The quintessential brains trust

By skepticlawyer

… Marie Curie: the only person ever to win two Nobel prizes in two sciences.

I am currently in examination hell, hence my diminished substantive contributions to the blog. I will be out of gaol on May 24 (last exam) and will then take a week or so off, but I’m afraid not much more than that, as there really is work to be done. I do have quite a few good posts brewing, however 🙂

Also, Lorenzo won’t be around as much as usual as he is currently airborne (on his way to Venice for a conference, the lucky so-and-so). I have asked him to write the odd travel diary and post pictures while he’s in Italy (he’s visiting places other than Venice), but I’m not sure how regular that will be or how soon.

In the meantime, here is a chit-chat thread for you to muck around in to your heart’s content. If you’ve got any interesting links, witticisms or other contributions (even suggestions!), do leave them here.

UPDATE: I also suspect Legal Eagle may be sans computer on account of the latest Windows update. So it goes.


  1. Posted May 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Still trying to fix computer – typing this from phone. Mr Eagle seems to be succeeding somewhat in rectifying it but I’m a bit scared to touch it. Plus I have a revised Remedies reading guide due on Monday, and a bunch of other things at work. Hopefully things will calm down by the end of the coming week. It’s Mad May.

  2. Posted May 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    It is a research trip but there is no actual conference :).

  3. Posted May 13, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    In which case you will be posting pictures, yes? Regularly?

  4. Posted May 13, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I disagree with Marie… I think humans are to be feared – even when you understand them.

  5. Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    SL. We will see :). The mobile wifi we brought with us is not doing as it ought, but it may be fixable, one way or another.

  6. kvd
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    If this is an open thread does anyone else think that Rebekah Brooks has been moonlighting as Merida for Pixar?

  7. Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    2 Questions to help me build a blog post.
    Why do conservative commentators feel that they should advise Labour on how they should repair themselves in the eyes of the community?
    How should Labour rebuild in the future?

  8. Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    [email protected] I don’t care,
    I hate her hair.

    Henry2: There’s no u in Labor.
    Abolish and forbid all political parties. I want a parliament of representative, educated, thoughtful secular-humanist independents who will discuss policies using information provided by financially independent ‘experts’ , and then arrive at legislative decisions by consensus. The chairperson can rotate. We don’t need a government. or a PM.

  9. kvd
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] that’s fine. We differ.

    But to continue with possibly interesting links, as requested, this is only part of Fordham University’s enormous internet archive. Fascinating.

  10. Posted May 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]…I don’t think it was Rebekah, Merida is fresh-faced and attractive.
    The Fordham University archive is extremely interesting. Thanks for the link. When the Jesuits make information freely available I always wonder why. Like when Howard appointed Jesuit Fr. Frank Brennan, to head a Federal Government consultation on Human Rights, secularists suspected it was because he wanted no change. And, of course we were proved right. Impartiality was compromised by his faith. I wonder what’s been left out of these archives.

  11. kvd
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] M don’t take no sh-t from nobody! I found a certain similarity in that, after watching the Leveson appearance. Sucker for strong and intelligent women I guess; not intimidated, more admiring.

    I agree very much about the archive, and I won’t spoil my enjoyment therein by entertaining any conspiracy theories 😉 (you think they’ve re-worded the trial transcript of Jeanne d’Arc?)

    btw to witness an example of your parliamentary theory, attend any club or association formed for any particular purpose whatsoever in your local area. Bowling clubs, dog clubs, athletic associations, book groups, you name it – they are each as chaotic and maladministered as the other.

  12. kvd
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    But I will agree with your comment about Howard: a) anything he did needed close inspection and b) he HAS been left out of the Fordham archives 😉

  13. Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    [email protected] You are correct about the inability of local clubs to work ‘efficiently’, but that is my intention. The new conservative Queensland government with it’s nearly 70 seat majority in a house of about 80, is dismantling laws that inhibit ‘development’ because they’re inefficient. Miners and developers will have virtual carte blanche to do as they please. Hasten slowly should be the rule if we want to keep the little that remains of nature.

