Tuesday

Science review: Chaos

Chaos theory is where, if a butterfly flaps its wings in Somalia, I am 20 minutes late for work. An excellent excuse for when you next stagger into a meeting half an hour behind schedule and everyone's heads swivel around to judge you as a waster: it was the butterfly. Be careful, though: Pope John Paul II once said that excuses are worse than lies, as they are lies in disguise. I bet he was never late for meetings. Although now he is the late Pope.

I have welcomed chaos into my life. Right now, for example, I am hoping that writing this review will trigger a chain of events that will lead inexorably to my room packing itself up into boxes and transfering itself up Haverstock Hill by osmosis. (Osmosis is another popular scientific activity, fact fans.) And why not? Once you let go of your bourgeois expectations of causality, anything is possible.

To the irritation of efficient people, us chaotic people like to make a big fuss of our inability to do anything right or on time. Some people even go so far as to buy fridge magnets that say things like A Tidy Mind Is A Deranged Mind or You Don't Have To Be Incompetent To Work Here, But It Will Help You Make Friends Around The Office. I can see why this upsets organised people, but they should watch out: if they get too upset, they could become unbalanced and suddenly find themselves staring vacantly out of the window, thinking "It probably only takes about ten minutes to get from one side of London to the other... Oh, a squirrel".

Chaos: Scientists beware. 7 out of 10.

29 Comments:

At 11:41 pm, Blogger Philip said...

I wonder if that Somalian butterfly is the reason Blogger buggers up at such regular intervals. Perhaps we should invade after all. Anyway, I thought chaos theory had to do with someone called Mandelbrot who lived with badgers and drew coastlines and other wriggly things. Clearly I was wrong, although this does not happen often. Probably that bloody butterfly again. And don't talk to me about squirrels; I have lived with the little fuckers. They are rats with bushy tails, and that is all. I wish I had a flame thrower for every squirrel I have met.

 
At 11:58 pm, Anonymous eskimo said...

i like your picture. what is it?

 
At 12:00 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

actually, i am all for invading somalia. fuck it, let's invade everywhere. how much worse can it get?

 
At 1:40 am, Blogger Fizzy good said...

I rather like rats, I have a vendetta against squirrels (just ask Miranda Richardson), and I've got some fucking jaffa cakes in my coat pocket.

If you only understand the first thing I said, you are healthy and normal. Congratulations. Get out of my shop.

 
At 2:03 am, Blogger Philip said...

Eskimo: If you mean the picture at my curmudgeonly weblog, it's a who not a what: Davros, creator of the Daleks and one of the arch enemies whom Doctor Who defeats with monotonous regularity. I have always had a soft spot for mad scientists, and a fellow sufferer at school compared me to Davros in 1980 or thereabouts. The intervening quarter century has improved neither my looks nor my temperament, although unlike Davros I do have the use of my legs.

 
At 9:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although as a consequence I expect that, unlike Davros, you don't have a nice Dalek-base-style wheelchair. I wonder if giving those out would make the disabled more or less pleased with their lot. I would probably get my legs amputated if I knew I'd get a half-Dalek for my pains. Maybe this is where treatment of the disabled is going wrong. Sorry, I digress.

 
At 9:04 am, Anonymous Andrew H said...

Hey! I didn't publish anonymously, I used my name; Andrew. I shall try again.

 
At 10:43 am, Blogger Philip said...

Fucking jaffa cakes - sounds interesting. Do you think they'll breed?

 
At 11:01 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

jaffa cakes get very horny around april. it's a seasonal thing. but they're not alone in this: many different types of biscuit are on heat at this time of year.

andrew, would you like me to chew off your legs for you?

 
At 1:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the beating wings of a Somalian butterfly started a chain reaction that lead to the invention of Jaffa Cakes...... and there ultimate breeding?

 
At 1:33 pm, Blogger Fizzy good said...

I'm very very sorry. Wine was there, I was there, it was bound to happen.

