Rant on rants on Sheldrake

So, I randomly came across this video by Rupert Sheldrake.


Now, Rupert Sheldrake does have some pretty left-field ideas, but I was quite surprised to hear that this TED talk of his was removed by TED from their site. Sheldrake is a very intelligent person and an accomplished and highly credentialed scientist. Certainly someone to give a hearing to, even if you disagree with what he says.

Anyway, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. Science fanbois (who know nothing about the philosophy of science) wind me up.

Comments such as the following got me into rant mode:

Effective learning and improving memory and study skills

At the moment I am interested in improving my learning ability, there are lots of tips and tricks around, but what I would like to discover is a systematic and scientific approach. I'm sure there has been lots of work done towards this, but at the moment it is not very easy to find or access. The other question is how to measure if any particular approach is effective. Research around brain game type training systems is still quite sketchy.

What can Jesus teach us today?

Are you good at something? Maybe you have mechanical aptitude, are good with numbers, or music, writing, talking, business, sport, art, problem solving or something else? These are all gifts from God. I'm taking the position here that this is self evident. If you are having trouble believing that God exists, then there might be other things you need to look into first, but perhaps as you learn more about Jesus teaching and how you can learn to be a better person (not just a better person but the best person you can be), you might acknowledge the divine wisdom his teaching contains. Anyway, if you can accept that these gifts are from God, you will see it is from Him through Christ Jesus that we must learn how to master them - for the good of all and the glory of God. Jesus is the master of masters in all spheres of human attainment. This, I understand is a very bold claim to make, especially to the sceptical, but the more you learn from Jesus, the more you realise that it must be true.

Using GeoIP with Magento and Multiple Sites

The GeoIP database and API from MaxMind provide an easy way to determine country and region from an IP address. This can be used on a website to determine which country a site visitor is from, to provide them with a tailored experience, or to direct them to an alternative website.

Combined with Magento's multi-store capabilities, this can be used to provide the most suitable currency, language and product selection automatically.

One thing I wanted to be careful with, was to make sure that my implementation didn't have a negative effect on SEO. For example: redirecting to a country specific domain based on IP address might stop some domains from being indexed by search engines (Googlebot IP addresses are nearly always US based). Also, having the same domain to serve different countries might mean lower (or no) search ranking for country specific searches.

There are lots of different scenarios that are possible, and I can't cover them all, but hopefully you'll find something useful below. Let's get started...

Scarborough Walk for Water 2010

What could be more basic for human existence than food and shelter? Clean safe drinking water! Unfortunately 884 million people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water.

When I was confronted with this issue I decided to do something about it, that's why I'm organising the Scarborough Walk for Water.

Please support our Walk for Water either by donating, or by joining in and getting others to sponsor you.

Update: (Nov 2010)

Thank to those who took part and those who sponsored. We raised about £3000 (short of the £4000 target, but not a disappointing result).


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