Saturday, March 31, 2007

My BeliefNet Portfolio

I just took the Beliefnet Test - Belief 0 Matic
Here is my match.
To take the test go to:

Reform Judaism (100%)
Sikhism (82%)
Orthodox Judaism (80%)
Bahá'í Faith (79%)
Islam (75%)
Liberal Quakers (67%)
Unitarian Universalism (65%)
Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (62%)
New Thought (56%)
Scientology (53%)
Jainism (52%)
Neo-Pagan (51%)
Hinduism (47%)
New Age (47%)
Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (43%)
Mahayana Buddhism (42%)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (41%)
Orthodox Quaker (36%)
Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (35%)
Theravada Buddhism (32%)
Secular Humanism (31%)
Eastern Orthodox (31%)
Roman Catholic (31%)
Jehovah's Witness (28%)
Taoism (27%)
Seventh Day Adventist (27%)
Nontheist (20%)


On becoming computer literate in the 90s.

Converted by need I was assured no chance. Info-swamped - bought into rank by a machine. I am a new convert, a loyal stooge - mastering technology for the sake of survival. I strain to avoid the suction effect that the stranglehold of subservience requires but its beachead is solid.
All around are ministers preaching in bit waves drowning heresy by transistor talk.

When your skin is not so thick.
(Written shortly after my divorce)

They say words don't hurt but for me they sour. Like Aqua Regia dissolving gold, this venom of fibrillating junk bites holes into an emotional barricade already weakened by insult. I wish I had a skin to resist a detector foil that can magically throw back spite. It is for such a defense that I strive as I cling to a natural wall shelled to patchwork by the barbs of others.

Boundaries to oneself

An endless unity of existence which defies the perception of our senses holds us firmly into the closed loop of the total. All thoughts have consequence - ideas birth the aftershock. I therefore select careful inspiration to tread lightly on this passionate complexity.

In the News XXIV

Will Britain step up to the plate in hostage situation?
If they don't it seems likely that Iran will be justified in their action.
Now what would Maggie do?

Olmert claims to have won summer war
OK...but where are the Israeli soldiers taken hostage?

More pillaging by Hugo Chavez
Chavez moves ahead in killing the golden goose

Apology on Walter Reed,1,3035293.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
The government owes it to the veterans.

Jesse Jackson endorses Obama Run,8599,1605410,00.html
A possible kiss of death...maybe.

Friday, March 30, 2007


The concept of what a man is, is as old as philosophy itself. But even now we are no closer to the answer then we ever were. Masculinity is not a static term than can be defined with one brush stroke. Yes, there will be those who attempt to encapsulate masculinity in the cloak of machismo, or the milieu of the Alpha Male, but the truth of it all is that such a narrowest focus will always be overcome by the calculus of variety. Men are not uniform and neither is manhood. Now it is an unfortunate reality that masculinity has been defined in opposition to homosexuality in many a society but this has not always been the case. The Ancient Greeks for one saw masculinity and homosexuality as being intertwined. Spartan warriors often fought alongside their lovers in battle. Even the Ancient Romans were more open to homosexuality (although they had no problem in discriminating against women – a situation much improved under Judeo-Christian ethics). However with the rise of Christianity and Islam as the dominant faiths in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East same-sex masculine relationships became less tolerated. Homosexuals were pushed aside to create guardian societies. The male-female family unit took precedence (against which homosexuals were seen as a threat). While liberal democracy has chipped away at this model in the West its legacy is still persistent.
As a teacher it is important to realize that sexual orientation does not make one more or less of a male. I will emphasize this to my students. Masculinity is in a way a straw concept – for it is defined not what it is, but what it is not. While men have unique anatomical features that set them apart from women, the overlap with females on almost every other category of what it is to be human, reduces such classification’s to a pragmatic minimal.

