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By Phil Thornton 


Nicola - The Trial Of Socrates has always fascinated me. In some ways I think Meletus was justified in bringing his prosecution because in times of difficulty it was imperative for city states to unify around common ideals and customs. Therefore in the aftermath of the Spartan victory in the Peloponnesian war, it was understandable that those who questioned state authority would be viewed as agitators who undermined the status quo.  And yet, in a supposedly progressive and liberal city state like Athens that boasted of its intellectual virtues, surely Socratesí view of the divine should have been debated without the threat of a death sentence hanging over his head. After all Socrates had fought valiantly to preserve Athenian democracy in battle, so why deny him the opportunity to place his philosophy in the public arena, even if that contradicted state imposed religious orthodoxy? Today we like to think of ourselves as far more refined and tolerant of different belief systems and yet Iíd draw a direct comparison between the Socratic and Islamist in that both were felt to be a threat by the ruling classes who depended upon the safety net of public obedience to pursue their economic and military goals. Is Abu Hamza a modern day Socrates? Iíll leave that for members of the Pussycat Dolls to ponder.  


Cheryl - Tom Paineís íRights Of Maní is essential reading in the Tweedy household. Thereís not a day that goes by that I donít reach into my Gucci clasp bag and pull out my personalised copy of perhaps the greatest political treatise of the 18th century for inspiration and guidance. Some people think that itís all glamour in Girls Aloud but sometimes after a gruelling photo-shoot or tour, Iíll get the girls together and weíll sit around discussing the issue of hereditary government and universal suffrage. In fact Kimberley made a good point about Prince William the other day, stating that all hereditary lineages end up with interbred halfwits on the throne, quoting the descent of the Caesars from Julius to Nero as an example. I donít think Wills will fiddle while London burns though, but he is going bald.


Kimberley - Cheryl has recently turned me onto Tom Paine which has in turn opened my eyes to many key figures of the Enlightenment but Iím far more interested in poetry than politics which lead me to read many of Coleridgeís works. In all honesty I think Coleridge was a superior poet to Wordsworth and a far more interesting character. Take Kubla Khan, which is perhaps his best known poem and was of course written under the influence of opium. Now Iím very much anti-drugs and would never touch smack myself, yet I think it remains a fact that had Wordsworth ever had a toot he wouldnít have been so uptight and maybe his poetry wouldíve improved. The imagery in Kubla Khan and the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner far surpasses anything that Wordsworth ever produced, living in that cottage in the Lake District with his sister. Bit Jeremy Kyle that isnít it? Anyway, Iíve been to the mobile library and put an order in for Voltaireís Dictionnaire Philosophique, which should keep me amused on cold, rainy nights doing personal appearances at the Lidl in Hull.


Nadine - I havenít got time for deep, intellectual discussions. I always say to the girls, this is a fucking pop group not a fucking Platonic symposium yíknow. However, I do share one thing with the rest of the band; a love of Bauhaus architecture. I particularly like the period when the school was under the control of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and letís face it, after all the excesses of the arts and crafts movement and art nouveau, there was a need for the clean, modernist lines of Bauhaus that echoed the  shifts in other cultural forms; literature, poetry and art. Ofcourse the Nazis never really understood Bauhaus and deemed it degenerate, cosmopolitan and anti-German yet adopted many of the schoolís traits in their own buildings. I wouldnít live in a Bauhaus building myself because letís face it, Iím an old fashioned girl at heart who would prefer a cottage in the country with a couple of Labradors and that gardener fellar from Desperate Housewives  goosing me rigid, but hey, heís got fuck all on Walter Gropius in the architecture department if you know what I mean girls.


Sarah - I love dick. All kinds of dick. Big dicks. Little dicks. Fat dicks. Thin dicks. Black dicks. Brown dicks. Doesnít matter really. If I can get it in my mouth or up my arse, Iím not really bothered. Oh and the other thing I really like is string theory. Whenever Iím at a party snorting my life away with various footballers, Arab sheiks and boy band members, everyone always asks me. íSarah what exactly is string theory?í So I always answer in the same way.


Think of a guitar string that has been tuned by stretching the string under tension across the guitar. Depending on how the string is plucked and how much tension is in the string, different musical notes will be created by the string. These musical notes could be said to be excitation modes of that guitar string under tension. In a similar manner, in string theory, the elementary particles we observe in particle accelerators could be thought of as the "musical notes" or excitation modes of elementary strings. In string theory, as in guitar playing, the string must be stretched under tension in order to become excited. However, the strings in string theory are floating in spacetime, they aren't tied down to a guitar. Nonetheless, they have tension. The string tension in string theory is denoted by the quantity 1/(2 p a'), where a' is pronounced "alpha prime" and is equal to the square of the string length scale.

If string theory is to be a theory of quantum gravity, then the average size of a string should be somewhere near the length scale of quantum gravity, called the Planck length, which is about 10-33 centimeters, or about a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. Unfortunately, this means that strings are way too small to see by current or expected particle physics technology (or financing!!) and so string theorists must devise more clever methods to test the theory than just looking for little strings in particle experiments.

String theories are classified according to whether or not the strings are required to be closed loops, and whether or not the particle spectrum includes fermions. In order to include fermions in string theory, there must be a special kind of symmetry called supersymmetry, which means for every boson (particle that transmits a force) there is a corresponding fermion (particle that makes up matter). So supersymmetry relates the particles that transmit forces to the particles that make up matter.


Supersymmetric partners to to currently known particles have not been observed in particle experiments, but theorists believe this is because supersymmetric particles are too massive to be detected at current accelerators. Particle accelerators could be on the verge of finding evidence for high energy supersymmetry in the next decade. Evidence for supersymmetry at high energy would be compelling evidence that string theory was a good mathematical model for Nature at the smallest distance scales.


Then I suck their dicks.







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