Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

Your ABC

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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Hospital Ranking  
One big trouble with "League Tables" for schools, hospitals & so on, is that it seems that the result is often the exact opposite of what you'd think would be the useful purpose of having them.

My idea of that purpose is that "struggling" places should get extra resources, funding, and an examination of what can be done to improve them, e.g. by comparing their input, treatment (including the physical situation of the institution) & outcomes with "successful" ones.

Yet what seems to often happen is that the differences get worse, as the struggling places are penalised and the successful ones supported.

More ...

Forbes' "Fifteen People Who Have Changed the World"  

Forbes Magazine has, of course, their own ideal of what is "better" for the world. I have some strong disagreements. But it's good to get something to consider.

Fifteen People Who Have Changed the World
- Lifestyle Channels (Yahoo): "Fifteen People Who Have Changed the World"
None of us can see what directions the world will take in the future, and events that seem monumental today might turn out to be mere pebbles on the road of history. But there are some achievements so notable, so ground-shaking, that even within the short space of a few decades we can feel their impact. We've chosen a few examples of this revolutionary spirit: 15 people who changed the world since 1950.

Of course, not everyone changes the world for the better. Clearly, we could do with fewer Osama bin Ladens and more Mikhail Gorbachevs, who, when given great power, directed it toward goals that benefited mankind. Our list is made up exclusively of the latter.
Slideshow (
  • Tim Berners-Lee - World Wide Web

  • Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin - DNA Structure

  • Milton Friedman - Free Marketeer Economist

  • Mikhail Gorbachev - Ending Communism in USSR

  • Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce - Microchip

  • Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield - MRI

  • George Lucas - Changed economics of movie industry

  • Malcolm McLean - Shipping container

  • Gregory Pincus, M.C. Chang, and John Rock - Contraceptive pill

  • More ...

    Similar to the USSR too?  

    Not without application to the current Australian government
    Integrity, by Digby (Sat, 30th June, 2007)
    I remember after the 2000 election debacle, a rather exasperated acquaintance explained to me that Americans respect winners and it didn't matter how Bush took office, all that mattered was that he did. Even at my advanced age I was a bit shocked by such cynicism. But as I watched the way the media and the political establishment treated Bush, I had to admit that, at least as far as the leadership class of America was concerned, he was right. But it was even worse than what he said. There was a distinct undercurrent of special respect for the fact that Bush had not only won, but that he'd done it in such a way that everybody knew he'd manipulated the system and there was nothing they could do about it. That audaciousness made people bow down. On some level he wanted people to know he cheated and he wanted them to recognize that he got away with it. That's real power.
    The founders understood how power can corrupt, which is why they designed a clunky system of government that would impede its application. But nothing can stop it when so many people are working in tandem to do so. The answer then, is not to depend upon personal integrity but to insure that our systems are working properly and that those who corrupt it are held accountable for what they have done when they lose institutional power at the hands of the people ...
    So, as much as I value it as a personal virtue, personal integrity is beside the point. There have always been crooks and liars in politics. It's the failure of our institutions to properly guard their prerogatives and police the political system that is the true failure. And that is something that we can fix. ... to ensure that these crimes are not covered up and that the people of this country are reminded that corruption and cheating have negative consequences...


    More ...