Educational Curriculum

A curriculum is an educational framework outlining skill and content milestones that need to be attained for each of the respective subject grades. Although formalized, it is very often designed to have a dynamic flexibility that caters to the diversity of cultural, socio-economical and regional backgrounds of a non-uniform school body. Curricula should endeavor to ensure academic consistency but also provide a workable structure, through which the educator can operate with creativity and self-initiative in applying various assessment and instruction tools. While philosophical direction and a broad vision should underpin a curriculum (else it lacks a soul) these should be carefully planned as not to undermine the holistic development of the student learner (otherwise the curriculum lacks a mind).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movies and Series about the legal profession?

20 Cliches

1. The divorce law is having an affair with his/her client.
2. The junior lawyer is horribly humiliated in their first case which was clearly over their head to begin with (although I hear this is a truism of the profession).
Criminal lawyers will largely have innocent clients.
3. There will be at least one bizarre precedent setting case per episode.
4. Trials will always start terribly for the lawyer until the Private Investigator unveils some crucial evidence.
5. The evidence is always released five minutes before the shows end.
6. Clients always hide vital information from the lawyer which the lawyer will find out on their own.
7. There is never any discussion of fees or retainers.
8. Guilty clients will cause an ethical dilemma that will split the firm opinion-wise for at the episode.
9. All lawyers are eloquent in court.
10. There is always a legal assistant studying at night to be a lawyer.
11. Every will is controversial.
12. Cases are decided immediately after crucial evidence is provided. The origin of this evidence is never really discussed.
13. Everybody drawing up a will is a wealthy eccentric.
14. The Judge will call the lawyers into chambers at least once an episode.
15. Justice is not blind to money. The truth always wins.
16. Legal assistants are either young and pretty or extreme battle axes. There are no 'regular person' type legal assistants.
17. A judge is found to be corrupt at least once every three episodes.
18. A lawyer will resort to court room theatrics at least once every two episodes.
19. A lawyer will find the exact legal precedent they are looking for to win the case with minimal research.
20. Court Cases never drag on…Yeah right

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stellar Ruminations

Of what is a star?

Heat pressure - excreted as Fusion's bi-product resists the terminal collapse of mass
as if to cheat Newton's force. A star packed tightly flares murmouring its anger. Guided by turmoil it caves to an equilibrium - a chained beast begging to express itself - only to be gagged by the bonds of the physics padlock.

Onward to the galaxy.....

Matter multipled again and again - reaching limits that bring change. Gravity grounding through fabric punctuates the everpresent with a new fundamental. A spiralling vortex awakes and harmonizes to its brilliance. Localized and distinct - revolving around an imaginary point - a stable is set where bodies are gestated. What meaning is there to this process? A pray to a heavenly order that shapes beauty with mathematical purpose. I am in awe.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Self Realizations

1. Don't attempt the impossible - failure is assured.
2. Build minor goals on top of major motivations.
3. Seek Unity.
4. Wisdom is the greatest weapon
5. Fight the tendency toward violence
6. Peace within the soul is paramount.
7. Harness selfishness productively for all.
8. Relax to calm the soul.
9. Trust youir insecurities but don't give them power over youyr being
10. Absolute destiny is a fallacy. We live in a continuously transforming destiny world - where end aims are flexible.
11. Don't live by hope
12. Create your own sanity.
13. Don't let work be your master
14. Know the Rules before playing the Game.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Settling the Score

A Ramble of the Mind

Heated Streets lined with turbulence - buckle over the talons of the geoidic monster.
Climbing to freedom through the labyrinth of the toxified Earth. It wriggles onto the life surface that chokes above. Phlegm from the core bubbling upwards moves with no mercy incinerating dwellings, levelling all structures - relentessly pursuing destruction.

