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[1] Professor of Philosophy Sydney University from 1927 to 1958

[2] Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth), Chapter 3.1-3.9, 3.18-3.22

[3] A taxonomic group whose members can interbreed

[4] John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

[5] Samuel (Dr) Johnson. (1709–1784)

[6] The Bible: John 1:1

[7] The independence of the US set in train the events that led to Australia, as we know it.

[8] William Shakespeare, 1564-1616 Romeo & Juliet, Act II Scene 2.

[9] 1926–1984

[10] Leonardo da Vinci - Painter, Sculptor, Architect and Engineer 1452-1519

[11] Sir Alfred Jules Ayer: Language, Truth and Logic (1936); The Problem of Knowledge (1956). Bertrand Arthur William Russell (Earl Russell) OM, FRS (1872 –1970): co-author Principia Mathematica; A history of Western Philosophy; On Denoting; Nobel Prize Laureate.

[12] Little person, invented by the alchemists – thought to reside in sperm and to be passed to a woman at conception – see also Stewie in Family Guy

[13] George Bernard Shaw

[14] D.H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover Chapter 11

[15] Albert Einstein

[16] The great mathematician Alfred North Whitehead described the history of philosophy as simply "a series of footnotes to Plato".

[17] Macquarie Dictionary. This is tautological; life as the absence of death is not a very useful definition.

[18] Coleridge

[19] Milton Areopagitica

[20] Richard Dawkins 1941-The Selfish Gene (1976) ch. 2

[21] The bases are adenine (A); thymine (T); cytosine (C); and guanine (G) A bonds only with T, C with G.

[22] Written in 2000 – we now know a lot more, look it up

[23] Charles Darwin 1859 English natural historian 1809-82

[24] New Scientist 28June 2003 P20

[25] Richard Dawkins 'The Selfish Gene'

[26] See Susan Blackmore 'The Meme Machine'.

[27] Unless, of course, we cause it.

[28] Air from the Musical 'Hair' 1968

[29] U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division quoting McEvedy, Colin and Richard Jones, 1978, "Atlas of World Population History,"

[30] U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division

[31] Not even oil – long predicted to be the first cab to run out of fuel

[32] Catch 22 – ibid

[33] Byron; Don Juan - ibid.

[34] More strictly the Last Universal Ancestor (LUA) AKA Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA), the unicellular organism or single cell that gave rise to all life on Earth three to four billion years ago.

[35] I will leave you to ponder our moral obligation to the unborn (or never to be born) both human and no-human – if any.

Every sperm is sacred.

Every sperm is Great.

When a sperm is wasted God gets quite irate.

– Monty Python's Meaning of life

[36] Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

[37] Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002 – Form and Function of the Nervous System

[38] This is the prevailing view at the moment but it is in dispute and some leading scientists think that Neanderthals bred with pre-humans and were absorbed.

[39] Fallingwater

[40] See New Scientist 4 Sept 1999 pp 31

[41] Song: Lloyd Price Personality 1960

[42] Alfred C Kinsey Sexual Behaviour In The Human Male 1948; Sexual Behaviour In The Human Female 1953

[43] Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest Act III

[44] First Essay on Population 1798

[45] Twelfth Night Act III Scene IV

[46] WS Gilbert - Pooh-Bah in The Mikado

[47] George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) - Don Juan

[48] Andy Warhol – Andy Warhol's exposures, Studio 54

[49] Sydney 'Truth', 1892 (note the use of grammar to add scorn)

[50] Oscar Wilde – Lane the butler in The Importance of Being Earnest.

[51] Of course a few are just thieves like Bond or Skase.

[52] 1921 song. Kahn, Egan & Whiting - Ain't We Got Fun

[53] The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money –Chapter 24 (1936).

[54] In Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault (1989, trans. 1991). "Les Reportages d'Idées," Corriere Della Sera (Milan, Nov. 12, 1978).

[55] Walter Lippmann

[56] Joseph Heller Catch-22

[57] Franklin Delano Roosevelt - 32 President of the United States

[58] Edgar Degas

[59] Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate

[60] Horace Walpole (1717–1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 58, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978).

[61] In 1999 Hubble Space Telescope images were used to estimate that there are over 125 billion visible galaxies in the universe

[62] The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) - a NASA satellite launched on June 30, 2001 to survey the sky to measure the temperature of the radiant heat left over from the Big Bang.

[63] Shakespeare – Hamlet, Act I Scene 5

[64] At least 'til Thursday (Woden's day Thor's day)

[65] Aldus Huxley Time Must Have a Stop 1945

[66] Section 116

[67] AA Milne - Now We Are Six, "Explained"

[68] Matthew 19:16-24, Mk. 10:25, Lk. 18:25 (Rope: kamilo in Greek was originally mistranslated as Camel in the English Bible)

[69] graffito

[70] Shakespeare Hamlet's soliloquy Act III Scene 1

[71] See also Romeo, Juliet, Ophelia, Gloucester (in Lear) etc.

