Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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Substituting for ‘crazy’

As I’m sure I’ve argued before, words really do matter in some contexts. They both reflect and define our realities, and can indicate to each other what we feel and think about things, as well as what’s acceptable in groups.

People might now switch off because “omg the PC police” but, try replacing “political correctness gone mad” with “people would like respect” and see how things look…

booksinsane

Yeah, no, it really isn’t

Today’s subject is the increased use of terms that usually reference mental ill-health being substituted for descriptors of the unusual and notable like baffling, unconscionable, inexplicable, astonishing, amazing, awesome, fantastic, brilliant, shocking, clever, super, awful, despicable, outrageous, indefensible, unfair – and many more besides; I am (sadly) not a thesaurus.

That’s a big range of stuff to throw words like crazy, insane, mad, batshit or mentally ill at. I think it’s more common in America (especially insane) but seems fairly ubiquitous now, especially in clickbait headlines (a root of many ills).

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Seattle Down

This June I made my way over to the Pacific North-West to see a dear friend of mine who had to move away from London last year.

I had THE BEST TIME so here’s a series of photos of me enthusiastically pointing at cool stuff, in an homage to another friend, the now world-famous (or at least in Canada) James O’Malley, who pointed at all the Canadian things.

I didn’t want to do a video, so you’ll have to make do with this! I’ll write some stuff at the end for those who are interested but first, pictures…

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Life of Pi

I’ve moved this book/film review over from my Posterous space because, well, Twitter bought them and it’s closing down. Boo!

Towards the end of 2012 I picked up, read and passed on my copy of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.

I wanted to read it before I went to see the film, because generally I prefer to compare film adaptations to books than the other way around. Once you see a film, you have your visuals and you carry them over to the book. I quite like to let my imagination (and the author’s words) do the work first time around.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book; it’s bite-sized compared to most of the 1000-odd page fantasy tomes I tend to wade through. It is at times amusing, upsetting, magical – there were some poignant lines I noticed and should have made a note of as I went along.

Before seeing the film, my impression of the story was that it was one of interpretation. The reader is left with questions and decisions to make by the end and I suppose the conclusions you come to are probably guided by the kind of person you are and the values you hold.

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Beehave in the beehive

A queen honeybee surrounded by workers.

This is an expanded post built on a pre-interview* task I completed recently – I found the material quite interesting and thought a few of my hymenoptera-fan friends would enjoy it!

In a honeybee colony, the queen is the centre of attention. She needs constant maintenance from her worker babies in order to remain happy, healthy and productive. How does she make sure they’re loyal and hardworking? 2007 Research from Professor Alison Mercer‘s lab at the University of Otago, New Zealand, offers some explanation.

Queen bees produce a cocktail of chemicals called the Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP), which attracts her young worker progeny and entices them to groom her. However, prolonged exposure to QMP can have some nasty side-effects and older workers actively avoid her for this very reason.

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No Yeo Valley

My brother recently sent me some interesting correspondence he’d had with Yeo Valley reps, due to stumbling across this fairly shocking content on their website:

the routine use of antibiotics as a preventative measure to treat our cows’ ailments is not permitted.

Well yes, good, but…

As a result of this Steve, the Herd Manager on one of our farms began investigating alternative options to the use of antibiotics and began studying a course on homeopathic treatments. Since then, Steve has been implementing what he has learnt by using homeopathic treatments and remedies to treat his cows for a number of issues, including warding-off flies and easing the cows’ stress levels when having their feet clipped.

The treatments have so far proved successful and, unlike with antibiotics, cows don’t build up immunity to these remedies. In fact, they encourage the cows’ immune systems to fight bugs themselves.The use of homeopathic treatments not only helps to develop a more robust immune system, it also means no withdrawal periods for milk and meat while the animal is being treated, as would be the case when antibiotics are used.

Argh. Seriously?! What a load of tosh.

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Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Now, I’ve had this in my drafts box for ages.

The zoo/farm is near Bristol and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a field trip for some time – the lack of desire to give them any money being one deterrent.

What is it? It’s a tourist attraction, specialising in school trips, pushing a creationist agenda. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect to see in the Bible Belt of the States but it’s been nestled in South West England for some time now.

You could be forgiven for thinking “that’s a bit harsh” and that they are in fact a decent, educational establishment. The website is fairly innocuous until you reach the far-right tab ‘Evolution and Creation‘, which links to a ‘sister website’, Earth History: A New Approach.

Some gems:

We believe the fossil record does not show one evolutionary tree of life but rather genetically controlled diversification from a number of original forms

As the currently measured value of an element’s decay rate (or half-life) has no theoretical basis, the only way we can test which is true is to compare the results against the primary evidence.

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Testing the Water

Hello dear readers.

A Request

I’d like to conduct a little survey – I don’t really know how big my regular readership is (I seem to coast along at around 20-50 hits/day except for when someone amazing links to the site or writing about very popular topic) or indeed what kind of people it is composed of.

There’s something I have been considering writing about for some time now; that is:

Animals in scientific research

Others write about it, it probably wouldn’t all be unique content, but I wonder if the demand/interest is out there. Please do leave a comment if you have an opinion on my writing further articles in this vein.

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