While rootin’ around the various news sites today, I came across a few bits that were rather interesting–some slightly humorous, others more serious. First up is the recent claim that ‘astronomers have found the oldest galaxy so far‘. I’m not bothered about the claims about the age of the universe, or its various components, mainly because such things do not affect my belief in God. My only concern is that such a claim is ultimately relative. Who’s to say that the Hubble Telescope missed something older simply because it was looking in the wrong direction, or maybe simply a half-degree to the left or the right of the current find? Sure, finding something really über old in the universe is quite cool; but let’s not shoot off all the fireworks at once.
Second on the list is the ‘finding‘ that the Mayan calendar, which (supposedly) predicted the end of the world, was wrong. Or, we should say: the people making claims about the world’s destiny using the Mayan calendar were a bunch of plankers.* First of all, there is nothing objectively special about the Mayan calendar; it is merely one of several forms of time reckoning from the ancient world. Moreover, it is ultimately based on the people who established the perimeters for that particular calendar–in the same way that the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Roman and Jewish calendars were created. Why prioritise the Mayans over everyone else? What I like is that the article pokes a little fun at ‘believers’ who, hook-line-and-sinker, bought into the (whacked-out) theories of those who said the world would end. Yeah, it’s certainly bad news for them. But thankfully for those (false) ‘prophets’, the biblical rules regarding false prophecy are not strictly followed (see Deut 13 and 18).
Finally, news about potential University closures still looms large. The financial cuts will affect smaller Universities first and hardest, of which my place of study is one, before hitting various departments in larger Universities. (Although it is certainly possible that the respective results will be contemporaneous, but let’s not be pedantic about it). Seeing that I’m potentially on the receiving end of this, I’m naturally concerned about the outcome. However, what struck me the most about this present article was this specific claim:
In future, only science, technology, maths and engineering will be funded by the Government, with other subjects being financed by student fee income.
Well, it’s comforting to know that the Government has not formed a biased opinion about what matters most for society–or, the greater good. (And yes, that last remark was made with tongue firmly planted against the cheek). If that’s not an ideological agenda, I’m not sure what it is.
* The mentally dense, not the profession.