Friday, March 28, 2014

Lili's fear for the day

Is Jason Padgett the new Daniel Tammet? I think I can speak for Tomas in saying "Please No!"

Previous small article on Padgett, with comments, can be found here.

Interest sours into disappointment

Yes, I've found a cheap copy at my favourite online book retailer aggregator website thingamujig. How can retailers offer such a good price on a new and recently published book, which looks very worthwhile at first glance? I guess among the whole world one comes out cheapest. 

I was all lined up to splurge a little on a copy but after a few moments perusal of the book through the always useful Google Books I've decided to chase it up through the libraries, and not recommend purchase. A synaesthesia researcher has written a book about the senses and memory, which is a combination of topics that I'm interested in, and I liked his last book, so I was eager to take a look at this one, until I did a search to see how many times Daniel Tammet is mentioned in the book, and read through it to see if it's the standard starry-eyed credulity that I usually find in writing about Tammet. Maybe not so many star-bursts but I think there's plenty of credulity and too much sloppy work. 

In his discussion of Tammet Dutch synaesthesia researcher van Campen consistently confuses what appears to be the method of loci memory encoding and retrieval method with eidetic memory, a basic error or lack of knowledge that should not be displayed by the author of a book about memory. Van Campen also reports Tammet as the holder of the European Pi record with 22, 514 digits recounted, even though most online listings of Pi records give Tammet’s Pi record as only 2964 or don’t list him at all. See here, here and here for starters.

I had been holding out hope that van Campen was the one well-known synaesthesia researcher in the world who was skeptical about Daniel Tammet, as I'd not found discussion of Tammet in his writing before. Popularizers of synaesthesia science now have about as much credibility in my eyes as "savant syndrome" researchers, and that ain't much at all. 

The Proust Effect: The Senses as Doorways to Lost Memories
by Cretien van Campen
published on 23rd January 2014 by Oxford University Press

If you'd like to read the full story of Daniel Tammet, may I recommend my own book? I will anyway. 

Daniel Tammet: the Boy with the Incredible Story
by Lili Marlene

published February 2013 by Smashwords

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lili's political thought of the day

I fear that I'm having an episode of deja vu. Who is this female blonde Western Australian member of federal parliament taking advantage of the opportunity to speak frankly following her retirement from the "front bench" to give a speech condemning the government's inhuman asylum-seeker policy? Would it be Liberal Judi Moylan or would it be Labor's Melissa Parke? Whichever party one belongs to, we all have the ability to know right from wrong, and we all know today's policies are wrong. 

Lili's uncomplimentary thought of the day

Dan Sultan's music is crap and I wish Triple J would stop playing it. 

Lili's recreational thought of the day

Let's go down to the shopping centre food court and stare at all the cute babies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lili's question for the day

Which famous artist had an olive-coloured voice, experienced a burning sensation in his throat in response to viewing impressionist art, designed the memorable logo for Chupa Chups lolly-pops and claimed that "the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad"?

The answer can be found in this fabulous little book, which I have no financial interest in promoting:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lili's safety-minded thought for the day

It seems like half of the Australian workforce wears high-viz gear on the job, and it is generally accepted that high visibility clothing is a necessity for safety in many work situations and is generally a good idea that is cheap and easy to implement. I've even seen a bright pink high-viz waistcoat being worn by a lady doing some work. The popularity of high-viz has influenced fashion in Australia, with day-glow orange and yellow featuring in garments and high-heel shoes for young women and girls in the last few years, so why oh why don't cyclists wear high-vis or bright colours when they are riding on the roads? Are there day-glow coloured orange, yellow, pink or green bicycle or motor-bike helmets on the market? If there are, why don't all cyclists and motorcyclists wear them, for safety's sake, for their own sake? 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lili's plead of the day

Buy my books, please.

Lili's boastful thought of the day

We've got the greenest garden in the whole street. We know, we've inspected the satellite photos. 

Lili's handy tip for the day

A blob of plasticine is useful for displaying collected bird feathers. 

Lili's question for the day

Does Pope Francis have a tooth missing from his upper left jaw? 

Lili's winning thought for the day

To win that job, wear a red shirt.

Lili's thought for the day

A clean-shaven Derryn Hinch is surprisingly attractive (for an old bloke).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I've just seen a person with cerebral palsy giving a talk in which she blamed her condition on the doctor who delivered her, and denied that it was genetic, even though she admitted she has parents who are related. I find her claims to be less than believable. According to the Wikipedia, generally there is "no increased chance of a person with CP having a child with CP", but I personally know of a family in which this is the case. It is now generally accepted that CP is caused in most cases by things that happen before birth. 

Lili's rhetorical question for the day

How long do you think it will be before the truth catches up with you? 

Lili's thought for the day

After watching Come Back Little Sheba I think we all needed a long, stiff drink. 

