Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Skeptic Magazine cover illustration

Finally I can post my first (and hopefully not last) magazine cover illustration that I did recently for The Skeptic Magazine of Simon Singh and David Allen Green (and a couple of other faces Skeptic readers might recognise). Huge thanks to Crispian Jago who asked me to do it and Chris French for liking it! It was great fun to work on, not only getting the faces right but recreating the atmosphere in the specific pub where the meeting I was to illustrate took place.

I'm offering a very limited number of prints of this illustration (just 50) for sale. As with my other prints, they are A3 size and printed on a high quality archival paper and are hand signed and numbered by me. The price is £17.50 inc p&p, and I will be donating £5.00 from every sale to the DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal - just click the PayPal buy now button below to order your copy:

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Case Of The Pope

I've just got a copy of this Penguin Special book written by Geoffrey Robertson QC: The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse. It promises to be an interesting read if the first chapter is anything to go by. May well post something about it when I've read it completely.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A ponder on spontaneous creation

I haven't got hold of Stephen Hawking's new book yet so I don't know the actual details of his statement that was splashed all over the papers recently that the laws of physics allow our universe to spontaneously create itself. But it got me wondering...

The multiverse idea suggests there may be other universes separate from ours out there (an infinite number?), with different laws of physics (which removes the need for fine-tuning of our laws to be suitable for life). Assuming no creator deity, it would follow that not only our laws of physics allowed the spontaneous creation of our universe, but the laws of all the universes that could exist in the multiverse must also allow spontaneous creation of their own universe (or they simply wouldn't exist).

So there must therefore be a subset of all possible laws of physics that allow spontaneous creation and they are the only ones that go on to create universes. Now we've all heard of physicists tweaking our laws slightly and wondering what that would mean (a 1% increase in gravity meaning stars don't last long enough to allow life to arise, a 1% decrease meaning stars don't form at all, that sort of thing) - but have they turned that process around and wondered how tweaking those laws effect the initial spontaneous creation?

Could it be that, as the parameters of the laws that allow for spontaneous creation are narrowed down, that they may in fact match up with the parameters that allow the universe they create to support life in some form? In other words, might the supposed fine-tuning also apply to the spontaneous creation of a universe?

Of course it wouldn't be a fine-tuning question at all, because if correct, then it would show that our type of universe is the only type of universe that could spontaneously create itself (and therefore the only type that could exist) - and so it would do away with both the need for a creator and the need for a multiverse to explain anything.

Bish bosh I'll take that prize thanksverymuch Mr Nobel.

(no doubt the answer is hahahahaNOhahaha but it was fun to think about for a few minutes)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Albert Einstein t-shirt design

Here's the last of these t-shirt designs for the moment (unless I think of any more that it works for) - the daddy, Albert Einstein! Check it out here.

Full caricature: