Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Purbeck - Barcode cliff, coloured by Liberty'sThat last post wasn't really very good, was it?


In a bid to make amends (well, bump it down the screen a bit), here's some other stuff.

Via docman on Flickr I found this family name site. It tells you where the Jones's live, and shows clustering of names. Of course, it does only apply in Holland, and my knowledge of Netherlandese geography doesn't quite extend to being able to place Amsterdam (but I know Rotterdam is nearly at the border), so I can't get much information from it, other than the joy of discovering that there are 219 people or households (I don't know, I can't read Dutch) call with the surname Jones.

Bizarrely there are 3 households with the surname French (just think about it for a while). There are six Yorks, 15 Cornwalls and 39 Londons. There are 77 Bakers but no Butchers.

And it's quite odd, picking surnames at random from either side of the family brings up 900-ish each time.

Anyone else see that Story of God thing on Sunday? As my brother and I err on the side of science, we both watched it (having earlier managed to watch Songs of Praise. General lethargy, you understand, mixed with Christmas carols. But who on earth [or indeed in heaven above] decided that having Diane Louise Jordan reading out a scripted "Wow" was a suitable introduction to the programme?). It was quite good other than my brother's flatmate sticking an oar in to tell us to read "Angels and Demons" if we want to know more.

I know enough of what the bored and boring people on the Tube read to know that that is a Dan Brown book. As in the creator of highly formulaic, near sci-fi, badly written dross? I haven't read the book, but I've read the back cover and a small section of the Da Vinci Code, which was enough to realise that reading Benelyn ads on the Tube is likely to be more interesting, more stimulating and more informative.

Which reminds me of a couple of other things. Two firsts: one I nearly considered changing carriage last night due to a voracious mutterer. Imagine Father Jack as portrayed by a biochemistry researcher (you know, the same otherworldliness as botanists and geologists, but who literally don't get out as much), ranting about tax and with frequent use of the "cumth". I think he was intending something stronger but couldn't quite remember how to say it. But I didn't in the end, and he disappeared off to pound the side of the train as it pulled out.

The second was reading Metro. Having so far failed to notice were this are distributed (I only seem to be handed free copies of the Guardian). I can't remember what the cover story was about, but it was done so virulently that not even the Times would stoop so low. Further in, and it's ranting about various things, as well as managing to have two items on the same page saying the same thing (a technique I noticed the Guardian doing recently). By the time Victoria came, I was glad of the crowds denying me the space to read it. I put it down, and the guy opposite asks for it, reads it, and gets off the train further down the line still avidly reading it. he obviously found the soduku, as there's nothing else in there which could possibly have held his attention for so long.

Anyway, back to God (and I don't mean the town). The BBC's favourite moustache, Robert Winston, was interviewing creationists, and these dappy people have made a museum to educate people about it, using displays which seem like a pastiche of 1930s stuff (which I suspect was outdated at the time), so showing small children riding a stegosaurus. Ok, so riding is a minor exaggeration, and maybe it wasn't a stegosaurus, but the general theme was people crowbarring the fossil record into Genesis, because Genesis says it happened this way, so even the stuff Genesis didn't quite cover has to fit in somewhere, and obviously Texans are the best placed people to work that sort of stuff out (remind me again, on which day did He create mitochondria?). Once again, they might not have been Texans, as any thick, misguided Southern Americans will do.

Anyway, they had RW and random bible-abuser (well, they are called bible-bashers) being interviewed on one-oh-six-point-two aitch-aye-cee-kay radio, by someone who could well have been the creationist's brother in law (he hadn't quite understood the concept of bias, but then he didn't appear to understand much). The two interviewees are exchanging views, but it's obvious the creationist is losing; he resorts to ranting about being denigrated, accusing RW of all manner of ills. RW noticeably hasn't thus far, which makes it all the funnier. Except, I know, that somewhere listening to the exchange will be people nodding and saying things like "Amen to that brother" (who says clichés are dead?).

All they're doing is hearing the accusations of some heinous crime, and agreeing with it. It also surprises me when I hear American debates that debating consists largely of accusing the opposition of doing anything which sounds bad, whether it's true or not. They work on the principle that mud sticks. They make the improbable into a mantra, and so it must be true, otherwise people wouldn't keep saying it would they?

It's so childish, and regrettably, so apparently effective.

Anyway, after all this, and a mutual bout of "remind me never to move to America, or at least the non-coastal bits", we both did other things (him Foo Fightersing, me Flickring. I know more FF songs than he does. I own more FF cds than he does, and I've only got one).

And then he forwarded me this.



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