Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment (Book review)

frozentolifeI was sent a free copy of this book by the author, and asked to write an honest review. As the author noted in his email to me, ‘I think we have quite a few interests in common. ‘That’s very true, so I thought my review might also be of interest to my blog readers.

The book is the story of why the author (DJ MacLennan), has chosen to have his brain cryogenically frozen when he dies – or as he puts it – when current medicine can do no more to save him from death. It’s a personal story, and a scientific and philosophical investigation of what it means to live and die. Here’s my review of the book. Continue reading

How to get what you want in life

lifeplanYou could trust to serendipity. You could subscribe to New Thought philosophy, which maintains that by focusing on positive thoughts you can bring positive experiences into your life. Or you could plan.

I would strongly recommend planning. Continue reading

The wrong sports

sportsIn our schools, we teach children to play sports. Invariably, this means team sports. In Britain these might be soccer, rugby or cricket. In the US, perhaps football or baseball. These are precisely the wrong sports to teach our children. Continue reading

My new book is published!

Strange Thoughts Random MutteringsDo you know those newspaper columnists who cynically bundle together their previously-published articles and release them as a book? What a brilliant idea! I decided to do the same. Continue reading

Newton vs Einstein

newtonMy all-time favourite scientist was Isaac Newton. Newton was very clever. In fact he was a genius. He discovered lots of interesting and important things. Unfortunately, most of them turned out to be wrong. That doesn’t make him a bad scientist, of course. Finding wrong answers is an important way that science makes progress.

One of the reasons we know that Newton was a genius is that it took a very long time before anyone proved that he was wrong. Around 200 years, in fact. Then Albert Einstein (my second favourite scientist) showed that Newton was wrong, by coming up with some better explanations. Continue reading

Alien mathematics class

alienplanetIndulge me in a little thought experiment. Imagine a rocky planet a long way from here, orbiting a star rather similar to our own sun, at just the right distance for water to remain liquid. Let this planet have an atmosphere containing all the elements needed for interesting biochemistry to take place – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and so on. Now imagine that on this planet lives a single lifeform – one composed of trillions of tiny plant-like organisms amassed in one huge layer that covers the entire planet. This lifeform quietly converts the sun’s energy into food, and while it does so, it thinks. What kinds of thoughts might it ponder? Continue reading

Hopes and fears

charlestonThree items of news have caught my attention recently. The first is the decision by America’s Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage. Such a decision may have seemed impossible a couple of decades ago, and yet with hindsight it seems incredible that it took so long.

I know that not all readers of my blog will be in favour of this move, but we can all surely be thankful that we live in democratic countries where such decisions are made transparently and peacefully, according to the rule of law, and where open debate about them is possible. Continue reading