Wake up Little Siouxsie – you’ve got to decide on Connie’s credibility in science sexism row

June 28, 2015

Alf has been keeping an eye on the harpies who have been hounding Sir Tim Hunt, the eminent scientist who has lost his job for being not too clever when he tried to make a joke.

It’s disappointing to find a Kiwi sheila among their ranks.

Yep. Siouxsie Wiles (the lass with a name that seriously stresses Alf’s spell-checker) chimed in to swell the chorus of condemnation of a bloke who is being judged and found wanting not because of any shortcomings in his scientific accomplishments but for a lapse in his social skills.

Or – as she put it – she has tossed in her 2c worth on the “latest sexism in science debacle”.

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A new species of primate is exposed by its willy – and maybe the missus has been monkeying around

April 14, 2015

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Alf is not normally inclined to discuss domestic matters on this blog.

But he was seriously upset this morning by an unkind remark from the missus.

She had been perusing the Daily Mail where she learned all about the discovery of a new species of monkey.

The discovery was made after scientists learned to distinguish the monkey by the appearance of its penis.

The white-cheeked macaque was discovered in the remote highland forests of south-east Tibet after researchers set up camera traps.

The monkey has a distinctive rounded penis rather than the arrow shaped genitalia found on other species in the area.

Officially named Macaca leucogenys, it earned its common name due to the pale whiskers on its chin and the side of its face.

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Headline writer needs to remember what happens when the law of gravity is applied to a van

April 7, 2014

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The Stuff headline writer stuffed things up scientifically in saying: Wellington driver’s 40m plunge a ‘miracle’

The first para of the report beneath the headline (with the luxury of having more words to play with) said:

Police say the survival of a van driver who plunged off a 40 metre cliff only to land in the middle of a busy Wellington intersection without harming anyone else a miracle.

Alf is inclined to quibble with this, because he has his own ideas of what constitutes a miracle.

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Yes, we are bringing Maori methods into meteorology – but why ignore old English thinking?

December 24, 2013
"Mother Nature didn't tell us it would be this bad."

“Mother Nature didn’t tell us it would be this bad.”

It’s great to see NIWA’s bosses understand the shortcomings of all their modern meteorological gadgetry and recognise the need to bring the skills of our indigenous people into the forecasting caper.

They banged out a press statement this week to explain why they are investing in Maori knowledge.

The statement kicks off by stating the obvious: forecasting whether we’re in for a hot, dry holiday or wet, humid conditions this summer can be a complex and tricky business.

Then it admits we need something more than all those fancy modern instruments to tell us what to expect, weather-wise.

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Is your todger a whopper or a tiddler? Dr Debby can tell you how your willy measures up

July 13, 2013

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What, exactly, will Dr Debby be doing with her data, now she has established the average size of a feller’s todger?

Maybe she will take the information home to see how her husband, boyfriend or whoever he might be measures up.

Another thing: in the name of research, did Dr Debby get to slap a measuring rod along each dick embraced by her study?

Alf’s curiosity about these matters was aroused – so to speak – when he learned (here) that the latest research into the average penis size held few new surprises.

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It’s no bullshit – survey finds sociology and political science are the faculties to be axed

July 14, 2012

Great news for Alf, who long has harboured suspicions about the worth of social scientists.

According to a survey in the USA, which invited respondents to identify the social sciences we should kill off, sociology and political science ranked as the top two disciplines deserving the axe.

Not necessarily the most scientific of surveys, it could be argued.

But a survey nevertheless, and all the more credible for reinforcing Alf’s prejudices.

This is bad news, of course, for the social scientists who are desperately trying to overcome the impression they are irrelevant and deserve to have their faculties closed.

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The pitch experiment: if whisky dropped into Alf’s glass at this pace, he would turn teetotal

May 13, 2012

Alf has been fascinated since first learning of an experiment begun across the Tasman in 1927. Actually, he is more fascinated by the people who find it fascinating.

It demands much more patience than watching paint dry or grass grow and the Daily Mail today asks: Is this the most boring experiment ever?

It involves scientists watching drops of pitch form.

There have been eight drops in 75 years.

But the rate of fall is slowing. The last drop fell 12 years ago.

The current custodian of the experiment is a Professor John Mainstone.

He has been watching since the 1960s, although he is bound to have muttered “bugger” on five occasions, because he has missed all five drops that have fallen in that time.

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