Thursday, February 14, 2013

Digital Pope

A bolt of lightning - surely not a message from above - was photographed striking the lightning rod on the top St Peter's Basilica,

OMG! The Pope has resigned...how can that be? Popes don't just 'resign', its a bit like golfers who just grow old and loose their balls! 

Well, now it has happened what will the new Pope be like analogue or digital? 

Maybe we need a 'Digital Pope' who can bring the Catholic Church into the 21st Century... a scientist maybe?

This was interesting and fun to read today...take note Brian Cox!

To: The Vatican (HR Department)
Name: Dean Burnett
Date: 11-02-2013
Reference: Vacancy CCLXVI ('Pope')
CV: [Attached]

PERSONAL STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF APPLICATION: See below
Dear Sir/Madam/Holy Ghost
I am very interested in applying for the recently announced vacancy for the position of pope. I am sure you've received many applications already, but I believe I would make an excellent candidate for the role as I could bring innovative new approaches and help increase diversity, which would have the effect of both motivating those involved in and enhancing the reputation of the organisation (i.e. The Catholic Church).

I have read the job description and although I admittedly do not meet all the specified essential criteria for the role (e.g. I do not regularly commune with God or any other unspecified deity) I feel that my strengths in other areas more than make up for my lack of direct experience.
Although I am not a practising member of the Catholic (or any other) Church, I am a qualified and enthusiastic scientist. I believe this makes me an ideal choice for the next pope, for a number of reasons. For example, I have had many jobs where it is compulsory to wear a white coat, and the wearing of long white garments appears to be the main duty of the pope. I also regularly lecture on the subject of neuroscience, so am extensively experienced at speaking in an unfamiliar language to rooms full of people who are struggling to stay awake, so it would be no trouble for me to offer Mass whenever required.

I am not a cardinal, but a recent check of my wallet reveals that I still have a membership cards for both GAME, Blockbuster Video and MVC, showing that I am clearly dedicated to declining institutions and have a robust if unrealistic belief in resurrection.
As an atheist scientist I cannot claim to be in regular contact with God per se, but I have regularly encountered professors with equivalent levels of power and influence who demand unquestioning obedience from those who serve them, so feel this has provided me with equivalent professional experience required for the position.
As a scientist pope, I could bring an element of rationalism and logic to the Catholic Church, which would better equip it to survive in more modern, enlightened times. I could provide numerous plausible-sounding theories as to the origins of the universe, life, evolution, human consciousness and any other area that the Church feels it should have influence over. Whereas most scientists require evidence and peer review before their theories can be accepted, my being the pope would mean I was infallible so I wouldn't have to go through this process; the simple act of me saying it would mean it is accepted by many as fact. This is a privilege enjoyed by only a few scientists, and one I definitely wouldn't abuse, scouts honour!

I have performed a number of miracles in recent years. For example, I have managed to sustain a career in science in present circumstances, despite having very few notable publications to my name and a disastrous history of high-profile embarrassments.
I have managed to remain in my post despite these numerous blunders, so I would be able to bring this experience to my duties as pope. I can also turn water into wine, which is viewed as more of a "classic" miracle. It takes some time as it involves me pouring the water onto grapevines before growing, picking, sorting, crushing, fermenting, maturing, bottling and selling. But overall, it's definitely water being turned into wine. With Science! (Unless that doesn't count as a miracle, in which case it's clearly magic).

I am not presently celibate, but as a teenager who was a big science fan with terrible acne, I am very familiar with the concept. I am also not a homosexual, as that would obviously exclude me from the role (NB. In the interests of transparency, I did once suck a penis, but I didn't inhale so it doesn't count). At the last count, I also have the required number of testicles to be pope (at least two). I also have experience with covering up crimes.

I believe these qualities and more make me an ideal candidate for the position, so I hope you will consider my application seriously. I realise the vacancy is somewhat above my pay grade, but I am looking for a higher paying position as I need money to provide for my family … I mean buy condoms … I mean jewels.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Vestrum fideliter

Dean Burnett

Sunday, February 03, 2013

BETT 2013



BETT 2013 has just finished. Each year in London there is a huge exhibition of Educational Technology...ICT for Schools. I have always avoided going to this monster 'sell, sell, sell' event and every year it gets bigger. OK...last year I got a free mug from 'Education City' from a friend who went. It was fun when I read this, comparing BETT with IKEA. I'm sure that if I went I would react in the same way!

"I don’t like IKEA. I’ll tell you why. It is because of what I call ‘IKEA Fear’. The symptoms of IKEA Fear are a mounting sense of disquiet that commences the minute I pass through the large revolving doors. This disquiet worsens progressively as I meander first through immaculate living rooms, on through offices, bedrooms and kitchens until it becomes something visceral within my chest and stomach, usually around the time I reach the carpet, curtains and cushions – urging me to run screaming from the building clutching at my hair.
I have contemplated this feeling and the possible reasons for it. I have a theory based upon nothing other than my own tenuous guesses. I think my problem may possibly be similar to conditions such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia, and here are a couple of exacerbating factors:
• There is a disorientating absence of any reference to the outside world. If you are lucky, you might glimpse a rectangle of far-off, semi-industrial car-park through a distant fire door (the location of which is noted in the event of a panic-induced exit in due course).
• There is a disturbing juxtaposing of comfy, soft, homely environments in which you can sit and imagine oneself in the bosom of family relaxing after or during a meal… until you look up and witness the horrific, industrial tangle of ducting and steel. I don’t mind telling you that this contrast messes with my head.


Now, on to the BETT Show 2013. This year, it relocated from Olympia to Excel- a move I welcomed initially as it certainly improved accessibility for me. This welcome feeling was short-lived. On arrival at Excel, I attempted to feel upbeat and optimistic but that familiar disquiet, the IKEA Fear, started to creep up on me. I apologise to those friends of mine whom I encountered on that first morning, my brow knitted and jaw slightly tensed. I put on a brave face and greeted you enthusiastically but I wasn’t quite myself. Walking the (seemingly) mile-long boulevards, snickets and ginnels of the exhibition space, my anxiety mounted until I had to make a swift exit. David Mitchell and Julia Skinner were fortunately on hand to scoop me up as I composed myself over some lunch with them.
I struggled throughout the two and a bit days at the show. My misery was mitigated only by the wonderful encounters I had with lovely people. The social, the teachmeet, the laughs and the learning mean that I won’t be boycotting in future. I will take the rough with the smooth.

I miss Olympia. I miss the quirkiness, the characterful architecture, the nooks and crannies, the expanse of sky spread out above. I also miss the opportunities for out-of-body elevations to the balcony for welcome, reorienting breathers during which one could see the layout, establish the landmarks or spot a friend to pursue.
Oh, and I didn’t even see anything especially exciting or innovative in those long corridors of anxiety. Next year, I will dedicate myself to establishing quick exit routes whilst also seeking out people – after all, it is them that make a visit to BETT worthwhile."