Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brief, this morning. I have an appointment to have my hair cut, so as not to frighten the passers-by in London.

I’ve finished row 14 of the 13th repeat of the Princess centre – so the opening motif is done, and on I sweep into the easy parts. Although each repeat is now very slow, they don’t feel progressively slower, although they are so, because of the ever-increasing stitch number.


Janet from Cape Cod: I cannot express how happy I was to get your message. Thank you for the book list, which I shall carefully note. I think “The Reluctant Mr Darwin” was one of the ones I saw and passed over on Monday.

Your son should have a grand time with the rugby this coming weekend, while my attention is diverted by the Calcutta Cup. Ireland have won every match so far – against Italy, England, Scotland, and France. If they now can beat Wales, they will have a Grand Slam, for the first time since just after the war. (Scotland did it in 1990.) But Wales are pretty good. They have lost only to France, and the match is being played in Wales. The sound of a great stadium full of Welshmen singing to their team is unforgettable.

Thanks to others for book suggestions, too. (Matthew, I’m glad you’ve resumed blogging.) I need to know more about evolution, in a popular-science sort of way. How, on a DNA-level, can a species change into another species which can no longer inter-breed with it? Why do some single-celled animals stay behind in the slime – I gather there are some which are believed not to have changed since the beginning – while others set off on the path that leads to becoming a giraffe?

Books about evolution still often sound cross and argumentative are rude about sceptics (I’m thinking Dawkins). I’ve read a few pages of Schrodinger’s Cat: it’s going to be fine. The author doesn’t seem to mind whether you believe in quantum physics or not. Shandy, I am worried by your verdict on the new Kate Atkinson, but will press ahead. (And jealous of your allotment-time. The weather is suddenly all-systems-go, and here am I about to head away from Perthshire.) I think the safe thing is to read Nicci French on the trip to London, and get another one if I like it.

I’ve got my pedometer going – and this morning my weight registered one of those pleasant lurches downwards.


  1. I don't claim to be a biologist and don't play one on TV, but what I think is the reason is that over time certain genes when combined create fatal flaws in the offspring. It can start at the point of mate selection where certain characteristics are perpetuated. Then as the selections that differentiate from the original split away, genes with the fatality potential begin to form.

    That's what I think anyway. I may be off.

  2. Anonymous9:53 PM

    I've just finished reading "When will there be good news?" and really enjoyed it, so I guess it's a matter of taste. Although it's the first Kate Atkinson I've read, must try some of the others


  3. Anonymous2:23 AM

    I have to mention this video:
    Extreme Shepherding

    Watch this with the sound on.
    Amazing work for pleasantly silly results. And it does involve combining various natural colors of wool.