28 Jul 2006

The Book of Genesis

Second edition
  1. In the beginning was the void,
  2. No matter existed nor energy and no time passed
  3. A singularity in the void arose, creating the first second
  4. The singularity gave rise to cause and effect
  5. And the bang was very big, and all matter and energy was created
  6. Over the next few seconds, the laws of physics were created
  7. Matter spread out and energy gave it speed
  8. The laws of physics made ripples in the matter
  9. The ripples became clouds of hydrogen
  10. The clouds gave rise to stars
  11. The stars burned hotly and exploded into clouds of light elements
  12. The clouds of elements formed stars and gas giants
  13. The new stars burned less hotly, and lasted longer
  14. The gas giants heated up and formed molecules
  15. The new stars finally exploded into clouds of all the elements
  16. The gas giants were blown up and added molecules to the clouds
  17. The new clouds condensed to form stars, gas giants and rocks
  18. The rocks condensed around each other and around the gas giants
  19. The stars burned, the gas giants heated up
  20. The rocky planets melted and then cooled
  21. The molecules on the planets reacted with each other
  22. Some molecules were formed that could make copies of themselves
  23. The copying molecules rapidly scavenged the free molecules
  24. Copying molecules that could take stuff from others evolved
  25. Molecules developed shells to protect their resources
  26. Shelled molecules developed the ability to divide themselves
  27. Bacteria multiplied and gained the ability to photosynthesise
  28. The bacteria changed the atmosphere of the planets
  29. Bacteria developed the ability to group together
  30. Groups of bacteria started to specialise in symbiosis
  31. Some groups gained the ability to replicate as a group
  32. Some of these self-replicating organisms developed sex
  33. These organisms are to be worshipped and adored.
  34. The sexual organisms became rapidly more complicated
  35. Every environment available was filled with organisms
  36. Organisms condensed into ecologies
  37. Ecologies shaped the planet's atmosphere and climate
  38. Each living planet cooled itself as its star grew hotter
  39. Some organisms on each planet evolved predictive organs
  40. These brains grew and developed larger and larger
  41. Then one organism devoted massive energy to its brain
  42. And the organism became self-aware

All praise Douglas Adams!

13 Jul 2006



In response to an article by Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, I posted the following:
There are many ways that a blog site might be moderated or trimmed of the fat.

  • The Wiki method condenses opinions to a single article presenting all sides, and is easier to read as a long-term resource. It is, perhaps, what should be done to each thread at the end to summarise the views expressed.
  • Threading allows side discussions and flame-wars to be ignored.
  • Ratings identifies the degree of support that each statement has, but can be abused by multiple registrations to pump up the posts of an egotist.
  • Polls do this a little better, and usually allow each IP address, as well as each registration, only one vote.
  • Killfiles - ignoring specific posters who have a tendency to be offensive - are a good option, and can be used as a signal to moderators that particular posters are worthy of a ban.
  • One method I recall combined polling with commenting. You could vote on the options in the poll, or add your own option and vote for that. It tended to get silly, but at least the comments were limited in length.

So how about something like this:

  1. Each article has a poll.
  2. All users can vote for or against each option - one vote per IP address.
  3. Registered users can add one (and only one) additional poll option.
  4. Each poll option has a pop-up window containing an explanatory note, linked to a separate discussion thread on that option.
  5. Poll options are limited to, say, 60 characters.
  6. If an added option receives more than double the number of rejections than approvals, and that number is more than 10% of the total number of people voting, it is removed.
  7. Original poll options by the article author do not get removed.
  8. Discussions are moderated by the author of the poll option, who has deletion rights on any comment.
  9. Posters (not the posts) are rated by other registered users on several different scales:
    • Manners
    • Agreement with opinions
    • Clarity of arguments (even if disagreed with)
    • Openmindedness (the ability to concede points)
    Opponents can therefore express respect for each other without confusing it with disagreements on matters of opinion.

Comments and suggestions for elaboration will be welcome here.