Politics of Fear: 1. Minarets: 0.

The people have spoken, the results from the referendum are in, and the Swiss have voted to ban the construction of minarets in their country.

We pointed out yesterday that the referendum in Switzerland calling for this ban was going to be a close call, but that the proposal was likely to be rejected. Now the votes have been counted, we can see  how wrong the opinion polls were  Continue reading

Scared of an Islamic Europe? Let’s vote on it!

The Swiss are holding a national referendum today. Referenda are an essential component of democracy but, in the main, they are relatively rare occurrences, usually only appearing as add-ons to the ballot at general election time. In Switzerland, however, they are a national pastime as all you need is Continue reading

Genetics at work

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Where can I buy a Merkin?

For many years I thought the Merkin was an urban myth.

It wouldn’t have surprised me… what better myth to invent than a funny sounding word about a naughty area of the body. I thought there couldn’t possibly be any circumstances in which someone would actually want to buy a pubic wig.

Until this week that is…

My wife has had an unfortunate accident at the waxing parlour. Continue reading

Christ, Dracula, Frankenstein: What’s the difference?

Only time for a quick post today. What I like about this Venn diagram is its use of humour to point out Continue reading

So you think multichoice is easy?

This is for any teachers out there. As you will already know, student stupidity Continue reading

Do I look slutty in this?

We’re always interested in the scientific studies that investigate the melange of ingredients that contribute to attraction between the sexes. Not long ago we looked at the sexual effects of money on women. This week, it’s a look at how men are affected by the amount of clothes (or lack of them) worn by women.

In an observational study, a group of experts at Continue reading

Jessica Watson: The first leg complete

A while ago I posted on Dutch teen Laura Dekker who had wanted to sail solo around the world at the tender age of 13. In her case a Dutch judge stepped in (you can read the post here Judge torpedoes teen dreams) and made her a ward of the state in order to prevent her making the voyage. 16 year old Australian Jessica Watson however has been at sea since Continue reading

Most expensive homes in the world

Soooo, Forbes have just listed the ten most expensive homes for sale IN THE WORLD at the moment. At #1 is the Spelling home in California valued at $150 million. Take a look at the picture Continue reading

Hell on Earth: The Unseen Side of China’s Modernisation

Longmen town in Hanchen city, Shaanxi Province (陕西省韩城市龙门镇) has large-scaled industrial development. Environment is very seriously polluted there. April 8, 2008

In Inner Mongolia there were 2 “black dragons” from the Lasengmiao Power Plant (内蒙古拉僧庙发电厂) covering the nearby villages. July 26, 2005

There doesn’t seem to be any way around the fact that if a country wants to industrialise on a massive scale, pollution is an unfortunate and initially Continue reading

The Magnificent Pyramids of Giza

Given our recent interest in archaeology here at The Notes after we reported on Lost Army Found I felt I had to post this video of the Pyramids at Giza.

They’re the only survivor from the original list of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World you know…

I’ll have the Lawrence of Arabia with extra pineapple please.

Symbolism in Action: Seven tons of World Trade Center steel in the USS New York

Below is a follow-up to an earlier post: Controlling the symbols of power: Who decides?


I’m all for recycling, and steel is one of those materials that can be used over and over again. There was around 200,000 tons of steel in the World Trade Center buildings, and much of it was shipped off to India and China to be reused. And because it is steel—an inanimate material—it doesn’t care Continue reading

Man Bites Shark

The National Geographic Society’s historical mission has been to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical, and natural resources”. More recently their President, John M. Fahey Jr put it more succinctly when he said the Society’s purpose was “to Continue reading

Controlling the symbols of power: Who decides?

Obamao! Lmao!

We are constantly surrounded by all sorts of symbols, so much so that we seldom stop to consider their meanings or their effects on us until someone points them out. But perhaps we should pay more attention, because symbols have power. If they didn’t, governments wouldn’t attempt to censor and control any number of them. Although many of these may seem failrly innocuous to most of us, here’s a few Continue reading

Happy Birthday LSD!

LSD turned 71 yesterday! Albert Hofmann first synthesised the drug 71 years ago on 16th November 1938. He wasn’t actually looking for the key to the “Doors of Perception” but trying to discover a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. He didn’t realise what he’d made either as he shelved the substance until Continue reading