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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten

God and the New Physics

God and the New Physics - Paul Davies Celebrity Death Match Special: God and the New Physics versus The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Scene 1

[MIT, 2012. Graduation day. BRAD and JANET]

JANET: Oh Brad, wasn't it wonderful! Didn't Betty look radiantly beautiful! Just an hour ago she was plain old Betty Monroe. Now she's Betty Monroe... PhD!

BRAD: Er... yeah.

JANET: I wonder if I'll ever complete my doctoral dissertation on the relationship between faith and cosmology? Sometimes it seems impossible.

[She wipes a tear from her eye. Music starts up]

BRAD: That's no way to talk! Just can it.

CHORUS: Janet.

BRAD: You're the smartest girl on this planet.

CHORUS: Janet.

BRAD: You see an equation, you scan it.

CHORUS: Janet.

BRAD: Even if it's harder than granite.

CHORUS: Janet.

BRAD: You -

JANET: Oh Brad, you're always so nice to me! You know what I'd really like to do now?

BRAD: You just tell me, girl.

JANET: I'd like to visit Professor Helge Kragh, the greatest living expert on the history of science.

BRAD: Uh.. well, hop in the car! We're off to Denmark.

JANET: Oh Brad!

[She throws her arms around him and kisses him passionately]

Scene 2

[Another part of the forest. BRAD and JANET, soaking wet, are outside a dubious-looking gothic mansion. A sign on the gate says PAUL DAVIES PRODUCTIONS LTD - ENTER AT OWN RISK]

JANET: Do you... do you think it's safe?

BRAD: We're just going ask if we can borrow their wifi signal for a minute.

[They hesitantly enter and find themselves in a room full of weird people. The doors close behind them. JANET clutches BRAD's arm]

FRANK N. FURTER: [in white lab coat] Now what do you two want?

JANET: We - we wonder if we could use your wifi. If it wouldn't be too much trouble.

FRANK N. FURTER: But that's not what you really want, is it?

JANET: [as if hypnotised] N-no. I really want to understand the relationship between God and modern physics.

FRANK N. FURTER: Then welcome to the early 80s!


CHORUS: Let's do the time warp again!

FRANK N. FURTER: You may think I'm mad as a hatter
But I'll explain consciousness with quotes from Hofstadter.
It's an emergent propertee
Just like an anthill, don't you see.

CHORUS: Let's do the time warp again!

FRANK N. FURTER: You ask about the mystery of creation
There's this cool new idea called inflation.
It may fill you with indignation
But we all started as a vacuum fluctuation.

CHORUS: Let's do the time warp again!

[MAGENTA and COLUMBIA, dressed in outrageous black corsets, have crept up behind the terrified JANET and started to remove her clothes. BRAD has unaccountably disappeared]

FRANK N. FURTER: I know this looks like a den of depravity
But the key to everything is supergravity--

JANET: Superwhat?

FRANK N. FURTER: Supergravity. It's this amazing theory that will unlock the secrets of the universe. Cutting edge.

JANET: You're - you're not a scientist at all, are you? You're--

FRANK N. FURTER: Okay, okay. I'm an infotainer. So what?

[He opens his lab coat to reveal full BDSM gear. MAGENTA and COLUMBIA pull off most of JANET's remaining clothes, leaving her in just her underwear]

FRANK N. FURTER: Admit you like it. [He seductively puts an arm around JANET] Hmmm?

[Pause for a beat. Everyone looks at her]

JANET: [eyes modestly downcast] You promise you won't tell Brad?

Match point: The Rocky Horror Picture Show