School is out

3 11 2009

I survived!

Hooray! Huzzah! All limbs and most senses still intact. And there is a whole month left for the real teachers to try and undo the damage I did and set those poor little souls back on the right path. Yippee!


Last day of practical teaching was last Friday (I got a cute card with pretty colours!). I handed in my post-prac report and philosophy statements in yesterday. And today was spent cleaning and dealing with the Race that Stops the Nation. Oh, and tomorrow I’ll have to return to school because I stole my supervising teacher’s Math text (Sorry!)

Standard broadcasting will recommence shortly, starting off with the main lessons learned about dealing with living and breathing students, Education Queensland, classroom controversy, and the terrors of technology integration in the classroom.


At least they weren’t facebook quizzes

29 03 2009

via Alan @ Critical Mass Podcast.

Most of these quizzes were from oneplusyou – which also has a bunch of blog bumper stickers.

What would you taste like to a cannibal?

Created by Recipe Star

I think I may need to stay away from Alan, and my other vegetarian friends, in the event of cannibal-eating situation.


Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

I will blame this abysmal score on living in a large city, and not having enough canned food products.


Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

How long could you survive trapped inside your kitchen freezer?

Created by Recipe Star

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?
Created by OnePlusYou – Free Online Dating

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

Boom Ka Boom

12 02 2009

Bushfires, drought, floods, economic turmoil.


The end of the world.

Yes, it’s starting to get a little too all run-of-the-mill these centuries.

Take your frustration and despair out by nuking nearby cities. At least until the Minister for Broadband allows ASIO to monitor your web access and arrests you for suspected terrorism (Tip: Don’t grow a beard or have an Arab-sounding name).

Sex, what is it good for?

28 10 2008

(Maybe the single life is getting to me…)

Humans often look at things from a very human point of view. It’s really not that surprising, but it can lead to somewhat linear thinking.

Such as linear concepts regarding evolution. You know that horrendous version where by everything lines up towards a singularity (usually us): from amoebas to fish to lizards to rats to monkeys to us. It sounds like some twisted video game-esque parody really.

Along with opposable thumbs, the development of bonking has been paraded as a major leap forward in evolution. But why then does most life on earth today reproduce by non-sexual means?

The whole myth of sex being all that and then some begins, like many mythconceptions on evolution with high-school. We learn that sex was developed as a way of maximising genetic variation. You get genes from Mummy AND Daddy. This means offspring made from sex are ultimately more likely to be fitter than asexually reproducing species and therefore sex is the best thing before and after, and possibly during, sliced bread.


Sex is not a mechanism for maxmising fitness through evolution – particularly in a sense of strength, toughness and all-round better-er-ness. Sex is the slippery path to a shallow and superficial future. All sex really cares about good looks. When selective pressure rises, keeping up appearances is all that counts†. Even in yeast.

In order to pass genes onto the next generation, an asexual organism must prove its worth by surviving in its environment long enough to gather the resources necessary to create its own offspring: all… by… itself. That takes guts*, people. That’s why some of the biggest hard-asses around are asexual – Anthrax, Thermus aquaticus, and black tip sharks. They have to fight for their right to … well not party

When you introduce sex, evolution changes from this romper stomper red in tooth and claw deathmatch to a Miss Universe pagent. Previous gen-pool lifeguard Gunn. Sgt. Hartmann has been replaced by Paris “That’s Hot” Hilton.

All a sexual reproducing species has to do is be suave enough to get someone up the duff**. After that you can run away and die. Everything after the “act” is generally no consequence. Incidentally, that’s why elephants starve to death in old age (which we’ve already covered).

I’m envisaging some sort of bizarre reverse frog-prince scenario on the horizon. Although when I look at some old people, I wonder if perhaps we are already there?

Read the rest of this entry »

Are you a survivor?

23 10 2008


Interactive zombie survival horror.

Oh it makes my day.

I died 8 times before making it through.

Poor Jimmy didn’t stand a chance.

Via somewhere on

Nature doesn’t care about you

9 10 2008

It only cares about your children…

Perhaps a certain biologist going all silly billies should brush on his basic evolutions.

Evolution does not care too much about anything that occurs after reproduction, unless its more reproduction.

As much as they drill you “survival of the fittest”, nature is not the Olympics, it’s not about Faster, Higher, Stronger – it’s about rampant bunny sex. But don’t you dare tell the children.

Oh, somebody please think of the children!

Next Gaming in Evolution – part 2

6 09 2008

First two parter on It’s Alive!!

For some background on our topic: Science in the new Spore Computer game visit: Spore Official Site, Carl Zimmer: Gaming Evolves, Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge and/or the first part of this post.

I’m going to be rather brash and provide some constructive criticism on a game that I haven’t played yet, and isn’t even released in Australia yet…

The user-driven nature of Spore is going to be very hard to remove in a gaming market. A game isn’t a game if a user isn’t able to meddle with it. Even Sim-Earth, which allowed you to tweak planetary climate conditions, still allows some lee-way towards IDiots. Hell, IDiots even use computer evolution simulations by proper evolutionary biologists as *proof* of ID. So I’m not going to suggest too many improvements on that aspect, aside from perhaps a version that allows attributes to be generated in a more random fashion than spending points in a shop. I don’t think this would float in the market though, modern gamers are very much used to be able to get what they want.

To combat the games “one dimensional march”, perhaps mods or sequels that introduce “end-game” style content for the pre-intelligence mini-games in the greater Spore game.

For the beast-stage game, the user could try and make their creature survive in wake of another creature holotype achieving sentience. I think this could have a capacity to have some environmental messages in there. The user would be charged in ensuring their species does not go extinct. This could be achieved in several ways:

  • the high road – adaptation – adjusting to threats such as hunting (build up defense like – venoms, quills, mimicry of predators), habitat destruction (adapt to extreme habitats or adjust to city life), and pollution (avoid eating plastic bags, drinking polluted streams) – standard time-based victory
  • the middle road – domestication – either by becoming tasty, cute or just generally useful enough that the sentients will actively try not to wipe you out. Be careful though, the balance between being domesticated and being hunted to extinction may be very tricky to reach. Case study: The Aurochs.
  • the low road – nature fighting back – why let yourself be hunted to death, having sentience doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be top of the food chain – I think this would prove a popular victory path – standard winning by ensuring the other guys (in this case the human equivalents) are wiped out

For the tadpole-stage game. I was intrigued by the NYTimes comment amount the small sea-critter being eaten by leviathans out in the depths, forcing it to go onto land. Why not allow your creature to become the leviathan. Again conservation could be brought in by drawing from the fate of whales, sharks and other ocean dwellers.

The ocean depths being analogous to space in terms of a Final Frontier would really open up opportunities for some very exotic environment and alternative creature animations.

Further discussion below the fold… Read the rest of this entry »