Caught up by such vengance the biological being is played like a toy. Battered, tormented and then enveloped in fury. Prey to the rantings of a higher spirit who made a decision of seemingly irreversible consequence - that will realign the order of supremacy in its very own favour.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Footer's Top 20 Most Valuable Players - Today

In my Opinion

1. C. Ronaldo (Man U/Portugal)
2. Ronaldinho (Barcelona/Brazil)
3. Kaka (AC Milan/Brazil)
4. L. Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
5. T.Henry (Arsenal/France)
6. D. Drogba (Chelsea/Ivory Coast)
7. F. Cannavaro (Real Madrid/Italy)
8. G. Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
9. S. Gerrard (Liverpool/England)
10. S. Eto (Barcelona/Cameroon)
11. M. Essien (Chelsea/Ghana)
12. A. Nesta (AC Milan/Italy)
13. W. Rooney (Man U/England)
14. S. Schweinstager (Bayern Munich/Germany)
15. Adriano (Inter Milan/Brazil)
16. P. Viera (Inter Milan/France)
17. J. Terry (Chelsea/England)
18. G. Zambrotta (Barcelona/Italy)
19. F. Totti (Roma/Italy)
20. E. Van Der Saar (Man U/Netherlands)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

From the Physics World

10 Key Physics articles that I have read about in the last four or so issues of New Scientist

1. New Universes will be born from ours - Philosophically enthralling but where does this leave us? If it is true then its conceivable that our particular universe may not be spectacular after all.(relatively speaking of course).

2. Symmetry issue around Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. Nobel Prize Winner Sheldon Glashow and Associate have readapted the theory - now known as the Very Special Theory of Relativity.

3. Dark Energy continues to baffle most? What is it? Does it represent gravity particle leakage into other dimensions or is it a left over from the inflation period of the early Big Bang?
How does the cosmological constant fit in (courtesy of Einstein)? Does the acceleration of space-time vary with time and place? Also how does the belief that the universe is made up of Galaxy rich and poor areas influence its expansion? Questions everywhere still.............

4. Free Fall under Investigation - Scientists at Standford will use a technique known as atom interometry to test Einstein's General Theory of Relativity - Main issue at stake is the Equivalence Principle.

5. Early sign that the mysterious Higgs Boson particle may be found....I wouldn't hold my breath. If it is not found in the long run the big question is how should the Standard Model should be modified?

6. Better forecasting of solar storms ahead - Its become more necessary than ever with our added reliance on technology.

7. Some stats on the Big Bang (all from NS - March 3-9)

10E-35 seconds – Age of Universe when inflation kicked in.
Greater than 10E30 - Factor by which the universe expanded.
100 micrometers – size of the universe today without inflation
14 billion light years – size of the observable universe today.
10E-27 meters – size of the observable universe before inflation.

8. The Universe may be a fractal - Apparently this throws many of our notions regarding modern physics on our head. Sounds more like hype than anything else.

9. The Quantum Rebel - Shahriar Afshar claims that both the wave-like and particle-like particles of matter can be revealed at once (experimentally). This flies in the of Niels Bohr's principle developed eight years prior.

10. Invisibility cloaks may be around the corner - it seems to have some success in alluding microwave detection.

Friday, March 16, 2007

'Free Time' well spent

Teaching full-time and having a child does not allow for much free time but I thankfully have been succesful in usinng my spare time productively. The following is a list of nine activities that I am fond of:

1. Blogging (a bit self evident isn't it. But now that I have two blogs it is even more challenging).

2. Reading New Scientist (for the most part I am three weeks behind on this weekly periodical but I try and catch up during the school breaks). The main articles thaty interest me concern theoretical physics/cosmology, evolutionary biology, psychometrics, astronomy and scientific philosophy. NS is first rate for each of these topics hence my 5+ year subscription.

3. Writing - Have written two books - History of the Future and Take the History Challenge. Have a sequel to the former planned.

4. Reading History - Need to keep current. Interests are multifaceted. Although of late I have become most interested in the radical groups of the 19th century.

5. Reading Physics - As a physics teacher and a lover of the subject - I read whatever I can grab my hands on. At present I am working my way through (painstakingly) Roger Penrose's Road to Reality.

6. Debating others (usually on politics) on the web - Its a dirty job but somebody has to set the radicals and fundamentalists straight.

