Archive for October 20, 2012

Philosophy of Science Poll

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on October 20, 2012 by telescoper

I’m told the following quotation from esteemed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is very profound:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

Huh? I can’t make sense of it at all. Is it just me that finds it entirely devoid of either logic or  meaning?

Please tell Mr Polldaddy what you think….

You might even try to explain it to me via the comments box, but be patient because I’m thick.

And death is now my neighbour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 20, 2012 by telescoper

I find myself in a very strange mood this morning after the horrendous events that unfolded in Cardiff late yesterday afternoon during the Friday rush hour. I didn’t know anything about them at the time, and even several hours later the picture was extremely confused. Stories were flying around that many people had been killed by a man in a white van who had been driving around deliberately running over pedestrians in Ely, which is to the west of Cardiff city centre.

This morning a slightly clearer picture has emerged. One person was killed but fourteen were injured, some of them critically. Five children are among those injured, the youngest just 23 months old. The University Hospital at Cardiff has this morning appealed for emergency blood donations as supplies are running short.  Grim.

The driver of the white van has been taken into custody on suspicion of murder, but his motives remain (for now) a mystery. It seems he went berserk after an incident at or near the Asda supermarket in Leckwith and went on the rampage, deliberately trying to run over pedestrians (including women and children) until stopped.

Here is a map of the area:

If you look at the top right-hand corner of the map you can see the cricket ground at Sophia Gardens; my house is to the North-West of that, near the slight kink in the main road (Cathedral Road) that runs by the stadium.  The Cardiff City football ground can be seen near the caption marked “Sloper Road”. That’s about 20 minutes’ walk from where I live.

I was several miles away at the time, so was never in any danger, but even from a such a distance it’s very disturbing when familiar “safe” places become sites of violence and destruction. Most of the time life seems so secure, but things like this show how fragile it can be. I can’t even begin to imagine what people must be feeling who experienced those events first hand.

It’s been a lovely sunny morning this morning, but there’s a palpable sense of shock around the neighbourhood. I think it’s the incomprehensibility more than anything. Why would someone do such things? What on Earth was going through his mind? Perhaps the Police investigation will provide answers. In the meantime  all I can do is post my sincerest condolences to the loved ones of the person who was killed, and wish a speedy and complete recovery for all those injured or traumatised by what they saw.