Archive for January, 2009

AHS Launch is hotting up

January 26th, 2009 No comments

The AHS’s national launch is taking place in a couple of weeks on 19th February and the preparations for it are really hotting up.

We have our speakers booked – Richard Dawkins, Polly Toynbee and A.C. Grayling, along with a stand up comedian, stalls and catering are all in the pipeline.

This is going to be such a great event.

If there are any fellow free-thinkers in the London area on the day then they should come along and see what all the fuss is about.

For more information contact me.


January 26th, 2009 1 comment

I joined the micro-blogging site Twitter just before Christmas so I could utilise its API and have it syndicate on my site, giving me a Facebook style status section – its on the top of the menu bar on the right of the screen for those that haven’t noticed.

While I had no plans to actually use Twitter for anything other than a platform to make my site a little more interactive I have started to find that I am visting more and more regularly to check on other people’s tweets (the slang for updates). There are loads of interestign people using the site, like Stephen Fry, Brent Spiner etc, and because it is all public you can read what they are doing, saying, thinking.

You can check me out on my Twitter page here.

Barack’s Big Day

January 20th, 2009 2 comments

Barack Obama was sworn in today as the USA’s 44th president, the first African-American (or any ethnic minority) president in their history, with the largest TV audience ever for a presidential inauguration.

I am a fan of Obama’s, i like his social healthcare plans and his views on America’s role in world politics. I even like some aspects of his economic plan, even though he is a lefty when it comes to government spending.

His inaugural address was a masterpiece in speech writing, which of course we should expect seeing as it his first global address and possibly his mosyt important. His rhetoric was sublime, he quoted just about every famous American leader to date and threw in a few bible quotes as well. When discussing the religious make up of America he even nodded in the vague direction of atheists and agnostics.

What disappointedme about the speech though, was his persistant references to his black history ad to god and faith. He must have mentioned god, faith, religion, spirit and every other Christian buzz word known to man at least once.

I realise that to be a US politcian means being Christian, but surely you do not have to make reference to it every 5 seconds or so.

I like Obama, I really do. He is a breath of fresh air in international poliics, and possibly one of the finest presidents I am likely to live through, but his religion is going to annoy me. At least Geroge W had the decency to let everyone know he was a stauch evangelical Christian who actively listened to God from the beginning – mainly by being a Texan Reublican! – Obamaq has snuck his evangelism under the radar.

Oh well. We are getting there at least.

An arbitrary number

January 5th, 2009 No comments

I was surfing the blogosphere when I came across this post on Will’s site.

In the post, Will argues that the idea of selecting an arbitrary period of time – in this case the year – is a somwehat pointless exercise and in fact, in the case of moving from one year to another, actually does harm in certain circumstances. The example he gives is that of expecting a different outcome to an event based on the changing of an arbitrary number – ie the year 2008 to 2009.

Now whilst I agree in part to this sentiment – I am often drawn to the idea that the definition of a fool is someone that repeats the same action over and over and expects a different outcome – I find the rejection of the need to quantify time in arbitrary units a step too far.

It is true that there is almost no difference between 2008 and 2009 as the terrestrial year is based on an orbit – so the cosmos looks virtually the same in any two corresponding months (ie March 2004 and March 2008). This is not the whole story though. The cosmos is different. It is a year different. The universe will be bigger, the background radiation ever so slightly cooler, the sun ever so slightly depleted in material for nuclear fusion, the universe is different. This suggests that the definition of being a fool is not so easily applied here. March 2004 may have seen an outcome of one event that changes when repeated in March 2009 due to one of those variables (and the countless others) being important. The cosmological differences may seem a little abstract, so a few variables from the practical world down here on earth – the financial and economic differences will mean that the result of a monetary action last year will not be the same result as the same monetary action this year, the change in administration in the US may mean that the results of two politcal actions may differ from last year to next.

The 1st January is not significant, it is no more the start of one year than any other day, or midnight being any more significant that any other hour for that matter. The day and time do not matter, we could decide that Octber 23rd is the start of the new year and it would make no difference in terms of the universe, but the universe does get older second by second. So, whilst we may scoff at the idea of picking a day to celebrate new beginnings it does not take away from the fact that things can turn out differently if we try again.

