Battle at Kruger

 Watch as a baby buffalo is caught in the jaws of four lions, then acts as the rope in a tug of war between the lions and some crocs, and finally gets rescued by her extended family.
Simply amazing

Was I the only one rooting for the lions?
I say that a baby lion is cuter than a baby buffalo and on that faultless logic I won’t sleep tonight for worrying about what happened to the lions.
They  have to eat too you know.
There are of course some who would suggest that animals getting eaten alive is the sort of thing that goes on every day when Disney isn’t around.
We have a name for these nasty people – we call them scientists.
In an ideal world they are responsible for seperating fact from that which we wish to be true.
Here endeth my sermon.
Go in peace.


Why Ozymandias?

I have this poem on the door of my lab.

Why Ozymandias?
Obviously it’s one of my favourite poems. I am always reminded of the final scene from Planet of the Apes where Taylor comes across the upper half of the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand.

You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!


No matter how important I think I am,
No matter how important we think this civilisation is,
No matter how important we think the human species is,
No matter how important we think the planet Earth is,
In the grand scheme of things we are only here for a very short time.
Let’s make the most of it.

The central theme of Ozymandias is mankind’s hubris. In fourteen short lines, Shelley condenses the history of not only Ozymandias’ rise, peak, and fall, but also that of an entire civilization. Without directly stating it, Shelley shows that all works of humankind – including power structures and governments -eventually must pass into history, no matter how permanent they may seem at the apex of their influence. Ozymandias’ short-sighted pride seems amusing at first – until the reader realizes that the lessons conveyed are equally applicable today. All things must pass.
From Wikipedia

I like this website for poetry because it includes readers’ comments which are educational in themselves. I’m sure there are other such sites out there – if you know of any you would recommend please let us know.

Ken Robinson on Ted.com

This talk is beginning to develop cult status, and rightly so.

I can’t embed from ted.com, so this is from youtube (not sure how they managed to post up a 20 minute video).

Do schools kill creativity?
“A must-see for every parent and teacher. Education guru Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. Sir Ken Robinson is author of “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative,” and a leading expert on innovation in education and business. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.) More TEDTalks at http://www.TED.com

The Stanford Prison Experiment

There are some things which are worth knowing which are outside the realm of Physics.

I have often thought it questionable to brand a specific generation of Germans as morally (and by implication genetically) inferior because of their role in the holocaust. It’s not to excuse what happened, but rather to acknowledge that if you or I were living in those circumstances in that period, chances are we wouldn’t have acted any differently, and we need address what that says about us.

The Stanford Prison Experiment carried out in 1971 illustrates this better than anything else I can think of.  I have been showing it to my senior classes over the last day or two of term. Hopefully it will encourage some of them to ask questions.

Initial feedback was very positive.
One more reason why it’s crazy not to have youtube in schools.

The clips get taken down and others post them back up from time to time, so do a search for “Stanford Prison Experiment” on youtube.

This is a variation on the above; it’s a talk from Dr Philip Zombardo, who co-ordinated the experiment in 1971.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. In this book, Philip Zimbardo summarizes more than 30 years of research on factors that can create a “perfect storm” which leads good people to engage in evil actions. This transformation of human character is what I call the “Lucifer Effect,” named after God’s favorite angel, Lucifer, who fell from grace and ultimately became Satan.
From Youtube