7. Watching football - especially the Mighty Reds - Liverpool.

8. Movies - I reckon that I enjoy 70% of them (my wife and are selective but open minded). We see a fair amount of foreign films. Its somewhat relaxing on a Friday night after the baby has gone to sleep.

9. Exercising - I hit the elliptical machine every second day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In the News XXIII

Zimbabwean Opposition Chief Brutally beaten
If this contunues it will only be a matter of time before Zimbabwe deterioates into Civil War.
Unforunately, my home country - South Africa - gives lip (and who knows what else) service to Mugabe and his thug regime.

UN to act on Darfur?
I am still not sure whether anything positive will surface. Islamist forces in this 'joke' of a world body are still very powerful.

Chavez continues obsession with Bush
It seems that the Venezuelan is prepared to possibly bankrupt his country to prove a point.

Tony Blair - Mr. Green,,-6477589,00.html
Fair Enough. What I am interested in seeing is how Cameron and the Tory's respond. Could we have a return of the old Labour-Conservative dichotomy?

Stephen Harper - Canada's Mr. Green
Its heading toward election time and Harper is throwing money around like a Grit. The Liberals will really be picking up the scraps if Harper rides environmental mantle.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dumbing Down a College Education

There is a famous scene in the classic gross-out comedy ''Animal House" where John Belushi (as Bluto Blutarsky) is urging his Delta fraternity brothers to retaliate against a rival Greek house. After receiving only lukewarm support, Belushi shouts, ''Did the Americans give up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Everyone looked incredulously at Belushi, but his mistaken oration had the proper effect, the Deltas went out and staged the memorable destruction of the homecoming parade.
Although ''Animal House" was an exaggerated view of fraternity life on a college campus and Belushi was a caricature of the frat bozo -- who with a .08 grade point average, somehow stayed in school -- real life college may now be imitating the Hollywood version.
For more go to the Source:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some Political/Math Definitions

A Fundamentalist - One who replaces all variables in a system immediately with constants without solving any of the equations.

A Radical - The same as the fundamentalist except that the constants are different.

A Conservative - one who insists that the equations are valid before solving the system.

A Nihilist - a radical who replaces all constants with zero.

An Anarchist - destroys the equations before solving them.

A Leftist - rejects all solutions if it does not make him/her personally feel better.

A Marxist - watches while somenody else solves the problem and then claims it was in reality a group effort.

A Liberal - Lets the conservative come up with the solution then changes the variable names, remarkets it as a new idea and then taxes you for it.

A Fascist - Forces you to come up with the solution at gun point.

An Academic - Rejects all solution that have practical value in favour of an option that makes no sense but at least the publishers like it.

A Stalinist - Same as the Fascist but more believable by the academics.

A Trotskyite - A marxist - only more comfortable in ensuring that the whole world shares in the bad solution.

A Feminist - One who argues that women are equal to men when it comes to poor solutions for a problem.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This is what I have learnt from in life

