Alvin, the boat that keeps on giving

One of my favourite vehicles is Alvin, a deep sea vehicle commissioned in 1964 but which has had numerous upgrades over the years; upgrades that have allowed Alvin to continue contributing to cutting-edge ocean research and exploration.


Photo by Lance Wills, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Alvin first came to my attention in the late 1970s when the famous “black smokers” were discovered. Those black smokers were a spectacular find and a reminder that there is still much to be discovered on this planet. I’ve kept an eye on Alvin over the years, noticing it in the background of various photos and documentaries. That’s one vehicle with a lot of history. True, with all the upgrades undertaken on Alvin, there is probably nothing left of the original vehicle; with the current planned upgrades, Alvin will replace itself! Alvin: Past, Present, and Future (pdf)

The other undersea vehicle that I knew a bit about in the 1970s was Trieste but only because of its feat of reaching the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. But it is Alvin, with its habit of appearing at cutting-edge research and exploration, that has meant that this vehicle will be more than just a footnote in history. It’s a star in its own right.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Delusions of Prince Charles

Quackometer has posted an article that, once again, highlights the ineptitude and meddling of Prince Charles.

This is a damning indictment of Charles; his capacity to understand, his actions and the harm that can be caused.

I have already explained in a previous article that Charles is a victim of the system that this country has created. But it seems, to me at least, that Charles is beyond redemption and rehabilitation as he refuses to accept the evidence presented to him. His actions are those of the delusional. Charles’s belief-systems are untenable for anyone acting with rationality; he almost seems to take delight in his position. Perhaps that is all that is left in his life.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Randi on Geller

James Randi on Uri Geller’s reversal:

James Randi on Uri Geller’s Reversal

Although I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t kick a person who’s trying to apologies, it’s clear that Geller’s actions over the years have contributed in a big way to society’s muddled thinking and resulted in the encouragement of other crazies to exploit and scam. I actually have very little sympathy for those scientists who endorsed Geller’s physic claims; fool on you. But it is Geller’s other victim that I have sympathy for i.e. society’s capacity to reason.

If Geller wants to right wrongs then he needs to embark on an aggressive and earnest campaign to apologise, and perhaps contribute some of his earnings to real education. How about appearing on well-known talk shows to renounce and apologies? From what I’ve seen of him over the years, Geller will likely try to make himself look good and claim that it was all part of “his show”, his act to “entertain”. Just remember all those legal actions he took against anyone who even dared to cast doubt on Geller’s so-called psychic ability.

Having had a quick look around, I cannot find an unequivocal statement from Geller where he renounces his claims for having psychic or supernatural powers. The closest I can find is this from Wikipedia:

In 2007, skeptics observed that Geller appeared to have dropped his claims that he does not perform magic tricks. Randi highlighted a quotation from the November 2007 issue of the magazine Magische Welt (Magic World) in which Geller said: "I’ll no longer say that I have supernatural powers. I am an entertainer. I want to do a good show. My entire character has changed."

In a later interview, Geller told Telepolis, "I said to this German magazine, so what I did say, that I changed my character, to the best of my recollection, and I no longer say that I do supernatural things. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have powers. It means that I don’t say ‘it’s supernatural’, I say ‘I’m a mystifier!’ That’s what I said. And the sceptics turned it around and said, ‘Uri Geller said he’s a magician!’ I never said that."[41] In that interview, Geller further explained that when he is asked how he does his stunts, he tells children to "Forget the paranormal. Forget spoon bending! Instead of that, focus on school! Become a positive thinker! Believe in yourself and create a target! Go to university! Never smoke! And never touch drugs! And think of success!"

In February 2008, Geller stated in the TV show The Next Uri Geller (a German version of The Successor) that he did not have any supernatural powers, before winking to the camera.

I think that last lines tells it all.

Note: Randi’s video seems to have been uploaded in December 2009 although it appeared on my RSS feed today for some reason. What has happened with Geller over the last 12 months or so?

I rather like these older videos from Randi:

James Randi exposes Uri Geller – part 1 of 4

Bends keys? Or bends truth?

James Randi exposes Uri Geller – part 2 of 4


James Randi exposes Uri Geller – part 3 of 4


James Randi exposes Uri Geller – part 4 of 4

Bend it like Geller!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Transactional Analysis (TA) made easy

Many years ago on a management course I was introduced to the basics of Transactional Analysis (TA) and the roles of the ego states: Parent, Adult, Child. I think most people are taught these basic concepts on any introductory management course. I found this information very helpful in both the workplace environment and in my personal life. However, as in most things in life, a basic introduction to something as complicated as human behaviour likely requires reinforcement through further study to appreciate all the complexities and subtleties.

Recently I stumbled across three TA YouTube videos which, whilst still introductions, are well thought out, well presented and consequently extremely educational. I have included these three videos below. Highly recommended.

Transactional Analysis 1: ego states & basic transactions


Transactional Analysis 2: games


Transactional Analysis 3: gimmicks

Dr Eric Berne first published the theories on TA just over fifty years ago. More information can be found here:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010