Posts from 11th March 2005

Mar 05

THE FT TOP 25 ANIMALS – 20. Pandas

Blog 7Post a comment • 387 views

We love the underdog right? Nature doesn’t. The history of evolution (and one would imagine slightly less intelligent design creationism) is full of animals which did not quite make it. The dodo for example was a big stupid evolutionary backwater. What animal in nature at the moment is inhabiting the evolutionary ejector seat, what animal really has little time left.

Well if we left nature to its own devices it would clearly be the panda. Big, cuddly food fascist and sexual loser, the panda is the emblem of the World Wildlife Fund for a reason. Well two:
a) It is a big time endangered species
b) Awww, cute and cuddly wuddly.

The pandas I am most acquainted with* are not ones found in zoos. Rather they are the ones found in traveling funfairs, to be won on some sort of bunco booth game. A stuffed toy alternative to the definitely not endangered at all species of goldfish-in-a-bag. Well the individual goldfish are extremely endangered, but the species is much hardier than the rubbish panda. Mainly because it is a lot less picky about what it eats (sawdust), and has absolutely no problems in the sexual department. It is even unclear if pandas are bears or not. Sacred animal to the Chinese they may be, but they are stupid, lumbering lumps of cutesy slackerdom. Perhaps bamboo deforestation has not helped the humble panda, but this is not an animal which wants to help itself. The only reason pandas are still around is because they look good. But they are natures punching bag: that is a reason they have black eyes I guess.

*Not including police panda cars of course, he says in his wideboy gangster London patois.

Blog Admin Post – Titles!

Blog 7Post a comment • 675 views

Boring admin post for all the regular posters on FT: we’re starting to use titles! Currently it’s only Blog 7, but when the blogs are tweaked to match the front page a bit better, we will probably turn on titles on all the blogs. To help you remember i’ll be adding a blog post template that just says “USE THE TITLE FIELD, FOOL” (or somesuch), and that’ll make you look above the main bit where you type where you’ll see the empty “Title” field.

The title is the bit that will persist on the front page summaries. Sometimes the first few words of a blog just aren’t enough.

Edit: I’ve just checked the blogger code, and there’s a maxlength=”150″ on the form, and that work ok

The Physics Detective Part Eight — Feng is Bond, James Bond

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 548 views

The Physics Detective Part Eight — Feng is Bond, James Bond

Didn’t the guy seem a bit too smooth? Up until now he’s been portrayed a bitter person who jumped to the enemy camp looking for vengeance against his former boss. But under questioning, he’s verbose, eloquent, enamoured with his research, has nothing but praise for everyone he’s ever worked with, and hangs out with cute Asian babes during coffee breaks. That’s not a physicist, that’s a MYTH.

The lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore?” started running through my head while reading this week’s installment …

Anyhow, Feng didn’t drop any bombshells … so I’ve got a nagging feeling that the bombshell details are in there but I’m missing them, and I’m stumped as to what they are …

… unless … :

Some measurements were confused as they accumulated in the spectrometer; I took them for mine but they were someone else’s. I made up a great theory assuming they were mine.

Huh? How can this happen? How can you not know what your own data looks like? Have you ever been on the job and confused your own work with somebody else’s — five minutes after you supposedly worked on it? Methinks Feng is lying … so what else is he lying about??

[footnote: I have searched the internet looking for other science blogs, journals, or whatnot that are covering this serial scientific mystery theatre, and I haven’t found any. This sort of commentary is a world exclusive for Proven By Science. I hope you were sitting down for that one — try to contain your excitement. In the meantime, your fix of real science for the week is here.]