Archive for ‘miscellaneous’

April 12, 2016

That must have been a rhetorical question

by Neil Rickert

In a recent post at his blog, Bill Dembski asks whether listening to an audio book counts as reading.

Comments are closed, so it is impossible to give an answer.  I guess that must have been a rhetorical question.


It’s been a while since I last posted.  I’m going to try to get back into the posting habit.

October 5, 2015

My appendectomy

by Neil Rickert

I haven’t posted for a while.  I was thinking of some more topics, when reality intruded.  This post is related to how I have been spending my time over the last week or so.


Let’s start at the beginning.  Almost 2 months ago, I had what was supposed to be a routine colonoscopy.  That’s where they push a camera up one’s rear, and look around.

For the most part, a colonoscopy isn’t too bad, if only because you are under an anesthetic for most of the time.  The really unpleasant part is the “bowel prep” on the previous day.  That’s when you take some heavy laxatives to clean yourself out and make room for the equipment.

The colonoscopy itself came out okay.  There were three small polyps, which were removed and biopsied.  The test showed that they were not cancerous.

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December 23, 2013

Best wishes for the season

by Neil Rickert

Hmm, I haven’t posted for a while.  The end of semester, and exam grading happened to me.  And then I couldn’t make up my mind on exactly how to say what I wanted to say — I guess that’s a kind of writer’s block.  At this time of the year, you probably don’t want serious thinking.  So I’ll delay posting anything serious until the new year.

To all of you who are fundamentalist Christians:  Happy Holidays.  There, that should stoke up that Christian persecution complex that you so enjoy.

To everybody else:  Merry Christmas.  And if that offends you, then you need to get a life.

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October 14, 2013


by Neil Rickert

A photograph on a Panda’s Thumb post brought back memories.  It’s a picture of a grass tree.  I’m not sure of the copyright status, so you will have to visit that PT post to see the picture.  The lighting is what makes this photography particularly startling.

I grew up in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, so grass trees are very familiar.  Almost anywhere out in the bush, we would see them.  We called them blackboys, which is probably a politically incorrect term these days.  The ones that I saw were most likely Xanthorrhoea preissii, which are the common grass trees of that part of the country.

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August 14, 2013

Sean Carroll on Scientism

by Neil Rickert

Hmm, long time, no post.

Sean Carroll has a blog post on scientism that is well worth reading:

I agree with the sentiment expressed in that title.  His main point is that the word is poorly defined, and causes confusion.  I agree.  No go read the full text of his post.


January 28, 2013

Maps are false

by Neil Rickert

This is intended as a companion to my recent post “Kepler’s laws are false.”

I have, in front of me, a Rand McNally road atlas of the Chicago area.  It is a few years old, so a tad out of date.  But it is not that “out of date” aspect that I will be discussing.

I am currently looking at the part of the map that covers near where I live.  I see that some of the roads are red in the map.  But when I drive on those roads, they are the same gray/black color as most of the other roads (such as the ones shown as yellow or white in the map).

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January 10, 2013

All emeralds are green

by Neil Rickert

This is a completely made up story, that I intend to reference in a future post about induction.

Long, long ago in the small village of D’La Mere, the residents lived a relatively simple life.  They were employed in a number of different kinds of work.  Some of them would go daily to the village quarry, and collect pebbles that they could spread on their walking paths to inhibit the growth of weeds and to keep the paths from becoming muddy when it rained.

While Peter, one of the residents, was at the quarry loading gravel into his wheelbarrow, he noticed a green glint in one of those pebbles.  Looking more closely, he could see something green and perhaps crystalline behind a rocky outer crust.  He pocketed that pebble, and later took it to his friend David, a craftsman.  David was able to chip away the outer rocky crust to reveal the gleaming green part that remained.  He made it into an ornament that Peter could give to his girlfriend.

On receiving the ornament, Peter’s girlfriend Angela said “That’s very nice of you, Peter.  So what shall I call this?”  After thinking for a moment, Peter replied, “If we spell the name of our town backwards, we can use that and call it an emerald.”  “I love that name,” said Angela, giving Peter a kiss.

Word soon spread through the small village, and before long several of the residents had found emeralds.  Making emerald rings and bracelets was becoming a cottage industry.  The village mayor was very pleased at this.  So he asked Peter, “What can you tell me about emeralds?”  And Peter replied, “Since we find them by looking for the glint of green light reflecting from them, we can say that all emeralds are green.”

October 20, 2012

Bad news for Chicago?

by Neil Rickert

I am hearing local news reports of discussions that could lead to Rupert Murdoch purchasing the Chicago Tribune (and the LA Tribune).  I’m not a big Tribune fan anyway – it has always been politically right of center.  But Murdoch ownership could only make things worse.

Link: Murdoch’s News Corp In Talks To Buy Chicago Tribune: Report

October 14, 2012

This might be a first

by Neil Rickert

Amazing.  Cornelius Hunter has a post at his blog, that is not an argument against evolution.


August 25, 2012

That’s one small step for man …

by Neil Rickert

Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82.  This is a brief note celebrating the achievements of Neil Armstrong and his colleagues at NASA.

News reports:

I still remember watching that landing on TV.  My son saw it too, but he was only a few months old so probably does not remember.

I see this as a time to celebrate his achievements, not as a time for sadness.