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Showing posts from July, 2011

Mendel, the great modest man, and his magnificent idea

Today, or what's left of it, is Gregor Mendel's 189th birthday, and as he is one of my heroes, I feel the need to shout about it. Mendel was one of those people who led a modest life, saw and observed the same world as the rest of us, but did it so much better, more insightfully, more thoughtfully, and came up with an idea that is so simple, profound and right that the rest of us will spend the rest of time thinking: how come no one had thought of that before? In his case, it was a few rows of peas (round, wrinkled, etc) sown annually and the produce patiently counted and re-sown, plus maths, that revealed the solution to the bit Charles Darwin hadn't solved: how, from generation to generation, did heredity happen? The nuts and bolts of it? Nowadays we witter on about genes, DNA and all the rest of it, as though these ideas had always been there, but in Mendel's time hardly anyone had so much as a clue, and then Mendel wrote a clue. Some say he tweaked the maths, but e…

On blogging (and grammarians)

The Hansard report on bloggers a week or so ago got me thinking why I don't blog that often. Someone intimated that I did it all wrong, I didn't react quickly to events and it wasn't a proper blog unless it was a weblog, a daily (or more frequent) diary. So I was duly put down, until I asked myself: who are these people who set themselves up as experts on how blogging should be done? Like 6th century Latin grammarians. Good grief, it's only just been invented. So I will go on doing it the way I like, when a posting has ripened enough to be a fruit that someone somewhere might think worth picking.