Monday, 17 August 2009

Test your navigation skills

This week's New Scientist has a feature by Chris Berdik called Lost: "Birds, rats and hamsters are able to find their way around with consumate ease. So how come we can't navigate our way out of a paper bag?"

This is a very interesting article, especially if you've ever struggled to find your car in a car park. It features a report on "developmental topographical disorientation" as identified by Giuseppe Iaria of the University of Calgary and Jason Barton at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

You can test your own skills in association with their study here.

Richard Bach

I read three Richard Bach books over the weekend. Thanks to David for lending me these and other short books as I try to reach my target (less than 2 months to go!)

I didn't take to Mr Bach's works though, in fact I thought it was a lot of hippy nonsense. I would say it was well-meaning hippy nonsense, but in The Reluctant Messiah particularly there is a lot about how you only allow things to happen that you want to happen. This seems to be blaming people for their own misfortunes (which may be true some of the time but certainly isn't all of the time). It makes Mr Bach seem rather smug and uncaring, which is not how he planned to come across I'm sure. The Reluctant Messiah is also full of "meaningful" quotes which invariably made me think of that 60s/70s saying:

"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me, and be my friend". *


Here's an antidote from Mr F:

"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Don't walk beside me either; in fact, just b*gger off and leave me alone".

Ah, that feels better.

*I looked at quote sites and they variously attribute this to Albert Camus and to Tennyson ...
which is amusingly unlikely.
Day 309; Book 299