[72] Friedrich Nietzsche

[73] The Truman Show - written and directed Peter Weir (1998)

[74] Dorothy Parker

[75] Samuel Butler Way of all Flesh

[76] Gore Vidal Two Sisters

[77] Mark Twain 19th Century Author

[78] Mae West

[79] In George Orwell's 1984; not the TV Show

[80] Book: John Irving - Screenplay: John Irving, based on his novel The Cider House Rules

[81] WS Gilbert – The Mikado

[82] Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee

[83] Mark Twain - Eruption

[84] Lewis Carroll – Alice in Alice in Wonderland

[85] Anon. Song Tune: Auld Lang Syne

[86] Albert Einstein 1879-1955 - Letter to Max Born, 4 December 1926; in Einstein und Born Briefwechsel (1969) p. 1 (often quoted: 'Gott würfelt nicht [God does not play dice]')

[87] TS Eliot - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

[88] NewScientist.com news service 13 April 2008

[89] Wired Magazine: Issue 15.06

[90] 9 or 10 space dimensions and one time dimension.

[91] Three space and one time dimension.

[92] Sayings of Dan Quayle US Vice President, 1989-1993  https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dan_Quayle

[93] We do not presently know any reason for the cosmological constants that determine the shape and laws of our Universe, to be as they are. There is every prospect that there are or have been other Universes in which life could not exist.

[94] Using this logic, we might be concerned that there will not be many more billions of humans in future, else why weren't we born then.

[95] Mark Twain - Letter to Mr. Burrough, 11/1/1876; Mark Twain and I

[96] Donald Rumsfeld US Secretary of Defence - May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times

[97] Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

[98] Cabaret – Fred Ebb, J Van Druten / C Isherwood.

[99] Speak, Memory - Vladimir Nabokov

[100] A movie by Frederico Fellini 1960. Fellini no doubt had more reward making a great movie than the characters he portrayed did in partying and spending money. Fellini is dead – but his film goes on.

[101] F Scott Fitzgerald – This side of Paradise

[102] Shakespeare – The Tempest Act III, Scene II

[103] Susan Sontag, U.S. essayist. Notes on 'Camp', Against Interpretation (1964, repr. 1966).

[104] Bertrand Russell

[105] Shakespeare – Hamlet's Soliloquy

[104] British Medical Association





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USA - middle bits






In September and October 2017 Wendy and I took another trip to the United States where we wanted to see some of the 'middle bits'.  Travel notes from earlier visits to the East coast and West Coast can also be found on this website.

For over six weeks we travelled through a dozen states and stayed for a night or more in 20 different cities, towns or locations. This involved six domestic flights for the longer legs; five car hires and many thousands of miles of driving on America's excellent National Highways and in between on many not so excellent local roads and streets.

We had decided to start in Chicago and 'head on down south' to New Orleans via: Tennessee; Georgia; Louisiana; and South Carolina. From there we would head west to: Texas; New Mexico; Arizona; Utah and Nevada; then to Los Angeles and home.  That's only a dozen states - so there are still lots of 'middle bits' left to be seen.

During the trip, disaster, in the form of three hurricanes and a mass shooting, seemed to precede us by a couple of days.

The United States is a fascinating country that has so much history, culture and language in common with us that it's extremely accessible. So these notes have turned out to be long and could easily have been much longer.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Alan Turing and The Imitation Game


The movie The Imitation Game is an imaginative drama about the struggles of a gay man in an unsympathetic world. 

It's very touching and left everyone in the cinema we saw it in reaching for the tissues; and me feeling very guilty about my schoolboy homophobia. 

Benedict Cumberbatch, who we had previously seen as the modernised Sherlock Holmes, plays Alan Turing in much the same way that he played Sherlock Holmes.  And as in that series The Imitation Game differs in many ways from the original story while borrowing many of the same names and places.

Far from detracting from the drama and pathos these 'tweaks' to the actual history are the very grist of the new story.  The problem for me in this case is that the original story is not a fiction by Conan Doyle.  This 'updated' version misrepresents a man of considerable historical standing while simultaneously failing to accurately represent his considerable achievements.

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Opinions and Philosophy

A new political dawn



The State election on 26th March saw a crushing political defeat for the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales. Both sides of politics are still coming to terms with the magnitude of this change.  On the Labor side internal recriminations seem to have spread beyond NSW.  The Coalition now seem to have an assured eight and probably twelve years, or more, to carry out their agenda.

On April 3, following the advice of the Executive Council, the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, gave effect to an Order to restructure the NSW Public Service. Read more...

It remains to be seen how the restructured agencies will go about the business of rebuilding the State.


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