Sciences differ

In essence, we can ‘know’ something by counting or measuring it in appropriate ways to minimise the risk of creating an answer by chance, this is the quantitative approach

We can also come to ‘know’ things better by documenting, interpreting and  understanding the ‘why‘ and ‘how’, and in other cases, the unquantifiable dimensions of human feeling and interpretation. This type of science is  qualitative and demands very different skill-sets and expertise to the quantitative approach

A key principle is that science today is so categorised that an expert in one field is highly likely to know little about other fields. There is no over-arching principle that a Ph.D in a specific field, followed by years of work in that field, qualifies one for anything other than high-level expertise in that field

The paradox is that the more that is ‘known’ by true ‘people of science’, whether by quantitative or qualitative means, the less assured one becomes about ‘rightness’

Where are we in the mist?

Humans have the interesting ability to turn simple ideas into complexities that seem intended to create a need to differentiate between those supposedly with the ‘power of knowing’ and those without. Our personal challenge is to think through these issues and understand them within the complexities of education and professional practice

A Creative Futurist thinks ahead of and beyond these issues


So much is due to the practice of good science that it is hard to know where to start. Better food, increased lifespan, improved health and medical care, not to mention technology, the environment, manufacturing, mining and transport

Science is simply a way of knowing and one of the deeper joys is appreciating there are different ways of knowing and increasingly interesting ways of applying those different approaches to a growing number of questions

Good science is something we all should celebrate, whilst abhorring bad science

Thinking stuff

Chiropractic science

Chiropractic is a different paradigm to Western diseased-based medicine. It emerged as a discipline in the mid 1890s with the principles having been conceptualised in the 1640s by an eminent anatomist and described in the 1820s by a leading orthopaedic physician

Chiropractic retains the original premise that the body is able to heal and express itself in a manner optimal for that individual, when the nervous system is similarly functioning in an optimal manner

Given the diversity of individual humans and the variety of problems that may lead to presentation, chiropractic has developed a commensurate diversity of approaches to assessment, treatment and management

At one end of this continuum we see those who rely on the ‘it works’ dogma while at the other lie ‘data fascists’ who will not undertake any clinical act in the absence of published evidence it has an effect. Each is as flawed as the other

The greater majority of chiropractors lie around the middle of the continuum with an appreciation of the original intent of ‘evidence-based care’ being the combination of published evidence, the patient experience, and the practitioner’s knowledge and interpretation

Qualitative research and experiential engagement seem to be far more clinically effective than the quantitative research thought ideal by practitioners of Western medicine, but which, in reality, is in pitifully short supply

The night of the snake (humour)Warning: Contains an implied adult word and reference to alcohol

Today’s topic is ‘snakes’. The ones that slither and hiss and do nasty things. 

Midnight, and your correspondent is away with the fairies in Blanket Bay, dreaming of, er, well, let’s not get Freudian. 

He is awoken from his gentle but pleasant slumber by the cries of a damsel in distress. One would swear she was born to do ‘snake watch’ at the back door, just to add to her ‘huntsman watch’ indoors, but who would think, that on a balmy Friday morning (20.3 degrees, 81% humidity), at five minutes into the day, a snake would actually appear at our side door. 

We call them the side doors because they are French doors that open onto the side patio area, where the girls (dogs, not my wife) go to do their business. I assure you my wife is toilet-trained. 

In my stupor I tried to convince her she was looking at the end of the irrigation dripper hose that had sprung free. I think the bruises about my right ribs will settle in a week or so, and with subsequent but not-so-gentle guidance actually focussed on the big brownish-grey thing at which she kept waving her claw.  

I can assure you it was not the end of the dripper. According to Wikipedia, it was the common brown snake, a species of venomous elapid snake of the genus Pseudonaja. This snake is considered the world's second most venomous land snake based on its LD50 value (SC) in mice. I can report it is impossible to pronounce its genus after a few chardies. 

Thankfully I’m not a mouse. Whether or not I am a man will be revealed by the end of this piece. 

Of course none of my suggestions were acceptable to the Minister for War and Finance who had by now become quite agitated. In contrast, I’d crawled out of bed and was standing there wondering where my pyjamas were. Then I realised my legs would have looked like dangly but edible pipe-cleaners to this protected species and came to a belief that the manly thing to do was to retreat and put on a pair of oversized trackie pants and shoes, in case the situation escalated. 

Well, me saying ‘escalated' is about an appropriate as saying Kruschev pressed the red button. I protested that we couldn’t really chop its head off with a shovel, but that was the directive within the not-so-secret mission forced upon me. My protest that “it would be an illegal act” generated a response that may be roughly translated as ‘up the Greenies’. 

So spade. My mind spun. Did we own one? After all, we live in a civilised area where mosquitos are the most aggressive thing we know. And we hire a gardner (An Australian, although I did meet Cortez today at the local Garden Centre, he is from Mexico and it was his third day of gainful employment in this country). 

Sorry, back to the spade. The Minister’s inventory indicated there was a ‘handled implement for farm duties' on the left in the garage, about a metre from the door. So up goes the door and out I come feeling very brave, armed to the teeth with a spade. 

There are things to tell you about spades but that can wait. You do need to know it was a ‘square-nose’ which is why it was a spade because shovels have curved noses (so do Romans, but that is another story). 

What followed was a mixture of ‘here snakey, here snakey” overlaid by shrill chants from safe within our domicile to “kill the *$#%er” (I’m glad our neighbours sleep soundly), and a dance around each other (man v. snake) reminiscent of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  

Now, spades. 

One would think such an implement would be easy to wield. After all, the Minister, when more in her role of caring for Parks and Gardens, uses it to dig holes to plant lavender and similar genteel foliage, all of which subsequently dies because of lack of watering (my job I found out recently). Hence the ability of the Garden Centre to afford to employ a Mexican, obviously paid for by our repeat business. 

But in warfare spades take on a mind of their own. They are difficult to aim, and, it seems, snakes are pretty damned tough when it comes to trying to cut their heads off. Regardless of the legalities or lack thereof. 

While I can’t blame the crosswind because there wasn’t one, I can suggest a generous glass or three of chardonnay before-hand does not produce high levels of productivity in the ‘spade-aiming’ stakes. 

We may kindly summarise the results of this violent suburban rampage as ‘snake - 1, human - 0’.  

The good news is I found my severed toe and it is in the fridge awaiting re-attachment later today.  

Meanwhile the visitor from Pseudonaja-land is nodding off in the long, dry grass down the back, grateful it still has two penises (did you know that? Really, men snakes have two thingies, which seems a little redundant as I am reliably informed by my 7-year old Grandson that lady snakes only have one place to put such a thingy.) (make mental note - must meet his EarthWatch teacher …) 

Oh, and please don’t ask about the huntsman.  

Last I heard, were I able to correctly decipher the shivering quivels, was it was dangling on a web-strand from the ceiling. And wriggling. It seems one can of spray Mortein (large, it was on special with 25% extra for free, the neutral fragrance mind you - we may be bogans but we do have taste and it doesn’t run to eucalyptus or mint-fresh) was not sufficient to dispatch this poor innocent spidery thing that must weigh all of 20 grams and largely spends its harmless life dining on the aforementioned mosquitos.  

The Minister doesn’t like them because they are long and hairy. 

And that, I think, explains a lot. 

As writing should now be evidence-based I use the ever-reliable PubMed of Media, YouTube:

It cranks up about mid-way.

Made on a Mac