Only shallow on the surface

but deeply superficial

Hello , and welcome to my space. smiley - lighthouse Well, technically it's not my space; it belongs to the BBC, but as a licence-payer I've commandeered a few square nanometers of it in order to store my less-than-comprehensive list of achievements and some uninteresting and irrelevant personal facts. Please feel free to leave at any time, I won't be offended.

I am an engineer with a small technology company in the UK. That means I make stuff. Most of the stuff I make ends up on ships and submarines, but some of it has been known to end up on land, in the air (although usually not for very long) and even in space. Most of it is expensive and unreliable but superbly documented.

I like to think of myself as a typical product of the wonderful, classless and enlightened city of Edinburgh. Clearly I was a bad man in a past life since I am now living in a decidedly unenlightened suburb of one of the most pretentious and unfriendly towns that affluent middle class southern England has to offer.

Musicians' Guild Member I play guitar in a rock band and ride a fast motorbike. Actually that’s not true; I am really a husband and parent with a mortgage, a huge DIY backlog and back trouble. But I used to play guitar in a rock band and ride a fast motorbike.

my contributions to the guide

These are my Edited Guide entries, in approximate descending order of greatness:

The Wheel
Distortion - The Physics of Heavy Metal
The Chernobyl Disaster
The GTI Story
Mobile Phones and Aircraft
Ballistic Missile Submarines
TEMPEST and Electronic Security
An Introduction to Electromagnetic Compatibility
The City of Bath, UK

Most of them are actually rants and polemics disguised as factual guide entries. There are many problems with the universe, and I intend to solve them by one-by-one by dumping my uninformed opinions into the public domain.

Here are some of my rants and polemics that are not suitable for the Edited Guide, even in my opinion:

A Scotsman's Guide to Emigrating South
Software Engineering - An Oxymoron

too many daves

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?

Well, she did. And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one and calls out, "Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!" she doesn't get ONE.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.
And one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt
And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate...
But she didn't do it. And now it's too late.

Dr Suess.

a campaign

I am a member of a small local campaign group whose mission is to increase public awareness of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide. This all-pervasive chemical is rountinely added to processed foods and drinks but due to legal loopholes is always listed by more innocuous pseudonyms that serve to disguise its reactive nature. This is just a sample of some of this chemical's effects: can cause excessive sweating or vomiting; a major component in acid rain; can cause severe burns in its gaseous state; can contribute to both hypothermia and asphyxia in its liquid state; found in large quantities in the blood of haemophiliacs and the tumours of terminal cancer patients. If you are interested in joining our campaign to rid the world of this noxious substance, please leave me a message.

pink fluffy stuff

Scales weighing up right and wrong I don't believe in pinkness or fluffiness. Both words describe quantities that are merely perceived; they are emergent properties and don't actually exist in any real sense of the word. It is impossible to make a rational, correct decisions on the basis of spiritual or ethereal beliefs that disappear in a cloud of mystic aural energy in the face of hard evidence. Moral decisions cannot be made on this basis; they would be skewed.

some quotes

"Agnostic conciliation, which is the decent liberal bending over backward to concede as much as possible to anybody who shouts loud enough, reaches ludicrous lengths in the following common piece of sloppy thinking. It goes roughly like this: You can't prove a negative (so far so good). Science has no way to disprove the existence of a supreme being (this is strictly true). Therefore, belief or disbelief in a supreme being is a matter of pure, individual inclination, and both are therefore equally deserving of respectful attention! When you say it like that, the fallacy is almost self-evident; we hardly need spell out the reductio ad absurdum. As my colleague, the physical chemist Peter Atkins, puts it, we must be equally agnostic about the theory that there is a teapot in orbit around the planet Pluto. We can't disprove it. But that doesn't mean the theory that there is a teapot is on level terms with the theory that there isn't." Richard Dawkins.

"When I read that the ‘practitioners [of atheism] are sometimes despised as people without moral centres, but this is not necessarily the case,’ I’m afraid I have to laugh. Does anybody seriously suppose, looking at a world of six billion people with a shared history of living in communities that goes back hundreds of thousands of years that there is no other conceivable way in which an instinct for co-operative, ethical behaviour could possibly have developed other than a huge invisible spirit threatening us with torment in an afterlife?" Douglas Adams

"Wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." Albert Einstein.

"Quantum Theory - the dreams that stuff is made of". Unknown.

“Never judge a car by the size of its spoiler. Judge it by the size of its brakes”. DB

“I would ask the United States, we ask for your leadership, but if for some reason you’re not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.” - Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea delegate to UN talks on Climate Change in Bali.

"It is feared that if we use wind power, seals or fish may get sucked into the turbines", Sammy Wilson, Northern Ireland Environment Minister.


Rock music - speed/thrash/grunge/black/death/industrial/injury or somesuch.

Good food, good smiley - redwine.


Err, that’s it.

Science Explained


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