What in the hell is this blog all about, then?

It is about the darker side of science. It’s about life, death & the struggle for existence. It is about parasites, plagues and how they have shaped human history. It is about the world of mind-bending parasites; treacherous creatures discovered by modern biology that are inspiring a generation of science-fiction writers: parasite wasps that zombify their hosts; funguses that can take control of the minds of ants; mind-altering human diseases such as toxoplasmosis.

It is about the darker side of our human psychology. It is about how ancient fears continue to reside in the shadowy corners of our mind. It’s about how humans have struggled over the millennia to understand the evil around them. It is about how the ideas about “the undead” have evolved over the course of human history – a mythological creature that still refuses to die in this age of science & reason.

This blog is also a repository for all sorts of other scientific curious, unexpected results and hidden knowledge.

What is that image at the top of the page?  It looks like it could be  the electrical forces coursing through a vacuum-chamber during the opening scene of a Frankenstein film…

No, the above image is not a man-made force that unleashes a horrific power that is beyond control, ultimately wreaking crazed havoc upon humanity.

Instead, the above diagram is actually a time-series of financial data. In fact, it is the movement of futures prices in the lead-up to the “flash-crash” of May 6, 2010.

Hmmmn…. Having thought about it, perhaps the image does represent a horrific power that is beyond control, one that ultimately wreaks crazed havoc upon humanity…

We never heard a word of vampires in London, nor even at Paris. I confess that in both these cities there were stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight; but they were not dead, though corrupted. These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable palaces.

— Voltaire

This might help explain my interest in financial markets, and why you might see the odd post or two about them.  After all, it is still the darkest of arts, a science that is almost impossible to disentangle from all the quackery, false data and misrepresentation.  Which is probably why I find financial markets so fascinating.  Also, it is how I have earned my daily bread over the last few years.