  14. Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Y @ 8 Thank you for that. I would have looked like far more a clown to have written my post and not rectified it. The questions still stand.

  15. Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] 14… The Labor party is simply returning to its roots. It began as an effort to give workers a better deal, was dominated by Irish Catholics, and was a fairly faithful instrument of religious doctrine. The Labor Party platform was about as liberal as that of the Country Party. It was the Liberal Party that was liberal in outlook, at least until John Fraser. Since then all parties have become subject to the whims of the U.S.A. and the religious ‘right’.
    As I wrote earlier, I want to be governed by people who consider all options and make the best choices for the planet. The principle of precaution should govern all legislation—if there’s a possibility of disaster, as with coal-seam gas, dredging the Barrier Reef, opening up more ports inside the Reef, clearing land for development right to the edges of ‘wild’ rivers… then we don’t do it. Only a parliament of true independents that demand consensus could achieve that.
    Of course it will never happen—humans don’t behave like that; we’ll go on destroying and fouling our nest till it can no longer support us, and then we’ll kill each other and revert to our beginnings. The recent program on Easter Island should be a wake-up call, but of course no one imagines it could ever apply to us—we’re special, aren’t we? We can go on expanding forever, can’t we? Earth’s resources aren’t finite, are they?

  16. Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Marie Sklodowska-Curie was also the only Nobel prize winner to give birth to one (Irène Joliot-Curie, Chem, 1935)

  17. kvd
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] your two specific questions:
    1) I don’t know. Maybe it is because they are unable to divine any coherent goals or intentions proposed by their ‘own side’ at the moment? It’s a bit like the next door neighbour, never having grown so much as a healthy weed, giving me unasked for advice on my veggie patch. And as sincere and as well intentioned.
    2) Rebuild? Probably Yoftheunpronouncable got this right. They probably should start listening to their root constituency, employ a few less union dogsbodies, a few less failed lawyers, a few more train drivers, a few more Jack Mundeys. They are not alone in insulating themselves from their base; I think the Nats possibly still represent who they claim to represent, but Labor along with the Libs just seem to ‘phone it in’ after a quick read of each morning’s papers, and a touch-base with head office to collect the talking points.

    As to [email protected] and earlier, back here on planet Earth I’d be very interested in your ‘next-best’ proposals. We can all share the dream, but in the morning somebody’s got to collect the garbage, run the trains on time, fill the dams with drinking water, and protect us from foreign threats – human or otherwise biological. So what’s your ‘Plan B’? 😉

  18. kvd
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] just to keep the balance I think a couple of Nobel winners have sired later winners? I mean I’m all for recognition, but just so long as it’s even handed 😉

  19. Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    [email protected] As the wise Scott wrote… ?But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,?In proving foresight may be vain:?The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men?Gang aft agley,?An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,?For promis’d joy!

    Belgium, without a government for a very long time, has in some ways functioned better than with a government constantly at odds with itself. I have some sympathy with the ideas of the oft maligned author/philosopher, Ayn Rand
    “The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence…. ”
    but unfortunately the common sense and rationality on which she relies is seldom apparent.
    I think a mixed economy, such as existed in New Zealand until the late 1970s, was the best of a bad lot—all essential services, water, transport, communications, education, health… owned and run by the state. Everything else free enterprise.
    I concede that political parties are inevitable because of the human penchant for following ‘leaders’ however two things need to be modified.
    The prime minister should be merely the chairperson on a rotating basis. Ministers should be elected by the full parliament, and, most important, those seeking election must submit to a program of education in relevant history, relative morality, the ecology of the planet, alternative economic theories and models, psychology and anthropology. After passing a test, at least as difficult as the gun license I sat, they would then be eligible to stand for office.
    Furthermore, the media must make c;lear that a government is not ‘in power’, it is ‘in office’—to serve its constituents.

  20. Mel
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    God this is depressing.

  21. Posted May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Yep. And the sad thing is, it dates back millennia to the original chariot-warrior Aryan-language group invasions.

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