Data Analysis, Curling and Other Such Frivolities.

Well, by Jove, it’s been quite the busy couple of weeks here. Aside from meeting and entertaining various relatives and friends I have been utterly snowed under with various pieces of uni work which are gradually piling up to become just a little too much for comfort. That’s not to mention the endless data analysis that has come with my latest experiment in the lab, in which the properties, namely the g-factor, of electrons in DPPH are examined using ESR techniques along with the g-factor of Hydrogen-1 and Fluorine-19 are investigated using NMR techniques. It’s an incredibly interesting experiment as it allows you to play with the properties of individual atoms and sub-atomic particles in the lab, but the amount of analysis – endless computations both by hand and on Excel/MATLAB and the never ending quantifying and qualification of the sources of errors – is quite upsetting.

Then of course there is the curling, with the season well and truly underway I am curling a little more often now, with the University’s team and with my other club. I have also begun doing volunteer coaching work at a new junior club being set up at my local rink, a thoroughly rewarding experience, which saw me up at five this morning to make it to the rink for the quarter past eight start. The Scottish Universities League is also now underway, the first session having taken place on Wednesday. Our Glasgow team won both games, beating Aberdeen II 14-1 in six and Dundee 7-1 in seven, putting us at the top of the league table. A good strong start to the league in anyone’s books. I am also planning on doing some more volunteer coaching work with my old school’s team, so I should be kept busy this season, indeed.

Back onto the university side of things, I have recently become part of the Astronomy Outreach Program, a program whereby Astronomy students in their honours years go out to schools, events or work with youth groups to teach people, old and young, about astronomy and what it is all about. This does mean filling out some forms for Disclosure Scotland to become a registered STEMNET ambassador, but I am quite sure it will be worth it.

On a more “Weegie Worker” note, I attended a talk held by the Glasgow University Marxists Society where socialist and author John Pickard  discussed his new book “Behind the Myths: The Foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam”. The talk, based around the book, raised some interesting points regarding the foundations of the major “western” religions and the historical accuracy of many religious texts.

He tangled with the foundations of Christianity, questioning the very existence of Christ and many other prophets and messiahs. Whilst the book and Pickard’s points appear to be sound in places and do raise a lot of interesting ideas, many of which gave cause for contention at the meeting, I didn’t leave feeling that anything particularly earth shattering had been raised regarding religion or indeed the cause of atheism.

The book essentially tells you what most atheists, agnostics and even deists already accept; that the holy books are nothing more than collections of stories, written by men, with little historical accuracy, books written by others who claim to have witnessed certain events and books that should not be taken as fact, rather as an ancient attempt at making a moral code.

The talk was interesting, but I didn’t come out with new opinions or new ideas in my head, in fact everything there was either old news or built on shaky, circumstantial evidence at best. The most interesting part of the talk was the question and answer session, during which a couple of religious fellows wanted a few questions asked and a couple of points made right.

Still, a reasonable evening and a bit of food for thought… and then we got drunk.

So yes, it has been quite the couple of weeks. As usual, please feel free to get involved in the comments, I shall also endeavour to put up a real political post soon. Thanks for reading.

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