Lili's quote for the day

"You can judge a man by his friends ... but you can also judge a man by his enemies — I've got a prize pack of bastards for enemies"
- Frank Hardy 

Lili's thought for the day

Last month one hundred and twenty conference proceedings papers were withdrawn after it was revealed that they were computer-generated nonsense, and we are supposed to respect peer-review in science publishing? 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I do love to watch a biographical doco on the box of a night-time

The famous chess champion Bobby Fischer was the misanthrope's misanthrope, and being a connoisseur of misanthropy with an interest in biography I'm keen to watch the doco about Fischer scheduled from broadcast at 10.15pm tonight on SBS1. The title of the documentary is Bobby Fischer Against the World. FTW.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Lili's advice for the day

It's a sign of the times that the shops are selling girdles and they seem to be popular, offered in a range of forms and colours. I hadn't seen one of those bloody horrible things since the 1970s, and I never thought I'd ever see one again. I thought girdles would forever belong to that long-ago age in which bras and girdles were known as "foundation garments". One thing that I will concede that the the new generation of "foundation garments" or "shapewear" have over the old style fat-wrangling heavy-duty buff-coloured underwear is that the new generation of corsetry seems to be more realistic in it's body coverage than the old style girdle, which was built to contain the arse only with separate flopper-stoppers for the breasts. It is indeed a good idea to wear one great big girdle that covers most of the torso (but I cannot imagine how one would squeeze into one of those things in under half an hour), because if you wear just a girdle pulled and tugged up around a large backside, in time the girdle will press and mould the bum into a bizarre and unnatural shape reminiscent of a spinning top. Once you have an arse in this peculiar shape you can forget swimming, unless they now make girdles that you can swim in (nothing would surprise me any more). It might be hard to believe that a naturally-occurring oversize butt with cellulite lumps that look like a blancmange that has been left out in a hailstorm could acquire an even more strange shape, but believe me, it's true. I've seen it with my own eyes, and what has been seen cannot be unseen. This is not the kind of nostalgia that I enjoy. Wouldn't it be simpler and smarter to watch what you eat and do a bit of exercise?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I've seen it with my own eyes - a person who has definite and obvious mental limitations can achieve a measure of success as a politician pushing populist policies. I attribute this to the fact that dumb appeals to dumb, and there's just so much dumb out there.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A gloomy tune from Nick, seems appropriate

Enough of all the guff about fooooooeud

I so agree with this quote from the author Lionel Shriver:

"Every other show is about cooking [or] about fat. This is completely out of control. The book review sections are shrinking into non-existence but the cooking sections are multiplying."

The quote came from this piece by Paul Barclay for Big Ideas on the ABC's Radio National, about Lionel Shriver's latest book:

Today the obsession is about feeding the gut, with little interest in feeding the mind. Plating-up, not reading-up. Burgers not books. Binging not reading. I'd like to organize a book-burning. I'd delight in watching the cook-book section from my local bookshop go up in flames. That would make more room in the store for the real books; books that are designed to be read from cover to cover, books that are for reading and thought and knowledge, not glorified instruction-manuals for feeding your face. I do have a few treasured cook-books on my shelf at home which have been passed on by family, and I'd never burn those, but the food-faddism of the 2010's has gone too far and has done too much damage to people's lives. I'm over it. 

One aspect of the current obsession with food and fat and bodies that I think wasn't touched upon in the article/radio story linked to above is the way that the food and body obsession is segregated and polarized by gender. I find this aspect of the fad even more disturbing, because neither of the gender stereotype's lifestyles are healthy or balanced. Women are told by all that they love sugary drinks such as fruit juices and alcopops and sugary foods such as cakes and chocolate, while regular exercise is not an expectation, and predictably many women  and also many men bloat up way beyond any kind of obesity that was seen forty years ago (I was there, so I know). The very rare few people who were regarded as obese back in the 1970s wouldn't attract a stare these days, and folks who are now massive were just pudgy in their 70-80s youths and childhoods, or were even skinny back then. What has happened? It simply cannot be genetic. Obesity and diabetes are now common in men and women, but it appears that they might have gotten that way by quite different pathways. Women are told that it is the feminine way to live on sugar, chocolate, coffee, salads and over-priced little plastic tubs of yoghurt, living like dysfunctional vegetarians, while men are sold cookbooks that are primarily about meat and fatty savoury foods, and are told to go bond with other men over barbecues. All that dietary protein can go towards building up muscle-mass, if they do manual labour regularly or go to the gym regularly, but not all do, so in many cases the fat and protein all goes to the waistline, which after a while dangles very obscenely below the bottom of their shirts. These men come to acquire a smell about them like preserved smallgoods, and God only knows how often their body moves a motion or what state their colons are in, on a diet bereft of all fibre or plant matter. Colon cancer, here we come! 

I blame a combination of common human stupidity and gendered-marketing for this appalling mess. I go out to my local shoppng centre, and I often see a morbidly obese person spilling out the sides of a wheelchair, with just a bandaged stump for a leg on one side, which is covered in bandages. Diabetes-induced gangrene, I wonder? If I feel repulsed at this sight, am I the one with the problem? I don't think so. 

Lili's important questions for the day

A McDonalds apple pie is a pie in what sense? If it is a slice of a pie, what in God's name does the whole pie look like? 

Lili's misanthropological thought for the day

How can I be expected to love and respect humanity, when time and time again humanity demonstrates it's love for obscenely wealthy despots, it's hatred for innocent impoverished minorities and an almost complete lack of moral courage? 

Lili's other horrified thought for the day

Every other day, and a new trophy shot of a murder or massacre of West Papuans by Indonesian military does the rounds on the internet. Are we supposed to accept this as the normal situation? 

Lili's thought for the day

Most Australians probably don't want to know how that young asylum-seeker on Manus Island died. The people who cared, the people who were interested, have known for ages.