1. There are no Magic Bullets.
2. Question your Assumptions.
3. A teacher is a learner or in mathematical terms - teaching is the first derivative of learning.
4. Choose your written and spoken words carefully.
5. Stand back from a problem to solve it - The Akido of Problem Solving.
6. It happens because G-d deemed it so.
7. Unique Solutions are rare.
8. Know when to abandon a lost cause.
9. Listen.
10. Always ask why - the answer is not always why not.
11. G-d wants us to think ergo the presence of our cerebral cortex.
12. There is no such thing as a human authority merely a more versed knowledge.
13. Work with conviction.
14. Life changes when you become a parent - for me it was for the better.
15. The Theory of Everything is the Tower of Babel of Modern Physics.
16. Post Modernism is an excuse for "anything goes'.
17. If you abandon standards you abandon progress.
18. Think of failure as a data point on the success curve.
19. Know yourself.
20. Surprise yourself.
21. If the devil is in the details G-d is in the overriding concept.
22. If someone tells you that they are a free thinker they have merely chosen to hide the chains of their bias for convenience. True free thinkers will never admit to such arrogance.
23. Don't fall into the trap of defining yourself as a victim it is very much a self fulfilling mind trap.
24. Physics no more Applied Math than running is applied jumping.
25. Solutions are nested within the best phraseology of a question.
26. When reading philosophy remember that the vast majority of apparent insight is merely wheel spinning re-worded.
27. Much of Academic learning is built on the quicksand of excessive verbosity.
28. You can prove anything if you manipulate the statistics accordingly.
29. Not knowing when to sacrifice emotion for reason is our greatest tragedy.
30. Most people love a good scapegoat.
31. Realizing self error is a sign of insight.
32. Nothing meaningful in life is finite.
33. No scientific model can predict human behaviour.
34. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. Thats why we should risk to succeed.
35. Don't be afraid to turn a brain storm into a cognitive hurricane.
36. My parents knew a thing or two.
37. Reading history is not a sure fire way of avoiding its repitition.
38. The Stockmarket is driven by the law of conservation of expectations.
39. To often in history it is apparent the solution has scared used more than the problem.
40. Bureauracy is the maintenance force for mediocrity.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

30 Sports Events that grabbed my imagination

1. World Cup 1982 - How I so wanted the English to win. Of course it never happened.
2. Liverpool winning the League and FA Cup Double in 1986. I can still see Rushie’s (Ian Rush) goals going in against the Blues.
3. Borg beating McEnroe in the thrilling five set final of Wimbledon 1980. I cheered for the Superbrat and watched him pull off a miraculous tie break win in the fourth set. However the Swede prevailed and Johnny Mac had to wait until the following year to clinch his first All-England Championship.
4. South Africa wins the World Rugby Championship in 1995.
5. Jody Schecter winning the 1979 F1 Driving Championship. He was South African and Jewish. It was confirmation that Jews could win in the sporting arena.
6. The British Lions tour of South Africa in 1980. I cheered for the visitors against the South Africans (Springboks). The Boks won 3 out of the 4 test matches but the Lions defeated all the Provincial teams. That winter I was a Rugby fan. From sticker books to newspaper pullouts I didn’t miss one of the 15+ games of the tour.
7. Liverpool wins the League and the European Cup in 1977. My fate was sealed I would be a reds supporter for life.
8. Toronto Blue Jays win the 1992 World Series
9. Liverpool win a treble in 2000/2001.
10. Toronto Blue Jays repeat World series.
11. Liverpool come from behind 3-0 to defeat AC Milan in 2005 and win the ECL.
12. Northern Transvaal win 1977 Currie Cup.
13. Sebastien Coe shines in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
14. Liverpool complete a treble in 1983/84.
15. World Cup 1994 - I cheered for the Irish and watched almost every game of the tournament.
16. Gerrie Coetzee beats Michael Dokes to win Heavyweight Title.
17. Becker wins Wimbledon and the US Open in 1989.
18. The Barcelona Olympics (1992). US dominates relays. Linford Christie wins 100m gold.
19. Leonard defeats Hagler in 1987.
20. Ben Johnson ‘truimphs’ at Seoul - well almost.
21. Canada wins Hockey Gold Medal in 2002.
22. Liverpool win 1987/88 League Championship playing unbelievable soccer.
23. Muhammed Ali wins Heavyweight title for the Third time.
24. Blue Jays win American League East Pennant in 1989.
25. Dodgers upset A’s to take 1988 World Series.
26. Manchester United blow League and FA cup in 1994/95.
27. San Francisco 49ers clinch 1989 Superbowl.
28. McEnroe’s 1984 season - US Open, Wimbledon and Masters.
29. Stefan Edberg takes the 1991 US Open.
30. The 1999 Rugby World Cup. South Africa Lost n the semi-finals to Australia (the eventual winners).

Footer Result - Liverpool v Man U

Liverpool completely dominated United at Anfield today but lost 1-0 on a very late John O'Shea goal. Footer is dedefintely a harsh sport...United are clearly this year's team of destiny.