’s not something I’d care to try— I saw Braveheart, all stretched out and screaming. So no.

It was even suggested I take a look at the ISO 8601 Original date system, a system designed to prevent confusion and the misplace of time in the future. After all, we wouldn’t want to confuse my date of birth as the year 26111976 would we. Although it wouldn’t surprise me, I’ve met few who’d have to think about it for a while. Anyway, ISO was over-ruled, not just because it was bollocks, but also mean to imbeciles. It was a conscience call.

In any event, we’ve all been in the situation where we’ve needed to write something to someone about something and have struggled. Perhaps the page in mind was too ‘industrial’ or ‘salty’ to have resolved or conveyed what ever the message should have read. It does put a dampener on things, especially if you end up sending a load of ‘unfs’ and ‘ucks’ anyway. Help should be at hand— perhaps in the form of:

The Mood-Syntax Button

Or Mootax for short. It would be an ideal addition to future generations of Word. Not that I can imagine having much faith in it were it so.

Already this morning, it’s tried to persuade me that, ‘I am divisible by myself and one is I not?’ And that ISO 8601, is ‘a system designed to prevent confusion and misplace the time of the future.’ Perhaps it was just being alternative; wasn’t it Agent Mulder who coined the phrase, I believe Microsoft Works?

That said, I do like the notion of the misplacement of time because of a computer error– not all that removed from yesterday is it?

In order for Mootax to work optimally, it would have to be used in conjunction with voice recognition software. A good barney on paper is nothing compared to one: au natural. The minute the fingers get involved there are too many rules; deflation ensues and that constant voice of reason’s forever telling you, ‘you can’t write that.’

So do not…

Switch on, log-in, ‘f’ and blind, cry, whinge, la, laugh, grit, snort or rabbit, ’til a voice you have no more. Convert it to text, highlight it and then select the appropriate mood. I think you’d have to have the option of selecting multiple moods for any passage, including an ‘and’ or ‘but’ variable. For example:

Soft but ‘pissy’ and ‘indifferent but sincere’ wouldn’t have the same ring to them were they both, and not at the expense of either. But that’s where the custom settings would come into play.

A simple questionnaire would suffice in order to capture a Mootax setting which could be pre-programmed and used whenever you felt like it.

I’d want the amnesia setting with the but of: a tendency to forget.

And for those who prefer to type: A pressure sensitive keyboard with an auto-correct facility included at no extra cost…

Mince & the disappointment of a meal gone wrong: if you cook in bad-taste, your product will be plentiful in it…

Food is an important part of a balanced diet—

Fran Lebowitz

522756_10150808745566041_675659681_nI like my kitchen, always have— I’m in it at the minute. I’m close to the kettle so a nice cup of tea is never far from reach; I tend not to snack particularly, but if I fancy a hearty round of ‘wiches, I don’t have very far to move.

As it happens, I’m also quite partial to cooking. I have a few signature dishes that I whip-up every now and then but one night decided to cook a simple mince-dish: easy-peasy right?

I like to think of a meal made from mince like a bicycle accident— easy to do but occasionally hazardous to health. I’m sure that if time were no obstacle I’d add mince to my already brimming list of clutter which really deserves a graph of some kind. But it isn’t on my list, yet— it’ll have to wait its turn along with experimental mathematics, back-burners, high-hopes and the probability of inevitable things.

Anyway, I’m digressing because my culinary plan was flawed before I’d began but it wasn’t until the mince had started to defrost that I realised I had too few ingredients. No peppers or mushrooms or any vegetation for that matter— greens-schmeens, just details, a minor over-sight, I thought. I’d learned long ago that any delicacy, mince-wise or otherwise can be made all the more fragile by bombing it with anything healthy.

I like to think of what happened next as a kind of playtime— egged on by the uncontrollable childish regression genie that’s almost impossible to re-bottle once out. I had what I thought was the wonderful idea: I could use kidney beans and tinned tomatoes to make up for the ingredient that wasn’t there … and blending the be-Jesus out of them.

Out came the Kenwood and with it, my utmost to make a mess and a mockery of the most basic kitchen etiquettes … and blend. Not because it would improve the meal in any way, in fact I distinctly remember thinking, how horribly wrong it could go, but— because it felt sneaky, and after realising, again long ago that cooking was just a caper for grown-ups; that knives and hand-held mixers were really just toys: how could I not? I decided to add three whole onions and blend those too.

And then I found the garlic…

I do like the stuff, but since I was being typically over-zealous, I got a little carried away and started mashing it, adding clove after clove— mainly because I enjoyed playing with the crushy-handle-thing you use to kill it. I couldn’t stop.

If you can imagine the properties of freshly mixed cement, you’d be on the right track in imagining what I had recreated it in my kitchen. It didn’t actually taste that bad at first. It was pretty fucking bad, don’t get me wrong— I managed to finish what I served myself up, bat I did with the rest is another matter.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the best dish warm would be mince; I shudder still, recalling it.

By the following day all the sense of fun and wide-eyed joy I’d had beating my ingredients as though harbouring ill thoughts against them was gone. The tearing and shredding and the foaming at the mouth over the really good bits was a distant memory. It was all replaced with the disappointment of allowing exuberance get the better of me. You see, If you cook in bad-taste; without any doubt, your product will be plentiful in it.

Leaving it over night a couple of times however gave me ample time with which to pull out all the stops and solve it’s mysteries and in due time found inspiration in The Great Escape— if you recall, they needed to destroy the dirt from the tunnels and found they couldn’t— not one of their most ‘positively brilliant’ pieces of thinking but maybe, just maybe … I could dilute it? Wean some of the vast quantities of garlic in it to a more palatable level. If I couldn’t, I’d just disguise it…

I remember it was an idea which had me grinning at the myriad possibilities. I even toyed with the notion of filling up a couple of socks with grated cheese, placing them in my trousers and using my feet to hide the offending taste, but I abandoned it, worried about becoming just another statistic. I don’t think any of us like to think we’re influenced by the what we watch— especially whilst preparing meals in a kitchen during peace-time.

It was such a horrid waste of cheese…

My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.

William Faulkner