Saturday, November 28, 2009

Darwin's Beagle notebooks go online, but the Galapagos notebook is missing.

Darwin's notebooks from the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle are being placed online by the English Heritage society, which cares for Darwin's Down House. There is a problem, though, because one of Darwin's notebooks is missing and it is the Galapagos notebook. It is thought to have been taken from Down House sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. The BBC World Service story is here. The appeal from English Heritage can be read here.
Here is their description of the notebook.
Darwin used different types of notebooks and the missing Galapagos notebook is small, almost square, and bound in leather with a brass clasp. It is labelled on the outside with a rough itinerary in Darwin's handwriting, marked "Galapagos. Otaheite. Lima." It contains entries he made between March and November 1835 when he was in Chile, Peru, the Galapagos and Tahiti. Inside the front cover is written: "63.5 C. Darwin H.M. Beagle". About a third of the notes were written from the front with the rest starting again from the back of the book. Darwin usually crossed out each page when he had written up the contents, either in his diary or in one of his more formal notebooks. All the Beagle notebooks are mostly written in pencil.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Web Site Address: http:/

Since 1997, I believe, Geocities has been my website provider. Geocities was unfortunately bought by Yahoo! a couple of years ago and now Yahoo! has closed it down. So I am in the process of moving my site. While going to should result in you being forwarded to the new address, it might not work yet. The new site is not fully functional right now ["pending" yahoo calls it] but I hope to have it back by the weekend. The new address is the much simpler

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How homeopathy cures and other pseudo-scientific wonders

A remarkable video of Dr. (of optometry) Charlene Werner
as she explains homeopathy.
It seems that if you took high school chemistry and recognize Einstein's name, then you too have the background to understand everything she is talking about. Of course, if you have had more than that, then it might not make very much sense. We should all be glad to know that god sent Stephen Hawking as a messenger, but really that is beside the point. It is all about vibration, we are told, and that the universe has no mass.
PZ Myers' pharyngula blog has dedicated a couple of entries to this, and it seems that the original poster has been threatened with legal action for linking to it, so it seems natural to mention it here and link to it. Myers also has a link in his blog for a lecture by Lawrence Krauss that actually makes sense given what we actually know about the universe.