Archive for February, 2008

Rationalist Week is coming!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 | Humanism, Thoughts

I passed through Chrismukkah without much of a stir, not really engaging in the spirit of the holiday if there were such a thing as it were. Much to Michelle’s disappointment no doubt.

However, I have recently concluded that it isn’t due to the fact that I am cold and empty inside. Notably because, while Chrismukkah isn’t my celebration of choice, equally such Christmas lovers as Michelle do not feel the same affinity to such events as Rationalist Week.

The reason I bring it up is because it’s two months till Rationalist Week which while in the planning terms isn’t too far away, from an outside perspective it is quite a while away, and yet I am beginning to get madly excited about it. It was when I found myself jumping up and down in the shower shouting “it’s nearly Rationalist Week” that I realised how much my actions echoed those of Michelle’s when she began talking about Christmas in October.

While this is an interesting point to meditate on, I also want to talk about something else – namely, that Rationalist Week is coming! We’re already in the planning stages putting together provisional events timetables, getting quotes for the various stuff we need to hire, fund raising, etc.

It’s all so exciting!


Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 | Life

The disadvantage of living on a huge fault line in the Earth’s crust is that occasionally, it moves.

We don’t. But it didn’t seem to save us last night. Sometime between midnight and 1ish the ground decided to shake measuring 5.3 in the Richter scale[1]. Not a bad effort for the UK, indeed it was the biggest we have had for almost 25 years.

What I was particularly surprised out was that the UK actually seems to have survived. While I feel it is too strong a term to use the phrase natural disaster because let’s face it, 5.3 on a global scale doesn’t even really qualify as an incident (and therefore let us call it a natural event), any kind of natural phenomenon just brings the UK to a stand still. For example you would think that a country known worldwide for it’s miserably rainy weather would be able to deal with rain. Of course in reality, you’d be wrong.

So I guess all that remains to do now is sit back and wait for someone in the church to claim this is God’s way of punishing homosexuals in Grimsby.

Return to the madness

Monday, February 25th, 2008 | Life

The season is upon us again.

With the general workload being very high this year anyway it’s easy to forget how manic it gets when coursework deadlines start looming. And they have. I found out today that the first AI23 coursework was in fact due in this morning. And it’s formative. So yeah, dropped the ball a bit there. Luckily it’s an easy enough piece of work that I get it done today – after all, I have 19 hours from my lecture finishing till 9am tomorrow :D.

Meanwhile my IS coursework is quickly approaching, GI32 is due in at the end of next week and SY32 is due in the week after along with the software for my final year project. There will be a second piece of AI23 coursework due in some time as well as the final report for my FYP and in between that I have to fit in planning for Rationalist Week, putting on a rocky horror night, a school disco, my TKD grading, writing One Life sessions and a to do list which is still over a page long. You’ve gotta love it :P.

To get no answers, please hold the line

Friday, February 22nd, 2008 | Tech

Guess who I’m on the phone to. It’s not hard. It’s the same people I am always on the phone to. UK Online. A somewhat ironic name it would seem. And opening itself up to derogatory word play but someone of any interlect.

Our connection isn’t just dropping, it’s just entirely going away and not coming back. Normally they do a tone test which magically starts it working again but even after that it died again tonight and support have nothing else to try.

After this happened yesterday advanced support refered me to their advanced support team (who don’t work this late) and who were supposed to re-adjust my line this morning. But didn’t. And are now scheduled to do it tomorrow when they arrive at work.

When someone first suggested we hire someone to manually ferry packets from the exchange and back I thought they were joking. Now I’m just wondering…

Rocky Horror sucks

Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | Events, Thoughts

Seriously, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve had such a headache as this stupid Rocky Horror night. We just can’t get a venue anywhere. We now have 5,000 flyers, subTV adverts and posters telling people a no venue wrong date event and advising them they can buy tickets from CATS despite the fact the tickets haven’t even gone to print yet.

Lunch? In a lecture?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 | Life

That’s right.

Free lunch no less.

Today’s IS lecture as a workshop hosted by Deloitte. Which included free lunch as well as ex-School of Computing student now Doloitte consultant Dan T. It actually turned out to be really interesting and a rather successful afternoon. Deloitte looks like a great place to work (despite my initial skepticism about consulting companies) and over a free drink on Deloitte in The Fav Dan said he could put me in touch with the right people to speak to about getting some sponsorship for Rationalist Week. Good stuff.

It smooths over the disaster that is Rocky Horror. Having sent the flyers to print yesterday afternoon I found out this morning that our venue has fallen through. So I’m currently desperately trying to find another venue for it. Argh!


Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | Life


I’ve spent the second half of this week in bed ill. Which was mighty inconvient given I have loads to do (still, went don’t we these days?). It also unfortunately resulted in me having to cancel my presentation at Skeptics Anonymous and my Valentine’s Day date with Chris from the CU. Still thanks to mt housemates, plenty of sleep and an endless string of DVDs I’m now back on my feet, at least provisionally.

Why we celebrate Darwin

Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | Humanism, Thoughts

A few people recently raised the question “why is A-Soc celebrating Darwin Day? It is just an excuse to have a go at religion?”

Of course, it isn’t. But it could seem to many people that were are advocating the link between Darwinism and atheism which Dawkins seems to suggest.

This I believe is probably a misconception. Dawkins does talk a lot about evolution and atheism for two reasons. Firstly, learning about evolution was the thing that pushed Dawkins into atheism. It was the turning point that he renounced his Anglican upbringing and joined the ranks of the infidels. Secondly he believes that Darwinism allows you construct a coherent world view without a god (which was difficult to do before evolution). This does not mean however that he advocated an inherant link between the two.

But I’m getting off the point. The reason we celebrate Darwin Day is not because of any inherent link between Darwinism and atheism (for which I believe there is none, as I demonstraited in my speech evolution – it’s a fact showing how evolution could be reconciled with modern theology so it seems silly for us to argue over it).

The real reason is that Darwin represents somewhat of an ideal, at least in legend if not in reality, of an open minded free thinker. Despite the fact his work and research was leading him away from his beliefs he remained true to the principles of science and reason and kept his mind open to new possibilities. That, is what being a free thinker is all about. offers DRM-free music

Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | Distractions, Tech has begun selling DRM-free MP3 music downloads! This has to be a big step forward to widespread availabilty of DRM-free downloads which is looking like the only way copyright owners are ever going to prevent (or at least reduce) illegal downloading on their work.

Tracks are available for £0.65 which is competitive to say the least and they claim to have a library of millions of tracks. While there is a lot of stuff in there I haven’t heard of, that may just be because I’m getting old – just looking down the list of top sellers I notice Arctic Moneys, Queen, Phil Collins, Stereophonics and plenty of others so there are plenty of big labels on board with this.

University spending on the Green Room

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Religion & Politics

Before I throw the 25 January edition of Leeds Student away, which I have been keeping around for this quote, I should mention the article entitled “wash your hands od extremism” which appears on page 4. The article notes…

The University of Leeds has recently spent £50,000 on the Islamic Centre, more commonly known as the Green Room, a place where Muslims can go to pray, and which has washing facilities.

As Gijsbert has previously pointed out, given the student body is mostly composed of atheists (or at least non-theists) where is the atheist centre?