Sep 232014

Razib Khan’s thoughts on the Islamic states in the Middle East and their fundamental failings in modernity and morality. He also expresses the dangers of partnering with various states and groups.

I am not a fan of allying with an enemy of your enemy. We can be better than that.

Sep 132014

The Society of Homeopaths has achieved PSA accreditation. Andy Lewis explains at:

This accreditation purely about being competent to keep a registrar. It is not about efficacy of homeopathy. But Andy is right. Perception is everything, and the public need to be made more fully aware that homeopathy is junk (that placebo is at play), and that PSA accreditation actually has no bearing whatsoever with regard to medical treatments.

Myanmar slideshow

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Sep 122014

I’ve created a slideshow of my photos from my January 2014 trip to Myanmar (Burma), and have uploaded it to YouTube. These are photos of people in the more well known regions of Myanmar but also of people in the rarely-visited remote regions. I think you will enjoy these!

The original individual photos can be seen at

Sep 012014

Sad news of the death of Victor Stenger.

He was a big influence on me, particularly with respect to clarifying that science is a methodology of explaining observations, an explanation of reality through analysis of evidence, and that this encompasses all phenomena whatever their classification, be they so-called “supernatural” phenomena or other. In order words, the concept of “non overlapping magistaria” is a pile of crock.

Stenger’s book “God: The Failed Hypothesis” is one of those books that everyone should. A real classic.

My new road bike

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Aug 032014

I purchased a new road bike earlier last month. A Boardman Elite SLS 9.2.


It’s very light and is fitted with Shimano Ultegra 6800 wheels, gears and brakes. Boardman call this a “sportive” bike in that the geometry is a bit more relaxed compared to a pure racer, and the rear is a little more compliant, so is relatively comfortable and suitable for road endurance cycling; these were the main factors in helping me to choose the new bike. Here’s Chris Boardman himself talking about the SLS platform:

It’s been a great bike so far, but having come from the mountain biking side of cycling, I’m still trying to get used to riding in the drops. Riding on the hoods are not a problem except that I need to learn how press the brake handles a little bit harder; a proper bike fitting is really required. I’ve also swapped out the tyres to 25mm Schwalbe One tyres which have held up well (no punctures!) even with gravel off-road cycling. Yes, this bike is doing fine.

Aug 012014

I’ve been mountain biking for a while, but have recently bought a road bicycle to use on those those trips that increasingly entail significant road travel. I had tried to use my existing mountain bike helmet for road cycling but I found that it was not ideal in this role; the helmet is relatively heavy compared to road helmets, it has a visor that can get in the way when in the road cycling position forcing you to crane your neck upwards (especially when in the drops), and the colour is rather low key which can make it difficult for other road users to notice you.

So I decided to get a new helmet specifically for road cycling. And here it is: light, bright and visor-less! A Kask Mojito.


Jul 122014

Whilst recently researching the suitability of tubeless tyres for road bicycles, I came across Schwalbe’s document “Technical Info – Bicycle Tires”. This is the latest version direct from their website, and appears to have been written no later than 2011. It’s a very useful document but this bit from the manual caught my eye:

Why are tubeless tires only available for mountain bikes?
In offroad terrain, tubeless systems offer a clear advantage. Tires can be operated with lower inflation pressures, which improves the grip and the rolling characteristics. On the other hand, on road, a high inflation pressure is an advantage and the current tubeless system, as found in MTB’s is unsuitable for high pressure. Pressures above 4 bar would blow the tire off the rim.

There have been numerous attempts to offer suitable high-pressure tubeless tires and rims for racing bikes. Such tires are very hard to fit because the tolerances of both rim and tire must be extremely accurate in order to achieve an airtight fit. Because there are no apparent advantages, we do not see much sense, nor a future, for such systems.

Of course, Schwalbe do now offer tubeless tyres for road bicycles; I use the Schwalbe “One” tubeless on my road bike! Their website describing the Schwalbe “One” tubeless technology says:


There are hardly any tubeless tires for racing bikes. In practice, however, this system offers outstanding benefits. The rolling resistance is noticeably lower than with conventional folding and tubular tires because this system minimizes friction losses. At the same time tubeless systems are extremely safe and a sudden loss of air is almost impossible. There are no longer any tubes that can overheat and burst. A puncture protection liquid seals punctures within tenths of a second.

Now it would be easy to laugh at Schwalbe, but it’s a good sign that companies are always looking at technology and the market. It was probably Hutchinson’s success with road bicycle tubeless tyres that caused Schwalbe to do a re-think. It may perhaps have been better if Schwalbe had worded their original pre-2011 statement along the lines that current technologies do not appear to be suitable but that Schwalbe were actively involved in research.