“Shirtgate” scientist “mansplains” comet

Dr Matt Taylor, famously attacked by feminists for wearing the wrong shirt, explains how the Rosetta cometary mission is now coming to its successful end. It is good to see he escaped the feminist online mob fundamentally unscathed.


The news is that cometary water probably didn’t contribute to earth’s water but comets may have supplied some of the “building blocks” of life on Earth such as amino acids. Sir Fred Hoyle would be pleased. He used to argue that this sort of thing was likely.


Spanking one’s wife: a good resource

I recently came across this discussion which may interest some people. It is a fairly mature consideration.


I don’t necessarily recommend the practice. It probably works for some couples. I have seen reports that it is surprisingly common, with a large minority of couples indulging.

Not long ago it was widely accepted.

The wind blows hard

The wind blows hard through

the young orchard of his life;

he sets his face against it

and wrinkles begin to wither

the smoothness of the face

we gave him, etching lines

he will take through life, long

after we are gone.


(Julian O’Dea)

“Island dwarfism” and the “Hobbits”

The tiny size of the “hobbits” (Homo floresiensis) found on Flores in the Indonesian Archipelago presents a puzzle. One proposed solution is that these people were affected by “island dwarfism”.

However, as I wrote as a comment on this article:

I have two problems with this thesis. One is that Flores is not some tiny speck of land. Check it on an atlas. It is quite a large island. Also, there is no other evidence of island dwarfism in humans (people on Pacific islands tend to be larger than average if anything).

Secondly, there are several perfectly good examples of dwarfed human populations that are associated with one feature of the environment, namely life under the rainforest canopy. I understand that the palaeoenvironment on Flores has been proposed to be rainforest.

This island dwarfism idea keeps popping up to explain the tiny stature of Homo floresiensis. I don’t understand its appeal myself.

As it happens, I have proposed a theory for the short stature of Pygmies and Negritos based on their rainforest environment, and I suggested in a comment from the floor at a human biology conference several years ago that this factor might have been at play in producing the tiny skeletal size of Homo floresiensis. Some details are at this Wikipedia article.

Slim women are best

Rather than post the repugnant video propaganda I saw today that tries to convince young women that being sweaty slobs is good, I shall post a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Bather (1879) to remind us all that slender young women have long been admired.



It was only ever a sound

It was only ever a sound

to us, the boobook owl, and

now the sound has gone.

Its call filled many an

evening and blessed

our conversation.

But now the tone is gone, gone,

the voice and feathers furled,

and one more nest

lies empty in the world.


(Julian O’Dea)

… her perfect, doll-like features …

“With her perfect, doll-like features and soulful eyes, Mulligan could portray the calm, yet confused Rachel with aplomb, infusing her with both softness and intelligence, making her a very tempting prospect for Deckard.”

Cast/Recast: Blade Runner



Sean Young as Rachael on the left. Carey Mulligan on the right.

More of Carey Mulligan. I am not sure she would be quite right for Rachael. Still, a pretty girl …