2008: A Year in Review

January 4th, 2009 No comments

There is a saying that goes “another day, another dollar” and it seems only fitting that I begin my review of 2008 with a quote regarding time and money. 2008 has been a mixed bag of a year, like most years it cam with its ups and downs. The news stories of the year reflect this, with Team GB performing heroics in Beijing and then the economic issues of the last quarter. I hope the rest of this post reflects this theme.

Exams were the order of the day at the opening of 2008. never a good start. Although this particular bunch of exams went pretty well and helped set up a relatively successful second semester on my new course. A-Soc kicked off its second full year with its first event of 2008, the low turnout not indicating the successes to follow. January aslo saw Chris finally lose his virginity at Wendy House.

Darwin Day 2008 was supposed to be the highlight of February, but it got somewhat overshadowed by Sarann’s secret affair! The planning of Rationalist Week seems to get earlier and earlier and we officially kicked off the organisation of A-Soc’s flagship event on the 13th February. Somehow, I also managed to fit in a well deserved few days away with Liz in the lake District – you cannot beat walking, relaxing and real ale by the fire to wash away exam and coursework stress! The Union’s political machinations also culminated with me being dubbed “Norman the No! Man” due to my inability to sit back and watch debates go undebated, regardless of my actual view points.

One of the coups of 2008 came when Si finally succumbed to peer pressure and started blogging! In another blow for democracy, my decision to stand for Faith and Culture rep for the Union was rebuked as I was effectively blocked from standing (or voting). My main memory of March, however, was the setting up of Secular Portal, which would ultimately turn into my current project, the AHS.

Rationalist Week 2008. Need I say much more about how awesome April was? Except for everything that went wrong it was a great success! The icing on the cake was being elected president of A-Soc at the AGM. We managed to recruit a decent sized committee and really was the icing on the cake as far as the success of A-Soc in the first half of 2008.

it seems I didn’t blog about very much in May. Probably down to the exams etc that I was taking, along with recovering from April!

I started work with O2 at the beginning of June and spent most of the month training for my new role. I did manage to squeeze in a few social activities too, brewing my own ale for the SoC graduation reception was a particular highlight. I also went to see Avril Lavigne perform in Manchester, which was also pretty awesome. I also moved out of the house I had lived in for three of my four years at university.

Work and parties seemed to be the order of the day this month in 2008.

I’m going to stop splitting up the months for the second half of 2008 as I didn’t actually spend much time bloggine. Really, I worked near enough all summer – managing a day off for V Festival – either at O2 or putting together Intro Week for A-Soc.

Part of me thinks I should write here what happened in the couple of months I wasn’t blogging, but I feel that it wouldn’t do it justice. It wasn’t until December that I began blogging again, inspired by the relaunch of the site and our end of year festivities.

Hopefully, I will continue this new found blogging activity into 2009.

My marks out of ten for 2008 as a year, a good 7.

She got treated like the whore she is!

January 1st, 2009 No comments

So, yeah, last night was our New Year’s Eve party in Leeds. A well attended event considering that most people are home with their family and “real” friends that was dominated by a couple of events. Firstly, our living room flooded, a direct result of the second event – our first ever communal shower! Eight of us decided that alcohol and partying had progressed as far as it could and the next logical step was a semi-naked (and mostly naked in Michelle’s case) communal shower. Keep your eyes peeled for the exclusive pay-per-view site containing the pictures and videos!

It was definitely a good night all round and I now definitely feel closer to my house mates than ever before! It was also the first A-Soc event of 2009, seeing as the majority of the guests sit or have sat on the committee. We atheists really do have it larger.

Although, having said all that we all know that parties are just an excuse for recovery steak the morning after and as such we all headed to the Deer Park for our steak. Even the 45 minute wait on food didn’t dampen the excitement and meaty goodness of a well cooked bit of steak. Mmmm, steak, drool.