 
At 4:32 pm, Anonymous Richard H said...

If you chew Andrew's legs off, could I watch?

 
At 4:38 pm, Anonymous Ed Lake said...

This conversation is chilling. I feel like I ought to arrange some sort of intervention, but I don't know which, or for whom.

 
At 5:13 pm, Anonymous eskimo said...

maybe you should invade andrew, ed, with a crack team of somalis.

 
At 6:31 pm, Anonymous Ed Lake said...

My dearest wish, voiced so flippantly...

 
At 9:10 pm, Anonymous Richard H said...

Or, or, or, with a team of somalis on crack.

 
At 7:28 am, Anonymous Andrew said...

I'm only on for this leg-chewing business if I get half a Dalek out of it.

 
At 12:48 pm, Anonymous Ed Lake said...

Oh, you'll get your half-Dalek.

 
At 7:14 pm, Blogger Philip said...

Strictly speaking, of course, it wouldn't be half a Dalek but half a Dalek transporter unit. Half a Dalek would be half of something slimy with a master-race complex, like Michael Howard's tongue only larger and marginally less repellent, which sits inside the transporter and operates it through psycho-kinetic power. I'm still not sure how they coped with stairs, however. Presumably they got a butterfly to waft them to the appropriate floor.

 
At 10:56 am, Anonymous Ed Lake said...

I agree. In speaking about Doctor Who, the utmost strictness is called for. A little licence may be permitted when expounding, say, the principles of chaos theory. But Doctor Who is a serious matter.

 
At 2:01 pm, Blogger Philip said...

Quite so. After all, A L Kennedy is backing him for Prime Minister - an honour which has yet to be accorded Mandelbadger, a butterfly or the offspring of a Jaffa cake.

 
At 12:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A L Kennedy is backing Doctor Who for prime minister? Bloody hell - those butterflies really do cause havoc!

 
At 11:55 pm, Anonymous Rob said...

You are absolutely right re taxonomy of monsters, accuracy is all; but which doctor for PM? Fuck's sake, can you imagine the hash Mcoy would make of it? Not to mention Colin Baker. As smug as Blair, but much, much fatter. It really doesn't bear thinking about.

 
At 5:29 pm, Blogger Hated thrice said...

I'm so behind the times that not one but two veritable gems of blogdom pass me by. My life is ruled so much by chaos excuses — ie trying to splice time with as much matter as is humanly possible — that I have lost a week in the process. Those overtly tidy people do have chaos in their lives and probably procrastinate more, when no one is looking, than the us tardy messy pups. Through their special OCD goggles the world appears as to be inhabited by nothing but vermin. Personally I enjoy watching sugar-crazed squirrels in Central Park harass tourists. Spunky little critters — that’s the tourists of course.
And Eskimo, I only criticise those that I've met. If you’re not the person I think you are then my apologies, as my comment last week would have made little sense. But if you are, thanks for succumbing to the red mist and despising me for the fourth time. Can I make it five in a row?

 
At 5:51 pm, Anonymous eskimo said...

who is the person that you think i am? maybe it's nicer if you just imagine i'm that person, regardless of whether i am or not. then you and this person that you think i am can have impossibly complicated conversations where you mention their blog, & they are confused, but you think they're just being coy. it will be CLASS.

 
At 5:55 pm, Blogger Hated thrice said...

Does stylebook mean anying to you?

 
At 6:26 pm, Blogger Hated thrice said...

Please ignore the previous question as I may have miss heard something at a living room gig a couple of months ago. But I hope to continue reading your ruminations from far off Clerkenwell

 
At 10:16 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

ooh.... ok you win.

 
At 10:53 am, Blogger Hated thrice said...

What's to win? I can snatch defeat from the claws of victory any time. My six-year-old niece always tries to convince me that it's not the winning but the taking part. To which I retort: "Loser". Terribly grown up, but I'm not the one having a paddy in the middle of a shop.

 

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